Saturday, January 15, 2011

Early Learning

I will admit. There is so much out there that is available to parents today for children. I've found that there is an ever increasing amount of material now out there for babies and young children too. When I first had Marilyn much wasn't available. You had Sesame Street, Barney and so on to teach your chilren early learning skills. Little did I know that my oldest at the time showed much potential in learning. I knew she was a smart cookie but I didn't know that I could have done more to hone in on her abilities. I didn't know much about teaching to begin with. It wasn't until Marilyn was 4yrs old that I even learned about homeschooling. Don't get me wrong. I didn't set her in a crib and walk away, though that would have been extremely easy to do with Marilyn because she was my most content child I had too. Marilyn showed her abilities to learn to read at the age of 3. At the time I worked in daycare so my days were busy watching other people's chilren. My girls (Katie and Marilyn ) came with me and they stayed in their rooms. Marilyn's teacher was the most impressed with Marilyn though. She adapted to preschool the very first day she went. Eventually after time she became the helper as they found she was reading the chilren's names on the cubbies. According to her teacher Marilyn was the only one in the room doing this. Marilyn also had ( and still has ) a great memory. She would just soak up stories and memorize them completely. It was amazing. I wished I would have known at the time that I could of done more with that in teaching her to really read. It wasn't until Marilyn was about the age Maggie is now (4.5) that I learned about homeschooling and the very thought just brought much excitement in me because in those early years I read, and read and ready to my girls. I still do and we have tons and tons of books laying around my house, shoved into shelves to prove that. Sadly enough I really didn't learn about teaching young children ,even babies to read until last year. Even then I figured that the Your Baby Can Read was another useless thing that people unwittingly purchased, and wasted money on. It was last year that Maggie saw a commercial for Your Baby Can Read. It was my older girls who noticed the commercial along with their sister as I watch t.v on the fly. With that Maggie told me she wanted that, and I thought , oh yah, I've got tons of money to waste. So I ripped out my Teaching Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons book because as all homeschoolers like to point out.. Phonics is the right way, the only way to teach reading. So I slowly "tortured", I mean taught Maggie with phonics. I began to slowly torture myself once again. It reminded me of Marilyn all over again. Marilyn never took to phonics very well in the beginning. If I had had something like Your Baby Can Read or BrillKids she would have flourished for sure. So instead of torturing myself and Maggie like I did with my oldest child. I gave in and bought the Your Baby Can Read. It was the best investment I could have ever made. Its only been three weeks , we are going on to week 4 and my daughter has blown through the first two DVD's and can read and recognize 33 words , albeit on the television, the computer, on flashcards that are already made or even if I've made them myself. I can point out the words in books and she knows them. So its amazing as Maggie seems to be a visual-spatial learner. Which I know have learned Marilyn must be. Hannah and Katie were very much wired to learn reading the phonetic way and that is just the way they are. I've read quite a bit of literature both in books and online about the subject of teaching early reading. So since I have the opportunity to do this with Maggie I will. I love to see the confidence that she has now with reading. She gets so excited (as you can see in our video) when it comes to reading. She loves it when she sees a word she knows. At the rate she is soaking up learning new words that she will be up and reading very soon. Babies and young children love to learn. They love to learn to read. It gives them a sense of confidence that they CAN do whatever it is they put their mind to. Of course parents are and need to take a roll in this. You can't sit your child down to the t.v or computer and think that they'll just absorb it on their own. There maybe some that do. But children need the loving encouragement from their moms and dads to know what they are doing is good. So of course the homeschooler in me I had to find out if there were more programs out on the market. No one ever hears about early reading. Its not talked about in mommy circles. Its not encouraged by school teachers, beacuse woah is the child that reads well above their peers in school these days due to No Child left behind. There is just no money or funding for children like that nor do teachers have the time to do extra stuff with them while they are teaching those who struggle. Its rare you find a school that will challenge a child. So with my findings I found quite a few. Though pricey are so worth the time and money you put into them because from what we've found here in our home is that they actually do work. So you ask , what did you find? I'll share this with you. The first of course is Your Baby Can Read. This is a fun program using DVD's, flashcards and flapbooks. YOur child watches the DVD that has the word, then pictures of children ( who you will see featured on YBCR website), animals etc doing the actions to the words. The words are flashed on the screen and repeated three times, in between giving children 'breaks' with fun songs that they know like " Twinkle, twinkle little star", " Itsy Bitsy Spider" " Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes" , " If your Happy and you know it" and so on. Maggie loves these songs and dances to them all of the time. So its visual, fun and interactive. Your Baby Can Read , reviews words from previous DVDs in the next adding more. This gives children variety. It is worth getting the full curriclum. If I would have had the money I would have gotten the entire program as Maggie REALLY enjoys Your Baby Can Read. When your child is finished they will be able to read 200 words. You can purchase single volume, three volume, four volume and the full 5 DVD Volume sets. You can purchase Your Baby Can Read programs from places like Walmart( and, Toys R Us and even full programs on ebay. The only draw back is purchasing from the Your Baby Can Read company themselves. For some reason they seem to have complaints from consumers that have ordered from their website not recieving orders, getting charged the full amount and not getting money back when they were not happy with the product. So my suggest if you want the Your Baby Can Read is to purchase it from Walmart, Ebay , etc. Your Baby Can Read seems to be very pricey though and there really are other programs out there that do the same thing and cost much less, and you get much more. The Your Baby Can Read costs around $200 and right now comes with Your Child Can Read which is a new program that teaches your child about 800 more words after using Your Baby Can Read. The next I came across was Monkisee. This a cute program. Again a DVD program like Your Baby Can Read. You get 6 DVD's, 5 sets of full flashcards, and 2 books for $139.95 right now. Which is MUCH less than Your Baby Can Read and you get quite a bit more. The vidoes are fun and interactive.They remind of something similar to Baby Einstein with the use of puppets, etc to keep children's attention. The Monkisee videos will teach your child a whopping 800 words in a 7 month period versus the 200 Your Baby Can Read. Though if you purchase Your Child Can REad it will give you 1000 words. But you will have to pay more to get 1,000 words. With Monkisee you get 800 words right off the bat without having to purchase another program. I'm not familiar to much with the program other than that. I don't see where words are reviewed on other DVD's like with Your Baby Can Read. They could be but I just may not know about it. If not I don't see how this can keep children's attention constantly because I know with the Your Baby Can Read my daughter has seemed willing to watch a video for a week or less before wanting to move on to the next one. If I'm wrong though I'd love for someone to leave me a comment and let me know. Also another nice feature is you can find replacement stuff online for Monkisee. For example our Your Baby Can Read didn't come with the number 5 volume. So I'm going to have to purchase the number 5 from Sadly it only comes with the video and slide cards, but no book. Maggie really enjoys the books a lot. So I've been searching high and low for just the book because they do not sell the books to the YBCR set seperately. But with Monkisee they sell their products seperately. So you can purchase a little at a time or get the whole product. Something I really like. I have read very good reviews about their customer service as well online. So you really can't go wrong with this product at all. I do plan on purchasing some things from them here in the future. The next program I came across I believe in the holy grail in infant/toddler reading programs. This is Brillkids Little Reader program. This is actually a whole community of families from all over the world that are committed to teach their infants/babies/toddlers/ older children to read. Its amazing and their product I believe really can't be beat. Little Reader consists of Powerpoint presentations. Easy enough for anyone to set up in their home, but its all put together for you. Brillkids literally is unlimited in the amount of words it teaches. It says 3,000 words but you can download tons more slide shows created by families all over and use them to add even more. So its really an unlimted resource. The Little Reader package includes your download material and you can personalize it. No need to use what's already put on there. If you are teaching your child words such as : Mommy, Daddy, sister, brother, grandma, grandpa, you can insert pictures, videos of everyone in your family and it makes it so fun for the kids. I did this for Maggie and she LOVES seeing pictures of herself, her sisters and other immediate family. You can do the same for pets, household items etc. This program seems to follow the Doman method of reading, which I will eventually write about this as I'm finishing his book recently. Another neat feature of Brillkids is that you can download their Little Math program and work on Math concepts and you can even download word slideshows from other languages around the world. I even downloaded a version of Your baby Can Read, Spanish and Chinese. Maggie thought it was pretty neat. I haven't bought the program yet but I sure want to. It gives Maggie variety in learning the words. Sometimes she feels like watching the t.v and sometimes she just wants to do the slide shows on the computer. Some days like today she does both! LOL. At the moment I don't think you can beat this product as far as price, supplies and everything else goes. Everything, and I mean everything is done for you. Their delux reader kit includes 2 Brillkids Presentation Binders, 40 customizable flapcards, 20 customizable flash cards, 160 sheets of words and picture prints, 5 story books, 2 weekly lesson planners, 10 sheets of sticker lables to play the label things around the house game, and access to unlimited amount of words, and full access to customer service and their forums for $250.00 You can't beat that , you really can't. Of course you can buy just their small Little reader package in which they offer a payment plan for. They don't offer a payment plan on their deluxe packages which is a bummer since I don't have $250 to drop out of my hat. Of cours my daughter is SOOOO worth it, but I just don't have that kind of money all at once. Also if you purchase anything, or sign up on their forums be sure to use my coupon code which is on my side bar on the right hand side here. Brillkids has a neat system in which they give you points , and the more points you earn the more you can download onto your Little Reader/Math system. One last thing, is they recently made it possible to download the Little Reader and Math system on the IPad and IPhone. The next one that I have looked into is Preschool Prep. These cute DVD's teach color, numbers, letters, shapes and sight words. These DVD's are cute. Priced fairly and you can purchase them seperately or as a full package. The company offers books, coloring books , placemats, flap books , board books and flashcards. I would say their prices are comparable to Your Baby Can Read. Also I hear that some children like the vidoes and some don't. They do have samples of the program on their website. All children are different and it either holds their attention or it doesn't. I would think they would be very effective in teaching the sight words since its an isolated dvd. Another program I came across last night was from a company called Wink to They too also follow the Doman method of teaching children to read and learn. This company is located in Singapore so you will have to convert prices to American money on their website to find out how much everything costs. I was really impressed with the vidoes. They offered learning to read not only in English (not American English though )but in Chinese(both traditional and simplified, Korean, Japanese, Philipino and Malay. They offer dvd's on teaching children the different languages in song and I was extremely impressed in the Encyclopedic DVDs they have on Zoo animals , Rainforest animals , Jungle Animals , Threaten species, African animals, Australian animals ,and the Wetlands. These I am VERY intersted in. This website definitely is worth looking at and considering when teaching your child to read. As when they are little learning other languages are much simpler for children. I wish they had something like this for Polish. He, he.. Another nice feature is if you have an Iphone or I pad you can access the programs on these. Nice for those that own these or may live in isolated places without computers. Last but definitely not the least at all is Signing Time. This is a great DVD program for those who want to teach their young baby to sign. A neat little feature to this program is that it also can teach them to read! So if you have a hearing impaired child this program is wonderful. It is a little bit pricey and you don't get much bang for your buck so to speak as in getting the extra stuff. But you do get the vidoes and flashcards. You can buy bundle packages that are as little as $150 to almost $$800 for the whole complete program! You can also buy DVD's and other items seperately as well. I'm sure as I continue learning about early learning I will come upon more intersting proudcts and websites. For now these are the ones I'm currently aware of at the moment and they are all worth looking into because what I may see as awesome for us maynot be so for you. The important thing is that the information is out there and you can make an informed decision. For us the DVD route seems to be the better route as Maggie seems to learn better this way. It also makes a great use of her time she is on the potty doing her potty time. Maggie has to sit on the potty longer than the average kid due to the way we have to do potty. So if she is going to sit there I can fill her mind with educational information. Which seems to be working REALLY well. So there you go folks! Video of Maggie , 3 weeks into using Your Baby Can Read and Little Reader on the side :>) To date she reads and recognizes 33 words.


Tamsyn Spackman said...

Thank you for sharing your experience with us. What a beautiful girl! She has a bright future ahead of her. It is comforting to know that there are other mothers who are having the same journey, and that we can lift and grow together. I love that the older sister is helping the younger one. Congratulations on the teamwork to make this video. Good luck in all of your homeschooling endeavors.

LM'sMum said...

What a great progress in just a few days! So cute!

Michael Rachap said...

Hello Tracy -- liking your blog!
I think you might enjoy Readeez -- they are Doman-influenced. They're like flash cards, but they're videos where the words are seen and heard at the same time. And they're VERY entertaining! They use original songs.
They're are