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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Online Learning: BigIQ Kids (A Review)


My kids love to be on the computer so when I was given the opportunity to review BigIQ Kids I knew it would be something exciting around here.  One month into using the program, the interest hasn't waned much and I have managed to easily build it into our daily routine/ schedule.  It has served to enhance and supplement our regular curriculum very nicely.

So what is Big IQ Kids?

BigIQkids programs are online educational programs specifically designed for elementary & middle school children, which present daily spelling, vocabulary, math facts and U.S. geography lessons in a dynamic, fresh environment making learning fun.

What do they offer?

Each program offers a free version and a permium version and according to the site, "the primary differences between the BigIQkids FREE and PREMIUM programs are the ability of the PREMIUM program to monitor the progress of the student and advance that student only when mastery of the subject matter has been achieved. Additionally, PREMIUM members have their progress tracked, saved, problem areas identified and these findings are reported via email to parents and/or teachers. The PREMIUM program offers students customized buddies, full game page access and the ability to save game coins and gaming high scores. These functions help double the fun while mastering core academic subject matter. The PREMIUM program has very LIMITED advertisement an no ads are displayed during lesson interaction."

The lessons are designed for daily use and it will take 10 to 15 minutes for students to complete each program.
Spelling & Vocabulary Highlights  
  • The spelling and vocabulary program takes a 5 step approach per lesson:
Day 1  Word introduction
Day 2 Spelling Bee or game (word scramble, hangman type game etc.)
Day 3 Spelling Bee or game (word scramble, hangman type game etc.) depending on what they chose the day before.
Day 4 Pop Quiz
Day 5 test
  • A game coin is earned after each day
  • A review of previous words learned is give every 4th lesson.
  • The program is loaded with grade appropriate lists or you can use your own list if you prefer.
  • Students who score 100% on the quiz are in the 100% club
 Math Highlights
  • Designed to be a daily drill to develop mastery in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. 
  • The program is built so each child can begin at a comfortable starting point. The parent/ teacher can change this starting point to be at the student's current ability.
  • Each assignment is new and slightly more challenging than the last so the students learn at their own pace.
  •  A game coin is earned after each day.

US States (Geography) Highlights
  • Designed to help children master fundamental U.S. State facts. 
  • Students will learn all 50 states’ location, their capital cities, correct spelling and associated abbreviations. They will also learn about each state’s nickname, landmarks, economy and commonly known fun facts.
  • A game coin is earned after each day.

The Verdict

Overall it is a great program.  The website is very huge and in the beginning a little difficult to navigate but now that we have been using it for almost a month the boys can login on their own, find their lesson for the day and move around the site with very few issues.

PhotobucketThe game coin feature where coins are earned after each lesson and then can be saved or used to play a number of games is a motivational feature.  In the beginning (and even now sometimes) the boys would ask to do another lesson so they can earn a few more coins.

The kids enjoyed creating an Big IQ Buddy that appears on the screen while they are doing their lesson.  For one game coin they can customize their Buddy to look however they like (hair, clothing, accessories etc.)
I liked the instant email reports I recieved once they completed a pop quiz, test or moved on to another level.
For example here are 3 types reports I have recieved:

  1. Hi Eli's Parent/Guardian:
    Eli completed the spelling test on Spelling Program for lesson 3 with a score of 100%.
    Eli is doing great!
  2. Hi Micaiah's Parent/Guardian: Micaiah completed the spelling test on Spelling Program and scored a 92%. Micaiah spelled the following words incorrectly: hopped The above words were spelled: hoped Please practice the incorrect words at home. Remember, a little practice every day goes a long way. Thanks for using Spelling Program! Lesson 5 words: hopped,hoping,crying,planning,stated,frying,smiling,smiled,cried,starting,fried, hoped, hopping
  3. Hi Micaiah's Parent/Guardian:
    Micaiah achieved mastery for 'Multiplication - Digit Number 3' and is moving up to the next level.  If you would like to review or modify Micaiah's lesson plan click on the 'Modify Lesson' button on the main menu.
    Micaiah is doing great!

I like that your own  spelling lists can be added and plan to use it in conjuction with our All About Spelling Program.   Another plus for me is that the math drills can be customised for the level and attention span of the child.  The default is 50 questions per day but Eli would never make it through 50 problems.  It was simple to go in and adjust the number of questions and you can even adust what percentage of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division problems appear on each drill.

Even though we live outside of the US we tried out the US States program.  It was definitely too advanced for my grade 1 student but my grade 3 student is enjoying using it.  I am learning facts about the US as well! 

Overall,  I would recommend this program to anyone looking to supplement their current curriculum or to use during school breaks or as after school enrichment.

We will continue to use it for this school year as it has already proven to be successful in our home in motivating the big kids to work independently giving me some valuable time to focus on the little kids.

The Pricing

Spelling and Vocabulary for grade 3 and up is free.  For K to grade 2 you will have to purchase the Junior Spelling Program for $7.99 per month or $39.99 per year ($3.33 per month).

Premium Math is $9.99 per month or $49.99 per year ($4.17 per month).

Premium US Geography $39.99 per year (no monthly option).

There is probably lots more I could say about the program but it would be better if you just go on over and take a look for yourself.  Demo lessons are available as well as a FAQ page. You can also stop over here to see what other members of the TOS Homeschool Crew are saying.

*Disclaimer -As a member of  TOS Homeschool Crew (Review Team) I was provided a complimentary year's subscription for two children by for purpose of this review.  I was required to provide my honest, (positive or otherwise) opinion of this site in exchange for this subscription. 


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