In today’s world our children are surrounded by computers and technology. Learning how to type proficiently has become an expected part of educating our children. Even some preschool aged children are using tablets and other tech devices on a daily basis now!
So where does a homeschooling parent start when it’s time to teach and solidify good typing habits? Look no further, because I’m going to tell you all about a great typing program that we had the chance to use recently.
Let me introduce you to my new favorite typing program: UltraKey Online Family Subscription from Bytes of Learning.
There are a few different options to choose from, including: personal use, family use and classroom use. For this review we were given access to the 1-yr Online Family Subscription. A free parent account is included, and from there you can choose how many student accounts you’d like (3, 5 or 8). Depending on the number of students, the cost ranges from $29.95 to $49.95 which, in my opinion is very reasonable as it works out to roughly $10 or less per student account.
During our review I had both my 7 yr old and my 11 yr old using the program. Both of them really enjoyed the program right from the beginning. They would work through a lesson and a skill check each day, which amounted to about 20-30 minutes per day. Their main focus was on accuracy this time around, but I plan to have them work towards improving their speed once they have completed the beginner level.
One of the great things about UltraKey is that it can be used by pretty much anyone, beginners to advanced users. You can set your own goals or have the program set them for you. There is even a placement test you can take to find out where you’re at and what your goals should be.
To get started students will learn proper keyboarding posture and where to place their hands. My 7 yr old went through these lessons as she is a beginner at typing, but my 11 yr old decided to skip them as he has been typing for some time now and has the posture/hand placement thing down pat. After that they worked through the different lessons, each followed by a skill check to see how they are progressing.
There are many settings that you can adjust to better suit each student. You can enable or disable back spacing, adjust the transparency of the model hands in the lessons, and even change the background image!
I loved that we had so much control over how we used the program. I was able to tailor the program to each of my children, rather than be forced to use “cookie-cutter” settings.
During the lessons students are encouraged to take a break and stretch. My children both found this fun and would get up out of their chairs to stretch, usually followed by a few giggles after I would ask what they were doing. “It told me to do it”, laughed my daughter.
When they aren’t working on their lessons or skill checks, they can visit the games section. The games help them to practice their typing while being a little more interesting than the lessons. I’m not sure either of my children would consider them exciting games, but more like fun practice. Either way, it is a nice change of pace to break up the lessons and practice what they are learning.
I really appreciate the parent dashboard where I can view the progress of each of my children and see how they are improving. As they finish the lessons they are congratulated with a completion certificate that you can print out and present to them. My 11 year old was eager to have his certificate printed out as it gave him something physical to show his accomplishments.
I would definitely recommend this program to anyone wanting to teach typing to their children, or even to improve their own skills. Anything that my kids can use without complaint is a winner in my book! Both of them are happy to do their daily lesson when I ask them, and there are no moans or groans about it!