Screentime is a hot topic among moms. How much, how often, and is it screwing the kids up? Here is why we love ABCmouse, screentime and all. Post contains affiliate links.
I don’t send my kids to preschool. No really. Here’s why.
I’m not against it I just don’t do it.
Why? Because I’m a grown up and I do what I want.
On top of not doing preschool I also don’t do a lot of formal learning and activities with them. I’m definitely not against those, but we end up spending our days more in a flexible routine. A few things fixed in time, and in between, free play. I love this and the kids love it and it works.
Then my mom (who works in an elementary school) told me what Kindergartners are expected to learn these days. It’s not just “show up and know your name and we’ll take it from here.” They are already behind if they don’t know quite a lot.
While I don’t take on huge stress and I’m no Tiger Mom, I don’t actually want my kids to fall behind before they’ve even started. So, in an effort to keep kids 99% off screen and 1% preparing for their future education, we began doing ABCmouse.com. And we love it.
How 20 Minutes a Day Can Make All the Difference
As I said, I prefer my kids offscreen. But I also can’t bury my head in the sand about the world we live in and what they need to do. So we’ve struck a balance that works well for us and maybe it’ll do the same for you.
It closely mirrors school standards
I’d love to homeschool, but it’s not on our immediate horizon. As such, they’re going to have to meet certain standards. While I refuse to stress about this (they’ll learn, it’ll be okay) I do want them to feel that learning, listening, and interacting with lessons are a bit second nature.
(Yes, this is my mouse from high school. What does it say about me that I’ve kept this?)
When I met my daughter’s Kindergarten teacher this year, she showed me a list of skills my daughter needed to know. I looked at it closely and it mirrored – nearly exactly – skills that ABCmouse was focusing on in her learning path. Well? Done. That’s easy and fun homework.
It doesn’t require mama at all times
One thing that’s hard for me to fit into our day’s schedule is sitting for 20 minutes per child in front of the computer. I love quality time with the kids, but that’s a lot of screentime for me and I try to play with the kids offline. This is how I’ve done it:
- use ABCmouse to train the kids the use the mouse
- have the computer in a busy area like the living room or kitchen so we’re around and about if the child needs help
- make the screen full screen so they don’t end up clicking away and not being able to get back
- set a timer (timer is a mama’s best friend) so your child knows the start time
- use the time while one child is doing ABCmouse to spend focused time with another child
It’s so fun it’s not like work
I’m still surprised that all the other kids want to gather around the child taking their turn with ABCmouse. The individual lessons or activities are on par developmentally so kids don’t quit out of frustration and just the right length so they are engaged and don’t switch off. Here are some fun things ABCmouse offers:
- after individual lessons they get tokens to “buy” things
- they can turn their coloring activities into puzzles or backgrounds
- they can track their progress on their Learning Path
- each child has their own Avatar that they can design. My blonde daughter has a blonde girl, etc.
It helps build up weak areas
As each child begins using ABCmouse they can take an assessment. Based on their assessment they are assigned lessons to help them build up their skills in areas they aren’t strong. It gradually exposes them to different ways of learning that concept and, before you know it, they’ve moved on with ease.
It teaches mouse and computer skills
Since my kids have very little to no screen time (except some TV cartoons) they don’t know how to use the mouse. They also need practice taking a certain action based on an audio instruction. ABCmouse does this because it comes at a certain concept in a few ways. Listening to instructions, song, pictures, etc. Since children are required to take assessments on the computer in our area, I wanted the to know basic computer skills so that wouldn’t impede their test taking progress or concentration.
If you’re interested in helping prepare your children for school, but don’t want to compile it all yourself, you can try ABCmouse for free for 30 days. If you’ve already done the trial you can get two months for just $5 and see for yourself if the kids love it.
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