We have had a great time this week playing Jump Start World, 1st Grade. When I told C (my first grader) that we had the chance to review this software, he eagerly checked the mailbox each day. He had previously played it at his enrichment program, and had told me he liked it. He was excited we'd be getting a copy of our own to play at home.
We had a little trouble loading it (took a couple restarts of the machine to get it working), but once it was loaded, the boys were off! The software is set up like an adventure video game, with multiple characters to "be" and lots of different places to visit. C was a bit annoyed that the mouse didn't move his character, and that he had to use the arrow keys instead. Once he got used to it, however, it wasn't an issue any longer.
C quickly started earning "gems" by playing different games geared to helping him practice math, reading and other first grade skills. (The website talks about the curriculum standards here. I liked the fact that it clearly explained what each module was helping the kids learn.) N has also enjoyed playing (he's my kindergartener), since there is plenty of vocal help from characters within the game.
When I asked C what I should share about Jump Start, he told me "Tell them it is a lot of fun. You can be a different character every time you play! The games are fun and pretty easy to play."
The box and website refer to a Parent Center, but I was unable to locate it in the game. From the screen shot, it looks like a parent can see exactly how a child is progressing through the different units. I searched the game, and then the website and wasn't able to find the answer. In the FAQ section, I was told the information could be found in the Parent Center, but I couldn't find out where the Parent Center is located.
The game, as purchased, includes 2 adventure units, which provide 80 or so learning games. Additional units can be purchased via a monthly subscription, which can add 10 more units to the game. I'll be more likely to purchase the additional units if I can find the Parent Center so I have a clear picture of how the boys are doing on individual tasks.
I know the boys will continue playing this game. It will make a nice complement to our regular schooling activities, and reinforce the skills that they are learning. I would recommend it to other other families with first graders, if they were looking for an educational software game.
I was able to review this product thanks to Mom Central!