Endless Competitions Didn’t Stop These Boys from Winning Gold in This Kid’s Math Program

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Curtain up on two dancers, competitively-ranked but resistant to any sort of kids math program. Their dreams were winning their studio’s gold medal at their final competition, with “getting an A in math” nowhere near in the equation.

Through their strong ambitions set them apart from others, no perfect pirouette or leap was able to help them pass math class with flying colors without a new system.

For James and Alex, every failed test was like a fallen jump; shooting for the stars, but falling face-first into the ground, watching everyone else continue on without picking them up to help them finish.

Their mother Elizabeth wanted nothing less than for her three kids to be happy and excel in their schoolwork. She was helping her daughter, the eldest, with her finances during her freshman year of college. Though her daughter had earned a partial scholarship, she still needed help getting by with the rest of her expenses from her mom.

Elizabeth felt a similar feeling trying to gather up college expenses for her daughter as her sons trying to pass math class: just scraping by is not enough.

Elizabeth and her children’s father had a rough split several years ago, leaving the family with no contact or financial support. After the big change, her career move was banking, and although it sounded like a great job on-paper, supporting three kids without a second income definitely sucked out a lot of the funds, and adding on more for an expensive kids math program was not in the books!

One thing’s for sure, though: her sons’ talents have gotten them far. They’ve both been in dance classes since they were little, and they got so good that they landed a spot on the competitive dance team at one of the best studios in the state on a full scholarship. And talk about a competition team!

Every weekend, Elizabeth would drive her boys hundreds of miles to various competitions around the area, admiring them for their strong talent and at the same time grateful that they could stay despite her tight finances. But somehow, just like she was with her money, she felt like they were always on thin ice with their grades.

Dance was and had always been a priority, but with more and more grades coming in throughout the marking periods, Elizabeth was sending a downward pattern and was starting to wonder if there would ever be a way back up.

Related: Kids of All Abilities Learn Math Faster with Elephant Learning


James, 14, is the second-oldest after his sister. His high achievements in dance have gotten him far, but at a cost that may be what was holding him back in the classroom.

His chronic perfectionism in the dance studio may have gotten his studio gold metals, but it didn't translate to his math work. He suffers from anxiety and has to see a therapist weekly to address his emotions openly. They both found that often, his anxiety comes from what he's struggling with within school: math.

His younger brother Alex doesn’t suffer from perfectionism, but perhaps the opposite. When he’s sitting in math class, he daydreams about the books he gets to read in English. He's always trying to fit in another book, whether while driving to a competition or on the bus ride home. Problem is, he'd prefer reading all night if it meant he didn't need to do math.

Elizabeth was in quite a predicament. She couldn't pull her boys from the one thing they loved in the entire world-- and that they were so graciously getting financial assistance on. She wanted to take advantage of the experience they were getting from being on a team, so math had never really been a priority.

But when she saw their most recent math grades, she knew something had to change. 

Finding Elephant Learning

For busy families like Elizabeth’s, a gamified kids math program that worked from anywhere with internet access has become the new and improved tutor. The ability to take them anywhere and still get the intended results can change a child’s experiences when they’re back in the classroom on Monday morning.

For Elizabeth’s boys, that’s exactly what happened.

Part of the reason she first started the program was realizing how effectively the platform helped kids in such a little amount of time. Before she started Elephant Learning, she’d been suggested by her local homeschooling friends and their tutors that their kids would spend almost every single day with.

That meant five hours a week, times two kids. Not gonna happen.

Elephant Learning’s team not only suggests but recommends that students limit their game usage to thirty minutes per week; ideally, ten minutes per day for three days a week.

That means that they could work their math on the bus ride home, or for thirty minutes on a long car ride to a competition over the weekend, and Alex would still have time to fit in a book!

Another part she loved about her groundbreaking new kids math program was the ability to stay in the loop, because as a single working mom with three kids, she often felt outside of it. She envied her friends who were able to pick their kids up right outside of the school and help them with their homework. For her, it was from work to dinner to dance class to sleep.

With Elephant Learning, parents are constantly emailed their children’s progress as they continue to advance their EA, which stands for Elephant Age. Elephant Age is the ranking unit used by the platform to track a child’s growth. It’s determined by the initial placement exam done at the beginning of each child’s program, awarding them a given age and tracking the rise of the age as the child progresses through the game. 

Every time James and Alex finished their session, playtime analysis, tracking systems, and suggested activities showered her with the knowledge and connectedness to understand exactly where they were at in the game along with helping her be the best math coach she could be.

Related: This Family is Learning Math and Getting Their Weekends Back

James’ Experience with Elephant Learning

Elizabeth was a bit nervous starting James off with Elephant Learning. His anxiety not only stemmed from extreme perfectionism, but also from change. Introducing new things to him was exactly why she'd been avoiding trying any solution in the first place.

Surprisingly, James showed little signs of resistance or distress.

For him, starting the placement exam was less nerve-wracking than a test, because it was on a platform that felt more like the games he played than the still tension of a blank sheet of paper.

James started with an Elephant Age of 9.20 years, 6 years under his actual age. Come to the end of the six weeks, and his age had grown 2.45 years to an age of 11.65 (and growing!). Both he and Elizabeth now had a sense of relief when the word “math” was brought up in the house because they both understood that it was much less stressful than they’d thought it would be. 

Alex’s Experience with Elephant Learning

Alex had a similar experience as his brother. He started with an Elephant Age of 9.54 years, 2.5 years below his actual age. By the end of the program, he’d aged up over 2 years, leaving him with an age of 11.80. 

Usually, when Elizabeth had to bring James to therapy, Alex would play games on his iPad, but now, he had the chance to get his math practice done for the week. It made him feel more focused and productive so that when his brother was finished, he could go to dancing class feeling like he’d accomplished something. The best part was, the game took little time away from him being able to read, so it didn't feel like he was in school hours after it was over.

Sometimes it's not always the amount of time, but the quality at which a platform can work. Elizabeth found her family's math fix. Did you?

James Results

  • Age: 15 years old
  • Starting Elephant Learning Age: 9.20 years
  • Current Elephant Learning Age: 11.65 years old
  • The difference after six weeks: 2.45 years

Alex Results

  • Age: 12.6 years old
  • Starting Elephant Learning Age: 9.54 years
  • Current Elephant Learning Age: 11.80 years
  • The difference after five weeks: 2.26 years

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