Friday, November 16, 2007

Parent Bloggers Network: Jumpstart World

As a homeschooling mom I am always on the hunt for new educational ways for my children to learn. So when Parent Bloggers Network offered us a chance at Jumpstart World 1st Grade, I leapt right on it and now we are quite completely hooked!

Brought to you by Knowledge Adventure, Jumpstart World is a series of 12 adventure packs that teach your child critical thinking skills, reading, math, art, music, and much more. Of course, any of that you can read for yourself from their website if you'd like and don't need me to tell you. What you do need me to tell you is what it's really like to try and enjoy the game up close and personal right? For this I asked my 5 year old to help me test out the game and I figured I would see what both of our views on it were. His answer was (and I quote), "Bubby...Sissy... I get to help mommy review this game. I DO. ME. I get to do a review. Not YOU! ME! Okay Mommy let's go start"! No, he's not the least bit competitive at all.

The very first thing MonkeyBoy made mention of was how much he liked being able to pick which character he wanted to be. As soon as he chose his player (he started with the boy robot) he commented on how much he liked the 3d graphics of the game or as he put it, "Wow, this looks just like Bubby's video games"! I took notice of the fact that it had obviously been quite awhile since I had bought a Jumpstart game because the graphics were much cooler than I remembered them being years ago. It's amazing how much these things change!

As MonkeyBoy explored the Jumpstart World he enjoyed finding new areas to "spring" from, new characters to talk to, and earning gems for games he completed made this "the coolest game ever"! He literally had to be peeled away from the computer to eat meals and go use the bathroom! I liked that it was easy for him to navigate his way through each of the arcades and areas without needing to ask one of us a million times to get him through a certain part. This was a game that he could play on his own and that gave him so much pride in what he was doing. I also liked that this program didn't have that head spinning effect that so many games these days give me as a character walks around their little world. This meant I could actually sit with him and watch him play, enjoying the game with him instead of by him for once.

Once MB realized that the gems he earned could be used to purchase rewards, he was an absolute madman! Whereas before the discovery he just wondered around and played a game here or there, he suddenly had to try out ALL of the games and missions giving him a chance for better rewards each time. Now he would try a game a second and even third time trying to beat it instead of just going off and trying something else. I think all little kids this age love the challenge of not only finishing a game but getting a reward for it and Jumpstart World does not disappoint them one bit.

Needless to say, my son begged to play this game everyday for a week and I think we both learned alot from it. I learned that he knew far more than I gave him credit for which helps me to plan future lessons for him and he learned many new subjects and ideas in the form of a fun and interesting game that held his attention for once.

Last but not least, I like how I can get on the Jumpstart website and check his progress reports, search hundreds of parent tips, personalize his game with holidays and events, and even make special rewards for him to earn from me as he accomplishes each goal. Having the website and program work together made things even more enjoyable and easier for me to figure out what we needed more work on and what things he already has aced.

The things I wasn't too crazy about on this game are the fact that not only do you have to have the CD in to play the game (which is normal) but it must also be connected to the internet in order for your child to play. I'm not big on having to have my 5 year old connected to the internet just to play a game that should be mostly on a disc and this means I can't let him play Jumpstart World on trips and that part is very discouraging.

I'm also not crazy about the fact that every few minutes a "Loading" screen will pop up cutting into the game and making you wait while the game uploads information to the website. I like that Jumpstart wants to help you stay updated and keep track your child's progress but it would do better to have it at the end of a set of games or an area instead of during the game like it does now.

All in all I'm very happy with our experience with Jumpstart World 1st Grade and I'm very glad my little guy has had the chance to discover something new that he likes so much. Would I buy the disc myself? I'm honestly not sure. I suppose I would since I know beforehand that it can only be used at home on our internet connected computer but if I were someone that didn't know that and bought this game, I would be very upset and would probably return it. I love the game and what it does for my son but there is just so much more benefit to something I can take with me for long car trips or airplane rides.

I definately recommend the free trial that the website offers people for download though. It's a game that you should try and decide for yourself whether or not to purchase it plus it's fun and learning that I'm glad my 5 year old had a chance to experience.


Summer said...

Ohhh, new goodies to put on my list. :D