Reviews

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I'm so happy you dropped by! Stay and visit awhile and please leave me a comment- it's so encouraging to hear from you!

Friday, September 16, 2011

BIG IQ KIDS

We have decided that next year we are going to take a REAL vacation.  We are not going to Disney World.  We are not counting trips to family as vacation.  And we are not going to Atlanta for 2 1/2 days and calling that our vacation.  We are going on a real vacation.  On a train.  Across the country.  To Montana!


"Ok kids, who wants to go see my crazy friend, Jayne, and her family in MONTANA?????" I say- expecting "Woot!"s... and maybe even some "Seriously???!!"s and "Yeeeeeeee hoooo!"s.  But this is what I got....

"Um, it's not as far as Nonny's, is it?"


We live in Alabama.  Nonny lives in Mississippi.
Do you see my quandry?

BIG IQ KIDS

Big IQ Kids is an award winning online interactive tool that helps build math, spelling, vocabulary, and U.S. States facts mastery.  They offer free lessons and a low-cost premium plan that includes some pretty great perks. 

Let's talk about the free fun first....
There are free practice lessons in the areas of time, measurement, and vowels sounds.  These are great if your children have already had lessons and just need some extra time praticing what they've learned. There are clocks you set the hands on for the time segment, set the ruler to certain measurements, and select the word with certain long/short vowel sounds.  There is also the ability to produce vocabulary flash cards for free!
There are also free spelling and math segments. 

The spelling segment includes a spelling bee, games, quizzes, vocabulary bee, practice tests and fun spelling/vocabulary games geared to meet your child's learning level. 

You can tailor the math segment to your child's abilities.  They are advanced based on proficiency as they build speed and accuracy.  Did I mention they earn game coins when they finish a lesson and get to pick a game in the gameroom to play?
Now, here's where the Cains really needed help.....the U.S. States!

There are drills on location, capitals, spelling, and state specific facts.  Did you know Montana has the largest

 bear population of ALL the states?....Ben has decided he will no longer partake of the Cain family vacation. (This is why we can't camp- my boy has an unhealthy fear of bears eating him.)
The last free thing to mention is the free e-book series!  Interactive and geared towards children ageas 8-12, children read at their own pace with aid available by a "click-to-hear" function.  There are also built in vocabulary building and comprehension quizzes.  These online chapter books are made available as children come back each week, chapter by chapter, and are printable. (The e-books have games that go along with them which can be purchased for $3.99)

The premium membership includes all of the above, of course, but also adds in some great perks.  A customizable Big IQ "buddy" (avatar), for example.  Also included is access to ALL of the games in the gameroom and high scores are saved.  There are timed quizzes and automatic advancement based on proficiency.  One of the neatest perks, in my opinion, are the automatic progress emails and tracking reports.  As soon as Ben finished a round of U.S. States, it sent me an email telling me how he did and if he was moved up or not!  There is a built in review as well for the children as well.  My favorite perk BY FAR is the lack of advertisements during the lessons.  I say this because, quite honestly, the home page has a lot of distracting ads that you have to see past.  "What are the costs?" you may be asking....

The premium math membership is $9.99 per month or $49.99 for the year (which works out to $4.17 per month!).  Spelling is $7.99 per month or $39.99 for the year (which works out to $3.33 per month!).  The U.S. States Facts is available per year only at $39.99 (again, $3.33 per month!).

Now, here is my list of pros and cons followed by my personal opinion:
Pros 
1. Could set content for each child's math drills (ex. 20% of problems 1 digit addition, 80% of problems 1 digit multiplication)
2. Ads are at a minimum for premium membership lessons
3. FAQ page and Free Vs Premium page allows you to have comparison right in front of you    

Cons
1. Home page is covered in ads             
2. Registering was a little difficult (but this may be due to some site re-construction)
3. Very basic graphics with robotic voices

While at first I was put off by the simplistic graphics and homepage ads- I found, upon further use, the Big IQ Kids is a very useful website.  I like that my children have to master their levels before they can move on and that I can set it to receive email updates of their progress if I so desire.  The children really enjoyed the games and creating their "buddy".  This seems a very entertaining alternative to "Go write your 0-9 math facts 10 times!".  My children are very visual learners and Big IQ Kids meets that need in them.  They ask to get on it, and that, in itself, is indicative of a job well-done by the Big IQ folks.  

Disclaimer:  I received a free trial of the premium membership to Big Iq Kids in return for a fair and honest review.                                  

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Today....

The kids are at co-op and I'm sitting in the library on the computer, getting ready to meet my Andy for a private early lunch.  Our time of late has been invaded by various assorted sundries that make their mission of robbing you of moments..words....looks.....

I am happy, tired, sore, blessed, excited, busy, overwhelmed, hungry, ....

content. Grateful.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A bad time?


I might possibly have chosen a terrible time to pick up a new craft. 

You see, I have always wanted to make a quilt.  Always.  And every time I buy a new bedding set for my bed (mind you it is once every 5 years!) I cringe.  The thought goes, like a fleeing deer- bolting infront of oncoming traffic, I THOUGHT YOU WERE GOING TO MAKE A QUILT!!!!!!!

"That'll be ninety-nine dollars and ninety-seven cents please."  And I pay it and walk out with my tail between my legs.

So I determined that when we move back into our home, I would sleep the first night there under a handmade quilt.....made here...in the USA....in Alabama.....actually IN Birmingham.  I bought the above fabrics- all my favorites that I have been eyeing for quite a while.  I bought Alicia Paulson's pattern for her Olallieberry Quilt......
Quilt1simple....squares.....

I can do this, right?

I have two and a half weeks and I basically have the squares all cut out.

H......E.....L....P!!!!!!!!!!!