Thanks to Smartick for providing complimentary online subscriptions. As always, all thoughts and opinions are strictly my own.
As a homeschooling parent, I consider myself to be a bit of a workbook junkie. I don’t like to use workbooks as the sole basis for learning, but I do find them useful for daily drills and practice sessions, just to help reinforce what we are learning. I have tried many, MANY different brands of workbooks, and I do have a few favorites. For math, I personally find the Kumon workbooks to be top notch and have used them with my children since they were each around 2 years old.
I find the illustrations to draw the children into the work, and I find the problems to be appropriately challenging and for the lessons to build on each other in a way that makes sense. These are the Kumon workbooks that my kids are using right now, just to show you that I really do use them and believe them to be worthwhile!
But at the end of the day, even my favorite workbooks just can’t seem to provide my kids with the same results that we are getting from the online resource Smartick.
With a workbook, unless you are hovering over your child while she works (which my kids do NOT like!) you won’t know until she’s all finished if there are some mistakes. It’s a book, so there’s no feedback loop unless you are providing it.
With Smartick, you know immediately if you got an answer wrong, and you are shown the correct answer. The child can choose if they want to sit with that information for a minute and figure out why they got it wrong, or they can decide to give it another shot after their daily session is finished, at which point they are offered the chance to make corrections. This is often when I will sit with my girls and determine if they just made a sloppy error before (such as accidentally putting in the numbers wrong) or if they don’t seem to understand how to get to the correct answer, and then we break it down on a sheet of paper and try to figure it out. I personally just notice that going back over incorrect work on worksheets doesn’t seem to produce as many light bulb moments because they have mentally moved on from the problem when they learn that there is a mistake. With Smartick, the feedback loop is much tighter, and I think we get better results that way.
Additionally, my girls both seem to get a great deal of enjoyment out of the “ticks” they earn while doing their work, and trading those ticks in for pets and accessories for their avatars. All I can offer them for their workbook efforts is a sticker, and they are WAY more into their Smartick rewards, I promise!
So while I still find the Kumon books useful as a reinforcement, and for times when I have a child in a waiting pattern for a period of time (such as during a sibling’s ballet lesson), Smartick is definitely the superior resource for helping my children truly master what they are learning. Since the program is sensitive to what each child is getting right and wrong, it also does a much better job of bringing back up different types of problems to check on mastery and to help ensure the child really gets it. With a workbook, once you’ve done the problem set, that’s it, and you move on, whether or not your child actually understands the material.
Smartick sessions last 15 minutes each day, by design. It just asks the student to concentrate and give a good effort for a short, doable period of time, and my girls love that. They know their Smartick sessions won’t take forever. 🙂 You can check out Smartick for free for 7 days, or you can enjoy a 25% discount on a membership by using my referral link (if you use it, I think I’m also offered a discount on my subscription as a thank you). It’s absolutely worth checking out! We are getting our best results ever through the program.