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ABCMouse.Com Early Learning Academy Review by Dawn Huffmaster

Age of Learning, Inc.
PO Box 230
Glendale, CA 91209

ABCMouse.Com is a subscription-based online curriculum used to facilitate early childhood learning in the areas of math, science, reading, music, art, and colors. Your monthly or yearly subscription includes six levels of learning for Preschool, Pre-K, and Kindergarten, with over 350 lessons and 2,000 different learning activities. The subscription also includes access for up to three children, as well as a parent account that allows you to track each child's individual progress. There are no advertisements, pop-ups, or external links on this website, and while nothing takes the place of parental supervision online, you can be confident that the company is careful to keep your children as safe as possible while using the website. Use of the website requires high-speed Internet access and a computer with the latest version of Adobe Flash.

ABCMouse.Com is for children ages 3 to 5+, and it will integrate well with any type of schooling method or type of learner. The activities on the site would work very well as a supplement to any curriculum your family may be using, or you could use it as a complete (but basic) curriculum. A panel of nationally recognized early childhood education experts helped to create this curriculum. Though it was not created specifically for homeschoolers, it is a valuable resource for all young children. The subscription price of $7.95 per month, or $79.00 for one year is a great value for the vast array of learning activities your child will receive on the site.

When I logged in to the ABCMouse.Com website, my first thought was "Wow, I have never seen so many activities in one place!" I was very excited about the opportunity to use the site but was overwhelmed at the thought of giving a complete review because I quickly saw that there would be a lot to say! I began by setting up an account for my 4-year-old son, placing him in Preschool level 1. Then I set up my 6-year-old daughter in Kindergarten level 1. Although she was in first grade, I thought the kindergarten level would be good reinforcement for what she had already learned. I was also able to create individualized avatars that represented my children's likenesses very well.

The website is centered on a virtual town that has a schoolhouse, farm, zoo, shopping center, library, playhouse, and home. It is easy to get to any area from the interactive map; the schoolhouse or classroom is the main focal point. Inside the schoolhouse, you'll find what looks like a traditional classroom, with educational items on the walls and children playing with various items. Every item in the classroom is interactive; no matter where your child clicks, they'll find something fun to do! Lining the top of the classroom are the main learning areas, such as language arts, math, science, and social studies. Each section includes simple readers if applicable, games, puzzles, coloring sheets, songs, and more! My children only saw the activities that I had selected when I created their accounts, but it was easy for them to go up or down a level after playing awhile. I also had the ability to create personalized lessons plans with activities based on my children's abilities in the various areas if I needed to. As we worked through activities, the children earned tickets that they could use in the shopping mall for things such as virtual pets, clothing for their avatars, or decorations for their online playhouse. The farm and the zoo were also great fun, and my children learned about different types of animals, played games, did puzzles, and read simple books about what they had seen. Since we began using this website, both of the children have asked me on a daily basis if they can go to ABCMouse.Com, and I generally answer emphatically, "Yes, you may!"

While the incredible amount of information and activities on ABCMouse.Com is its greatest benefit, it may also be seen as a disadvantage. As I said previously, the site looks overwhelming at first glance. It took us some time to figure out where everything was, but once we did, we had no problems at all and enjoyed every area of the site. If you do happen to get lost at some point, there are tutorials for both parents and children to refer to in case you need them.

I absolutely recommend this product and plan to use it in some way for all my early learners from this point on. ABCMouse.Com does not offer any free trials because their support comes from subscriptions and not advertising sponsors, but I would encourage parents to spend the $7.95 and just try it for one month. I think you will be very pleased with what you get and with what your child learns.

Product review by Dawn Huffmaster, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, May 2011