I know that it takes a LOT of time and energy to create a preschool lesson plan from scratch. And while you, like me, might enjoy that challenge and the ability to customize really fantastic lessons for your kids, sometimes, our best intentions don’t translate into a lesson when we need one. Sometimes you just need another day to get your supplies together. Sometimes you have a week filled with dentist, vet, and doctor appointments. Sometimes your roof starts leaking or you’re sick or just worn out. I’ve learned that I am not superwoman and I need breaks. That’s when I pull up ABCmouse.com.
I can log in to ABCmouse and let my son go. I know he’s going to learn, have fun, and I don’t have to do a thing but answer the occasional question or give him a hint. Heck, even walking him through a lesson step-by-step (which is never necessary) is still a vacation compared to planning and executing a lesson on my own. And although I personally, wouldn’t want any school program (online or otherwise) to take over the schooling of my son, ABCmouse is actually comprehensive enough to be a full curriculum for kids ages 2-5. If you’re looking for a complete package curriculum for your preschooler or kindergartner, this will fit the bill at a fraction of the cost of regular boxed curriculums. If you’re just getting started with homeschooling or are busy with your own work or older or younger children, ABCmouse is a great option to provide your kids with a thorough education at home, without putting in hours of time that you don’t have.
A couple things that added to the program’s credibility with me was that it’s used in preschool and kindergarten classrooms around the country and that it was developed with education experts to be the most complete online learning site for preschoolers and kindergartners. They list on the site some of the specific experts they worked with and it’s pretty impressive.
One of the features of ABCmouse that I really like is the great mouse tutorial, that teaches young kids how to point, click, and drag with a mouse. My son started out holding the mouse up to his ear like a phone and within 10 minutes, he was pointing and clicking like a pro. He also really likes the rewards system they use, giving tickets for completed lessons that can be used to buy virtual prizes and pets.
There are three ways you can use ABCmouse:
1. You can have your child follow the Learning Path, which guides him or her through a series of learning activities selected by his level (set by you). The Learning Path will take him or her through several natural environments (like Beach and Prairie), each containing a set of activities. I was a little disappointed that the activities were not related to the natural environments, but your child can learn about the environments separately by clicking on different items in the scene. Do not be afraid to change your child’s level! If you think his current one is to difficult or too easy, try a different one. You can always change it back. In fact, you might as well try your child on a few different levels at first to get a feel for where you think he or she is learning the most.
2. You can design your own lessons for your child using any combination of the stories, songs, games, puzzles, and printable coloring pages available on the site. The other thing I would like to see more of is a wider variety of lesson themes. They cover the most common preschool themes, like food, the world, and space, but I’d like more, like sharing and different cultures. But, I can easily rectify that by checking some books out at the library. I do, however, like that I can combine activities of varying levels, so if my son is more advanced in recognizing his letters and numbers, but lacking the fine motor skills to put together some puzzles, I can give him more difficult activities in one category and easier activities in the other.
3. Lastly, your child can also choose any individual activity to do.
Whether you decide to use ABCmouse.com as a supplement or a complete preschool curriculum, it’s a great investment for a few dollars a month. I love having the peace of mind that I have something to fall back on if I don’t have a lesson prepared.