Kenesha’s Adversity Didn’t Stop Her From Helping Her Daughter in Math

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When Kenesha was pregnant with her daughter, Cassadee, she had a plan: she’d take maternity leave, and once it was over, she’d go back to work. She savored her time with her daughter, especially knowing that it wouldn’t last forever.


Once her maternity leave was over, she headed on back to work, but something had changed.


Suddenly, things weren’t so clear. She struggled with the work like she never had before. Not much had changed at her job, either; she had the same supervisor, and though there were a couple of new hires, nothing outside was knocking her off.


It was on the inside that changed.


During her pregnancy, Kenesha had developed chronic brain fog; a condition that impaired her ability to think clearly. Brain fog can come from a plethora of factors, from not sleeping a full eight hours, to drinking too much alcohol, to being around technology too much. 


Kenesha had no idea where it’d come from, but suspected that it came from her often sleepless nights with Cassadee when she was younger. Yet, many parents had gone through the same sleepless nights, and turned out fine, and Kenesha didn’t drink alcohol frequently, and didn’t go on her computer any more than the next person.


Nonetheless, seven years later, it was still there, and had gotten significantly worse. About 3 months after returning to work, her brain fog got so severe that she had to stop working completely, and even started becoming eligible for disability checks.

Challenges

Kenesha wasn’t able to help Cassadee like her other mom friends did. Her husband worked for an auto shop, and was getting higher and higher up in the ranking of becoming the next co-owner if he played his cards right. 


Though she wanted to work, she also loved seeing her family succeed. She wanted to help at home as much as possible so her husband could continue focusing on his rising rankings in the business, and so Cassadee would be successful in school.


The problem was that the homework was confusing for her, not only because of her brain fog, but because the methods were constantly changing-- for math at least. She wanted desperately to have all of the answers, but with her disability along with the ever-changing rules in math, she felt helpless.


Cassadee, now seven years old, certainly needed the help. When it came to English, Cassadee ran circles around her classmates. She read at and above her reading level, oftentimes told to stop so she can do her math homework.


Along with reading, Cassadee also loves to dance, and makes up her own when her friends are over, to later record or show to her parents. An artistic soul, she can be found doing almost anything that requires creativity, whether in reading, dancing, singing, playing music, or writing. Because of her affinity for right-brained activities, she frequently struggles when it comes to analytical work, like math and science.


Many of Kenesha’s friends whose kids were failing in math had to take them out of their extracurriculars in order to put them in extra tutoring. Kenesha knew that pulling Cassadee out of her dance class wouldn’t be good for her work ethic or attitude, but she knew that if she didn’t catch up to her classmates, she might never be at the level she needed to be.

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

Finding Elephant Learning

When Kenesha found Elephant Learning, she knew that having a game to teach Cassadee math would already be a great starting point compared to the piles of textbook pages she’s assigned almost every night. Though Cassadee was excelling in her other subject areas, she was failing in math, and needed to quickly catch up with her classmates before it was irreversible.


Cassadee loved being creative and playing games, so she was excited to start Elephant Learning. First step’s first: the initial exam. This is a preliminary test that helps the platform gauge the student’s current placement, so they can give them what’s called an Elephant Age. This is an age that’s given after the initial exam is complete, and it increases when Cassadee shows mastery in a certain subject.


When looking at Elephant Learning’s teaching process compared to a typical school teaching process, there are a couple of things to consider:


  1. Mistakes are punished. When a student is taking a test and gets a question wrong, they typically get points taken away, showing that even if they got most of the question right, they’ll still suffer the consequences of getting a low grade.
  2. Comparisons are rampant. Many times in school, it’s clear who’s excelling and who's lagging behind based on test scores, correct answers in participation, and through outside talk. It’s difficult for students to feel like they’re succeeding if they know they’re still behind in their class.
  3. Individual attention is minimal. Teachers can only teach what they know will be best for the class as a whole, which is hard when some students are falling behind and some are flying ahead. 


Now, teachers can’t control this. There’s a lot of issue with the school systems that makes teaching a unique and diversely capable class difficult to cater to. With a platform such as Elephant Learning, Kenesha found out that she could change this dynamic for her daughter, and help her achieve growth without the continual frustration that being a student in a large classroom has.


When she used Elephant Learning with Cassadee, she noticed that these three ideas that she’d found continued her daughter’s struggles were wiped away. Instead, here was what started happening when she started with Elephant Learning.


  1. Mistakes are drilled. When Cassadee made a mistake on the platform, she didn’t get points taken away, nor did her Elephant Age go down. Instead, the same lesson would be drilled over and over again in the platform (totally hidden as a fun game, so it didn’t seem monotonous), until she got it down. Only then would she advance to the next appropriate concept.
  2. Comparisons are few. Cassadee couldn’t compare her age to anyone else, because, well, she didn’t know how they were doing. 
  3. Individual attention is everything. Since the platform is catered to each student’s unique abilities, its self-correcting program ensures that every child has a unique learning experience based on what skills they already have. No more being confused because they hadn’t learned the concept yet.



The best part of Elephant Learning is that it’s a gamified platform, meaning it doesn’t feel like the children are doing math. It’s akin to many apps they might already be playing on the iPad, only for Elephant Learning, it’s actually advancing them in math.


(For Cassadee, this meant she could still enjoy the fun and creative outlet of an online game, while simultaneously battling her failing math grade!)


Related: This Math Accelerator Helped Jessica and her Three Girls Take Remote Learning by Storm

Cassadee’s Experience With Elephant Learning

Cassadee started Elephant Learning by playing it for 10 minutes, three times a day. The team at EL recommends no more than this, because it can cause burn-out. Her mom loved that she didn’t have to force something on her kid that required hours and hours of the day.


That meant that while Cassadee was focusing on her math skills, she didn’t have to sacrifice her dance class, unlike a lot of her friends, who had to quit unless they got better grades.


Starting at an Elephant Age of 5 years old (2 years below her actual age), Cassadee’s score skyrocketed up to over 6 years old in Elephant years-- in just a week. She’d gained an entire year, just from putting the hard work in.


Kenesha was happy to have found the perfect fit for her daughter, and one that didn’t sacrifice what she loved. Kenesha was able to do what she needed to around the house, while still giving her daughter the learning tools she needed to grow. 


As a mother who needs disability, Kenesha’s doing a fantastic job gathering the resources around her to make sure her daughter has the best experience yet-- no matter what types of adversities her family faces.


Cassadee’s Results: 


  • Age: 7.2 years old
  • Starting Elephant Learning Age: 5.04
  • Current Elephant Learning Age: 6.10
  • The difference after six months: 1.06



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