Home > Reviews, TOS Crew > TOS Crew Review — Big IQ Kids

TOS Crew Review — Big IQ Kids

March 24th, 2011

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As my kids get older it is easy to focus on their core texts and let other, but still important, subjects slip a little. Just when I was grappling with how to keep on top of those little areas, Big IQ Kids came to my rescue.

This online program allows kids to learn independently in four essential areas — spelling, vocabulary, US geography, and math. They can just go with the flow of the program or you can customize it to their needs or your current academic focus. I was so grateful to be able to set it up initially, and then let my 6th and 8th graders run with it. I required them to do a lesson in spelling, vocab, and geography each day and it freed me up to work with my other kids knowing that these areas were covered.

Here is an example of the different levels of membership and what they offer you in just one area of the website:

My kids have really enjoyed using this and it takes little oversight on my part. They get excited about advancing and it has really helped my daughter’s spelling in particular. It was a great review of state information as well and has overall been a great fit to teach and review in the four areas covered on their site.

Product: Big IQ Kids

Details: An online program geared to kids K-8, and even adults. The program offers quizzing and lesson helps in spelling, vocabulary, math, and US Geography.

Price: Pricing has a lot of different options, see their pricing page for all the details, but basically, you can get the whole program for $19.99 per month, $99.99 a year. You can also purchase just portions of it for a month or year if you want to target learning in a certain area. Their full program for a full year is really the best price available.

What we loved . . .

  • Lots of free quizzing. Big IQ Kids offers some great stuff on their site that everyone can enjoy. You can have your child spend time quizzing on spelling, geography, math, and vocabulary. However, you cannot save their work or check their progress without setting up a membership that costs money. I think that’s fair. You can play around for free, but if you really want to track the progress and see the program become more customized to the user, you need to put in some money. To see if the premium options would be a good fit for you, you can enjoy a free 7 day full access trial.
  • Game rewards. My kids always love the games. In Big IQ Kids they earn coins for each lesson that they complete. The coins can then be spent in the “arcade.” There are a variety of games, some better than others, but both my kids that used the program found something they enjoyed and would willingly work toward the reward at the end of the lesson.
  • Email updates. Every time they take a quiz, pass a level, or do noteworthy work, I would get an email. It told me the percentage score and in many cases gave me specifics about what they missed. This was great to remind me to check in with them, to follow up on areas of struggle, and to praise them for the great job they were doing in the program.
  • Focuses on success. While the email updates did include their percentage and what they got wrong, it also encourages you to praise your child. My kids did not get discouraged by low scores, because they could repeatedly redo quizzes until they achieved the 100%. This was great. They weren’t stuck somewhere with a poor score, but continued to work hard to get to the next level or master the new content.
  • Great for independent learning. Both my kids that used the program did so with little or no help from me. I checked in with them a couple times a week, read the emails the program sent to me, and answered questions as they came up. I loved the simplicity of use for this and did not need to remind my kids once to get on the site to get their work done. They would even do extra work during their free time because they wanted to get to the next level in certain areas. I love programs that motivate the child to learn even when they don’t have to. ;)

Some considerations . . .

  • The site does contain ads. It may just be in the free portions of the site, but there are ads geared toward kids on the site in various places. Most of the ones that I saw were for games or vacation locations. I didn’t see any offensive ads, but there were ads.
  • The voice on the site is very computerized. At times we did have difficulty understanding some of their words, but most of it you could also read along, so it was not a problem to fill in the blanks left by the occasionally unintelligible host. In general this did not cause a problem, but it is something to be aware of.
  • More drill than instruction. My son commented that no matter how many times they asked him the vocab word he wasn’t going to get it right, because they didn’t give him any help in remembering the definition. They do tell the kids to write the words they get wrong and they do let them know their mistakes, but they try to teach it through repeated drills, not really teaching for understanding. This will be fine for some kids, but my son always needs to know the “why” so he struggled with this method of “teaching.” I was impressed that my kids were good about writing the words three times when the program told them to. However, it is really on the honors’ system that they follow through with this.
  • Might want to check the accuracy of state info. We live in Illinois, obviously, and so we know a bit about this state we live in. And, in the little blurb about our state in the geography section there was some less than accurate information. Just outdated stuff about O’hare and the building formerly known as the Sears Tower. Facts do change over time, and with how much information they carry I’m sure it is difficult to make sure it is all up to date. Well, I emailed them and within the next business day they had changed the information to reflect current data. They also recognized the need to verify the other state’s information. I definitely appreciated their speedy response and their desire to make sure their product is top quality.

We were quite pleased with Big IQ Kids in our home. It was a great fit for our current needs and I love the flexibility of pricing since you can just pay for what you want if you don’t want the complete package. It encouraged learning and really brought about improvement in the areas that it covered.  Love finding products like these that really fill a need.

For more TOS Crew reviews on this product, check out the TOS Crew blog.

Disclaimer: This product was provided to me free of charge through Big IQ Kids as part of my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I received no additional compensation and the opinions expressed here come from my personal experiences and sincere thoughts.

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