It’s funny, in our house, math is fun for one child and the devil in disguise for the other. So we have had an interesting homeschooling journey with math. I know many homeschooling families struggle with math. Our oldest has struggled with finding a curriculum that works for her and my son can breeze through any math curriculum and be great. It’s an interesting dynamic! So, when we were given the opportunity to give Smartick a try with both kids, I thought it would be a very interesting review. Since one is math-man and the other would rather clean the bathroom than do math, I figured it would be a interesting.
What we found was – they both LOVE Smartick! What? I couldn’t believe it!
I had never heard of Smartick but upon my first examination it looked like it would be pretty good online math program to give a try. We have been pleasantly surprised and we have tried a LOT of math programs and online math resources.
So what exactly is Smartick?
Smartick is an online, comprehensive, adaptive program for ages 4-14 math students. It can be used by individual or in a school setting for classroom use. It is available on computer or in app form for smartphones and tablets. It is used for remedial math for those requiring that or for enrichment program for those looking to hone their math skills or get ahead in class. Smartick applies methodology from several learning methods like Singapore and combines different approaches and styles through various exercise like mental calculation, standard arithmetic, logic problems and word problems.
With just an investment of 15 minutes a day, you student works through a set of problems tailored to their level. The student goes through an extensive placement period in the program before the program starts with traditional practice problems that are both teaching and reviewing. Smartick does not follow State or National math standards. It is supported by the European Union and it’s being introduced now in the US. It currently is helping more than 10,000 students in 52 countries worldwide improve their math scores.
It works through typical problems, placing the student where he or she needs to start, reviewing concepts, and building on them to move on to the next level.
According to Smartick research, “94% of our students improve their grades in school.”
What you get with Smartick
A Smartick Subscription can be purchased here. You have the choice to pay by the month or annually and you are discounted for multiple students on the same account. Each student receives their own login account and the parent or teacher has their own account. The parent or teacher adds the students into their account and assigns them a username and password. The teacher then has oversight on the account. There are some great features in the Tutor account including providing incentives for achievement and seeing the progress of the students. The tutor account shows each student individually so you can look each student and see the problems they are doing right and areas where they need additional assistance. You can also see how much time they are spending, what days they logged on, how fast or slow they are completing the lessons, and their percentages. There is also a place to see where your student compares with the national average of students their age.
There is also a tab where you can see all your students on one page to see where they are with the percentage scores. There is a feature in Smartick that emails the tutor when with results of each days lessons. I received an email after each child completed their daily lesson and an email in the evening if they never completed their lesson for the day. This was nice when I’m giving them some independent working time and seeing that they completed their session. The email states they have completed the lesson and shows their percentages, the number of problems they got right and wrong, if they corrected them and those scores, and shows the type of problems they worked on. It also states when they were fast or slow on the lessons and some other information or advise on what they need to work on or what they did well.
This information is all available in the tutor account but I liked that it was concise in the email I received. I can see the feature of individual emails being exhausting for a schoolroom teacher but for a parent I think it’s excellent!
Working in Smartick
The program is easy to use, easy to work through and very bright and colorful. I liked that only one math problem is displayed at a time for the student. They are not overwhelmed by lots of problems on one screen. They work through the problem and then hit enter to move on to the next problem. There is a pop up keypad available if you child prefers to click the numbers rather than hunt and peck on the keyboard. This was a nice feature that I didn’t know was there but my 7 year old intuitively found.
Also, there is a function that allows the problems, most problems, to be read to the student. This was VERY important to us as my son is a very beginning reader and doesn’t want to READ during math time so having the option to have the problems read to him is important. There was some inconsistency in this though where some of the problems just didn’t have this ability and I had to read it to him. Otherwise, it was great when it was there and that was over 80% of the time, I would say.
There is a thermometer looking bar on the left side of the page that tracks the students ticks that are earned. They earn them as they work through the lesson. They really liked this and set goals to get to a certain point. They can watch it go up as they move through the lesson. If the student gets the problem incorrect, the explanation shows up in a pop up box at the bottom so that the student, or parent or tutor, can go over the answer with them. My daughter did this on her own unless she had a question. My son and I worked through this together.
Once the lesson is complete the student sees how many he got right and wrong and is given the opportunity to redo the problems he missed for additional ticks. I never had to ask them to redo their missed problems, they just did them. Probably motivated by more ticks but whatever it was, they did them again without hesitation. Then, after all is complete, they have access to the fun area. This is a very motivating area for kids. We have worked in other programs that has a game area with avatars you make and dress and rooms to decorate and they ALWAYS love this. I don’t really get that but then I don’t understand Minecraft so what do I know, right? But they both love it.
They use their “ticks” as money to buy things like clothes for their avatar, pets and room decorations. They can use one to throw a suggestion in the wishing well and then can play games in the area as well. They can see all their awards and they can play games once they have completed their lessons. The games falls into several categories: attention, perception, memory and reasoning. I loved these games. I felt like giving them 15 minutes for games after math is completed is great when they are educational and thinking games. My daughter’s favorite was Tic-Tac-Toe and my son’s favorite game was Chameleon.
As a tutor, you can provide rewards/incentives in the program and program them by the student so you can individualize the rewards. You can base it on completing a lesson, an amount of time or so many ticks. I liked this feature and played with a little, giving them things like “special treat for dessert” or “pick out something from the Dollar Store” after completing whatever goal I assigned. They liked that this just popped up. However, my son missed it a couple of times because he can’t read well and clicked it off, not knowing it was about an incentive. It would be nice if the program announced that you had a new incentive or something. But otherwise, I think its a great feature!
The kids really enjoy the games and decorating their rooms. I don’t know what’s so motivating about dressing an avatar and cluttering a virtual room but it seems to work. They both were excited to save up their ticks for a pet.
So, overall, we really liked Smartick and use it regularly. Though the program suggests use 7 days a week, we typically use it 4 days a week and that seems to work for us. As a supplement to our other programs, it seems to be a great fit. My math-phobic daughter seems to like it. Though she gets frustrated with problems from time to time, she doesn’t really complain that she has to do Smartick, which is a really nice benefit of the program. And I have noticed marked improvement in her basic understanding and comprehension during her math lessons. I would say that Smartick has been a win for us all around!
And you can sign up for a FREE TRIAL OF SMARTICK by clicking here and see if it’s a good fit for your family!