Monday, September 9, 2013

Geeked Out With EEME

Now that my son is 8 years old, I am convinced that he is ready to move out. He has such a strong, leading personality and can be very independent. He has always been the kind of kid that does things in his own time with no help from us. Potty training went like this: It was one week before he turned 3, he asked to go to the bathroom on the toilet, he has never looked back. Literally, since that time he has maybe had a handful of accidents, and it required nothing on my part. Learning to ride a bike without training wheels went like this: He had a bike in the backyard, walked it to the top of the little hill and rode it down. There was no holding the seat and letting go, nothing crazy and memorable to write down in the baby book - it just happened. It is hard to face the fact that at some point our babies won't need us anymore. Don't get me wrong, he isn't tall enough (or interested enough) to do his own laundry, so clearly he has to live with me forever, right? This being said, I do try to find things for him and I to do together to make an attempt at keeping our bond strong, and his fervor for learning fed. Enter in my latest review through Mosaic Reviews, and my son's new "toy": EEME's Project Genius Light!

Disassembled Project Genius Light
Assembled Project Genius Light 
Most of you are looking at this, and wondering what it is. It is best explained directly from the EEME site:

EEME's monthly hands-on project kits teach kids about electronics. Each project kit is paired with online curricula to not only guide the kids in assembling the project but also to teach the concepts applied.

EEME was born when the founder, Jack Pien, was dissatisfied with the availability of educational toys on the market for his own son. He wanted hands-on projects that promoted learning as well as critical thinking. Project Genius Light is the first "project" in the series. EEME offers a monthly subscription which starts at $18.95/month where your child (recommended for ages 7-12) will be sent a small box whose contents will complete a project to help them understand the fundamentals of electronics. On-line you can access the free curricula which contains step-by-step instructional videos to walk your child (and you too) through assembling their project while teaching them the vocabulary and concepts for which they will use.

Ready to roll!!!!
My son and I truly enjoyed our trial with EEME and the Project Genius Light. Throughout the entire experience, he kept saying "this is so awesome, this is so awesome". I am not at all very proficient in electricity, so it was a learning experience for me too! When our light finally lit up (that is a story in and of itself), I think we were both through the roof. Who knew a little LED lighting up could cause so much pleasure? I guess it really is the small things....

I know it is dark, but that is our light!!!!!
We have so many favorites when it comes to EEME, one, being the instructional videos. They provide step-by-step instructions (there are 22 mini videos for the Project Genius Light project, totaling about 45 minutes) which use the exact materials you are provided with. Your child can start and stop at their own pace, and it even mentions in the video if there is something important that parents should step in and help with. Additionally, the critical points of the video (i.e. where to connect the resistors and wires to the breadboard or diagrams) are all noted in the sidebar so you have a quick reference guide without needing to refer back to a specific section of the video. There are also mini quizzes scattered between the videos, providing a way to make sure your child is understanding what they are learning, while also giving them a sense of accomplishment and understanding. My son was definitely pleased with himself when he would get the questions right, and it showed me that he truly was picking up on the new concepts he was learning. On top of that, I witnessed the whole critical thinking process. As a parent, I believe this is one of the most rewarding feelings; you actually get to be a part of their learning. I listened as my son talked about different scenarios - moving wires and resistors around - and making hypotheses about what would happen if he did.    

Deep in thought...
Also worth mentioning is the customer service. As I mentioned before, getting our light to come on was not as simple as following the instructional videos. Luckily, there is a section on the sidebar for questions, comments or issues you experience while working on your project. I have to say that I received a quick response that remedied the issue immediately, and it needs to be said that it was on a weekend, and a holiday weekend at that! In this day and age you can't PAY for that kind of customer service. I was, and still am, so truly thankful for EEME's level of customer care.

We found out a week or so before school started that my son would be doing a unit on electricity this year. He is beyond thrilled to bring in his project and show his class what he got to do at home. I love having the sense that we are ahead of the game when it comes to the material they cover in school. My son loves to take that "teacher" role in the classroom and assist others. Having projects like the ones provided by EEME help him to feel comfortable enough with the topic to help the others in his class that may struggle with their understanding of the material.  

Overall, I give EEME and Project Genius Light 10 stars, and highly recommend them:

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Be sure to follow EEME on all of their social media outlets as well, where they host sweepstakes and contests (there are some going on right now!):
And lastly, when you subscribe right now, you too can get the Project Genius kit for free! Go here to subscribe by September 16th to get the special child(ren) in your life on their way to creating memories while also learning the ins and outs of electronics.

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