For many parents, the most daunting thought of homeschooling their kids this year is knowing where to begin.
Some of you may even feel like your fears about homeschooling are similar to your concerns about your child’s school experience.
Here’s some data that might surprise you.
According to a survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Education in 2016, “About 3 percent of students ages 5 through 17 were reported as being homeschooled, representing 1.7 million homeschooled students in 2016.”
Can you imagine how many more homeschooled students there are now, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic?
The practice of homeschooling is certainly not new, and neither are the reasons why so many parents choose to homeschool their kids.
According to the same Department of Education survey, 80 percent of parents in 2016 chose homeschooling due to “concern about the environment of other schools, such as safety, drugs, or negative peer pressure.”
If you asked a parent in 2020 why they are homeschooling their kids, it’s likely “safety” would still be a popular reason.
A major difference in 2020, though, is that many parents don’t have a choice in the matter.
Schools are still in limbo about their re-opening timelines, leaving parents with no choice but to teach their kids while they wait.
Another reason for homeschooling, according to the survey, was that “Seventeen percent of homeschooled students had parents who reported dissatisfaction with academic instruction at other schools as the most important reason for homeschooling.”
There are plenty of parents out there who feel this way, regardless of whether they choose to homeschool or not.
Harlow is one of those parents. She’s a mother of three who wished she wasn’t so uncertain about her daughter Penelope’s math abilities.
Harlow says, “I wasn’t exactly sure where Penelope was mathematically, but I also didn’t feel that she was where she could be.”
Plenty of parents sense that their children could be further along in their math skills, but they don’t have any data or examples to justify their feelings.
But your feelings are valid, and parents like Harlow can follow their intuitions to find help.
At 6-and-a-half years old, Penelope was already building important math skills with her mom, Harlow.
“We had worked on counting to 100, counting by 2s, 5s, 10s,” says Harlow, “and she knew some addition.”
Harlow wasn’t worried about Penelope — but she was worried about the learning environment she observed at Penelope’s school.
She says, “The kids who could excel were held back by the ones who weren’t [doing as well].”
It’s understandable that parents like Harlow worry about their kids getting bored — or worse, unmotivated — when they have to slow down for their peers.
A lot of parents feel that way, and many of them turn to homeschool as the solution.
But the solution itself can be challenging.
Harlow says, “We have three children and I’m homeschooling all of them.”
Three kids. One mom in charge of their schooling … and their meals, and their activities. You don’t need the full list to understand what Harlow — and so many of you — are facing.
“I just want to make sure that I am giving Penelope every great resource possible,” explains Harlow. And who could blame her?
There’s no lack of desire to support our kids.
But the new challenge becomes sifting through all the available tools and trying to decide what’s best.
You might be lacking a sense of direction; “Where do I begin my child’s math curriculum?”
Or, a sense of reliability; “Is this a credible tool I’ve found?”
Or, a sense of effectiveness; “Is this going to have a lasting effect on my child, or is it a waste of time?”
Thankfully for Harlow, she found Elephant Learning met those criteria, and she’s already seeing the results.
The Elephant Learning app assessed Penelope’s math skills using engaging math games.
Based on her first few games, the app determined Penelope had the equivalent math skills of a 4-year-old.
The app then provided Penelope with math games that were appropriate for her existing math skills, making the playtime easy and fun.
As she began to master those math skills, the app began introducing more challenging concepts for her to learn.
Along the way, Harlow could log in to Elephant Learning and see the data insights she was so desperately craving.
She could see which math concepts Penelope had already mastered, and which ones she was still struggling to learn.
That made Harlow’s job easier.
Rather than guessing what she needed to do, Harlow could rely on Elephant Learning data to show her which concepts needed reinforcement.
And those math concepts didn’t even have to take the shape of formal lessons.
A busy afternoon of chores for Harlow could be an opportunity to ask Penelope to help her sort the lunchtime vegetables into equal groups.
Or perhaps Harlow could spend a few minutes on the couch with Penelope and ask her to show her how to play one of the Elephant Learning games.
But if Harlow was having a particularly busy week, she could rely on Elephant Learning to keep pushing her daughter at a comfortable yet challenging pace.
She didn’t have to feel like she was neglecting Penelope’s learning by relying on a math app for kids.
And she didn’t have to worry that she would miss a critical insight into Penelope’s progress.
Elephant Learning was empowering Harlow with the data she needed whenever she was ready to review it.
It was also empowering Penelope to keep exploring her math abilities without the constraints of other people — adults and kids alike.
After averaging 30 minutes of gameplay each week on Elephant Learning, Penelope mastered over 3 years’ worth of math concepts.
Within six months, Penelope became a half-year ahead of her 7-year-old peers.
Just as important: Harlow became an empowered parent who knew exactly where her daughter was, and where she was headed.
Elephant Learning’s mission to empower kids on their math learning journey means parents get to feel empowered too.
Empowerment nowadays is a truly precious feeling, and it is not beyond anyone’s reach.
“I just want to make sure that I am giving Penelope every great resource possible.” - Mom, Harlow
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We are not common core. We created our system independently of any other curriculum or standard as a way of "starting over" and "doing it right." Having said that, we cover the essential topics and treat mathematics as a language, so we are compatible with ALL curriculums and standards including common core.
Many parents find common core frustrating and confusing. Our system is straightforward, and our reports allow parents to understand how we intend to teach each subject. We also provide activities that parents can do with their students to take learning outside of the system.
We cover from counting through Algebra. We have seen students as young as 2 years of age achieve success. If you have an older student who is struggling with upper-level mathematics, it tends to be due to a misconception that occurs in Algebra or earlier. Our system will detect gaps in understanding and fill them with activities that were proven by third-party research to teach the concepts effectively.