I Let My Kid Try This Educational App & It’s Screen Time I Actually Feel Good About
As the parent of a pre-K student, I often wonder if I grant my child too much screen time. But I recently decided to stick to the ethos of quality over quantity: I’d sooner let my son have 30 minutes of access to an educational app than let him watch 10 minutes of a mind-numbing toy review vlog. That’s why I recently introduced him to HOMER Learn & Grow, an app designed to build literacy and math skills in children ages 2 to 8. Here’s how the HOMER Learning experience went for one eager 5-year-old (and his neurotic, pandemic-era parent.)
How The HOMER Learn & Grow App Works
The HOMER method is a research-based approach created by PhDs and experts in curriculum design. The objective is to foster a genuine love of learning through interactive instruction that’s tailored to your kid’s specific interests.
HOMER made quick work of getting us started. After taking less than a minute to sign up, I answered a short series of questions to determine my son’s current reading and math levels. He was encouraged to participate in the process as well, choosing his favorite things from a wide-ranging list of options (in his case, he tapped bugs, robots, oceans, and science.)
From there, we let the app do the work of tailoring a curriculum to his needs and likes. There were a total of seven sections:
My son was classified as a Growing Learner, which is the highest of five levels in the program (humble brag). With the exception of the reading curriculum, which follows a sequential order, each section gave him the freedom to choose from dozens of exercises. Typical lessons at this stage include writing upper and lowercase letters, basic addition and subtraction, and interactive phonics activities.
Even though many of these lessons are structured as playful games, the results are measurable — in a study of HOMER’s literacy program, 15 minutes a day increased reading scores by up to 74%.
A Child’s Perspective
When I asked my child what he liked best about HOMER Learn & Grow, his answer was, “all of it.”
Perhaps the question was a bit too open-ended. I asked him to compare it to another popular learning app that he uses regularly. He felt that the creative exercises were superior because they gave him more freedom. For instance, a drawing feature offered better tools and blank pages for him to scribble anything that came to mind. He also enjoyed the “Make Your Own Story” activity, where he invented a narrative by placing different figures and objects on a page.
“I like the music better, too,” he added.
When I asked how HOMER Learn & Grow compared to a local tutoring center he attends, there was no question of which he preferred.
“This is so much less boring,” he said.
A Parent’s Perspective
As a parent who is invested in my child’s development, HOMER Learn & Grow meets my expectations. The material is age-appropriate, and the interactive component provides positive feedback that builds confidence. It’s a quality supplement to my son’s pre-K classes, and every minute of use is one less minute of watching a vlog or playing a video game. Ad-free content is another great feature that keeps him focused on his lessons.
From the selfish perspective of a parent who wants to catch up on news, or just wants to indulge in 15 uninterrupted minutes of scrolling through social media, the app also comes in handy. My son easily navigated the interface independently — the only time he asked for my attention was to show me an exercise he was excited about finishing. If he wasn’t given a time limit, I’m confident he could spend hours using the app without any assistance.
HOMER Learn & Grow even includes print-out exercises to keep kids occupied after their devices are turned off. If I had one minor quibble, it would be that there aren’t enough of these bonus activities.
Try HOMER Learn & Grow For Free
If you want to see if HOMER Learning benefits your child, you can currently take advantage of a 30-day free trial. This leaves you and your kiddo plenty of time to decide if it would be a valuable addition to their daily routine. At the end of the trial, paid subscriptions are available in monthly or annual options. (And if you decide that HOMER Learning is not for you, an FAQ section provides instructions on the cancellation process based on which app store you signed up through.)