- Anna (after she carefully dragged her monkey, and the software repositioned her jungle animal into predefined location on the screen): Mama, why did it move my monkey? Why??? It’s now in the air! I wanted it on the tree!
- Me: You know, this is a great question. I think software does it, because it wants to make sure that you don’t put one monkey on top of each other in the pile. Then you cannot count them. But the people who created this software gave it to us, so we can ask them questions and tell them what we like and what we don’t like.
- Anna (excited): I really like it! Tell them that I like it!
- Me: But maybe we can find something else that you will like even more?
- Anna (firmly): No, we won’t. I like this one. I want to keep playing with Bunny and her friends.
So what exactly does Anna like? Mostly I think she likes the sense of accomplishment when she completes the task and can progress to the next screen. It’s her first time using computer almost independently (I still sit next to her to answer questions like the one above), and I am impressed with how quickly she mastered drag-and-drop with a track pad. I need to find a smaller mouse for her – mine is too big for her hands.
What I like:
There is a very limited set of choices once you select an activity. I think this helps kids focus on what they are doing instead of contemplating what they could be doing next. For now I bring her directly into an activity of my choice and let her go as far in it as she is interested going. Most of the time she chose to go to the end even when the activity was boring/repetitive to my adult mind.
I like the variety of activities. I did have to jump to the second half of K Math to find something interesting for Anna, but the section introducing addition and subtraction is great. We always had a bit of the block in this area when I would ask Anna how much I would need to add to 1 to make 3, and she would always say, "you need to add three”. Playing the addition game seemed to help her see that I need to add up to three, not to add three more.
Kelly from One Little Room helped me find lesson guides - they are more hidden from parents than they should be. I didn’t use them, but I looked through them and they do a good job explaining how to introduce the activity and also offer additional extensions and printables/worksheets.
Is this an ideal program for us? No, but I am still considering signing up, because essentially I will get access to an entire K-8 set for all the subjects. I don’t want to sound snobbish, but $19.95 a month is not an exorbitant sum for our middle-class budget – maybe I can make one less trip to Michael’s every month.