How to Teach at Home
*Disclosure* Please note that clicking links in this post may result in compensation for the writer. Please read our disclosure statement for more information. Smartick contacted the blog owner and offered longer access to the program in exchange for a review. I was not required to write a positive review and, as always, the views and opinions expressed are purely my own. I only choose to share resources that I would use with my own family and those that I believe other families will enjoy.
How we found Smartick
A few weeks ago I was asked if I wanted to try Smartick and write about the experience. At the time I wasn't doing anything with my son for math as we had been deschooling for a few months. I had mixed feelings because I wanted to get him back into practicing math, but didn't want to push it. I also knew a lot of other programs we tried were based on the Common Core standards. Definitely not what I wanted. When I found out that it wasn't based on common core, I immediately became interested, and we signed up for the free trial.
What is the Smartick Method?
Smartick is an online method of learning math for ages 4 through 14 that uses Artificial Intelligence to accommodate your child’s needs. It develops an individualized and personalized study plan that adapts as your child progresses. You can access it on your PC or tablet. You child spends just 15 minutes each day where they are presented with exercises in arithmetic, logic, and reasoning. The content is based on their level of knowledge and is set at their pace. During each session, the difficulty of the exercises adapts in real time according to the student's performance. The goal is for your child to progress without frustration and for them to reach their maximum potential in learning math.
Smartick is quite impressive in that it is based on both the best traditional and best current methods of teaching math. It was created jointly by mathematicians, pedagogues, educators, psychologists, and engineers.
How Does Smartick Benefit?
With consistent daily use, there are a lot of midterm and long-term benefits that go far beyond just gaining mathematical knowledge.
The Smartick Method will:
• Help create a routine study habit
• Help avoid math burn out
• Keep the student motivated and wanting to come back
• Use gamification elements to improve concentration levels and keep the student engaged
Smartick reinforces the following cognitive skills:
⁃ Logical reasoning
What is a Smartick Session Like?
When your child logs in they are greeted according to the time of day and asked how they are feeling. The timer in upper right-hand corner starts and problems begin to appear as the gage on the left keeps track of their performance. Once they reach each level, they are rewarded with a tick, and again when the session is complete. If there is time remaining, then they have a chance to earn more ticks by solving additional problems. When time is up, they are asked how they felt about the problem set, and they may correct their mistakes for another tick.
How to Earn Ticks
There are a variety of ways your child can be motivated within the program. The biggest one is by receiving ticks. Each day they get to earn ticks based on
• Performance during sessions
• Attendance by completing consecutive sessions throughout the week
• Correcting mistakes in a session
• Gameplay performance in the Virtual World
• Bonuses such as birthdays
The Virtual World
Once the timed portion ends, the learning doesn’t have to stop there. The child is rewarded by allowing them access to a virtual world where they can spend their hard earned ticks at the store, hang out in their customized room, view their progress and accomplishments at the library, watch tutorials, or play Smartick games (cognitive skill enhancement). There is an embedded social aspect in that kids get to compete with other users to gain points and earn more ticks. It makes it a little more realistic and motivating to play with actual people instead of a computer, and its safe too. Only the children who are working on the same level in the curriculum will appear as potential competitors, so there is a level playing field. The other day I noticed my son was using his ticks to buy gifts for his “friends,” and it warmed my heart. The next day they returned the favor.
What I Like About Smartick as a Parent
I like that I can monitor every aspect of my child’s use of the program including his performance, progress, and how he spends his ticks. If I need to review the results of any session and go over the incorrect problems with him, I can. Smartick allows parents to have a decent amount of control and input into their child’s experience. I love that I can create motivational messages and extra incentives to display before a session. Sometimes they need that extra motivation. Also if I feel the study plan needs to change or adjust in any way, I can reach out to the team of educators, and they will work with us.
As far as how the sessions go, I am pleased with the way new concepts are taught. They make topics that are not always easy for parents to teach, like division, go a lot smoother. I can be completely hands-off or reinforce the lesson as needed. He spends 15 minutes of focused concentration on solving problems, and then he gets to be independent, creative, and have fun in the virtual world. I love to watch him get excited about competitions he’s won or changes he’s made to his avatar’s appearance.
A Child's Perspective
Dee thinks that the Smartick Method is a lot of fun. He likes that he gets to have friends and buy cool stuff like pets, costumes (have you noticed the wolf costume he's wearing, lol), and accessories. When he first saw he could get stuff in the virtual world, he said “Exactly what I wanted: a house and a dog!”
Dee is very competitive, so competing against other kids is what really keeps him coming back. The 15-minute sessions are good. He finds that the questions are mostly easy, but he still learns a lot of new things. (I have to interject that I’ve observed the program kick things up a notch or change topics entirely when he masters a problem set. So, easy? Yes, but only for so long.) Dee highly recommends Smartick for other kids and thinks they will love it, especially playing in the virtual world.
Smartick is a great way to learn important math skills and the perfect addition to our hackschooling lifestyle. We both recommend it for kids and the parents who want them to excel in math with minimal frustration. I say minimal because my son does occasionally yell at the screen. With his competitive spirit that's no surprise to me. However, his statement that the problems are easy lets me know he has regained confidence in his math abilities. And that is a good thing!
Try it for Free!
If our experience has made you curious, then head over to the website to see for yourself what Smartick can do for your family. Take advantage of the free 14-day trial which is just enough time to get a feel for how your child will like it. Use my link, and you will get a 25% off discount on your first subscription.
Share the Love!
If you find that you love it and want to share with your friends, like I am doing now, then you can also benefit from the referral program. You will get a $27 credit towards your subscription payment for each referral. Your recommended friend will get the same 25% off discount.
Have you tried it yet?? What are you waiting for? Tell me what you think about Smartick in the comments below.