Thursday, October 24, 2019

Smartick: A Math Enrichment Program Review

Doing math and thinking mathematically aren't necessarily the same.  I had a hard time grasping that as a new algebra student who just wanted it to come naturally.  As any parent can tell you, every child is different with different strengths and weaknesses. Logic and reasoning are skills that feelers like me may not have in spades, but need developed in order to excel in school.  Today's review, Smartick, speaks directly to the need for more mathematical thinking rather than just seeking right answers.  The past few weeks J (8) and miss Z (6) have been using Smartick as often as we could with interesting results.

What We Received:

We were given a 6 month subscription for two students to Smartick, "a unique online learning method that helps your child reach maximum potential by using mathematics to increase mental agility, calculation skills, concentration, and studying methods."  This includes online access for me as the teacher/parent to monitor their progress.  It is designed for students age 4-14.

How It Works:

As the teacher, I registered both students and set up ages, usernames and passwords.  When each student first logged on, they set up an avatar that can be changed at any time later.  From there, each session has a consistent format.  Students are asked in emoji form what their mood is and then they begin a 15 minute series of questions and exercises.  As they answer questions, they earn ticks (this program's currency/reward) and for correcting their mistakes at the end of the session they can earn another tick.  After the session is complete, they are allowed access to a play area of sorts.  In this area, they can play games, challenge others, change settings like painting their house, changing clothes, etc., go shopping, make 'friends' and send messages.  

It is intended for students to have a session every day, at least 5 days a week.  Like exercise for the brain, the more you stretch your muscles, the more adept and agile they become.  The difficulty level increases very gradually over use so that is not overwhelming, but adequately challenging.  It is also not viewed as a quick, short-term solution for students.  If your student is struggling or way behind, this program isn't touted as something that can bring them up to speed over a couple of weeks.  Smartick is a long-term program designed to maximize potential.  In that way, it is not a math curriculum at all, but a mathematical training program to optimize a student's ability to maneuver within their curriculum.

What We Thought:

From day one the kids loved using this program.  Whenever possible, they like to watch their sibling do their session in addition to their own.  There were few how-to questions and no complaints other than when it was going to be their turn.  I appreciate the wisdom of requiring their session to be completed BEFORE they are allowed to play around.  They would never want to do anything else otherwise!  

Honestly, using it every day was a big challenge for us.  Part of that was due to a death in the family and then a week long vacation, so certainly not normal life.  Still, once we got home getting 5 days in was harder than I expected.  Most programs like this we would expect to do 2-3 days a week.  Now that I've used the program and have seen how it works,  I absolutely understand the value and importance of engaging very regularly.  Behavioral issues aside, I have been pleased with the kids' school performance in a variety of areas lately.  It sure would seem that this program was contributing to that outcome! I feel like another couple of solid, regular months of use would give me more feedback to confidently confirm its effectiveness. 

Smartick on Social Media:


Do you have different aged kids and wondering if it would work for them too?  Check out other Crew members reviews through the link below and see if they had a similar experience.
Math Enrichment Program {Smartick Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

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