If you are looking for an easy to use, effective touch-typing program, Bytes of Learning offers a one year subscription to UltraKey Online Family Subscription that has become our family’s favorite typing program. We recently were offered this subscription as a part of Homeschool Review Crew team and we put it to the test right away.
Whether you call it typing or keyboarding or include it in the topic of computer skills, knowing how to type is important. The better your habit is the more productive you’ll be. I have never regretted the typing classes I took in my younger years. The skills I learned have come in handy as a help, a ministry and even for earning a paycheck at times. So I am passionate about my children developing good skills and habits as well.
UltraKey Online Family Subscription has given me just the tool I’ve been looking for! The very first thing I did was to read through the User Guide get familiar with navigating the Dashboard. There are customization options for things like background images and colors, hand images or no hand image, etc. Each person is able to make their account their own, which definitely helps with motivation.
I watched the Introduction Videos and spent a few minutes setting up accounts for each of my children and myself. It was easy – the tutorials and hints provided showed me how to change settings and set goals, view reports, etc. I am the manager of our own family site, that puts me the parent/instructor in charge. I like that. The staff at Bytes of Learning offers terrific help and service when/if needed but I like the fact that I do not have a third party looking over my shoulder waiting for results or reports. It’s all done ‘in-house’ – my house!
The beginning lessons set a typist up for success by demonstrating and expecting proper posture and finger placement. To be honest, my kids were not thrilled with this at first. They thought they knew how to sit and tap their fingers on the keys. But after taking time with these first lessons they agreed it was time well-spent and they did not know as much as they thought they did.
Speed and accuracy goals can be set by parent/teacher, by student or by an Assessment on the website. I like that we had these options. For myself I used the assessment test. For my younger children I set their goals myself. For my 16 year old, I let her take the assessment and set the goals for herself. My 13 year old far surpassed the goal I set for him so the program has re-set goals and increased the speed and accuracy expectations, which challenged him to continue pushing for excellence. My 16 year old thought she was a pretty good typist, but soon realized working at a slower speed and focusing more on accuracy would steadily make her more efficient and a better typist.
Once everyone was set up, it was easy for my children to sit down and get to work. My four kids range in age 11 to 16 and I found they did not need me to hover over and supervise their work. This program definitely makes independent learning a possiblity. The sessions are pretty straight forward. They begin with a Lesson and end with a Skill Check. Reports are created automatically, which I can access at any time.
The lessons begin with finger placement, home row keys, and progress from letters to words, using the keys they’ve learned. Student can repeat lessons, work on extra practice, or even do some free typing in the typing forum in order to build their speed, accuracy and skills.
If your child is motivated by rewards, then you’ll appreciate the certificates awarded when student accomplishes their goals and passes their level. You can print these out to present to your student. A final diploma would be just the thing to add to your student’s homeschool portfolio!
There is a ‘Games’ tab, which I cautiously clicked on. We have tried so many typing programs that were more like a video arcade than a typing lesson. The fact that my children were all typing under 30 words per minute shows that those game-type programs had not done their job. I am happy to tell you UltraKey Online is a different story. The games still require some typing skill and are a fun diversion from the regular lessons. They enhance the skills learned in the lessons. We used them as rewards after spending a certain number of minutes or completing a certain number of lessons. It’s been an excellent fit for our family.
By far the best typing/keyboarding course our family has tried. Adaptable to a wide variety of ages, straight forward without a lot of fluff but still keeping their interest. UltraKey Online Family Subscription is an affordable option for families of any size who wish to include keyboarding and typing in their learning experiences.
You can see how other families are using this program – click on the image below to visit my fellow crew mates and read about their experiences.