On a regular basis, I get approached by app developers who want me to try and share their newest offerings. The app market is exploding, and apps can be powerful tools in our tech-saturated lives. Whenever I think I can make an honest trial of an app, and I think it will be of interest to you, my readers, I’ll give it a go.
When the creator of Smartick Math Method reached out to me to share the app, I proposed something a little different. Instead of just trying the app and sharing how my boys responded, I would give them pre and post tests on their math skills – the snag being that this would take a lot longer than a typical review. The developer agreed and supported the longer time frame.
I need to let you know – when I began my preliminary perusal of Smartick, I was taken aback at the price. Full price on a monthly subscription is $40 – that’s per month. I remember thinking, That’s a typo. When I realized it was not, I seriously considered contacting the developer and explaining that the price was so far out of line with other apps that I doubted my readers would give it a chance.
Here’s the thing I learned, though. Smartick isn’t just another app. It’s not an app that will entertain your children while allowing them to practice some skills – giving them highly desired screen time and assuaging parental guilt.
Smartick is a math method. Students using Smartick are learning and practicing real math concepts. My boys called me over more than once to get some level of help. Most of the time, I discovered that it wasn’t so much that they couldn’t understand the math as that the method introduces and explains mathematical concepts differently than other resources we’ve used. In all instances except one, “helping” ended up simply being talking with the boy about what he was seeing on the screen. (The exception was the time one of the boys “spaced” during the concept introduction, then panicked when he found himself being presented with puzzles to solve without having really paid attention to the concept.)
Using Smartick is straightforward:
- The parent creates the account and then creates a student account for each child.
- Children can log in via that app or via a web browser on a desktop or laptop computer.
- Children complete daily sessions that average 15 minutes each. (Note: The very first session for each child took longer than 15 minutes, but after that, we found that 15 minutes was a very solid expectation for completing the day’s activities.)
Now, we did a couple things differently than Smartick recommends.
- Smartick recommends daily activity; I required my children to only work on school (week) days.
- Smartick recommends the children complete activities independently, without parental help. Really, we did abide by this for the most part – the exception being when the children were disoriented because the method approached concepts differently that they were used to.
- While I required my children to complete activities daily… sometimes, frankly, that didn’t happen. I honestly believe that using Smartick would have had a stronger impact if they had used it every weekday as assigned.
In case you’re wondering why I shared that last bit: I wanted this to be a “real world” test. Our children get their schoolwork assignments daily, and are required to check off independently completed tasks (which would include Smartick). My children are very…. normal…. in that they forget to do things sometimes, they procrastinate sometimes, and they make poor choices on occasion. #justsayin This simply happens (it happens with me, too.). With other activities, we generally make it up the next day. With Smartick, there’s really no way to “make up” a missed session, and I don’t think it would work, anyway. I believe the key is in the targeted information, provided and reinforced in short bursts of daily practice.
Speaking of “real world:” I mentioned above that my son “spaced” (day dreaming, perhaps…?) and missed an explanation. This happens to all of us, and Smartick includes access to “tutorials,” so reviews are a snap. Here’s a very short peek at the explanation of the commutative property of multiplication:
Let’s take a look at the results. Two different sons, two different experiences.
For pre and post test purposes, I had each boy take the initial math assessment available on Moby Max. I actually created separate accounts for the pretests and posttests – I wanted the boys taking the exact same tests, and did not want the system comparing the results; I wanted to do that. Moby Max seemed a great option since it is aligned with Common Core, like Smartick. Two of our sons are within the target learning levels for Smartick, A and M. Both boys were assigned to complete a Smartick session daily, Monday through Friday, for eight weeks.
My comments: A adored Smartick. In spite of his enthusiasm for Smartick, A missed nearly twice as many sessions as his younger brother. (To be honest, I think this is more about his stage of development than Smartick. He’s 12, and is beginning to display the same absentmindedness and loss of direction his older brother did at his age.) When he did have a session, however, he nearly always requested additional time to “play” the games. His Smartick results show skill development specifically tied to that game activity.
These results were more significant to me for a couple reasons – which, I think, show the real strength of Smartick.
While M has always performed admirably in his math work, his brother A consistently demonstrates a natural aptitude, one that has been remarked upon by adults he’s worked with in our community. Yet, M made nearly a leap of a year’s level in just eight weeks.Although M missed a few sessions as well, he was far more consistent than his older brother and it shows in his progress. Notably, M had no interest whatsoever in the game options available in Smartick, and in spite of skipping the “extra” practice, showed real progress.
I think it’s important to note that, while Smartick is aligned with Common Core (which may or may not work for you) and learning standards developed by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (carries a lot more weight with me), it is not intended as a stand alone curriculum.
If you’re curious about how Smartick might work for your child but not yet ready to commit, here are a couple options.
- Try the free 15 day trial
- see just how well your child engages with learning
- follow her progress via your parent login.
- Take advantage of their summer pricing special
- Enroll in the month of July, and enjoy the following rates and save up to 36%
Visit Smartick’s website today and see for yourself.
I received limited-time, cost-free access to the Smartick Method for testing and review purposes. Any opinion stated in this post is mine alone and influenced by no one else. I received no compensation for this post. While most posts on this site contain affiliate links, this particular post does not.