- Tailored to different ages
- Scientifically proven learning method
- Over 1,000 games and activities
- Offline resources
- Affordable prices
- 24/7 customer service
- English only
Children nowadays have access to electronic devices such as computers, tablets, and smartphones from a very young age. Parents often use them to get a much-needed break, but what if all that screen time could be used for educational purposes instead? That’s precisely what the creators of HOMER had in mind when they developed a software that can start your child’s learning journey. Launched in 2013, the company brings professional expertise to fun and joyful child learning apps suitable for kids aged zero to eight. HOMER uses a scientifically proven method that builds children’s confidence through a personalized program based on age and interests. Even better, kids won’t even know they’re using an educational app, considering how fun it is compared to other games. Moreover, its 60-day free trial is more than enough to find out if your child will get a lot out of the app before committing to a subscription.
Most brain development happens before the age of five, so it’s easy to understand how much impact a service like HOMER can have on a child’s skills. HOMER asks simple questions when you sign up to get a grasp on where your child is on the learning curve. It asks whether your child recognizes different sounds, uppercase and lowercase letters, rhyming words, and more, so that it can adjust its content to their abilities. Plus, don’t worry about paying extra if you have more kids that may want to join the fun – the service lets parents add up to 4 different profiles, meaning the provided resources will always be appropriate for each child.
By using a scientifically proven method and containing more than 1,000 different games and activities that cover many subjects, HOMER provides a personalized and entertaining learning plan that supports physical development and problem-solving skills. The fact that the apps are online is even more helpful, as this means they can also help with homeschooling.
The HOMER Method
To design the most captivating games and activities, as well as get the best possible results out of children, HOMER experts developed a research-based, four-step approach. The HOMER Method combines decades of experience in education to create a visually engaging and effective program that significantly improves children’s school readiness, confidence, and problem-solving skills.
The first step introduces a skill, topic, or vocabulary to spark a child’s interest and get them excited to learn. The second reinforces this new skill with playful practice that boosts kids’ confidence. With the third, it empowers children by letting them apply what they’ve learned to a familiar context, with the last step being all about transferring this knowledge to new contexts. In other words, kids are encouraged to take their learned skills into a real-world setting – for example, naming a shape in a real-life scenario after learning the simpler version of that same shape through the app.
Learn & Grow App
It’s with HOMER’s mobile apps – available for Android and iOS – that kids can delve into thousands of learning activities and games, all based on this method. The first – Learn & Grow – is recommended for children from two to eight years old and teaches five different elements: math, reading, social and emotional learning, thinking skills, and creativity. Remember, the app adapts to your child’s age. So, while toddlers learn basic numeracy skills such as counting from one to ten, six-year-olds will be presented with addition and subtraction math problems. Similarly, the reading category ranges from associating sounds with letters to eventually reading and spelling.
In the social and emotional skills module, children can learn about basic emotions (happy, sad, mad, etc.) and associate them with various facial expressions and body language, thus developing their ability to identify and react to emotions in themselves and others. Following this, there’s the creativity section, where kids get to be a little more artistic by drawing, painting, building, and even inventing their own stories. Here, maybe you’ll find out your kid has the soul and talent to become the next Picasso. Finally, the thinking skills section is a great way for your kid to develop logic, reasoning, and problem-solving skills by matching hidden items, shifting their focus onto different types of tasks, and categorizing shapes and colors.
Learn & Play App
Co-created with renowned baby toy manufacturer Fisher-Price, Learn & Play is designed with even younger learners in mind. Naturally, this app goes one step further when it comes to being kid-friendly by presenting a simpler console than Learn & Grow. It makes the most out of simple games, songs, and storytelling to expose toddlers and babies (up to three years old) to foundational language skills. While it can be used purely as an entertaining app, we found it to have a lot more educational value than at first glance. Considering that education experts carefully designed each activity, parents can feel reassured that it’s not designed to just attract babies’ attention but also enrich their early knowledge.
Truth be told, Learn & Play’s activities provide a wonderful environment for kids to immerse themselves in learning, while having loads of fun playing, dancing, and singing. More specifically, kids can learn simple shapes, colors, letters, numbers, and animal sounds through catchy sing-along songs starring HOMER’s familiar animal characters, who also encourage dancing. While the latter is optional, it’s another excellent way to develop your baby’s motor skills. But it’s not all about learning and being stimulated, as Learn & Play also provides some adorable bedtime stories and lullabies, helping your baby get some much-needed rest.
Recommended for children aged three to six, HOMER’s activity kits are a great alternative for parents wishing to reduce their children’s screen time. These Explore Kits act like a bridge between the digital apps and real life by letting kids physically test what they’ve learned. Following HOMER’s logic of exploring different subjects, Explore Kits come in three different packages: Explore Letters, Explore Numbers, and Explore Feelings.
Besides teaching common vocabulary, basic math, and social skills, Explore Kits include many exciting toys to play with. From magnets, cards, maps, masks and kaleidoscopes as pretend money – everything is an excuse to let your child’s imagination run wild. Don’t worry about any chaos your kids may leave behind – luckily, each kit is mess-free, easy to store, and requires minimal assistance from parents.
Ease of Use
It would be counterproductive for a service tailored to children to deliver a difficult-to-use product. So HOMER keeps things simple, even when it comes to parental management. In fact, every process is straightforward – from signing up to managing the different child profiles and general settings. Both Learn & Grow and Learn & Play have a ‘grown up’ setting that changes their landscape into a dashboard of sorts, where parents can change account and content settings.
In terms of being child-friendly, both apps get high marks. They cleverly use captivating designs, big buttons, engaging stories and games, and friendly-looking animals to create the perfect learning environment for kids aged zero to eight. To make things even easier, both Learn & Grow and Learn & Play’s entire list of games can be played offline, as long as they’ve been launched at least once.
On another note, HOMER’s content is kidSAFE + Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) certified, ensuring compliance with federal privacy laws and security procedures regarding children’s online protection.
When it comes to purchasing a subscription, options are very easy to understand. Apart from Explore Kits – which come at an additional cost – HOMER grants users access to all features no matter the plan they choose, with the only difference being the billing cycle. Here, you can either choose to pay $12.99 per month or commit to an annual subscription for $59.99, which decreases the monthly price to $4.99. For anyone wishing to get the whole experience, a complete bundle of a yearly subscription plus all three Explore Kits can be purchased for $99.99 for the first year, with the annual price lowering to $59.99 after that.
HOMER also gives customers the option to buy Explore Kits separately, but by doing so, the $50 discount included in the hands-on bundle no longer applies. Considering the likely possibility of product damage during transportation, the company accepts returns or exchanges within the first 30 days of receiving the bundle for any damaged kits. For the digital subscriptions, customers can also enjoy a sweet 60-day free trial to test the product’s full capabilities before committing to a monthly or yearly membership.
It’s hard to point out a flaw regarding HOMER’s customer assistance. To begin with, its help center with its countless FAQs – searchable by keyword or category – is often enough. Likewise, the company’s regularly updated blog and YouTube page contain plenty of additional information that can prove to be very helpful. But, if you’re looking for a human touch, there’s also an abundance of options. Either fill out HOMER’s contact form to receive an email reply within a day, start the 24/7 live chat for immediate help, or contact the company via its social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest). Whichever communication channel you choose, you’re sure to receive a quick, thorough, and courteous reply.
In reality, the only downside we could find is that the service is only available in English, which limits its target audience. Apart from this, rating this fantastic service is literal child’s play: HOMER excels at teaching kids essential skills in a fun and meaningful manner by making the most of a scientifically proven method. Perhaps the most impressive feature of the company’s apps is how they mold their content to your child’s age and abilities so that every learner feels free from pressure when exploring the various subjects. This is no disposable service either, as HOMER’s library of over 1,000 games and activities – accessible offline – will hook your child’s interest for a long time. For all these reasons, HOMER feels inexpensive, especially when adding the amusing Explore Kits to the mix. All in all, there’s no denying that HOMER is one of the best solutions on the market to get the most out of your child’s screen time.