I love writing reviews when I really like a product. It makes it so much easier, because I have plenty of nice things to say, and I really do prefer being nice. Just so you know, I did like almost everything about this product. It has a lot going for it, and overall, I think it would be a worthwhile addition to almost any homeschooled, or even public schooled, student's day.
Big IQ Kids is an online program for spelling, math, vocabulary, and geography. Much of the site's content is FREE! (and you know how much I love FREE! things)...in fact, you can go straight over to the Big IQ Kids site right now, and check out the accuracy of my claims about this product, then you can decide for yourself if it is worth it to you to invest in the Upgraded (adds a customizable avatar and full game access...it is a good deal at $9.95/year) or Premium sites' features. You can compare the FREE vs. the paid sites' features HERE.
I mostly used the Spelling program several times a week with the Three Amigos during our trial period, and Tex used the Vocabulary and Geography programs on a twice-weekly basis. We had other options for the math that worked better for us, so we only tried it out a few times.
Here's a little information about what Big IQ Kids has to offer:
- It quizzes children in four areas: spelling, vocabulary, math, and geography.
- The program offers varying levels, starting with Kindergarten and going up through Eighth grade.
- The program is interactive, using avatars as teachers.
- Your student also gets an avatar (this is customizable with the upgraded and premium versions).
- The program is systematic, progressive, and customizable.
- The program not only drills on information, it quizzes on the information.
- The spelling and vocabulary programs have pre-loaded lists which you can use and/or add to.
- The program gives a reward for every lesson completed by adding a coin to your student's treasure chest. This coin can be spent on a game off of the games page (you can customize whether the coins can be spent on weekends only with the premium version, and only the premium version allows access to all of the games) or on customizing their avatar (with a premium or upgraded membership)
- The premium version sends progress reports via email to the parent/teacher.
- To see more about what the site offers, click HERE.
- For a list of some of their FREE programs, click HERE.
Here's what we liked about Big IQ Kids:
- My Three Amigos especially enjoyed the spelling program. Ladybug and Cowboy worked doggedly at completing their lessons with an excitement I could never drum up, no matter what activities I might plan.
- Tex enjoyed the geography program. One of his goals for the year has been to learn the states' locations and their capitals. This program has helped him meet his goal. He also liked the vocabulary program.
- I liked how the word lists were customizable for the spelling. Some were shorter than others, so I added to them. Having words grouped in Word Families is a method that really works for us.
- The navigation of the site was simple enough that once I logged in, the Three Amigos could easily do everything themselves. Actually, Ladybug could probably have logged in, too, but I usually go through all of our online learning and do the log ins myself.
- The set up of the spelling program really kept their interest. It was logical, and progressive. I liked it.
- The program is thorough. With the spelling program, they offer synonyms, antonyms, and definitions. You do practice with help, practice without help, a spelling bee, a quiz, writing the words in your own book, and a test. It really is good.
- The Three Amigos liked the geography videos that are available with the premium membership.
- The program limits access to higher levels until the lower levels are mastered.
- The words offered by the vocabulary program were challenging, but not too difficult. Tex liked it.
- All of the kids enjoyed the games. There are three pages of choices with the premium membership.
Here are a few things we didn't like as much:
- The teaching avatars' computerized voices are kind of off-putting at first, but you do get used to them.
- There are ads on the site, even with the premium membership. I thought they ought to get rid of those if you invest in the premium membership. My kids know not to click on the ads, but I'd rather they weren't there.
- The math is a bit hard for your lowest level math students who maybe aren't reading proficiently yet, but it is fully customizable, so you can set it to only ask certain types of problems using certain numbers and answer parameters. That's great.
- The vocabulary program starts at 3rd grade level, though it wasn't too hard for my Three Amigos to figure out with help. However, to do it alone requires more proficiency with reading than they have at this point. The spelling was so great, we didn't mind that the vocabulary did not work for them.
- A few of the games available on the games page were not ones I liked. Example: One game involved getting to choose the makeup to put on the face of an animated girl. Not liking that game is just a personal opinion of mine. You might not mind it. I just told my daughter to avoid the ones I did not prefer. There are three pages of choices with the premium membership, after all.
- I did NOT like the free book AT ALL, so my recommendation is to skip looking at it, and don't even think about doing the reading program they are beginning to offer. I hate to be harsh, but this is truly the only thing I was disappointed in. Read it yourself, if you must, but while the format is a great idea, and they offer embedded, clickable vocabulary words, as well as a game after you are done reading, the main character is rude and sneaky, and the entire tone of the book is not something I want my kids to be exposed to.
I will let seven year-old Ladybug tell you
about the Spelling program in her own words
(really, she says it all!):
"I think Big IQ Kids Spelling is fun because there is a guy who shows me the words first with the words on the screen so I can learn them. After that there is a spelling game, like Word Scramble, Spelling Bee, or Robot Practice. I like them all because they are fun.
"Next I get to write in my spelling notebook. This helps me read the words and practice spelling them. Last, there is a test and if I get all my words right, I get to be in the 100% club. I want to give everyone a hug when I get into the 100% club because I am proud of myself!
"My favorite part is that I can earn coins by doing my lessons and then I get to play games. My favorite game is the bunny game because you get to catch the bunnies to save them from the farmer.
"Big IQ Kids makes me feel happy, cheerful, and smart. I love it!"
A final word from the folks at Big IQ Kids: