Fearlessly Homeschooling Math
Our First Year Experience
When we started homeschooling with Sophea keeping up with her in math was one of my greatest fears. In public school math was one of her favorite subjects. She excelled and her math confidence was through the roof. I really wondered if I would be able to give her that same sense of confidence while building new skills.
The first year homeschooling grade 2 went off without a hitch. She didn’t LOVE the workbook we were using, a bit boring at times. She was learning though, and her confidence remained high. I considered that a win.
Then came 3rd grade. My intentions were to keep up over the summer doing some learning activities. Life gets more fun in the summer, though, and sometimes good intentions fall by the wayside. I was absolutely horrified to get to the beginning of year 2’s curriculum and find her frustrated and struggling. What a feeling of failure that was for me as a new homeschooling mom. She’d already forgotten some of the simpler things we’d gone over at the beginning of the previous year!
I’ll admit I was a bit at a loss as what to do.
So as I’m looking into what I could do to salvage the mess I’d made and return Sophea’s confidence in her skill level, I had a fortuitous inbox message from an online learning company that has recently expanded to the US called Smartick. They asked us to give their product a shot and we went for it. If we loved it, we’d write a review. If not, we’d part as friends. I do indeed have a thing or 2 to say!
This is not our first foray into online education. We have tried a couple other programs and the first difference that I noticed was in the diagnostic level. The diagnostics of the other programs made her feel inadequate. Smartick, from the very first session, made it fun. I was over the moon excited. She started she was accomplishing goals, earning ticks, and able to explore as soon as we began.
Sophea has been learning with the Smartick method now since September and she is ready to work on it daily. She can’t wait to show me what she has l learned and the prizes she has earned. There are also new features and prizes all the time. The Halloween costumes and background have been my favorites. The site is incredibly easy to navigate. It’s one of the few things that we do online that I can leave her to do completely independently. I have confidence that I am not missing anything as well on the days she learns independently because receive emails from Smartick letting me know what she worked on that day and how she is progressing.
Over the past couple months she has easily regained lost skill sets and moved on to new things. Happy her, happy me! Each session in Smartick lasts just about 15 minutes but I always set aside at least half an hour because she loves going in after to spend her “ticks” (the awards they earn for their sessions) in the store area and also changing her avatar and playing the learning challenges.
It all seems so simple and so effective. HOW could Smartick possibly work so well when other things have not? Here are a few sources I found.
“… many school systems, at least in Western countries, place so much emphasis on understanding of math that they don’t work to also build the procedural fluency—that is, in chunking—that research shows is essential in acquiring expertise in any subject. So Barb placed her daughters in Kumon math, which emphasizes a brief period of daily practice in the solid fundamentals. Cut to the chase—now, twenty-five years later, Barb (and her husband Phil’s!) two daughters went from initially disliking and not being good at math, to great career success as a doctor and journalist.
The reason we’re sharing this story is because we’ve found a modern day, much-improved version of the math program Barb used with her girls. This new program is Smartick. The founder of Smartick, engineer Daniel González de Vega, was inspired to begin his world-class company when he discovered that the methods being used to teach math were not helpful for his sister. Now, many years later, Smartick works with leading researchers to ensure their approach is not only sound, but supplies the best possible approaches to building your child’s intuition about math.” – Barbara Oakley – PhD
“Smartick is a completely unique online method that ensures each student’s understanding of mathematics, accelerates their learning, and develops their maximum capabilities. It is designed for children between the ages of 4 and 14.The method is based around short daily sessions (15 minutes), performed at maximum concentration, that offer individualized and personalized content and immediate feedback to the student. The objective is to keep pushing students to the limit of their highest level of ability, which in turn encourages effective learning.” – Mass Innovation Nights
“The app delivers on depth and breadth of math problem types for the subscription cost. Combine that with the amount of information shared with parents after kids use the tool, and you have a winning combination. The gamelike features built in to each part of the app also encourage a love of learning math in even the most hesitant kid. For many problems, the tool will read the question and answer choices to kids, which can be incredibly helpful for those who struggle with reading word problems or reading directions carefully.” – Common Sense Media
Has It Worked for Other Families?
“Mama loves Smartick, too. Because we’re doing all kinds of multiplication, percentages, decimal problems, and division, and his speed at these on-paper problems has quadrupled. In a month of doing Smartick online, his overall math performance has surpassed anything I have tried, anything I could have done as a mama, and anything he expected of himself.” – Lit Mama Homeschool
And you can find so many more testimonials on the Smartick blog.
How YOU Can Try It Too
I took advantage of Smartick’s free trial offer and you can too. Link here to try a free 15 day trial with your child and I have a feeling you will notice an improvement in your child’s math confidence and skill sets. It is far and away Sophea’s favorite part of our curriculum. With Christmas around the corner and gifts getting harder to choose Smartick would also be a great idea for a fun gift for your grade school age learner!