Recently my husband and I have been playing around with the Khan Academy – I’ve just finished study for the year so it helps to keep my brain working properly, and my husband has been looking for ways to stretch his brain as well. They have a reasonably new ‘Mission’ section, the first of which is ‘The World of Math’ which covers everything from the very basics through to very advanced stuff – a lot of these things I’ve never done before, or haven’t touched on since I finished high school.
After using it for a few days, we decided to set our eldest up with her own account. She has accounts with education websites which are all aimed at primary aged kids. The Khan Academy has a lot more streamlined look, it’s more grown up, and doesn’t have any of the cute gimmicky stuff that a lot of places use to attract the attention of the young.
Amazingly, she loves it. She has switched onto it so quickly and asks to ‘play’ all the time. Sometimes she will spend hours at a time ‘playing’ maths – I LOVE that those are the words she uses too, because it shows that she is finding this FUN. Maths should be fun, not something you feel forced to do. I really feel as though kids learn their best when they find the motivation within themselves.
What I love most about the Khan Academy is the way that you can navigate and jump around the different areas of maths – she can pick which ones she is interest in and progress in a manner of her own choosing. She’s already ‘mastered’ some areas, and she loves seeing her scores change and each area go from needs practice through to mastery. If she doesn’t know something she can watch the videos or use the hints available, and if those fail then she will come to me and I can walk her through it until she has the confidence to go back to working on her own.
I love that she is able to take her education in her own hands. Find her internal motivation. Realize how fun learning can be and WANT to do more of it. These are all things that she couldn’t grasp within a traditional school setting – it’s only since being home that she’s found any desire to learn and has been able to find motivation within herself. I never want to be the ‘teacher’ that stands over her and tells her what to do, so it’s terribly exciting that she’s finding her passions and the skills to make progress on them, knowing that I am there to back her up and help her when she does need it.
Thanks Khan Academy!!