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I have to admit that it becomes a bit overwhelming keeping all the boys on task for all subjects when they are all working at different levels. Just writing that sentence almost has me in need of a nap!
While it can be easy enough to merge some subjects with a little tweaking of expectations, it is sometimes a challenge to make sure no child falls through the cracks with regard to getting ‘enough’ grade level appropriate work. Typically, I am concerned with how much instruction D gets as he picks some material up quickly and in spurts while my attention is sometimes directed to other brothers’ needs.
As my boys are more than willing to try out different computer based learning adventures, they were ready to dig into Big IQ Kids for the purpose of this review. R and D were the primary ‘testers’ with their own premium accounts to use. However, P spent some time glancing over their shoulders to see what they found appealing.
Big IQ Kids offers computer based work in math, spelling, vocabulary and the study of the US States. You can see from the main website page below that there is a LOT in the way of choices available. Some are free to anyone while others are only provided for students with a premium membership.
While the boys did go through some of the directed learning opportunities, they really preferred some of the ‘freer’ options like the spelling bee. In both the spelling program and the spelling bee, you can select lists based on grade level (up to 8th grade) or enter your own list. As we are not approaching spelling based on grade level lists, D just decided to start with easy lists and see how it worked out. I like that you can select from suggested lists or even enter your own for the child to utilize.
The U.S. States program has the child learning basics about the states, including their location within the country, their capital, how to spell the state name, and the postal abbreviation. I know that plenty of adults have little clue about all the abbreviation as some believe AK is for Arkansas instead of Alaska. Using this portion to help learn about our country can be a great boon to improving national knowledge of our country’s geography. With the exception of the spelling bee, this was by far D’s favorite part of Big IQ Kids. And, as he is not spending a lot of time on history or geography at the moment, I felt that he was getting more than adequate exposure and learning in the process. R also said this was his favorite area, even if he didn’t earn any game coins for this section.
The Vocabulary portion is just the ticket if you are wanting to help broaden a child’s vocabulary as well as prepare for standardized tests. While kids do still read, the selections being read are sometimes lacking the breadth of vocabulary found in older works. Within in this section, you can work on vocabulary words related to language arts OR the subjects of math, science and social studies. And, like the spelling component, you can participate in your own contest using vocabulary games.
Finally, the fourth subject tackled by the creators of Big IQ Kids is math. Here the child can focus on drilling basic math facts with the selection of each function’s range of mastery. So, if you have a younger student just mastering addition, you can select to work strictly on addition. Or, for an older student, you can break up the focus among all four basic functions.
Knowing that many kids respond well to rewards for their work, Big IQ Kids has built in the ability to earn coins. These coins can be used to play games and can be saved up to purchase ‘better’ games. Last I checked, D had over 20 coins sitting in his treasure box. And, it is helping reinforce lessons about delayed gratification we have been teaching in our house.
Big IQ Kids is unique compared to some sites in that many of the program components can be accessed for free. Premium membership ($99 per year for all 4 programs; varying pricing for separate components) adds more to the pot. You can read specifics of the difference between free and premium.
One of the features I really appreciate is being the ability to track progress with a premium membership. Also, to keep aspects of their site available at no charge, you will see ads on the different pages. While that does not personally bother me, I prefer to remove the visual clutter (and temptation by boys to click on an ad) which is another benefit of the premium membership. The boys, on the other hand, were enjoying creating and updating the “custom buddy” each premium membership has included. And, of course, the ability to play a fun game after spending time on the 4 subject areas.
All in all, this is a great program to check out. With so much of it being available to use for free (with ads present), you can truly see if it holds value for your family before making the decision to purchase a premium membership. As if that’s not enough, they even have a 7 day trial period for the bundle premium package.
Disclaimer ~ Our family was provided with two premium memberships for the purpose of completing this review. No other compensation was provided and the opinions expressed are our own. You can read what other TOS Crewmates think about Big IQ Kids on the TOS Crew Blog.