A Parent Review of ABCmouse: Keeping Our Brains Working Through Summer

 

Like most moms, I TRY to keep my children from letting all of their knowledge fall out over the summer.

Any “book learnin'” my four boys accomplish over the summer is typically solely because I forced them to do it. Maybe your kids aren’t like mine, I don’t know, but my children never ASK me to do workbook pages and catch up on their reading logs.

When I was a little girl, I LOVED doing workbooks, but that is not my kids. I can’t even fathom that.

Have we read this summer? Yes, tons. Have I recorded half of those books on the required reading logs? Um, no. Like I don’t have enough things to remember to do.

So at the end of the summer, I’ll basically stand there with the boys, wracking my brain, while begging them to think back, to remember what all they read this summer so we can fill out that bless-ed log.

Reading is the perfect start to keeping our minds active all summer long, but there are other skills to focus on in school too, and for that I have been looking for a good phone app that I can put my younger boys on!

After years of hearing of ABCmouse.com, I finally decided to download it and let my younger boys (ages 6 and 4) try it out.

I am happy to tell you it is everything I had hoped for, which means that they cover both letters, numbers, and other topics, and they can even play it unassisted.

You do need to help them at first, so they know where to find all the different things the app or website can do.

Actually, if your child is new to iPad games or is preschool age, I would help them the whole first week that they use it, just so you can guide them to less frustration and point them to the games that they could benefit the most from.

John David is 4, and I sit down and basically just watch him use it, and say things like, “Great job!” as he zips through a map (which is like 6 mini-lesson activities). After that, I turn him loose on it, and he can play with it however he chooses.

It’s a big deal to him that we do it together, and he cuddles in my lap while he works on his activities.

Daniel is 6, and he requires no supervision on the app at all.

My favorite thing about it is the sight word games. I also appreciate that each lesson is age appropriate. Too often, game makers over-estimate the finger dexterity or involvement of the parents.

Daniel’s favorite thing: Getting to play games on my phone

John David’s favorite part: Puzzles!!!

I went through today’s lessons for John David and Daniel and screen-shotted to show you what to expect with this app, a sneak peek if you will.

Actually, I should clarify that ABCmouse.com is not just an app. This entire program can be done on a mobile device or on a computer.

What to Expect

 

A Parent Review of ABCmouse

This puzzle sentence was on a K4 lesson. John David had no trouble dragging and dropping the words into place.

A Parent Review of ABCmouse

This is found on the initial preschool/kindergarten screen. Once you past this puzzle, you get a new one. We focused on puzzles because they were JD’s favorite.

 

Both of my boys love an app where you can color.

 

I forget what section this game was under, but Daniel had to choose the starting letter of each picture to spell the word.

 

There are many books in this app, which they read to your child. As the story is read, they highlight words as they go. This particular one was a lesson on the letter b.

 

In this sight word game, you get to smash the bugs with the correct sight word. I thought this one was so fun that I could have played it myself. Not even kidding.

 

An important lesson!

Choosing Your Kids’ Level

I goofed when I signed Daniel up, and I started him on Kindergarten lessons. When he opened it up to a lesson on “Aa”, he got insulted and put it down, so be careful what level you choose! Haha!! He is in 1st grade now, so I switched it to the 1st grade level.

It was very simple to sign in as the parent and switch his level up one, and then he had better lessons.

John David, on the other hand, is not accustomed to playing games on an iPad, so I put him  on K3 so it would be super easy while he learned how to use the app. Once he got used to it, I upped him to K4 lessons.

John David LOVES these games. He’s already amassed hundreds of tickets, which he can use to buy all sorts of little digital things for his ABCmouse avatar and room. He was even excited to earn his avatar a pair of blue pants. “Oooooh! Blue pants. I wike blue pants!”

I know you’re wondering, and I was too! How much does this cost???

The first month is FREE. Afterwards, it’s $7.95/per month. Nice!

 

me and my little scholars

 

“Mom, can I pway dat game on your phone?” Batman is quite a fan of ABCmouse!

I wish had discovered this website years ago because I feel like it’s truly going to help the boys to keep ahead this summer!

Now, y’all, if you decide to try it out too, PLEASE click on my links in this post or on my website to take you to the ABCmouse.com website because I do earn a small fee for each referral I send them who signs up.

Let me know if you try it and what you thought! Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments!!

 

 

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Thoughts on My Last Baby’s First Day of Preschool

thoughts on my last baby's first day of preschool

I tried to take his pic outside by the car, but my iPhone spazzed, and I had to re-start it. I tried again once we got to his class, with my now working phone, but JD said, “You already did,” and walked off to show his new teacher his Lightning McQueen backpack.

Maybe it’s because I haven’t had a solid night’s sleep in a week. Maybe it’s because he’s my fourth son, my last baby. I don’t know, but today I dropped JD off at his first day at preschool, and I cried all the way home.

He’s three and a half, and he’s ready. We knew he was ready. He knew he was ready. His brothers are even excited for him.

Thought from my last baby's first day of preschool

And he handled it like a champ. He proudly put on his brand new Minions tennis shoes, showed me where to write his name on his new Batman lunch box, and rushed me out the door. He didn’t even pause long enough for his “First day” picture, he was just so eager to go.

And what did I do? Well, I handled it like a grown-up. I cried all the way home. I was supposed to go straight to the grocery store, but I couldn’t. I had to run home to my refuge, crying.

I’m fighting the urge to sit down in the floor with a Coca-Cola and a fat stack of baby photo albums and boo hoo.

I haven’t had days off like this since 2010. I’ve had part-time babysitters that came and took care of the boys while I went to doctor appointments, but this is different. I might finally write my book!

There is something extra special about time off when you are taking care of small children all the time. It is beyond necessary.  I hope if you are a mom of pre-schoolers that you will sanctify at least one day a week to have time off from taking care of children.

Schedule it! Make someone commit to watching those babies for you while you take 2 hours off, or whatever you can get!

Make them put it in writing.

“I promise to watch these sweet, precious children on this day at this time every single week so Mommy doesn’t lose her mind or end up with a heart problem.”

I miss that sweet little boy already. Oh, I love him so much. I can’t believe he is my last pre-schooler. I’ve had at least one preschooler, usually more, in this house for 11 years now, and suddenly I find myself almost finished with this phase. I only have 1 1/2 more years!

Oh, no. I’m going to start crying again if I talk about it. How I’ve loved it. I have loved every minute of taking care of these babies. Okay. That’s not true. I didn’t love every minute, but I loved THEM every minute.

Thoughts on My Last Baby's First Day of Preschool

JD sleeping on me just this past weekend, and Caleb showing of his latest Lego creation. I do love this job. I love it.

Sometimes I long for them at ages that they used to be that we will never get back. They are still here, but that age of them is gone forever. Sometimes I think back to, for example, baby Daniel, the round little ball of baby, my two-year-old boy who followed me around relentlessly wanting to help me do everything.

Thoughts on My Last Baby's First Day of Preschool

two-year-old Daniel

I think about rocking my babies at night, and while I don’t want to go through all that we went through again, I’d give anything just to hold one of those sweet babies and rock them and feed them.

Thoughts on My Last Baby's First Day of Preschool

holding one or two-year-old Caleb. He was a little sea-sick. (Destin, Florida)

I think about one-year-old Caleb and how he thought his big brother was the greatest person of all time. I think about them in their little Halloween costumes and how they’d take turns sitting in my lap to read books.

Okay, now I’m pouring tears, and I have clearly crossed over to the bad, bad, super sad place, so I’d better stop thinking about this.

Thoughts on My Last Baby's First Day of Preschool

Me with my very first toddler. I can still remember that feeling of new love you have when you first become a parent. It’s so much it feels like your heart could just explode with rainbows and joy.

 

I’m going to clean up my face, put my contacts in, and I’m going to go to Sam’s. I’m going to go be a grown-up, because that’s what you do and because we are almost out of milk and totally out of my coffee creamer. And I’m going to just be thankful for the time that I had with each of those adorable baby boys. I’ll keep enjoying them at the stages that they are now, and one day I’m going to be one awesome grandma.

Granted, I’m already under doctor’s orders to not lift any babies over 10 pounds because of my arthritis, but I can hold them in a chair, and I can take lots of Tylenol.

Then at 1:00 today, I get to pick JD back up and cuddle him for as long as he will let me, which if I put in a movie, might actually be a long time.

Thoughts on My Last Baby's First Day of Preschool

Don’t get me wrong, I have times when I’m so beaten down by kids that I’m not this sentimental, when I’m happy for a break. But today was JD’s first day of preschool, so today was not that day.

I have seen another evil under the sun, and it weighs heavily on mankind: 2 God gives some people wealth, possessions and honor, so that they lack nothing their hearts desire, but God does not grant them the ability to enjoy them, and strangers enjoy them instead.

 

 

This is meaningless, a grievous evil.

3 A man may have a hundred children and live many years; yet no matter how long he lives, if he cannot enjoy his prosperity and does not receive proper burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he.                         Ecclesiastes 6:1-3

Enjoy those babies while you can. I guess that’s my point. Enjoy them, but take breaks because you really can’t pour water from an empty pitcher, and you know they will drain every drop from you. Take time to refill that pitcher and enjoy those little ones. That’s what I’m doing today. I’m re-charging….and I’m buying milk.

 

 

 

My New Stay at Home Mom Job: Just JD and me (and the blog)

openhouse

All of us at Open House

I LOVE being a stay at home mom.

No, I mean literally. I LOVE IT. I always have. This is my pace of living y’all. Yes, I have to get up BEFORE 6am now to drag sleeping boys out of bed and drive them to school, but that is the ONLY down side.

My life is so free now. I made a schedule on day 1, just to make it all feel official. Then I took the notebook I wrote the schedule in, closed it, stuck it somewhere I’ll never find it again, and got on with my stay-at-home-mama life.

enjoying the slower life after school: One advantage to moving is that at first you belong to NOTHING. No clubs. No sports. Just freedom.

It’s just JD and me during the day now. He already made up his own routine, perfect for a 3-year-old.

Here’s his basic daily plan of action:

my new job

  1. While Mom begs brothers to get out of bed, JD is always the first kid up.
  2. Drink milk that is 50% white milk and 50% chocolate milk.
  3. Ask for breakfast food, but never eat it.

    my new job

    Also he does love to sweep.

  4. Piddle around with toys, usually planes or cars.
  5. Ride with Mom to drop off his brothers.
  6. Eat a snack.My New Stay at Home Mom Job: Just JD and me (and the blog)
  7. Paint and then stand behind Mom while she does her workout asking, “Done yet? Done yet? Done yet? Done now? Now?” over and over again.
    my new job

    Getting’ fit with kbburn.com, while JD stands behind me asking, “You done yet? Done now? All finished? You wash Dusty now?”

    Dusty is his airplane. He likes to draw on his eyes and then beg me to wash all of the marker off.

Hot Tip: Sharpie is easily removed from any surface, using rubbing alcohol. Even walls. This is my true area of expertise.

8. Watch Planes while also playing with about 15 toy airplanes.

9. Before Planes is over, ask to take a bath with 30 or so toys.

my new job

So much cuteness! I love my job.

10. After the bath, let Mom dress him and then have lunch with Mom.

11. Story time!

12. Nap: He sleeps on Daniel’s top bunk with the box of 20 toys that he carries around the house.

13. Mom carries him, asleep, from the top bunk to his car seat.

my new job

mini-Alan #4

14. Jump on the trampoline with Joshua. This is so adorable to watch.

This is so different from what spending the days with Daniel was like.

Daniel and I had one year that was just the two of us, back when he was 1 1/2- 2 years old. With Daniel, I had to re-trace my steps every few minutes to make sure he wasn’t pouring syrup all over the table, painting his chair with lipstick, or emptying an entire bottle of baby powder all over himself. And let’s not even talk about the poop play-doh incident. *Shudder.* I was really thankful for the steam cleaner that day, and also thankful that Alan and Nonna cleaned Daniel up while I got off scott free.

My New Stay at Home Mom Job: Just JD and me (and the blog)

There was no limit to the things he’d get into. He was always helpful and sweet, and I would take him anywhere, but whoo–he could think up some messes to make and execute like no other.

If John David miraculously lets me stay in a room by myself, I can guarantee you the most mischievous thing he has done so far is color all of his cars with markers, which I let him do because who cares, they are his cars.

And yes, he’s finally 100% potty-trained.

I do miss my assistant chef, though. The other night, I held Daniel in my lap, and I just sobbed. Kindergarten is emotional for mommas. Gracious, what is with me lately? I said, “Daniel, I miss how we always baked cookies together, now that you are in school all day. I miss you so much.”

John David looked at me, with the cutest, guiltiest, sheepish look on his face and said, “Sorry, Mom. I’ll cook whi choo.”

But he didn’t, and that’s okay. We don’t all love baking. I get it. Maybe I’ll lose weight without Daniel here, driving me to bake goodies.

my new job

I do miss all three of them, but I’m enjoying spending my days at this slower pace too.

Now if I can just figure out how to squeeze in a little “working at home” time, maybe I could make some money. It’s the best of both worlds. I just need to get in the habit of picking up more writing/blogging jobs.

However, next year John David will go to pre-school part-time, and I will have even more time to work. Years and years stretch ahead of me in which I can and will work for money, but these are precious years, years that you cannot get back. And I am loving this!

my new job

Babies don’t keep. They tell me he’s not a baby anymore. Fine. If you insist, but he looks like a baby to me. Pre-schoolers don’t keep either, and I could just eat him up, he’s so darlin’!

Yep, I’m back to being a regular ol’ stay-at-home, occasionally work-at-home mom, and this is the life for me.

 

 

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