Thursday, September 15, 2011

BigIQKids - Review

BigIQkids is an award-winning online learning program for K-12 grade students. It provides academic lessons in a fun, interactive format. For the best results, children should log into daily and complete their lessons. This “daily" strategy builds invaluable study habits, leads to better grades and greater self confidence.

The program has three sections: spelling & vocabulary, math, and U.S. states. The spelling and vocab section is absolutely free! The other two sections have both free and premium options. To see the difference between the two options, click here. To see the price for the premium math and states, click here.

Spelling & Vocabulary
For the spelling and vocabulary section, you can use one of the grade appropriate lists already on the site or you can import your own list. (If you choose to import your own, the program will automatically create a week's worth of lessons, quizzes and tests.) This section has all sorts of ways to get your kids to learn and review the spelling words. Jacob (5) especially liked the word search lesson and asked to play again and again. There are also lessons of hangbot and word jumble. Combining fun with learning always makes kids retain more information.

The math section is strictly for drilling math facts. No fun and games this time. Again, you can use the pre-set settings on the site, or you can adjust the lesson. For example, if your child is on double digit addition and single digit multiplication, you can alter the lesson to  focus on just these two areas. You can also set how many problems to complete. The default setting is 50 problems. That seemed so overwhelming to my 5-year-old! He was very thankful when I lowered the amount. Still, this was his least favorite section, surprisingly too, since he loves math. I think it was because the other areas had "fun" lessons.   

U.S. States
Jacob is fascinated with maps of the United States. We have 3 different states puzzles. He loves talking about different states. This was a good section for him. The students learn the state's location, capital, spelling, abbreviations and general state facts. It even allows parents to add additional facts which will be included in the child's lessons. While the child is learning how to spell each state, the name is clearly on the screen. This helps the child to visually see the correct spelling as he spells it. Also, during the location lesson, the state on the map turn green as it is called. The child hears the name of the state and simply clicks on the green. As with the other sections, the lessons get harder as the student progresses.

One thing I did not really like about this section was the emails I got. While it is wonderful to see the progress your child is making and where he is struggling, it is not necessary to tell me every time he gets something wrong. For instance, on the facts lesson, the student picks a state off the interactive map and listens to 30-60+ seconds full of facts. Then, the student is asked about one of those facts. Do you know how many facts are given in a minutes time? Lots! I did not feel discouraged if my 5-year-old did not get the answer right the first time. Yet, I received an email that Jacob did not answer the summary question correctly on the first try and to please let Jacob know that the state summaries are important and to pay close attention. While this is not a big deal, I was slightly annoyed. I think it would be better to have it set up like the other sections and have it age appropriate.

The site is a little difficult to navigate. If you'd like to go from the math or states page over to the spelling or home page, you have to log in again. It's a little frustrating. Also, the characters who tell the students how to accomplish each lesson sound very robotic. It didn't bother Jacob, but it might other kids.

Overall, I do think it's a great program, especially if the student completes the lessons every day. This takes 10-15 minutes. The program includes tracking and progress reports and is completely customizable and adapts to a student's progress. Jacob's favorite thing was the game page. For each lesson he completed, he earned a coin to play one of the 78 mini games. He liked saving them up to use all at once.

Even better? BigIQkids won't help your child with just spelling, math, and the U.S. states, they also have a list of 10 Steps to Better Grades. This guide will help you help your child achieve better grades. And who doesn't want that!

 Find out what other reviewers of the TOS Crew are saying about BigIQkids here.

* I received a subscription to this program in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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  1. Great review! I'm glad I read yours as I didn't notice the 10 Steps to Better Grades part.