Most of the time, I don’t allow my little people to spend much time looking at screens. When I was asked if I wanted to review the program offered by Starfall Education Foundation, I decided we would give it a try. We were given a one-year subscription to The Starfall Home Membership. Unfortunately, because of our move soon after the review program began, we were not able to utilize it as fully as we could have. It did save the day, the day before we moved, however! It rained all day, so the little ones had to be in the house. Because I was trying to finish packing and cleaning everything and get the cow to her new home and wrap up all sorts of other odds and ends, I let the youngest three play with Starfall for a couple of hours. The rest of us kept an eye on what they were doing on the floor in the living room, and they were enthralled, listening to a voice read picture books as they clicked to turn the pages.
There is a lot for children to listen to and learn from on this site. For some reason, Mr. Imagination and Little Miss loved the introduction to colors—they played with that one over and over! They also loved the storybooks. There are simple books to introduce letters of the alphabet, and another set of folk tales. They listened to all six of them one day, and the next day went through all the nonfiction stories. I like the way these books are presented. If a child is able to, they can read them for themselves, but if they aren’t sure of the words or can’t read yet, there is a button on each page to click to hear the story read to them.
The audiovisual resources are available free to anyone. I wondered, when I gained access to the one-year Membership, what advantage it was, but when I started looking closer, I found a wealth of resources in the Parent-Teacher Center. There is a complete curriculum for Kindergarten and Pre-K, as well as a wealth of supplementary resources for 1st grade. The curriculum pages I looked at were scripted, so you don’t even have to think about what to say! This isn’t my style, so I didn’t do anything with it, but it’s there if you want or need it.
I did use some of the printables. When Mr. Imagination learned the short /u/ sound, I printed out a story featuring many words with that sound, and several worksheets he could use to practice writing it and sounding out words using it. He loved them! The story was easy for him to read, since he had gone through it on the computer a few weeks previously. He was excited to be able to read it for himself!
I also printed a few worksheets for Little Miss. Even though she just turned three, she has been talking for a long time about things that are the same or different, so I thought she might enjoy doing a page of that. She did! She was absolutely thrilled to get to circle things, and she got them all right. I also printed her a page of circling the longest of a group of pictures, and she got all of them right, as well.
For our family, The Starfall Home Membership is probably not worth paying for, as little as I use it. However, the resources that are available free are good when you need something educational to keep little children occupied for awhile. As I said, it was great the day before we moved, when it was pouring rain and they couldn’t play outside, and all their toys were packed and things were in an upheaval! And, if you need a complete curriculum for Preschool or Kindergarten, it would be good.
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