An App for Math Word Problems that Helped Kim Open Her Salon

An App for Math Word Problems that Helped Kim Open Her Salon

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Kim envied her work-from-home friends. She’d been working at the hair salon two towns over for ten years, driving 20 minutes to and from work six days a week.


A couple of years ago, she started building her salon in her home basement, bringing clients to and from her home, and making more money without the studio’s overhead. It started with a little sink that her friend bought her, and from there, it’s gotten pretty busy, and in March of 2020 when the pandemic’s circumstances got in the way of many small business’ livelihoods, her vision of working from home was even more clear.


With two children at home and a husband who suffers from a disability, Kim wanted the flexibility of taking care of her family during the day along with the freedom to her own devices-- literally-- on her breaks.


As the pandemic’s circumstances started bringing more and more business to her home, she realized that this dream was a reality. She could quit her job at the faraway salon, leave the long hours and frustrating coworkers behind, and start running her self-made shindig.


But she realized the one thing that limited her customers. It happened around 5:00 pm every night, and it was never an easy solution. It was helping her kids with their math homework.


For her oldest child, Brooklyn, getting homework done as easy-as-pie. Her little 6th grader loved to learn, sit quietly, and apply her newfound knowledge to everyday things; like teaching the neighbors what a synonym was while wearing a “Miss Brooklyn” makeshift nametag on her pink t-shirt.


Brooklyn also loved playing on their tablet, challenging herself, and questioning her skills in trivia, puzzles, and word games. Challenges didn’t scare her in any subject except one: math.


Though Brooklyn was independent in every other subject, math was one thing she couldn’t get away from.


Kim could usually tell when Brooklyn was doing math homework when suddenly, a crack on the wall was more interesting than her work. It certainly wasn’t typical of Brooklyn to spend so long trying to avoid a subject. Kim could tell she was struggling, but that she didn’t want to tarnish her “good student” record by asking for help.


For Kim’s youngest, Kaleb, things were a little bit different. Kaleb’s energy was similar to an Olympic runner’s. Gym was his favorite subject, and since the pandemic didn’t allow for games like dodgeball, rope-climbing, and relay races, Kaleb was getting stir-crazy. Kim’s gotten several calls from the school about his high energy, constantly tapping pencils, kicking his feet, and bouncing in his chair. Though Kim knows it’s distracting to the other kids, she also never tries to suppress his energy. She used to send him to gymnastics, soccer, and rock climbing before they all closed, and since those were the only activities he’d look forward to all day, he wasn’t enjoying the fact that there was no alternative.


When it comes to homework, and especially math, he’s as distracted as ever. Though Kim resists, she knows that sitting over him is the only way he’d do it, though she knew she was wearing away at his independence.


Challenges

Kim’s dream to work from home wasn’t unpopular. According to PWC, 72% of office workers want to work remotely at least two days a week. Many workspaces have transitioned to 100% remote working situations, and don’t plan on going back even after restrictions are pulled.


Kim was planning on working 100% remotely from her home, as well. She’d loved the ability to have her space to her own, saving money on gas, and spending quality time in the space that she loves the most-- with the people she loves the most! 


Many of her clientele loved the after-school timeslots, as it was when they were finished with work. Kim knew that slot was what was keeping her from quitting the other job because she was always trying to help her kids with math homework at that time. If she just had those couple of hours for her peak salon time, she’d be able to afford way more than homework help for the kids.


She’d had enough with the endless struggles that all of her kids seemed to have with math. It was a lot like the struggles she had as a kid, and seeing her kids go through the same frustration and pain just made it hurt even more.


She knew that there had to be something that could help her kids with math, that would be fun enough for her kids to do on their own without her badgering them, and that could keep her updated with how they were doing, so she could stay in the loop even if she was working while they were practicing. A game, a toy, an app for math word problems that would allow her to get some extra clients in during their peak times while they're still learning.


Related: When Math is More Than Just a Losing Game


Finding Elephant Learning


Kim finding Elephant Learning was the turning point, taking her kids from tired and frustrated to energized and positive.


It had everything she needed in an app for math word problems; educational, gamification, and parent-inclusive.


The app starts with a placement exam, something each child takes so they can receive their Elephant Age. Many kids’ Elephant Ages won’t match their actual age, but with the platform, you can see improvement every time the child plays.


Let’s start with education: through the Elephant Age, Kim could track how much her kids were growing as they were playing on the platform, based upon their Elephant Age either rising or staying the same. Each game uses Immediate Adaptation, which means that as the child progresses, the game gets smarter and smarter in catering the game to that child. No negative points are rewarded, but rather lessons and topics are repeated until the child gains a full understanding of it.


Then, comes the entertainment. Gamification, meaning the platform is like a game, makes learning math more akin to playing Angry Birds than doing repetitive math sheets. It’s gamification of a proven curriculum that Kim’s kids loved.


Lastly, parent-inclusiveness. Since Kim wants to be involved in her children’s learning-- even if she’s not physically with them-- she needed a way to monitor their progress so she could be as supportive as possible when she can help. Playtime analysis shows Kim exactly what’s going on, so she can see where her kids are struggling and where they’re thriving without looming over their shoulders.


Related: With Katie’s Family, Math Works for School and Business


Kaleb’s Experience With Elephant Learning

Kaleb’s usual jumpiness took a seat on the backburner when he started his Elephant Learning journey. Kaleb can always take a rest with a good game, and when he started with Elephant Learning, he slowly but steadily started mastering it.


For some kids, it takes a couple of days, and for others, perhaps a month, to find the flow of seamless math learning. The joy of the platform is that it’s catered to any learner, so Kaleb never felt like he was falling behind.


Kaleb’s starting Elephant Age was a bit over his actual age-- a great place to start, and three months later, he was over a year older (in Elephant years!) than when he started. 


Brooklyn’s Experience With Elephant Learning

Starting on Elephant Learning with her brother was slightly less horrifying for Brooklyn, as being singled out for struggling in math would have stung. Her Elephant Age was slightly under her age; at 12 years old, she was at a 10.56. But, in three months, that skyrocketed up to over a year and a half, matching her age and continuing to fly past it.


Brooklyn’s playing on the platform felt just like it did when she was playing on the iPad; it was exciting, educational, and a little bit challenging, but unlike her math homework, it was a challenge she welcomed.


Kaleb’s Results: 


  • Age: 8.4 years old
  • Starting Elephant Learning Age: 9.00
  • Current Elephant Learning Age: 10.92
  • The difference after six months: 1.92



Brooklyn’s Experience With Elephant Learning

Starting on Elephant Learning with her brother was slightly less horrifying for Brooklyn, as being singled out for struggling in math would have stung. Her Elephant Age was slightly under her age; at 12 years old, she was at a 10.56. But, in three months, that skyrocketed up over a year and a half, matching her age and continuing to fly past it.


Brooklyn’s playing on the platform felt just like it did when she was playing on the iPad; it was exciting, educational, and a little big challenging, but unlike her math homework, it was a challenge she welcomed.


Now, Kim was able to quit her part-time job at the salon, and invest in herself. Because her kids were thriving, she could take clients on their peak-hours to support the family she loved so much, she shares a workspace with!

Brooklyn’s Results: 


  • Age: 12.1 years old
  • Starting Elephant Learning Age: 10.56
  • Current Elephant Learning Age: 12.10
  • The difference after six months: 1.54 years



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