We’re pretty committed to our math program. I don’t like exploring math programs or different curricula in math, because overall I like to stay pretty hands-off in the math department. I’m totally serious that a year of Calculus destroyed this English major’s former love of math forever. I’m still pretty fond of basic algebra and any other useful life math, but beyond that, ppppbbbbbbttttttthhhhhhhh. So when I found a program that teaches my kids math and leaves me out of it, I was like, “Wahooooo!” I bought the program and never looked back. In fact, usually when the opportunity to review a math program comes up through the Homeschool Review Crew, I say, “Sure, I’ll do this, but then under ’cause of death’ on my death certificate, they’re going to have to write ‘Math,’ and you will have guilt.”
Are we clear about my views on reviewing math programs? And yet, we recently reviewed a math program called Smartick from the Smartick company. Good news–we’re alive! In fact, our Smartick experience has been quite enjoyable! I know–I’m surprised, too!
I’m going to let my kids do most of the talking here, but I do want to say a few things about the program before I turn the mic over to them.
The Smartick program is in my opinion a supplemental math program. It incorporates some reading comprehension and logic skills with math skills. As the children move through the program, it assesses their skill level and moves them forward accordingly. It’s kind of like the sci-fi movies where technology begins to control human beings. Okay, so it’s not like that, but it is smart technology.
After (and only after) the drills are completed, the children can play games. They can choose a character and they can decorate that person’s house, buy stuff, make friends, etc. There’s a store for purchases, including pet purchases. (We have a few virtual pets which suffered a bit while we were moving. Sorry pets.)
The great thing about the program is that the kids are working their brains with no help from Mom. That said, because of the social aspect, I do recommend parents are involved or that the screen with internet access is in a central location, like the living room. In our case, the users are in the living room of the travel trailer, so they’re always under watch.
There is a social aspect to the program. My kids are not allowed to accept any friend requests from anybody except siblings, but they did receive many. This is a touchy subject in the parenting world, so I want you to be aware of it.
This worked on our computer, I-pad, Kindle Fire, and Android phone, according to my son who is the brains behind this review.
Now for some words from the users. I had four users aged 4, 7, 11, 13. I didn’t help anybody with anything apart from setting three of them up. Here’s what they had to say about Smartick:
“I love it!” ~Eliana (age 7, second grade)
“I love the games. I like that one marshmallow game. [laughter] I like how you can buy stuff in the shop with your stars like pets and plants. I bought a frog! I haven’t been able to take care of my frog because we’ve been moving and working on the house. [sad sounds] It helps me with my math a little bit.”
Ha ha! It helps her with her math quite a bit! It’s an excellent reinforcement tool for what she studies in her math program. It gives her some reading practice, too, although she does need to use the “read it for me” tool. (That must have a different name, but that’s what I call it.) And there’s some logic usage thrown in besides.
“I like it…a lot!” ~Rebecca (age 11, fifth grade)
“It’s fun. It’s a math program. It kind of just gives me problems and lets me figure them out, even if I don’t know them. I like it because it’s fun. I like that you can change your person’s clothes and stuff. You can see other people, and you can challenge them to games and stuff. [She means “friends” that she has accepted. In our family, this is limited to her brother and sister.]
“I like the games, like the marshmallow games with the happy little flame. At the store, they put stuff on sale sometimes, like they would do 50% off. I bought a cat.
“It sort of helps me with my math skills, because I need to use math to play the games. But some of the stuff is kind of hard for me, and it doesn’t teach me how to do it. My brother helped me. [The kids take placement tests and nobody is supposed to help them, but Daddy and Big Brother, the softies, helped the girls and so they were not placed appropriately, which made the levels too hard for them.]”
“Smartick is a program for math drills.” ~Elijah (age 13, eighth grade)
“It gives you math drills, and then every once in a while it gives you a math video lesson. It was helpful at reinforcing math, but it can’t be your only source of math education. My only problem with the drills is that they only told you that your answer was wrong, but didn’t tell you why.
“Once you’re done with the drills, it lets you play brain or logic games. The games are placed in different categories based on age, so there’s something for each different person. Plus the games are fun.”
I will continue to give the kids daily access to Smartick (they do about 15 minutes a day whenever we are available, which is usually, although lately we’ve been in mayhem). This is perhaps the biggest recommendation for a program–when we keep using a program after the review period has ended.
Thanks, Smartick, for a painless–let me rephrase that. Thank you, Smartick, for a fun math experience! I hear this a lot: “Mommy! Mommy! Can I do Smartick?” And I always say, “May. May I do Smartick? And, yes, you may.”
As always, I’m happy to answer any questions. If you’d like to read more about Smartick from other Homeschool Review Crew reviewers, please click here.
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