Has motivating somebody else ever motivated you to work harder?
Kimberly’s two sons sure have, but it took some time until they found the perfect tool to do it.
See, Kimberly’s sons both have dysgraphia. Dysgraphia is when an individual struggles with writing, spelling, and typing. The struggle is sometimes misunderstood, because those who struggle with dysgraphia actually know exactly how to convey the information they’re trying to give out.
They just struggle with how to write the letters to form into words or type them out on a computer.
They know exactly what they want to say, but putting it down on paper is a whole different ball game.
In the case of young children and students, it’s even more difficult for them to navigate dysgraphia when parents don’t understand how to help them.
Of course, parents want to help the best they can. They want to learn the best ways to keep them from struggling, but continually ask themselves, “how do I teach her to write neatly?” or, “how do I get him to type as fast as his friends?”
But much like somebody from a different language trying to understand what you’re saying, those who don’t struggle with dysgraphia and other learning disabilities sometimes don’t know the proper solution.
Good thing that these two brothers had each other.
Though Kimberly isn’t a single-mom, it can sometimes feel that way. Her husband’s a full-time chef, which means that time off is not really in his wheelhouse. Even during the holidays, his hours are the same--and in fact, are usually even longer.
While he’s working hard to make ends meet, Kimberly works as a stay-at-home-mom raising their two sons.
Bennett and Noah have a close relationship. Even with a three-year age gap, they always find an excuse to play together, even if it means not getting their schoolwork finished. It’s all fun and games when they’re at home, but when it comes to going to school the next day, their time isn’t always as pleasant as a nice game of tag.
When 8-year-old Bennett goes to school, he’s constantly combatting his dysgraphia, which is an impairment in writing, typing, and spelling. His driven personality makes him eager to want to learn, but when school involves more and more writing and typing, it’s definitely not easy for him to keep up.
Bennett’s strength is his ears. He recalls information best through hearing it spoken, and though he’s a great listener, his favorite sounds are the sounds of the bang and clash of the remote controller when playing video games with his brother, and not his teacher lecturing about math.
“He is an auditory learner,” Kimberly explains, and he loves to play games so it doesn’t feel like school.”
Bennett’s older brother Noah, 11 years old, has some school struggles himself. Like his brother, he’s dysgraphic, but unlike his brother, Noah’s also dyslexic, which means that both writing and reading are challenges for him.
On top of all that, Noah also has a speech delay, which lands him in a lot of classes that aren’t with his friends. Many times, he feels alone, and being separated from his classmates definitely takes a toll on his self-confidence.
When his friends are out at recess, he has to stay inside and drill speech.
When his friends are performing experiments in science class, he has to work on his typing skills.
When his friends are reading a great book in English, he has to practice handwriting.
Constantly working to combat these struggles not only pushes him down because he can’t see his friends, but it also makes him feel like his brother can’t look up to him.
Although he plays with Bennett like they’re best friends, he secretly wants his little brother to see him as a role model-- as a brother and as a student.
Unfortunately, though Noah’s currently in 6th grade, his math level is at that of a 2-3rd grade level. If he’s going to want to be in his friends’ classes next year (and be the big brother he’s always wanted to be), he’ll have to buckle down.
When Kimberly found Elephant Learning, she realized that her kids had another chance at catching up with the rest of their peers.
Because Elephant Learning is a gamified math academy, it feels a lot different from having a teacher sit over your shoulder. This is especially great for Bennett, who can almost always be found playing video games after dinner instead of finishing up what’s left of his after-school assignments.
Each Elephant Learner begins with a placement exam that drops them in the most appropriate level and Elephant Age for a personalized and accurate learning system.
Elephant Learning also implements UI Aging, meaning the more advanced the lessons become, the more age-appropriate the games become. That way, though Bennett and Noah are both using Elephant Learning, their games are catered to their own age-group, so Bennett isn’t playing a game that’s too challenging and Noah isn’t playing catered to kids younger than him. Both brothers are improving in the same math academy, but are working at their own speed and skill-level.
When Bennett started Elephant Learning, his Elephant age was at 3.5. His constant struggles in math got him always trailing behind his friends, and Kimberly was worried that things would just get worse.
As Bennett progressed through the game, he quickly started advancing. Much like in his video games, he utilized his sharp focus and inquisitive audial learning abilities to quickly begin mastering the games. His age started climbing up and up, and after four weeks, we went from age 3.5 to age 6.46.
Though Noah wasn’t sure if he’d like playing the same math game that his little brother was, he gave it a shot. Starting out at age 4.6, he had a long way to go if he wanted to get placed in the same class next year as his friends.
Once a week, he sat down, got focused, and plugged into the game, determined to show his little brother just how much hard work goes into success.
In two weeks, his age slowly inched its way up, higher and higher but at a slower pace than he thought.
Then, one day, a lightbulb hit.
He began connecting the concepts together.
He started understanding the mathematical consistencies that he was learning in the game, and how what he wasn’t understanding in school were all easily solvable.
He got ready to close up his game for the night, when he looked at the screen: that day, his age had jumped up from a 6.9 to a 7.5. Typically, a student's Elephant Ages will gradually rise: this is big.
He smiled to himself before getting ready for bed. He knew that when he told Bennett this, he’d see his big brother for what he is: smart, capable, and responsible.
He’d look up to him, and be determined to get his Elephant Age up, too.
Kimberly beams every time she checks her email and sees her kids’ Elephant Ages rising. Not as much because of their actual age improving, but at the sheer knowledge that her sons are motivating each other to work harder and harder. She finally found a math academy that worked.
Bennett and Noah were teaching each other the meaning of success, and with some brotherly love and competition, they’d continue to challenge each other until they'd reach the same level as their friends.