How I’m Getting My Kids Ready For Back-to-School With HOMER

My kids are finally going back to school this fall. While I can't wait to have some time and space to give our home the deep clean it desperately needs, I'm a little concerned about how they'll acclimate to classroom learning.

An online classroom is very different from an in-person one, and I just hope they're not too behind on social skills for their age or aren't too shy to raise their hand or feel lost among so many other kids (as a parent, I've thought of every possibility).

So, I decided to see what other parents were doing to prepare their kids for in-person learning, and one dad in a local Facebook group suggested HOMER. It's an app for kids ages 2-8 that contains fun interactive games and stories for all subjects, such as math and phonics, but it also builds the emotional and social foundation of skills that quarantined kids might be lacking. It sounded perfect! There's a free 30-day trial, so I decided to sign up and document the first month for all parents.

Here's how it went.

Week One

My kids can each have their own profiles on the app, and we can select age-appropriate games.

Kids can lose up to 40% of what they've learned over the school year every summer1, so HOMER will help with the summer slide.

I got my kids started with HOMER, and, so far, they're into it. We'll see if they're still excited next week.

Week Two

With HOMER, you only need 15 minutes a day on the app, which is perfect. I've done some watching, and I like how social-emotional learning is woven into the stories as well as the Math and Reading lessons; with less in-public opportunities to teach them about other people in the world, I feel like it fills in a gap.

HOMER Learn & Grow
For Kids Ages 2 to 8
In-App Games + Stories

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Week Three

Their cousins are spending the week with us, so I didn't force them to do any HOMERwork if they didn't want to, but they were excited to show their cousins! All of them spent more time playing on HOMER than the last 2 weeks combined.

Like all parents, I worry about too much screen time, but since this is educational, I don't have to feel guilty. I also noticed my kids are better at sharing and taking turns - last summer, one of them had a meltdown when it came to sharing, but this time, they had a little more patience at waiting their turn. It's very possible it's just growth, but I also attribute it to some lessons they learned with HOMER.

Week Four

I feel much more relieved. I've seen my kids work on phonics, math, and so many other subjects, all in fun ways, adapted to their ages. The cartoons are cute, and I really like the messages that HOMER puts out in their content.

After the four-week trial, I'm signing up for HOMER. Membership is $45 annually for a limited time! My kids were always excited for school this year, but now I'm finally feeling excited for them. They're doing just fine, and even if it's a little rocky at first, I know they can accomplish whatever they set their minds to this school year.

1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/nickmorrison/2020/07/10/children-lose-up-to-40-of-learning-over-summer-breakso-imagine-what-lockdown-will-do/?sh=50677eae73b3

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