Maths. It’s one of those subjects your children either love or hate.
For some, getting their head around number patterns, learning their times tables, and mastering long division is just too much to bear. But maths has been considered ‘boring’ for far too long.
It’s such a valuable subject, that teaches your children skills for life. Skills they will need to employ almost every day in their adult life. So it’s time to start a revolution. It’s time we started celebrating maths and making it fun.
Here, are five fun resources you can use – either at school or in the home – to make learning maths a blast:
We’re witnessing a technology boom, and children of all ages know their way around an iPhone or iPad better than many adults. If this sounds like your kids, you should embrace their tech-savvy nature and make maths fun with an app or two.
There are plenty of apps for children of all ages and abilities, making this a great aid for many parents. A quick browse of the app store on your mobile or tablet will bring up a plethora of free and paid for apps, designed at teaching different skills.
If you don’t own a tablet but still want to make the most of these more modern methods, the World Wide Web is by far your biggest ally.
There are a whole host of websites and online games designed to make maths fun; many of which, your children won’t even see as learning. Again, do your research and find out the best ones for your child’s age and ability, but you won’t be short on options.
Mashable recently posted their pick of ‘5 Fun Ways to Help Children Learn Maths Online’. You can check that out here for some inspiration and places to start.
3. The TV
Believe it or not, your kids can get clued up on maths by watching the TV.
Children’s television has always had a strong focus on learning, but this has only increased in recent years. Now, your kids can watch some great programmes that are all geared towards making maths – and other subjects – fun and interesting.
There are also a number of dedicated revision services and programmes available via your television which can be a great aid for older children. The TV is a great maths teaching aid as it doesn’t really feel like learning, but you’d be surprised at what your children pick up on.
Some children learn better by ‘doing’, which is where these more tangible maths aids come in. Games like Times Table Snap, Primary Numbers Bingo and Fraction Towers are all great ways you and your children can play and learn together.
There is also a lot to be said for ‘playing shop’ with your children. Write a price list for things you can buy from their ‘shop’ and ask them to be shop keeper. Do your shopping and ask them to tally up the amount in their head. You can then get them to work out how much change you’re owned and what coins they could give you.
This is fun and something you can do for real if you take your children along when you do the weekly shop. These aids can be brought online or in local toy stores and are a must-have for parents looking to make learning maths more fun.
Never underestimate the power – or fun – of a good workbook.
Some children will prefer this method of learning as it is similar to how they’re taught at school. You can get loads of work books aimed at different age groups online, and go through them with your little ones.
Choose ones with bright colours, loads of images and plenty of variety. If you can work through the more fun games and puzzles, you will be able to foster a love of maths. You should also buy puzzle books like Sudoku’s and other number puzzles for your children. They keep the brain active, and are a great way of learning new skills.
There are plenty of fun resourcess for learning maths that you can purchase for your children, and a whole host of ways you change your kids’ perception of the subject. Sure it can be hard at times, but it is a hugely important subject and one that can be fun when you look at it a new way.
Clare Evans is writing on behalf of Core Assets, the largest private agency for fostering in the UK, and recent winner of the Global Diversity Award 2013.
Helen Littlewood is a busy mum of 3 who, along with her team at Gingerbread Kids, has developed a cool math iPad app called Math Machine. The original Math Machine app came in English and Maori and the new Math Machine with Spanish app launched this week helps kids aged 5-11 years old, learn math in English and Spanish. The Math Machine app covers several important concepts from the Common Core for Math. While they’re playing, your kids are gradually mastering: • sequential counting up to 20, 40, 100 and 1,000, • instant recall of times tables, • the relationship between doubles and halves and how to estimate answers, • different representations of numbers: how a fraction relates to a decimal number and percentage. You’re able to choose which language to play the Math Machine in, with both the audio and written instructions presented in your language of choice. The illustrations on Math Machine are gorgeous and add a rich dimension to this easy to play app. Every level has the same format, numbers fall out of the cloud and need to be dragged into place . Math Machine with Spanish is FREE this week (20-27 September) on app store. The original Math Machine costs $4.19. Math Machine with Spanish comes with both the English and Spanish options built in. Grab this beautifully illustrated bargain of a math app for your kids!
Technology is a huge part of teenage lives today. Modern high school students are comfortable with technology, and just about every one of them has access to a smartphone, tablet or computer. Technology also has something of a negative stigma. Parents are usually looking for ways to limit screen time. This technology, however, can have positive uses and impacts on student lives. There are a variety of useful math apps students can download for free or very cheap to their iPhone or iPad.
There are a variety of apps, some free and some for a few bucks, that turn an iPhone into a full graphing calculator. Gone are the days when parents were forced to spend $80 or more on graphing calculators for their students’ algebra and geometry classes. This math app for high schoolers does everything you would expect from a graphing calculator, including draw functions and perform advanced calculations.
This $3 app gives students an algebra tutor right on their phone. The Algebra Touch math app provides a series of lessons and practice problems that explore the concepts of middle and high school algebra. The app is great for visual learners because students can swipe to manipulate the problem right on their screen. The app also provides step-by-step instructions for students who are struggling to learn the concepts.
This $2 app is like downloading an interactive math textbook to a smartphone. The app covers all areas of high school math, including algebra 1 and 2, geometry, probability, statistics, trigonometry and calculus. The app has an incredible amount of information and content for its price. While it is not as game-like as other teaching tools, it does give students the tutorials, examples and practice they need to be successful in their math classes.
While this free app is not strictly a math app, SAT Up covers math, critical reading and writing as presented on the SAT exam. The SAT is an important part of any high school student’s life, and its scores have a large impact on that student’s access to colleges and chance of academic scholarships. Math is a key area on the SAT, and preparing for the math section of the test usually takes some hard work on the student’s part. This app gives students hundreds of practice SAT questions so they can get accustomed to what the test contains and get an idea of how they might score. It will also help them identify weak areas where they could use some more practice or tutoring.
This free app is a database of important math formulas covering all areas of high school math and beyond. Students often struggle with math questions because they cannot recall the proper formula or are unable to find that formula in their textbook. This is an excellent companion study too to help students who may be drowning in formulas.
This high school math app is free and has an incredible level of useful content. The app covers all areas of math with multiple courses and hundreds of lessons per course. The lessons are delivered via video recording, so students can listen to instructions and watch examples as if they had a live tutor. This is a great option for students who may be struggling to learn from textbooks alone and need more instruction beyond their class time.
Apps can be a great way to support your child’s learning. Rather than taking technology away, reinforce that there are positive and constructive ways to use that technology. Especially if you have a struggling student, these apps and others like them can put your child back on the path to success.
This post is contributed by Christine Maddox. Currently she is pursuing her Master’s degree from University of Texas as well as blogging for www.4nannies.com. She loves to write anything related to parenting, kids, nanny care etc. She can be reached via email at: christine.4nannies @ gmail.com.
I’m glad that we’re back into some sort of a routine, but am wondering how I’m going to survive yet another 9+ months of getting up super early.
Whether you’re homeschooling or sending your kids to school, it’s likely that you’re reading the Maths Insider blog to find out how to put some spice in your child’s relationship with math!
Well as a Back to School gift to you, I’ve got together once again, with Bon Crowder, fellow math blogger extraordinaire, from Math is Not a Four Letter Word to bring you some math inspiration freebies.
Once you’ve signed up (oh! and btw we won’t share your email with anyone else!) You’ll get 9 days of fresh math ideas including:
The Maths Insider Interviews – steal ideas from real life maths teachers
The Four Facts of Math Video – If you don’t put these 4 facts into action you risk another year of maths hating
If You Give a Man Some Hands – the coolest little hand drawn cartoon ebook to share maths ideas with your child
The Super Math Giveaway Preschool and High School Packs – the coolest apps, You Tube channels and podcast for teens and apps, hands-on activities and toys and games for little ones
and much more…..
Click through to the Super Math Giveaway website to find out more and to start receiving your free maths gifts!
You see Jacob Klein and his team at Motion Math have produced some of the coolest IOS apps from the cute Motion Math:Hungry Guppy for little kids to the zoomingly fab Motion Math:Zoom for kids young and old.
Questimate! and Questimate Pro are the latest apps from Motion Math to use their zoom technology to show just how cool math really can be!
Questimate! is an estimation game where kids make their own questions:
How many giraffes would be as tall as the Statue of Liberty?
How fast is the world’s fastest train?
How many jelly beans would it take to fill up a soccer ball?
In what year was the cell phone invented?
and lots more questions based around the categories of Amazing Animals, Need for Speed, History of Awesome, and GeoOdyssey.
Estimation skills are a really important part of kids math development and are a requirement in the Common Core Standard. Questimate makes estimation fun!
This cool math app is aimed at kids aged 9 and upwards, but you’ll see from the video below of my 6 and 12 year old boys playing Questimate (with some help from their 14 year old sister and their 4 year old brother) that the app has broad appeal.
You can also see from the banter in the video that my kids loved Questimate!
Questimate! is the free version, which you can see my kids playing. There’s also Questimate! – Pro which gives access to the full range of cool questimation questions!
Motion Math have given me 2 promo codes for Questimate! – Pro for the iPad worth $7.99 each to give away to Maths Insider readers.
As far as math is concerned, most kids in the U.S. are not making the grade. Former math teacher at Stanford, Jo Boaler, published What’s Math Got to Do with It?: How Parents and Teachers Can Help Children Learn to Love Their Least Favorite Subject in which she offers great advice for parents struggling to help their children love math. She outlines practical solutions meant to change perspectives including study strategies and tips to make even the keenest book lover appreciate math. Boaler believes that kids could be interested in mathematical ideas as long as they’re fascinating and eye-catching. Games, easy puzzles, and patterns are great ways of making bookworm kids fond of math.
Math fun with M&Ms
Who doesn’t love M&Ms? They’re colorful, fun to play with and of course, delicious. Kids will love to sort them by color, count them, and eat them. It’s equally important for parents to ask their kids questions like: “How many green M&Ms do you think you have?” “How many M&Ms are in total?” Appealing to their senses and tricking them into getting out of their comfort zone is an excellent way of helping them love math. A lot of parents think that there’s no way to make their bookworm children appreciate mathematics. As far as kids are concerned, remember this: there’s always a way to catch their attention, you just have to find it.
Every day chores may lead to math opportunities
Most every day chores involve math skills. Therefore, as a loving parent you should find the best ways to make your kids love it. Shopping, cooking, planning trips, cleaning, they’re all related in one way or another to mathematics. For example, you should start by including daily activities that include numbers, but try not to scare your kids away with demanding tasks. Make a pie and ask for help from your kid. Let him measure ingredients and the experience won’t just be educative, it will also be entertaining. Your toddler may be a book person, but still, who can say No to pie?
Math and literature are like yin and yang
While that may be true, we all know that opposites attract. Did you ever think of recommending your child a book with math concepts? It doesn’t have to be something obvious, and as long as the text is perfectly combined with the math, your kid will love it. Parents must constantly find ways to draw their children’s attention. Check out the math related story books in the Go Read Some Math post. You could organize weekly ‘book clubs’ and spend more time together. Appeal to his logical side and try to see if you can make him more curious about math. Early childhood brings about an array of hobbies, so your kid will want to be doctor today, a pilot tomorrow, and who knows, maybe he will end up an engineer 20 years from now.
Teach your kids to play chess
Rather simple at first, chess is a really complex strategy game. It requires great analytical skills, so you can’t know if your kids have them or not unless you teach them. Take things slow and make them understand the rules first. Try as much as you can to do it in a fun way, and try not to put pressure on your toddlers. To make them feel good about themselves, let them win every once in a while. It’s really important for parents to be supportive as far as learning math is concerned, and board games are a fun, engaging way to make such an exact science seem more laidback.
Math is everywhere
We cannot help but admit that math is everywhere. As a parent, you need to take advantage of that if you want to make your bookworm kid love numbers more than his beloved Juggle Book by Kipling. Numbers are constantly present in our daily lives, and to make things interesting for kids you need to come up with facts. Watch morning weathercasts together and calculate simple equations, use fractions for fruit divisions, and if you just bought a lottery ticket, allow your kid to fill in the numbers.
As parents we cannot force our kids into liking math; what we can do is make use of smart techniques that will make them like it. You may not realize it, but fun learning methods could awaken your child’s interest in math. Without proper encouragement you won’t be able to convince a bookworm child to give up reading.
Author Bio: Davis Miller is a fun loving guy who loves to play with children. He is a writer and his articles are mainly focused on school-going children. Apart from that, he also works for a site http://www.yorknotes.com/ which is an ultimate guide to Exam success.
My 2 youngest children aged 4 and 6 have a heap of iPhone and iPad apps that they love to play, including some math ones. Last month I put a call out on my Maths Insider Facebook page and my personal Facebook page for cool and educational iPhone and iPad apps for preschoolers. I’ve gathered the best suggestions, our household favorites and recommendations from other websites to compile this in-no-particular-order list of 16 of the best iPhone and iPad preschool math apps.
Help your child learn he basic foundations of math with this beautiful app from Montessorium. Your child can get a head start with reading, writing and understanding the numbers from 0 to 9, including sequencing, odds and evens and spatial relationships. The help also introduces basic problem solving and fine motor skills. Intro to Math is a Universal app that will work on the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. Exercises are based on classic Montessori equipment and include:
RED RODS – understand length, by arranging the rods from longest to shortest.
NUMBER RODS – an introduction to the idea of quantity, and how it corresponds to numbers.
SANDPAPER NUMBERS – concentrating on the symbols of the numbers, and how to write them.through a number of guided tracing exercises.
One of the most enthusiastic math apps that I’ve come across! Game instructions are delivered by the voices of Milli, Geo, and Bot so your child can’t fail to get excited about math while using this app.
Your child will use mighty math powers to explore Umi City by playing five math games:
•Toy Store – A counting game
•Number Bubbles – A number identification game
•Race Around Umi City – A number comparison game
•Up! Up! And balloons! – An addition/subtraction game
•Rolling Toy Parade – A number line game
These cool games are leveled, and designed to increase in difficulty. Appropriate hints are given to support your child as they practice and build their math skills. There are also player profiles that allow more than one child to play and save their progress.
The Numberlys app is more of a “short film” experience rather than a game. It presents a fanciful depiction of the origins of the alphabet in a land where only numbers exist. Numberlys is huge in scope. According to Moonbot, the creators of this Universal app:
“It’s an adventure! A mystery! A game! And a story! It’s a new way to entertain, learn and rediscover our storytelling “golden age””.
Primarily an app for writing letters, this app features a number writing section. Your child will help Mr. Crab collect the numbered balls by dragging him with their finger – and drawing the letter or number at the same time. Once all the letters or numbers are drawn properly, a cute drawing appears. Your child can then tilt their device to slide the letters/numbers into the spinning hole and advance to the next level.
My own kids have spent many a session practicing their number and letter formations on this cute app. The perfect blend of visual and audio cues and rewards make this an effective yet relaxing game for preschoolers. Need more convincing?
from A Touch of Learning:
“Its got an intuitive interface for young children. It has high quality graphics and effects. I have no hesitation in recommending this app for children ready to start learning to write. To me, this is exactly the sort of app I am looking for in my quest to have apps that are fun, but teach my kids something really useful in the real world.”
“The whole app is delightful to behold. Bright background colors are juxtaposed against equally bright and scribbly child-like artwork that convey the word being spelled. You and your child will enjoy tracing your finger along those necessary building blocks of language. With its memorable artwork and way cool physics engine, it is sure to entertain and teach your child.”
Perfect for building up fine motor skills and spatial awareness with easy to move shapes that snap into place on top of silhouette puzzles. Each puzzle has 5 to 10 pieces & after positioning all of the pieces, the real image is revealed along with a professional voice recording of the word spoken by a licensed speech therapist that specializes in early child development.
Shape Builder encourages cognitive thinking and introduces preschoolers to animals, produce, objects & numbers and the alphabet in a fun & engaging format with great sound effects! Shape builder features a total of 158 puzzles including the numbers from 1 to 20.
Take a look at some of the puzzles (and a singing preschooler!) in the video below:
Your preschooler will join Count Von Count from Sesame Street in this cool app full of classic Sesame Street counting videos! The Count teaches your child to touch the screen and count along with Cookie Monster, Ernie, Grover and other Sesame Street characters.
Curriculum skills covered include number recognition, counting and making choices.
A fun and shiny game for your preschooler, Monkey Math School Sunshine is a great, easy to use math game for your little one. A cute cheeky monkey guides the child through game play with animated celebrations for correct answers and gentle redirection for incorrect ones.
The game automatically adjusts the challenge levels to each individual player. Your child collects prizes to fill their very own interactive aquarium.
There are 9 interactive games that teach kids about sequencing, patterning, counting, adding and subtracting:
?ADD IT UP and TAKE IT AWAY Use addition and subtraction skills to solve math problems with multiple-choice answer options.
?PATTERNS Monkey has a problem: Objects keep popping out of his bucket, creating a pattern – but one piece is missing! Help Monkey by completing the pattern with the choices provided.
?SHAPES Is it an octagon? Or maybe a hexagon? Count each side of these shapes and help Monkey figure it out.
?SEQUENCES Monkey has a group of numbers in the right order, but some are missing. Help him complete the sequence with the correct numbers.
?LESS/MORE Monkey loves to blow bubbles, when he does, groups of shells, fish or turtles are inside each bubble! Use your expertise to figure out which bubble has either the most or least objects inside.
?BIGGER/SMALLER Which bubble has the bigger number? Which bubble has the smaller one? Help Monkey figure it out by popping the correct bubble.
?CONNECT THE DOTS Baby Turtle is stuck on the beach and she needs your help to get to the sea! Connect the dots to show her the way.
?WRITE IT UP! Help Monkey learn his numbers by tracing them in the sand.
?BUBBLE POP Monkey is running out of time! Pop all the bubbles that have either the right number or the right amount of objects inside before the time runs out!
This Disney Learning interactive app that helps kids practice essential early math skills. Children join Nemo and his undersea friends in lots of fun-filled activities that reinforce early math skills, including: counting and tracing numbers, counting and matching the number of objects in different groups, number identification, and sequencing.
Parents can track progress and results for up to four children in the parents’ section. They can also record all the numbers in their own voice. The game also includes activity suggestions that can be played offline.
The developers at Motion Math have a whole suite of excellent, high quality, engaging math apps for kids, and Motion Math: Hungry Guppy is no different. Aimed at kids aged 3-7 years, it’s easy to play with kids just needing to drag and drop bubbles to feed their fish.
Hungry Guppy encourages learners to build a strong sense of addition and understand what numbers represent – for example, “???” and “3” have the same meaning.
• In the Dots levels, young children who don’t yet know number symbols can practice addition. They’ll learn, for example, that ? + ?? makes ???.
• In the Mixed levels, kids will learn number symbols. For example, ??? and 3 have the same meaning, even if the dots are in a different alignment or in funny colors.
• In the Numbers levels, learners can practice adding numbers up to 5, seeing the many different ways to make a sum.
Bugs and buttons is a beautifully executed app which lets preschoolers and beyond practice primary math skills such as counting and sorting and secondary skills such as pattern finding, tracking, path finding and fine motor skills.
There are 18 skill adaptive games and activities including:
• Flinging bees at a target flower.
• Flying a butterfly through butterfly valley (tilt to steer).
• Playing tic-tac-toe with a dragonfly.
• Sorting and packing buttons fresh off the factory conveyer belt.
• Racing roaches across the finish grate/line.
• Removing and sorting bugs infesting the button production.
• Catching bugs frantically scurrying about.
• Picking apples while dodging bees.
• Catching buttons falling off Uncle Bob’s button truck.
From the same developers as Bugs and Buttons, the Bugs and Numbers universal app provides an extensive collection of unique games focused on helping kids to learn and practice a wide range of math skills in a non-traditional way. The game is organized into three basic stages, the app grows with your child through 18 games ranging from basic counting to early fractions.
Designed around a bug city, activities include serving bugs food at the local diner that happens to spin on an old vinyl record, or helping ferry ants across water in an egg carton. It’s fun, unique, as well as being educational.
Math skills taught in the 3 stages are :
• Number and shape identity at the circus
• Practice left and right on an old arcade machine
• Seek and find while counting at a junkyard
• Tap and count while serving food at the local diner
• Paint by numbers at the gallery
• Match numbers and shapes at the hotel
• Count to 100 at the garage
• Trace numbers and shapes at school
• Arrange sequencing on a xylophone
• Comparisons at the theater
• Sort, count, and tally at the store
• Math with 10 on the ferry
• US currency on the old claw machine
• Practice time at the train station
• Find patterns in the zen garden
• Work with fractions at the pizzeria
• Measure length and weight in the lab
• Addition and subtraction on the gameshow
The video below by Children’s Technology Review tests out the Bugs and Numbers app.
In this game brought to you by Sesame Street, Bert teaches your child to count the surprising things he finds in his bag including marbles, bottlecaps, and even Ernie’s rubber duckie! Your child gets to count along with Bert while improving their number recognition, counting and following instructions skills.
Your little one gets to hop on the train with Spacey the elephant and help him focus his memory while on the way to the circus. Memorize the characteristics of objects passing by and recall them to earn stars, badges, and peanuts.
Kids will be challenged to remember things like:
“What color was the shape?”
“Which one was green?”
“What number just passed by?”
“What 3 things just passed by?”
The game supports up to 4 different player profiles so multiple children in the family can play.
GazziliMath is a great choice for children who are just starting to understand how numbers and math covering numerals, counting, addition and subtraction and more. This universal app features 6 engaging, exciting math-based activities that help build the foundation for understanding basic math concepts for little ones!
When your child completes each concept/activity, a portion of the ‘GazziliFunPage’ come to life.
GazziliMath also builds hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills as children.
I’m Lawrence Ball, I’m a veteran maths tutor in London, and I’d like to show you a really effective way to learn times tables, that I’ve used for over 30 years with my students. It’s a way to make them easy to remember, but also to help you learn to relax whilst concentrating, and for that to develop further in all situations.
Here we go. Lets use the 2 times table as an example.
There are 2 phases to this: “Sequences” and “Jumbles”.
Getting friendly with times tables sequences
Write down all the numbers from 1 to 12 in a column
Next to each of these write down the result of multiplying that number by 2
If you get stuck you can always add 2 to the previous number, but as you practice this repeatedly, you’ll find that the need to count disappears, memory works like the magic bubbles it works best as.
Practice this often, until it becomes really easy.
In my book, ease is most important, followed by pace and accuracy next, although they are all important.
I find that students can get the time down (yes, do time yourself) from often as high as 90 seconds to 15 or even 10 seconds.
When the sequences have become easy, fast and accurate, move on to jumbles.
Getting friendly with times tables jumbles
Write down the numbers from 1 to 12 in a column, but this time write them mixed up, so as to ensure no number comes below its predecessor. (eg in this order 2 7 4 9 10 1 6 5 12 8 3 11).
You can make your pen dance up and down as you write 1,2,3,4, &c (“boing, boing, boing”).
Beside each number write the result of multiplying by 2.
This is more difficult, as it forces you to rely purely on memory, so its tougher at first, but if you got to finding the sequence easy, it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch.
By the way, do cover up the previous tables as you go along (I call the paper that covers the previous tables a “tablecloth” ? ) to avoid “cheating”.
Making the times tables friendship firm
Timing the times tables is also a good idea. You can see how much quicker you’re getting, you can measure your brain muscle, so as to speak. The jumbles also will start slower (probably!) but my students can get times down to 15 and often 10 seconds as with sequences.
Master each times table before you move on, starting with the lower tables (or wherever you aren’t absolutely sharp), and the 5s could be learned before, say 3 and 4… its not critical, but it can be encouraging to learn the easiest first. Some folk find that 5, because it divides into the base for our number system (10), is good to do after the 2’s.
This is a flavour, a feeling for what you need to do. It may help to write templates for sequences and for jumbles, and print them out, saving you a lot of time. Maybe get your parents or computer to make them, or you could hand write one sheet and have many photocopies?
That’s it. It can be very relaxing and effective, the idea is to create and promote ease within yourself. One thing schools don’t emphasise enough is that learning should be easy. (Maybe they’re worried that you might slacken off if you pursue ease?) But its much better for you to enjoy the process (and why not I say) and to learn to be happy and joyful while using your mind in a focussed way.
For more clarity watch my vimeo video “Making Friends With Times Tables”
Lawrence Ball is a long-term maths and dyscalculia tutor in London (www.lawrenceball.org) (but also composer and musician), with a history of helping with motivation and difficulty, as well as with maths material. He has tutored privately including extended royal family, and all 4 children of Lady Helene Hayman, and has had big success in helping pupils with Dyscalculia He has developed ways to teach basic arithmetic which are innovative, and that promote relaxed concentration. He lives in North London.
Each month thousands of people come to the Maths Insider blog looking for unbiased information about Kumon. When it comes to math tuition, Kumon have cornered the market for center based tuition, but if the high cost and the mixed reviews from parents and teachers alike have you searching for an effective alternative, then Thinkster Math could be exactly what you’re looking for.
About Thinkster Math
Thinkster Math is an online program which, like Kumon, offers an individualized K -Grade 8 math program, except using digital worksheets and video tutorials. One of the major added benefits of Thinkster Math is that a real life math tutor not only checks over your child’s work, but provides feedback to you weekly about their progress. The Thinkster Math content is aligned to the Common Core which all states in the USA use in their math programs. It’s also based on the Singapore Math program which is one of the world’s most respected math program. There are also worksheets tailored for the UK and Australian curricula.
I tested the Thinkster Math program for 2 weeks with my 6 and 12 years olds. Initially I was cynical, as to how Thinkster Math would be any different from the thousands of math apps available, but my kids are used to being guinea pigs for testing out new math programs, and the fact that they could do their work on an iPad while slouching around the house really appealed to them.
How Thinkster Math worked out
After signing up and my kids doing their diagnostic tests, a welcome email from my kids Thinkster Math tutor landed in my inbox giving me some insightful feedback on their tests and inviting me to connect on Skype to discuss my kids study plans. Cool! Throughout the trial any questions I had about Thinkster Math and my kids work were answered quickly and efficiently. It was obvious that my kids Thinkster Math tutor was personally overseeing their work and making adjustments to their study plan when needed. [edit: The Thinkster Math program now also offers one-to one coaching sessions with experienced math coaches]
Being a busy mom, I didn’t read all the detailed instructions on how to use Thinkster Math, but the simple interface on the iPad made it easy for my kids to work it out for themselves. I was worried that the lack of game play and avatars that many online math programs and apps have, would be a turn-off for my kids, but there are a few unexpectedly simple things that my kids liked about Thinkster Math:
they seemed satisfied with the simple audio and big tick that announced a correct answer,
they loved the second chance they got if they got the answer wrong first time and the chance to go back and try questions they’d missed out.
they appreciated the immediate feedback that the app gave at the end of the worksheet,
they liked the personal feedback from the tutor the next day after she’d reviewed the work,
my 6 year old also loved the detailed breakdown of how long it took to answer each question, looking to see his fastest time!
My kids didn’t use this, but there’s the ability to “flag” a question so that they can get more detailed feedback and help on that particular question.
Other things we liked about Thinkster Math
Our Thinkster Math tutor spotted that although he’d got all the questions correct, my older son had used an over-long method, and suggested he watched the video tutorial before the next worksheet. Also she could see that my younger one did know his number sequences, even though he got the last few wrong, because he wanted to go out to play and just typed random numbers to get the worksheet finished! The things that make Thinkster Math a good alternative the Kumon are:
No marking your kids work, the system does it
The clear video tutorials that your child can watch if they want
It’s half the price of Kumon
No traveling to a center (Yay!)
Thinkster Math covers the whole math curriculum including problem solving. Math is more than just arithmetic and algebra
The flexibility to discuss and change the study plan
A real math tutor to guide your child through the program, way cheaper than the $30+ per hour for a private tutor and $80 per hour at a specialized learning center
A system that tracks the speed of work to show your child’s confidence level for every question, just as teacher observes students in class
The individualized but flexible study plan based on your child’s actual work as well as on their results
Thinkster Math free trial
Thinkster Math offers a 1 week trial, which is definitely worth checking out if you have a 5 – 14 year old. Over that 1 week period you’d get a pretty good idea whether Thinkster Math would suit your child’s learning style. After the free trial Thinkster Math plans start from $60 but Thinkster Math are offering Maths Insider readers a 10% a month discount on their subscription for the first 3 months. To grab your free trial and 10% discount for 3 months, click here
Disclosure: After writing this Thinkster Math review, I was invited to join the Thinkster Math team as a part time instructor. (I might even be your child’s Thinkster Math instructor if you sign up from Europe) After seeing behind the scenes of the Thinkster Math system I’m even more impressed, but I’ll still be continuing to share plenty of other cool math ideas and resources here on Maths Insider!
Mathematis is a universal educational app for iPhone that helps speed up kids addition, subtraction, multiplication and division??.
With a bright aliens and space theme, set on the faraway planet of Mathematis, your child has to save the peaceful Mathematians from the bombs of their evil nemeses, the Innumerators, by solving math problems. For every math question solved correctly, a Mathematian’s spaceship escapes their war-torn planet; get a question wrong, and the ship is grounded.
The game is suitable for kids aged 4+ and has customized settings so that your child can play at their correct level whatever their age. For young kids, set a low limit on the answer range to make sure they’re getting easy question. Increase the limit as your child’s skills improve.
I really like the game’s bright graphics and the built in “Do Over” mode which let’s kids have another go at questions they skipped or got wrong. There’s also a parent page where you can track your child’s progress.
Mathematis is a great app for practising arithmetic skills. It doesn’t teach kids how to work out the answers, so is best used as an app to reinforce and improve your child’s mental math recall. The audio on the game is also really loud, and you’ll need to go into your phone’s settings to make it quieter, which isn’t so great for us parents with sensitive ears, but the developer assures me he’ll make the sound adjustable in the next update!
Maths Insider is giving away 3 free app store codes for Mathematis. To grab your free coupon code for Mathematis, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “I want Mathematis”
I’ll pick 3 people at random after 9am GMT Wednesday 12th June 2013.
Competition now closed. Congratulations to Ada, Chloe and Maryam who won a free app store code each for Mathematis!