As I worked with my younger daughter last year, I realized that using books, paper, and pencil alone just wasn’t going to cut it. In the spring, we bought a laptop for her to use for school and started looking at programs that would help her progress in her studies. I found a lot of great programs out there, even some free stuff on the internet, but there were a couple of problems with them. First, many of them were timed, and she couldn’t process and think through her answer quickly enough. Second, they expected her to be able to mentally figure out the answers, which is tough for her right now.
Then I got the opportunity to try The Early Learning Suite by Marblesoft. It includes:
- Early Learning I: focuses on letters, shapes, numbers, and colors.
- Early Math Skills: includes simple addition and subtraction, sequencing up and down, and more than/less than.
- Money Skills: teaches the basics of counting money and making change.
- The Graphic Speller: a unique way of teaching number lines and basic graphing skills.
In addition to the educational objectives addressed, there are numerous ways you can customize the program to fit your child’s needs. You choose how the program responds when your child gets a wrong answer. You decide if you want responses given via switch or mouse and keyboard. You choose how long the program waits before repeating the question. You set how many correct answers it takes to move up a level or how many wrong answers before moving down a level. There are many more options to tweak.
What I like most is that The Early Learning Suite addresses the two major concerns I had with other software I found.
- There’s no timer, just a prompt that will restate the question after the time you specify.
- There are references available in the lower levels that a child can use to figure out the answer. These references are phased out as the child moves into the higher levels and becomes more proficient.
As impressive as this software is, I do have one suggestion for improvement. In The Graphic Speller, each point on the number line or graph has a letter assigned to it. The student is directed to find the letter associated with each point, and the letters always spell a word. But the program doesn’t read the word to the student after the task is complete, and my daughter, who is working hard on her decoding skills, always has to ask me what word she spelled. I would definitely add the ability to have the program pronounce the word when it is complete. Other than that, this software is perfect!
If you’re working with a young learner or a student with special needs, I highly recommend The Early Learning Suite. The folks at Marblesoft have put together some amazing software!