Smartick Review: Independent Math Program for Your Homeschool
Do you struggle with how best to teach your young homeschooler math? Do you worry that your child isn't getting a good foundation for their math skills? Does your child get frustrated when it is time to do math?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you are in the right place! Smartick reached out to me and asked if I wanted to use their math program and write a review post. I had been looking at online math programs for my 4 and 6 year old, so I said “sure!” and off we went!
Our family has been using Smartick online math program for our homeschool kindergarten for about 2 months and it has been great!
When it comes to homeschooling, math can be one of the most frustrating subjects. I used to teach high school math before I started staying home with my girls and, I can tell you, it's just as frustrating in “regular” school, too!
But, it doesn't have to be that way.
Here is my honest review of Smartick online math program as we have experienced it in our house.
We were given a subscription to Smartick free of charge in exchange for our honest opinions and feedback. What follows is my honest review of Smartick. All opinions are my own.
One of the hardest things with math is that children have so many questions. For each new problem or concept, you (the parent) has to explain something new or read the directions. I want my girls to be independent learners as much as possible to foster that inquisitive and “figure it out myself” kind of attitude that I feel is disappearing in our culture.
One of the first things I liked about Smartick was that there is the option to have the program read the directions aloud. No more “Mom, can you read the directions?”. With the click of a button, the program reads the directions aloud as many times as the student needs to hear them. My daughters (neither of whom read yet) were able to both complete their sessions unassisted. Not only did I like the freedom it gave me to take care of the baby, but it gave them a great sense of independence and accomplishment, too.
Smartick originated in Europe, so some of the vocabulary is different that children would be used to in the US. (think “trousers” instead of “pants”) But, my kids quickly adapted and have no problems with it.
Just the Right Challenge
Math can be a very frustrating subject for many children. This is true whether you are homeschooling or your child attends school outside the home. As a former teacher, it was so heartbreaking to see students' confidence crushed because they weren't ready for the next topic, and, as a result, struggled.
With Smartick, the child's ability determines what topics are covered. Both of my girls started with an assessment session where they answered a variety of questions to see what they knew and what they still needed to learn based on their ages. Now, each time they sign in (which they can do on their own), their daily session is targeted at their skill level and gradually increases as they master each skill.
This ability based targeting avoids the common frustration that can be commonly felt when it come to math practice. By allowing children to progress at their own pace in the math instruction, Smartick helps to create a positive attitude toward math right from the start.
Make Math Fun
Smartick is intended to be used at least 5 days each week, although you can do it whenever it fits your schedule. Each session starts with a group of questions focusing on the skills your child is currently working on. The interface of Smartick doesn't make it seem like they are just completing another worksheet of problems. The graphics are varied and make the questions interesting. And, as they questions get harder, they offer different ways to solve the problems.
For example, my kindergartner had some addition problems to complete in her daily questions. But, instead of just having the mathematical equation, they also had counting beads, like an abacus, so that she could work out the problem visually. I love that it accommodates so many learning styles and gives support to help the kids achieve success.
Each correct answers earns a “tick” on the meter on the side of the screen. More ticks are awarded for speed and accuracy. My girls really like this “immediate reward” aspect of the program. They both got very excited when they got a “star”. I just like seeing them so excited about learning math concepts. There is also a progress circle at the top of the screen, so it is easy to see how much longer to complete the session.
Once they have completed the “work” session, there are also games available to play. This is one of my favorite aspects of Smartick! I loved math games as a kid (well, I still do) and I loved seeing my girls get excited to play games where they were also working on math concepts.
There are a lot of games to choose from, so you're child is sure to find several that they like! There are lots of games for every academic level. The games are one of my favorite parts about Smartick.
Another thing that is fun is creating the avatar for each student. My girls had a ton of fun discussing and choosing the hair, eyes, clothes, etc. for their “girls”. And I think they've changed about a dozen times or so! It gives it a nice personalized touch that the kids seemed to enjoy.
If you are looking for an online math program for your elementary or middle school student, you really can't go wrong with Smartick. It provides ability-based, age appropriate questions for each student and increases the skills as the child's ability increases. On top of that, the selection of games that are offered with a subscription is amazing. I was blown away by the number and quality of the games. They teach skills like memorization, speed and accuracy, and logical thinking without the child even realizing it! Our family is thoroughly enjoying Smartick and I am sure yours will, too!
Watch the video below for a closer look at Smartick.