Friday, September 16, 2011

Building Big IQ Kids??? Need Help???

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As a homeschool mom, with a variety of ages, I am often looking for ways to make my kids more independent (OK, so it will be awhile before the 4 year old is there, I get that...;D ). I have also discovered that for my Middlest, at least, things techie are very helpful in that quest.


BigIQkids.com is a program that seeks to assist with the drill of basic facts in Math, Spelling, Vocabulary, and US Geography(to make mom happy), while providing fun "Gaming Rewards" (to engage the kids). Sounds like a plan. :)


Here's a little video that explains what BigIQkids is



There are a variety of free and premium resources available, appropriate for early elementary (Math, Spelling, Vocabulary, and US Geography) through adult ages (Spelling, SAT Vocabulary prep, and US Geography).


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Each area allows you to customize the work to each child. For instance, in Math Facts, you can choose the number of problems to be completed in each lesson (5-100), as well as choosing a number of other criteria:

math set-up

One of my favorite sections for Middlest (Since he is beyond many of the math facts~ although multiplication and division can still use some work) was the U.S. States Program. There are a few neat features here~ we were focusing on learning the capitals this summer, so this program has helped to verify which states he was having troubles with, as well as providing great review and feedback. I plan to continue through the spelling and abbreviation portions of this with him. (Pet peeve alert~ it has driven me nuts since I was 11, to meet kids and grown-ups alike who had no idea where Montana was~ much less any state that didn't border their own~ Geographic knowledge DOES help to broaden one's horizons, I'm sure of it! :D) Now, back to your regularly scheduled review:)
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Colorado 1As I was saying... one nifty feature in the premium version is the introductory lesson interactive map. It is suggested the each day the student click that green "Interactive Map" button you see in the graphic above. Then the tutor (Jake~ he's the fellow with the glasses) will start giving some interesting facts about the state that the student has decided to learn about. 

Colorado 2
Here you can see that Colorado was the state of choice: The state is highlighted on the map, The capital is shown. Next, frames show up on the map with a variety of information. The state nickname, and the year admitted to the union, industries, landscape, and tourist attractions or places of interest. Following all of the bits of information a little quiz shows up with multiple choice questions.

States Quiz
After doing this with one or more states, the student can move on to the lessons. 


Once a lesson is completed, the student earns a coin to spend in the "Arcade" which of course, is the game room. This is what page 2 has to offer:
Big IQ Games page 2
(Note: The free version only offers access to a limited number of games)

~Over-all thoughts on the program~
What we didn't like as much:
  • Big IQ loaded spelling/vocab words were... well, not what I'd choose~ shroud, illegal, immigrant, hostage, hardship ~ these were all included in the first list. HOWEVER, the flip-side is that we don't have to use those lists, we can load our own! :)
  • The computer-generated voices of the "tutors" kind of annoy my Middlest, but they don't really bother me....
  • Navigation isn't totally intuitive, and we find it necessary to log in when switching subjects more often than I'd expect.  
  • Occasional incorrect answers (in US States) when dragging a state to the correct spot, and a finger slipped, but hey, that is par for the course on the computer~ 
What we DID like:
  • The ability to load our own word lists
  • Being able to customize almost every subject to suit~ whether it had to do with number of problems or type~
  • The report emails that kept me abreast of progress~ very nice.
  • The ability to check the progress reports online~ all of the information from the emails, but in one place, which can help me to track "trends" if there is a consistent problem.
  • The games are similar to many other "Arcade" games 
Now for some of the "nitty-gritty"
As already mentioned, there are many options:
  • anonymously play the free versions
  • register and save certain settings on the free versions
  • upgrade to premium levels which open up more "reward games", and allow for greater personalization, as well as tracking progress, and advancing based on mastery(As well as limiting the amount of advertising shown, and eliminating ALL advertisements during the lessons).
This page has the most straight-forward pricing information, with options including free and monthly rates ($7.99-$9.99/ month), as well as yearly rates ($39.99-$49.99), or a "Bundle" option (currently on a "Back to School Special" of $89.99).
 
As always, I hope that this has been helpful to you as you choose where to spend your homeschool hours and dollars. For other opinions, please visit the TOS Crew Blog to see what my Crew-mates had to say.
    Blessings~
    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this/these item(s)/service for free as part of the TOS Crew Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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