Looking for an interactive online program that’s more then just math facts? We have, especially for vocabulary and spelling! Let me tell you about one that Doodle (5th) and Princess (3rd) have been using for the last month.
Big IQ Kids is an online subscription service with four main components: math, spelling, vocabulary and U.S. States. They offer both FREE and Premium services: Premium offers customization and progress tracking. Differences in the two levels are detailed HERE.
We received two year-long Premium subscriptions to Big IQ Kids. And let me say this right up front – we WILL be using it for the entire year, and possibly longer. Doodle and Princess LOVE Big IQ Kids, and were extremely enthusiastic to learn that their subscriptions weren’t ending anytime soon. (Picture YAY! Wahoo! And lots and lots of bouncing up and down, and you’ll have an idea of their reaction.)
Their favorite subject, interestingly enough, is vocabulary. Vocabulary can automatically add words appropriate for their grade level, or specific word lists can be chosen by the parent from a dictionary of over 40,000 words. It starts by introducing the word, using it in a sentence, then defining it, followed by list of synonyms and antonyms. During any portion of this process, a student can have the computer read or repeat sections aloud. Students are also asked to match words with their definitions, and to choose synonyms and antonyms for the vocabulary words.
U.S. States came in as a close second-favorite. Each lesson is introduced with fun facts or information about a state, then students practice spelling the name of the state, spelling the abbreviation of the state, showing its location on a map, and naming the capital of the state. They’re enjoying (and remembering) the fun facts, too! Princess has told me about states with the most grizzly bears and salmon, while Doodle asked me if I knew that Disneyland is in California, and Crater Lake in Oregon. (Which, when I said yes, turned into a conversation about visiting both. Sooner or later, I told him – we’re on far side of Oregon from Crater Lake, putting us that much farther from Disneyland, too!)
The spelling portion was “OK”, they told me, but not as favored as the vocab. For two of the lessons per word list, they have a choice: spelling bee or robot practice in one, spelling bee or word scramble in the other. Oddly enough, neither of them like the robot. Doodle doesn’t like it because it won’t let him erase letters if he accidentally types the wrong one. Princess, on the other hand, told me the Robot was rude and bragging, and she doesn’t like to listen to him. (She said he says stuff like, “That’s pretty good… for a human.”)
The math portion is usable and friendly, but in their opinion, nothing extra special. They’ve seen enough math drill lately that it has to be something unique to really grab their attention. If you’re looking for heavy duty math, this isn’t it; math on Big IQ Kids is a basic facts supplement, not a math curriculum replacement.
The real draw, though? In the words of Princess: “It’s fun. There are 74 games – we counted – and they’re really cool games. If kids want to play the games, then they have to earn game coins. To get game coins, then they have to do the lessons. Some games cost one coin, a few are two – so they might need to do an extra lesson. It’s a good way to get kids to do their lessons, because if they want to play the games, it’ll encourage them to DO something so that they can play the game.”
In the words of an 8-yr-old, that sums up one thing: incentive.
Incentive works, if the reward is appealing.
Big IQ Kids definitely provides the appeal.
Try out Big IQ Kids. Even if you’re not certain about paying for a subscription, let the kids make a FREE account – it’ll be fun, and they’ll learn something.
To see what other crew members had to say about this product, check out the TOS Homeschool Crew blog post, Big IQ Kids.
**I received this product for free as a member of the 2010-11 The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew so that I could provide you with an honest review of it by our family.**