I’ve reviewed The Critical Thinking Co.™ before, getting to play around with their Alphabet Song Game with then-four year old Charlotte in early 2015. This time around, as part of the Homeschool Review Crew, I was given to review the software download for Fun-Time Phonics!™ Software – 2-PCs Win Download for grades Pre-Kindergarten through about second grade. This is part of the Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic Before Kindergarten!™ software bundle. I chose to use this with my new reader, Pierce. Pierce turned five in October and is in kindergarten this year. He knows all his letters and their sounds and has begun to read in the last few months.
Pierce had already learned much of what was discussed, but the practice was nothing but good for him, and he was willing to work on several lessons at a time, especially when they were review of what he knows. He would point to the answers on the screen, say the letters aloud, and I’d use the mouse to select them. The program ran well and, while it froze briefly just a few times, it came out of it quickly and went back to running well. I’m pretty certain this was my computer, because, well, my computer is sad. Tired, shall we say.
I downloaded Fun Time Phonics! easily, but installing took a bit more convincing. My not-new (six years old, I believe) Windows 7 laptop complained and groaned a bit, but after a few tries, I got it installed properly and after a few hiccups having to register and re-register that I’m not quite sure what was going on, it has run fairly well ever since. Pierce jumped in and knew what he was “learning” from the beginning, so we skipped around and moved forward at a speed that suited him and what he knows. We covered sections I thought he needed more work on, jumped back to cover a sound he was struggling with, and moved back ahead again seamlessly.
I had to work on this with Pierce. That’s really my only complaint with this. I’m not a huge fan of online or computer led learning, but if I do resort to using the computer, I’d like it to be something that my child is capable of doing independently so that I have them busy while I work with other children. That said, if we had a touch screen computer, he’d have been great on his own. The mouse, at age five with typical fine motor skills, is still quite difficult for Pierce. I’m not sure if I’d use this a complete phonics program, though it’s considered a comprehensive reading program. It’s a great, fun way to practice and cement good beginning reading skills, but I think my old-school tendencies require a book with ink and paper. I plan to keep both and cover all my bases!
Fun-Time Phonics! is $29.99 available here.