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When my daughters’ kindergarten and three-year-old preschool programs shut down in March 2020, I figured we would be home for a couple of weeks before returning to life as we knew it. Never, in a million years, did I anticipate my girls not returning to a school building until September 2021, for their first days of 2nd grade and Kindergarten. Yet here we are.
If I told you virtual school was a walk in the park and my first grader loved it, I’d be lying. Despite the fact that my daughter’s teacher is patient, kind, and understanding, learning on zoom with 25 other children and one teacher is far from ideal. And it’s resulted in some epic battles, a lot of tears (from both my daughter and me -- homeschooling is hard!), and some serious boredom.
When I learned about the online learning platform BumoBrain I was hesitant to suggest any other screen-based activity to my kids. But I quickly learned BumoBrain was nothing like school and all virtual learning is not created equal!
Bumo, which means “parent” in Korean, is the brainchild of Chriselle Lim And Joan Nguyen, two moms whose experience with virtual school during lockdown pretty much sucked. “I saw my daughter (4 years old) struggle in her classes,” Joan told me. “She had 20 kids in her class and was just doing show and tell. She was so disengaged.” Sound familiar?!
The longtime friends teamed up to create a new and dynamic way of teaching, with more than 2,000 age-specific lessons and activities for kids ages six months to seven years. By lowering the student-to-teacher-ratio to no more than six kids per class and developing fun concepts, the co-founders designed a virtual classroom that keeps students interested and engaged. The small class sizes provide an opportunity for the teachers to personally interact with each student multiple times throughout the call, making them feel seen and heard.
Chemistry Is Everything
Chemistry Club is one of BumoBrain’s most popular course offerings, so we of course wanted to try it out. Before the class, the teacher sent out a list of supplies including leaves, paint, and paper for us to gather ahead of time. The activity for the class was leaf prints; the girls painted the leaves and stamped them on paper, which in turn let them see the differences in the leaves’ veins.
Before getting to the art project though, the teacher taught the girls that leaves have veins because they need them to eat. Using fun cartoon images and simple explanations my daughters grasped the idea that without the veins, the leaves wouldn’t get the necessary nourishment. I watched as my girls’ minds processed the concept and correctly answered many of the teacher’s questions, a result of them listening and learning.
I was impressed with my daughters’ BumoBrain Chemistry teacher, who skillfully built a quick connection with them thanks to her stellar communication skills. At times, my daughters went off on tangents, as any five and six-year-old would do, and instead of ignoring their comments or brushing them aside, the teacher used what they were saying as teaching moments.
“The leaves grow back on the trees in the Spring and in Spring it’s my birthday,” my older daughter shared with her teacher.
Then my younger one chimed in, “And my birthday is in October.”
The teacher followed that up with, “So your birthday is in the Fall.”
A small moment, sure, but the teacher knew how to interact with my kids and make them feel as though their comments and participation mattered—all while still keeping it related to the leaf lesson for the day. Color me impressed!
Amamos El Español
In addition to Chemistry, we took part in the foreign language program, one of the coolest elements of BumoBrain. We opted to take two weeks of Spanish and my five-year-old was pretty much obsessed. Every day my daughter asked if it was time for her Bumo Spanish class because Ms. Paula made learning a language incredibly fun.
I sat in on most sessions and was impressed with the growth I saw. After the first class, my daughter came away knowing how to say hello (hola) in Spanish. and by the last class, she was answering questions asked to her in Spanish.
“Prefieres bailar o cantar?” Ms. Paula asked.
“I would rather sing,” my daughter responded.
Ms. Paula used cartoon images to depict what it was she was saying in Spanish, making it age-appropriate. Even if she didn’t know exactly what Ms. Paula was saying, she could look at the picture (for example of someone dancing or singing) and figure out the context through those images.
While we picked Spanish, BumoBrain offers so many foreign language programs, including French, Mandarin, Korean and Italian to name a few. Basically, through BumoBrain’s foreign language program, the world, or at least the languages of the world, is your kid’s oyster!
Kid’s Kept Busy -- Means Mom Gets A Break
After a year of providing what feels like around-the-clock entertainment and activities, finding BumoBrain gave me a welcomed mom-break. Yes, over the past year I had moments to myself when my daughters played beautifully together and required no mom mediation, but many of those minutes to myself also included extended television or iPad time.
When it came to screen time amounts, I gave myself a pass this past year. But that didn’t mean the nagging sense of guilt disappeared completely. There were many days where my daughters watched episode after episode of mindless television so I could get writing done. Even though they didn’t mind (what kid doesn’t love television) and I knew their excess television watching was a result of circumstance, I still felt bad. And it’s why finding BumoBrain was just as much for me as it was for my girls; a 30-minute guilt-free mom break is the equivalent to vacation these days!
Back To School Doesn’t Mean Bye To Bumo
BumoBrain also offers a $49 monthly subscription that includes between four to six age-related activities for kids to do at their own pace. Even when my girls are back to their normal routine, I can see us leverage BumoBrain’s offering long after the stress and uncertainty of this past year is behind us.
In addition to Chemistry and Spanish, my daughters participated in a Sight Word Adventures class and a Ballet Class. Not once during our month of using the platform did they ever complain about having to sign onto a Bumo class -- a sure sign they genuinely enjoyed the content while asking for more!
Thanks to BumoBrain, my daughters and I got to take part in a virtual classroom experience that didn’t end in tears or the words “I’m bored, can we do something else?” It’s been such a fun treat witnessing firsthand my kids’ love for learning. We’ll be subscribers far into the future, you should join us!
5 More Things We Love About BumoBrain
1. With thousands of class options and a variety of different times, BumoBrain classes fit into any schedule. You can pay per class (each class costs $25), allowing for a ton of flexibility.
2. BumoBrain educators are experienced teachers with more than 350 years of educators’ experience combined.
3. For those looking for kid’s activities but who don’t want the live classes, BumoBrain offers subscription packages that start at $49 per month. There is also the option to add on a BumoBrain box (it costs $50 per month), which means all materials for the age-appropriate activities will be delivered right to your doorstep. Talk about easy!
4. Communication is key and BumoBrain has their communication with users down to a science. I received multiple reminders for my scheduled classes including emails and text messages. And when we had a class unexpectedly canceled, a BumoBrain employee took the extra step to call me to make sure I saw the cancellation email. As a busy mom who sometimes can’t keep track of everything, these extra reminders were clutch.
5. Looking for a unique gift? BumoBrain offers gift cards so you can give the kid in your life the gift of education!