How Marsha’s Change in Her Kids' Math Education Led Them to Greatness

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We get it-- math isn’t fun.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t make it fun.

Khalia, Haskell and Jozette are all wildly different archetypes with the same problem: math is not fun.

Their parents are always looking for new ways to make education engaging for their three kids. Marsha, their mom, is a stay-at-home mom, and their other mom is a P.E. teacher.

Though one parent is working in education, it’s a subject that’s mainly centered around everything young kids love-- throwing, hitting, running, jumping, and moving. She doesn’t really need to worry about trying to get her students engaged in activities, because for them, gym is their favorite period.

Marsha’s time spent working as a stay-at-home mom comes with its challenges, the biggest being getting their three kids-- all uniquely adventurous and inspired in different realms-- to enjoy learning math.

Meet Khalia, Haskell, and Jozette. All of them with vastly different personalities, all of them who love creating, building, and discovering, and all of them not-so-much into the math portion of their education.

Khalia is the oldest, at 9 years old. She loves to read, is an uber-perfectionist, and loves a good challenge when her mind’s in it. Problem is, she knows when a topic is too difficult for her interest, and so when things get challenging, she’ll veer back into the words in her books for comfort and familiarity. Sure, she loves the art of mastery, but when outside factors begin showing her that there’s a slim way out, back to the books she goes.

Haskell is 6 years old. He loves uncovering solutions, especially in puzzles. For him, perfectionism and coloring inside the lines-- literally-- sounds almost as bad as math itself. While his sister is always drawing conclusions from her stories and daydreaming about her books coming to life, he’s looking at the bigger picture, finding the problems and inconsistencies and drawing up solutions to fix them, whether through building, sculpting, or molding structures into creation.

Jozette is 3 years old. Like many 3-year-olds, she loves destroying things. Jenga is her favorite game, and finding a lego building that’s just itching to be pushed to the ground makes her day. Especially at her age, Jozette needs an engaging educational game that doesn’t resemble any sort of assigned work. At almost three years old, she can’t even pretend to like something she doesn’t.

When deciding on working with Elephant Learning, Marsha wanted to give Khalia, Haskell and Jozette a game that didn’t feel like a game. “They all 3 love to play and create, and they learn best when they don’t realize they are learning,” Marsha explained, a couple weeks before signing up for the program. “My hope is that the program will draw them in and leave them wanting to do more rather than feeling forced to put their time in.” Though most classrooms strive for this type of environment, many, especially math classrooms, seem to fall short.

And it’s not really the fault of the students or the teachers.

Psychology Today notes that a lot of factors affect the initial-- and sometimes elongated-- hatred of practicing and perfecting the subject of math in school. In fact, most negative associations come from outside stimuli.

Judy Willis, author of the Psychology Today article, notes that stress centered around math comes from a variety of triggers, including pre-existing stereotypes, parent’s opinions on math, the difficulty of math as it gets more and more advanced, and the fear of making a mistake.

“Joy and enthusiasm are absolutely essential for learning to happen,” Willis writes. “--Literally, scientifically, and as a matter of research. Attentive focus and sustained effort are limited brain commodities.” And if there’s no joy or enthusiasm, it’s much more difficult for kids to actually attain the information they’re studying, no matter how long they’re sitting in front of their textbook.

Many people, both young and old, have come from a long line of pre-existing frustrations with math, as well as the sheer fact that math isn’t all that easy to most people.

In Lawrence Potter’s Mathematics Minus Fear: How to Make Math Fun and Beneficial to Your Everyday Life, the classroom is described as a place that doesn’t necessarily induce positive learning. 

“Just like any environment, the conditions of the mathematics classroom affect its inhabitants. The fear of getting an answer wrong means that for most the best chance of survival is silence” (Lawrence 4). 

When fear is being overpowered by the yearning of mastering new skills, results can get disastrous, as has been decades upon decades of math failures, tears, frustrations, and negativity surrounding math.

Finding Elephant Learning

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

When Marsha began working with Elephant Learning with Khalia, Haskell, and Jozette, she realized how easy it was for her different little learners to get the individualized attention they needed.

With Elephant Learning, each student’s lesson is personalized to their own specific needs.

Each child participant starts off with a placement exam, which assesses their skills and gives them a unique Elephant Age. For kids, it gives them a lift-off point to where they will start in the game, and for parents, it begins tracking to create a detailed report of how their child performed and how it created their Elephant Age. 

Best of all, these assessment results are thorough enough to bring to any tutor, teacher, guidance counselor, or other educational leader who may benefit from having additional information on how they’re doing.

After the placement exam, your child will begin the learning process with the gamified platform! Elephant Learning suggests to parents that children should limit their time on Elephant Learning to one hour per week to prevent overworking or overstimulation. 

As the parent, you’ll receive everything you need to be your child’s best advocate and support system, by having access to their progress reports in your email inbox so you can always take note of how your kid is doing.

Marsha’s experience working with Elephant Learning definitely changed the way her kids approached math. Just look at the results below!

Khalia’s Experience with Elephant Learning

With Khalia being a perfectionist and a word wizard, getting her to love math was tricky when all she wanted to do was read books. When she started Elephant Learning at age 9 years old, her Elephant Learning age was a bit lower, at 8.72 years. After 17 weeks on the platform, her Elephant Age skyrocketed to almost 13 years old. She was able to learn math more and more, without making it feel like she was eating up all of her time from her reading and creative thinking.

Haskell’s Experience with Elephant Learning

Haskell’s work in math was struggling even more than his big sisters. His Elephant Age started out at almost 2 years below his actual age. In-school math wasn’t cutting it, and he wanted to stretch his mind to solve problems while also having fun doing it. After 17 weeks of Elephant Learning, his age jumped up over 5 years to an Elephant Age above 9 years old. He was suddenly solving math problems for kids three grades above him-- and loving it. Math is no longer a chore for him, as he uses Elephant Learning as a means of utilizing his strategic, problem-solving mind.

Jozette’s Experience with Elephant Learning

Though little Jozette wasn’t as old as her big siblings, Elephant Learning is helping her get a leg up coming into grade school. Her age actually started higher than her current age, which meant she hadn’t been struggling yet. With Elephant Learning, her age jumped from a 3 to a 6, meaning she was doing math problems akin to those in kindergarten and the first grade whilst she was in preschool.  

Related: How Kingston Learned Nearly 3 Years of Math Despite his Struggles with ADHD

Khalia Results

  • Age: 9 years old
  • Starting Elephant Learning Age: 8.72
  • Current Elephant Learning Age: 12.75
  • The difference after 17 weeks: 4.03

Haskell Results

  • Age: 6 years old
  • Starting Elephant Learning Age: 4.17
  • Current Elephant Learning Age: 9.32
  • The difference after 17 weeks: 5.15

Jozette Results

  • Age: 3 years old
  • Starting Elephant Learning Age: 3.00 
  • Current Elephant Learning Age: 6.00
  • The difference after 7 weeks: 3.00

More Case Studies

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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.

What subjects does the system cover?  What ages does it work for?

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.

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  • A math Tutor can easily cost $55 An Hour Per Week. With One Child. you Save $165 A month
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