If you don’t already know the struggles my Littlest has had with math through the years, let me tell you, it’s been rough. It’s not that he doesn’t get it. He can math life like nobody’s business. As long as he can relate it to reality, he’s good. In fact, he can do math in his head quicker than I can.
He had gads of trouble getting his multiplication down and skads of woes when it came to fractions. Over the years, I’ve tried everything: Making up games, buying books, hiding in the bathroom with a bag of M&Ms and a novel.
The problem wasn’t that he couldn’t learn. It was that once we moved on to something new he forgot what he had already learned. Every. single. time. We’re doing multiplication? He forgets how to subtract. We’re doing fractions? He forgets how to multiply. Not a little bit, either. He forgets Everything.
If you think I sound frustrated, you should see my poor baby when it happens. And the more frustrated he gets, the more he struggles. Since I’m not the best in the world at math anyway, I pretty much just end up staring at him in complete discombobulation. I literally have no idea how to help him in those moments.
But for the past month he’s been doing something new, something so awesome he’s actually starting to retain. And my friend, I am not even involved.
When Smartick offered to let Littlest try their program in exchange for a review, I thought, “Meh, why not try it?” Not that I wasn’t super-interested, just… Was it going to be one more thing that didn’t work?
Yeah, no it wasn’t. This. Worked.
Smartick claims to be able to teach your child math online in about 15 minutes a day. Littlest has been doing the program for about a month now, and I don’t think it’s ever taken him more than that to complete his day’s work.
Smartick started with an easy tutorial that showed Littlest what to do, then tested him to see what types of problems he should be working on. He was up and running in a few short minutes. I was pleasantly surprised to receive an email that afternoon giving me a progress report. It was nice to give him the independence of working on his own while still being able to check up on him.
Even better? One day our geography class ran a bit long–rabbit trails– and I offered to end school and let the boys pick up their other subjects the next day. You can imagine my delight when Littlest said (with no hesitation whatsoever), “I want to do my math first.”
The boy who has dreaded math pretty much since birth is excited about it now. He doesn’t want to skip it.
The Proof is in the… Consumer Math
We decided to continue doing consumer math as a family class and make Smartick his independent learning while Middle does algebra. I know, it sounds a bit outrageous that they both have 2 math classes this year, but Middle loves algebra and didn’t want to skip it for consumer math and Littlest..?
Littlest loves Smartick.
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.
Am I recommending this program for your homeschool? Heck yes. A thousand times yes. And you know how I feel about using technology, but this…
Smartick is a minor miracle
All this yummy goodness has relieved a tension in my homeschool I hadn’t even realized was there. I think getting to do his math independently (without me hanging, cringing, over his shoulder) has upped his confidence. Smartick even gives him the opportunity to go back to questions he missed and correct them. Listen, it doesn’t just give him the answers, it tells him what he got wrong and asks if he wants to make corrections. And he never misses the second time around. But what has surprised me even more is that he has never gotten more than 3 problems wrong in a day.
It’s like he’s finally got this math thing. He doesn’t even grumble about consumer math anymore, he just gets the work done.
Which is great, because it helps me step back a little as my boys traverse middle and high school, and I am well aware I need to start letting go. I can even leave the room.
You know. So I can enjoy my M&Ms.