You don’t have to be an expert teacher to effectively homeschool your kids.
If you’re a working parent, you might rely on your parents to teach your kids during the workday. Some parents see this as an opportunity for their kids to have more quality time with their grandparents.
Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, or caregiver, teaching effectively can be a daunting task. And it can drain your energy and resources.
You might feel obligated to fill an 8-hour day with instruction and activities since that’s the standard school day for most kids.
You might feel compelled to invest in expensive online teaching programs, books, and kits, in order to feel like you’re doing enough for your kids.
But you don’t have to follow traditional methods and spend a lot of money in order to effectively teach your kids — especially during these unconventional times.
Debra began homeschooling her six grandchildren and child care kids when the school year started.
“I’m trying to make a difference as they continue [their education] during the pandemic,” she explains.
She relied on YouTube videos and books to help her figure out homeschooling.
When she realized all six kids were struggling with math — especially multiplication and word problems — she knew she needed something that would teach each of them well without breaking the bank.
When Debra found Elephant Learning, she discovered an effective tool that not only taught her kids but coached her and gave her teaching tips as well.
And the $35 monthly fee — a fraction of the cost of many other online programs — covered all six of her kids.
Elephant Learning’s interface is one of the most empowering tools for today’s teachers — amateurs and professionals alike.
Before diving into the teacher’s experience with Elephant Learning, here’s a bit more about how it’s a different kind of math app for kids:
Elephant Learning gamifies math concepts. That means researchers in the education field have designed the math lessons into games to effectively teach concepts and keep kids engaged.
Since it’s a game, it doesn’t use traditional instructional models that only a professional teacher would understand.
That makes it an accessible tool for people playing the teacher role — people like Debra.
When you log into the Elephant Learning app, you can see detailed data on each child’s progress.
You can see a list of math concepts your child is working on, and how far along they are in mastering those concepts.
There are detailed explanations for each concept, so you don’t have to know the technical terms in order to understand what they’re learning.
You can try playing the games they’re playing to see what their experience is like, and how you might coach them in the moment.
You can see how much time they’re spending on the app each week. It’s a convenient time tracker so you don’t have to do it yourself.
And, Elephant Learning suggests extra games you can play with your kids to reinforce concepts they’ve learned on the app. So when you’re running low on ideas, Elephant Learning puts effective teaching activities at your fingertips.
Debra has used all of these powerful app features with each of her six kids, and each child is on their way to lasting success in math.
Nine-year-old Bailee had the math skills of a 7-year-old when she began Elephant Learning. After just seven weeks of play, she’s now mastered about two years of math concepts.
Debra can see that Bailee has hit an important topic milestone in Elephant Learning: she’s working on “Equivalent Fractions.” Elephant Learning explains this topic milestone so Debra can understand it and effectively reinforce it:
“Bailee is solving problems that help her realize that fractions have many names, like 1/2 and 2/4 for example. She is working with fractions that have denominators equal to 2, 3, 4, or 5 in concrete situations that use areas, collections, or the number line.”
If Debra has the extra time to play with Bailee, Elephant Learning suggests (and explains how to play) games like Fraction Concentration and Fraction Dominoes.
Bailee averages about an hour of Elephant Learning playtime each week, but your child only needs 30 minutes a week to see lasting results.
When 9-year-old Brooke started playing on Elephant Learning, her math skills were near a 7-year-old’s level. But now she’s tackling multiplication, estimation, equations, fractions, percentages, and decimals.
Debra can see that Brooke’s comfort level with each of these concepts is “Great,” according to Elephant Learning’s internal assessment.
While Brooke plays the math games, the system analyzes where she struggles and identifies concepts that need reinforcement.
The games will adjust to target those weak spots, making the experience enjoyable but not so challenging that it becomes frustrating.
When Debra logs into Elephant Learning, she can click on Brooke’s profile to see her progress report.
Since Brooke is working on multiplication, Elephant Learning suggests two games Debra can play with Brooke when she’s not playing on the app: Multiplication Dice and Multiplication Checkers.
After seven weeks of playing on Elephant Learning, Brooke has now mastered almost three years’ worth of math.
Six-year-old Dax is at a stage where he’s learning how to think about number relationships. Referred to as “Number Composition,” Elephant Learning explains the concept:
“From an early age, children realize that a whole is made of parts. They use the perceptual part of their brain to see that a group of 2 objects and a group of 3 objects are 5 objects total.
“Once he understands this concept, Dax will develop strategies to combine numbers very quickly, which will allow him to add faster. For example, it is easier to add round numbers, so understanding that 82 + 90 is composed of 80+80+12 (or 90+80+2) will allow Dax to develop strategies that are easiest for him.”
Games like Bunny Ears are a suggested activity for Debra and Dax to play if he needs some extra practice.
But after only 5 weeks, Dax has mastered 3-and-a-half years of math skills. So math-related playtime isn’t a necessity for Debra to enforce, but a nice option to have in her back pocket.
Eight-year-old Diem has mastered two years of math concepts in six weeks. Before, she was doing math at a 6-year-old’s level, and now she’s ahead of her peers.
Diem is working on several math concepts, including multiplication and division. Elephant Learning explains the importance of these two concepts:
“Multiplication and Division is the foundation for proportional thinking, which is where many students encounter difficulties. Having a strong understanding of the concepts behind Multiplication and Division is crucial for almost everything that follows mathematically such as fractions, algebra, geometry, etc.
“Beyond that, it provides basic critical thinking skills which affect decision making in almost every profession.”
Mesiah is a 9-and-a-half-year old who has nearly caught up to her peers’ math skills in just six weeks.
She’s being introduced to equations, which can feel like a big leap — for students and teachers alike.
Elephant Learning explains to Debra how equations are being taught and suggests playing Find My Number — a familiar guessing game.
“Say ‘I am thinking of a number. If I add 3 to my number I get 10. What is my number?’. You can start with small numbers, move to bigger numbers, or use more than one condition: ‘I am thinking of a number. If I multiply it by 3 and subtract 5, I get 10. What is my number?’”
Zayah may only be 6 years old, but Elephant Learning already has her tackling word problems.
Word problems are challenging at any age, but the more accustomed kids get to them, the less intimidated they will be.
For a child who is still learning to read, Zayah benefits from playing word problem games with Debra when she’s not playing on the app.
Elephant Learning suggests games like How Many Were Added/Removed.
“Give Zayah some counters, beans for example, and tell her to model a story you tell her using the beans:
"Say ’I have 7 books in my backpack. I put more books in the backpack. Now I have 11 books. How many more books did I put in the backpack?’
“Zayah will probably select 7 beans to represent the books. Zayah will likely use the count-on strategy to reach 11.
“Ask Zayah to explain what she is doing and how she can find the answer. If she has problems solving it, try smaller numbers.”
Zayah is also playing games to learn addition, subtraction, number composition, and skip counting. After six weeks, she’s now mastering math concepts at a 7-year-old’s level.
Remember: Learning math shouldn’t be treated as a race — getting “ahead of your peers” isn’t the goal of Elephant Learning.
It’s intended to provide lasting concept mastery that can be applied to any situation.
For grandparents and caregivers like Debra, Elephant Learning is the teaching empowerment tool they need to comfortably and effectively teach their kids.