Home Base by Scholastic

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Home Base by Scholastic App Poster Image
Book series fans meet, play in kid-friendly virtual world.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 5+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about interacting with others in a digital space. They'll practice chatting, posting, and sharing in a kid-friendly context. By exploring book islands, kids can create or strengthen their love for specific series or characters. Creation tools allow kids to make their own content such comics or stories. They may even be inspired to read offline.

Ease of Play

It's all well organized, but there's a lot to see and discover. It will take kids a bit to figure out how to navigate and interact.

Violence

There's nothing violent in the app, but some included stories feature scenes or themes of mild violence, like battles.

Sex
Language

Guidelines for the chat features state that inappropriate language is not allowed. Some games include mild language like "dummy" or "stupid."

Consumerism

Each island represents a branded book series. Participation in the app encourages loyalty towards and interaction with these brands.  

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Home Base by Scholastic is a large role-playing, virtual world app in which kids can play games with characters from popular book series, read excerpts from those books, and interact with other kids. Kids explore different islands, each of which represents a popular kids' book series from Scholastic, such as Wings of Fire, Goosebumps, or Geronimo Stilton. When kids play as a guest, they're limited to playing games and reading. If kids register, they can access all the community features such as chat, massively multiplayer online games (MMOG), or posts. When registering, kids must provide an email address; it doesn't specify that the address must belong to a parent. The chat has an automatic filter that limits what kids can say. There are also adult moderators who read what kids post to ensure everyone is following the chat guidelines. Moderators also maintain an event calendar that features game meet ups or special chats with authors or other special guests. When kids choose to read, they are transferred out of the app to their device's web browser where they can choose to download an excerpt from the book they've chosen. Home Base by Scholastic requests for access to the camera as kids may find some augmented reality content. Also, it's a large app and takes a long time to download; parents will want to make sure they have plenty of free space on their device. There's a lot to see in the games and other features, including small details, which might be hard to manage on a small screen. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byToyStoryFanNoMore May 14, 2020

Factual review and first hand experience

I am an adult parent and was able to sign on and participate as an avatar, including chat. There's no way I would want my child (3rd grader) to be chattin... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old June 4, 2020

It’s a good educational game

This game has gotten a few bad reviews, but I think it’s pretty good! If you’re a parent that is worried about online multiplayer, worry no more, you can turn t... Continue reading

What's it about?

To play HOME BASE BY SCHOLASTIC, choose to enter as a guest, or register to access all the features. Registration requires kids to pick a username, provide an email address, and customize an avatar. Once in, all users can travel to different islands, each of which represents a different Scholastic book series. On the islands, kids can interact with main characters, read excerpts from the book, or play mini-games. Travel from island to island to change book theme, or visit the hub to get a sneak peak of them all. Collect points to buy items at the virtual store. Registered users have access to all the community features such as chat and role-play games. They can also create and post polls, comics, or stories. A newsfeed keeps kids up to date on special events and new posts.

Is it any good?

This virtual world is a relatively safe place for kids to connect with each other and geek out around their favorite book series. Home Base by Scholastic is large and there's lots to explore, particularly if kids register and use the full app. For kids who have multiple book interests, or don't nail down a particular series, it can feel a bit overwhelming -- at least at first. But, once kids find their groove, they should move around with ease. The games are quite varied and do a good job of highlighting the spirit of the book series they belong to. Kids can read some, but Home Base by Scholastic is more about playing games and interacting in a virtual world than reading. The short excerpts may pique kids' interest and inspire them to seek out a book series, but it's more likely that kids will choose to interact with the series they already know and love.

Kids who play as guests can still do a fair amount, which is great. But, the main feature of Home Base by Scholastic is really the community, where kids can connect with likeminded kids around the globe. Real-life human moderators in all the community areas provide a good sense of safety, and there are clear guidelines and grounds for removal. But, it's still a community space, and parents will probably want to be at least somewhat aware of what their kids are doing and experiencing there. Home Base by Scholastic can be a great meeting space for fans of a variety of book series.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about guidelines and expectations for interacting with others in Home Base by Scholastic. What's acceptable to share and what needs to stay private? How can kids talk to other kids respectfully? What should kids do if they feel uncomfortable with something someone says to them?

  • Ask kids about the book series that interests them? What are the books about? What draws kids to the characters or the stories?

  • Encourage kids to create their own content with the comics feature or write their own stories in the writing space. Have kids share what they've made with you.

  • It can be easy for kids to lose track of time in this virtual world. Make your family's rules and expectations around screen time clear before your kids start playing. 

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love reading and social networks

Themes & Topics

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