Oh man folks! This was a super fun product to use which makes it an exceptionally super and fun review to write. I love to write reviews about things that just truly and awesomely work for us. And the Phonics Museum App. from Veritas Press was just that:
a program that totally worked for our family.
This is actually the second item I have reviewed for Veritas Press You can click here to read the review I wrote on a Bible program for them. The Bible program still rates as both of my boys' very favorite item we have ever reviewed. And I think my girls would subsequently agree about the Phonics Museum App. It was super popular around these parts both with the kids and the grown-ups!
Firstly, let me start with an age breakdown. The program says it is for ages 3-7, and I think that is pretty right on. I used this with my two youngest children. which included:
- My daughter Abigail who just turned six. She is technically entering kindergarten but is probably more like a first grader when it comes to proficiency with schoolwork. She is reading simple books and writing all her letters.
- My daughter Hannah is about to turn four. She is not reading at all, and before starting this program did not know any of her letter sounds or how to write any letters except an "H" and "A" because those are in her name. She knew most letters by name.
You are able to create three different "players" on the Phonics Museum App. I made one for:
- Sidge (This was one I named for one of my sons and let my boys or visiting kids use this just for fun.)
When you log into the program, you first choose your player. Then each time you log in, you go into the main lobby as pictured below:
After you go into the elevator, you choose your floor. And then you go onto that floor. On each floor, there are paintings. You go into the painting that you are currently on and work through activities until you complete that painting's activities. It's a little hard to paint with words, so I had my daughter Hannah illustrate how easy it was.
Here is a video of my youngest daughter navigating her way through the museum. You can see how simple the navigation is for her. You can also hear her start trying to pronounce the sound for the letter "A". Hannah had never done this before that moment!
- The program is multi-sensory: visual, auditory, and tactile learning methods are included.
- My girls could do the program by themselves. Other than helping log them in, they were off with no intervention from the mother. (A huge benefit in a home with four homeschooling children.)
- The characters and voices were engaging and not annoying! I didn't ever mind this program being on in the background of our school day. The songs were catchy and never made me want to poke-my-eyes-out. (Not even a little bit!) I also loved that the girls were soon singing along.
- There were no hiccups! We didn't hit any mistakes or frozen programs. It simply worked as it was supposed to. I did notice that the program is large, and I had to make sure I had enough memory. But other than that, NO problems.
- While my older daughter was mostly reviewing, my nearly-four-year-old was rapidly expanding her knowledge base. And it was this fact that completely sold me on the program. You can download it at the App store by clicking here.
The thing we loved most about the Phonics Museum App. from Veritas Press was that you could actually see, quite obviously, the learning taking place. My nearly-four-year-old did the program every day for about 15-30 minutes. And by the end of the first day she was running up to me saying "B-b-ball" and "A-a-apple." The attained knowledge was quick and concrete and truly measurable. I truly believe that every preschooler should be using this app. for 15 minutes every day. I plan to re-review this program when Hannah is finished with it to show how long it took for her to begin to read words!
Oh! Wait! I almost forgot! Another thing I loved was the email I would receive from the program telling me what Hannah or Abigail had accomplished. Check out this email I received telling me that Abigail was reading her first words:
There are so many other wonderful aspects of this program. I truly feel like I could go on for days! Some of the other things I loved included:
- Live action teaching: Ms. Biddle (pictured below) allows a child to see with her own eyes how a real person's lips move when learning new letters! Phonics Museum App. features two main characters: Percival (a cartoon knight) and Ms. Biddle (a live-action-museum-curator.) Having both the cartoon character and a real person was a great feature.
- Games: Veritas Press calls it edutainment which is when games and learning collide! Check out the picture below! I really loved that many of the games and the program in general used different fonts so that my girls could learn to recognize different types of letter writing.
- Songs: Catchy and NOT annoying songs that my girls were singing themselves in no time.
- Early reading Books: We didn't make it quite this far in the program, but I'm excited that they are about halfway to reading their first online books -- especially Hannah. I'm really excited to see if she can really do this soon.
- Writing: My little Hannah doesn't have the dexterity to write with a pencil much yet. But writing with her finger works really well for her. The letters they are teaching are a bit of a more "modern" printing, but it worked really well for us!
- Exploration: Ms. Biddle and Percival are fantastic tour guides as they look through every part of the museum. I love the other things they are learning as well.
This program worked so well for us that I even included it on Hannah's daily "checklist" of things to do.
I had a few VERY minor "complaints". These included:
- My kids couldn't change players themselves. I had to solve a multiplication problem to switch players. I think it would be nice if this feature was "optional" and not required. The one good thing is that my third grade boys know their multiplication tables so they could do it for me if I was otherwise occupied. This was, however, a very minor annoyance, and I really think it will be edited as the program is refined.
- There wasn't an option to start my older daughter anywhere but the very beginning. I have heard that Veritas Press is working on an option to allow you to skip ahead. This would be a nice feature for parents with children who are a little older. Young children will definitely start at the beginning, but it would be nice if the 6-7 year olds had another option.
- The choices of "characters" was pretty limited. I think it would be fun to have a few more options. This, however, is an incredibly piddly complaint.
For more information about this amazing program, check out this video or look them up on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or Twitter.