Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Garfield's Typing Pal Deluxe - Software We Like

If you're looking for a typing software to start your little ones off with, then let me recommend our favorite - Garfield's Typing Pal Deluxe. I "borrowed" these pictures off of Amazon.com, but I'm not hooking them into my associates page, because this is simply a review. Though, I'm hoping the people at Amazon won't mind, since I will mention, that we purchased our copy through Amazon a year ago, and you can still find it there for sale.

However, before you click over to purchase it, you might want to try the free downloadable demo of the program, from Typing Pal. It's in the small print on the page, but it's there.

I don't see that it recommends an age range, but from our experience, it's best for ages 7 and up. It has three levels of practice: beginner, intermediate, and advanced, so it's excellent for the children, but also challenging for me, with my 40 word per minute, high school, typing class, ability.

Features we like:

  • 80 typing exercises (with a very nice visual chart to keep track of how many have been completed)

  • an oral dictation section

  • amusing Garfield themed practice texts

  • an ergonomics section, on proper posture, and arm positioning.

  • three different "helper" characters to choose from - Garfield, Odie, or Arlene

  • improvement exercises for perceived week points.

Features we don't care so much about:

  • 2 typing games - the children have tried them, but are not crazy about them.

  • a smart feature, that keeps track of your typing performance in your other computer applications - like email, or word processing. We simply have never turned that feature on.

In the past, we've used Jump Start Typing, and found it frustrating. But, this program is encouraging, and the children are not only improving their typing skills, they are enjoying the process. In fact, I decided to go ahead with this review, yesterday, when my daughter asked if she could play with the program "just for fun".

If your children are a little younger, and you're not sure if they're ready for typing, there is a free online program by the BBC, called Dance Mat Typing, that I can also recommend. It's not as extensive as Garfield Typing Pal, but it's good for an introduction, and the kids enjoyed it, too.

It's great to be a homeschooler.


Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

Thanks for this review. I admit that I am a two finger typer :) I wonder when to introduce my daughter to typing, but I think I am going to wait until she is closer to 4 until we do more there.

Butterfly said...

Thanks for including the link for younger kids ... we've just been over the the BBC site, and I've bookmarked it for lots of use this year ... there's heaps on there!

The kids both had a go on the Dance Typing Mat and loved it!! I love free games : )