Friday 28 April 2017

Learning is Fun with Education Quizzes

Life is funny sometimes as a Mum, never would I have pictured myself and my near 14 year old son JJ sat at my laptop the other night at just gone 11pm (yes, yes, I know, it is too late for a school night but thankfully he got up OK) doing algebra together.

Now, let me be clear. I don't really have any idea about algebra, at the ripe old age of 43 I have managed to gain an OND, HND, Ba (Hons) and Masters without ever improving on my D grade GCSE Maths.

Maths isn't my subject. I can do business finance, give me a P&L to analyse and I'm your girl, I'll highlight all the areas of concern and provide a plan for improvement. But clever maths type stuff - algebra, Pythagoras and calculus, I haven't got a clue.

So you'd be forgiven for wondering what we were up to. Well, I'd been asked to take a look at the website Education Quizzes to see how useful I felt it might be for my children and more generally for my kids school. In fact, all schools.

What is Education Quizzes?
Education Quizzes is a site with over 4000 quizzes (all written by qualified teachers) covering most subjects/curriculum's for ages 5 to 16. There are quizzes for KS1, KS2, KS3 and GCSE. Oh and even for parents too, to help us refresh our knowledge so we can ensure we are available to help our children as they need us. Take a quick peek at this video for an introduction to Education Quizzes -

My JJ is always finding online resources for testing and expanding his knowledge as he is a very bright boy and thank the Lord he finds learning enjoyable. So last night when I mentioned Education Quizzes and said I thought it looked good and would he try it out the next day he shot straight over and started to join in.

JJ is 13 years old and in year 8 at Secondary. He is bright and in top set for everything so I wondered how much the quizzes would test him and to be honest he was really dismissive at first as he kept saying he had free websites he could use. It was clear within a few minutes though that the free websites he has found are not a patch on the Education quizzes. There is so much variety, all subjects in one place, all levels in one place and they are all written and approved by teaching professionals. JJ was particularly made up to see there are 450 Spanish quizzes as this is the language he is learning at the moment.

Maths is one of JJ's favourite subjects so we first tried an algebra test within the KS3 curriculum. I randomly picked level 3-4 as this was the lowest and I surprised myself to find I could do these equations. JJ was quickly bugging me to move up a level or two 'as these are sooo easy Mum'. Rather than just move up a level, I skipped over to the GCSE quizzes and bearing in mind JJ is three years away from taking his GCSE's I assumed they'd be too difficult and was super impressed to find my bright boy could do them all - 10/10 in fact.

Of course I had no idea about factorising of algebra so I called my husband over, as he is pretty clever and he had no idea either! We had to chuckle about how we have managed to create this clever kid. I now see why his maths teacher last year said she had no-where else to go with him, he had finished all the extension work and was now tutoring others in class. Which is good as it helps some of his development areas like patience and tolerance.

Is it good for all ages ad abilities?
After giving JJ the log-in and letting him have some fun today, I thought I ought to try some of the quizzes out with my younger girls as well. They are both 9 years and in year 5 at school. Again Miss M is pretty bright and finds learning easy, so I was able to let her get on with it and enjoy herself.

Miss E finds learning a bit more difficult as she is dyslexic and thus reading is a strain and it takes her a lot longer to remember and recall things. It was really good to see that the quizzes were as useful for her as they were for JJ, so they cover the whole learning spectrum for those in mainstream school.

What reporting is there?
I also liked the fact that I could look at the reports and see what the kids had been up to. This is a screen shot from when JJ and I started having a play the other night -

It might be worth noting that you can't see activity by child though, so if you have twins (like I do) and they are at the same academic level, you won't necessarily know which child did which test.

What does it cost?
The cost of access to all aspects of the Education Quizzes site as a parent user is £9.95 per month on a subscription basis but you can cancel at any time without any penalties and there is no notice period. So if you know your child will use these quizzes on a regular and ongoing basis then the monthly fee will be worth it for you and like me, if you have a few children in the family the cost per child is very reasonable.

Of course if your child is getting ready to take an important test or exam you might choose to pay for a few months as a one-off to help them through their 11+ or GCSE's. It is certainly cheaper than tutoring and the great thing is they can do these anywhere - on a long car journey, waiting for a sibling at after school club or anywhere you have internet access. Oh but I must mention too, if you don't have internet access you can print the quizzes out and then check the results later when you do.

Great as a School resource
Perhaps even better than an individual family account though is if your child's school joins the whole school up and the pay an annual fee. Or perhaps they could even ask parents for voluntary donations to help pay for it. I looked into setting up a school account and Education Quizzes are so confident that their site will be loved by all that they offer a free first year to schools. So they may fully try out the functionality and access how their children have developed from uses the quizzes, either in class, as homework or just an additional learning aid.

For a small school like the one my girls go to I saw the cost is £4.21 per child per year for a school with about 150 students and the larger the student numbers the lower the cost per child becomes. I really don't think you can argue with a few quid for the whole year and open access to this great resource.

Thanks for letting me try you out Education Quizzes, I've been impressed.

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