It’s a familiar story-- unemployment after COVID, being forced under the dreadful “learn-from-home” or “hybrid” school model.
Many found opportunities within quarantine and the pandemic’s outcomes, but others, like Stephanie and her family, were faced with issues that would collide with their pre-existing stressors.
Most of Stephanie’s stress came from her children’s learning issues, which severely impaired them to be on the same level as their classmates, and while remote and hybrid learning were still the norm, it got even more difficult for them to be able to focus.
Her oldest son James is 16. He struggles with dyslexia and ADHD, which means he needs to work extra hard in every subject just to get by. Thankfully, his teachers have been able to hold his hand through the rough patch with remote learning, and Stephanie has seen that their dedication to one-on-one time with him outside of class has been making all of the difference.
Then, there’s 13-year-old Jada. She struggles with test-taking anxiety, which means that although she typically masters the materials, once it comes time to take the exam, she freezes. Since remote learning has allowed for a more open-book policy on test-taking, she’s been able to improve her skills. Her teachers have seen her improvement too, and have become more flexible with all of their students, understanding that memorization isn’t necessarily the key to mastery.
But Stephanie’s youngest child, Elijah, continues to struggle just like he did while he was in school. Though he attends the same school district as his older siblings, he hasn’t had as much luck with his teachers-- and especially his math teacher-- to give him the tools he needs to succeed.
Since he’s been struggling from the start, his decline in math was never a surprise to Stephanie.
“I do believe it’s a lack of understanding of concepts and a lack of confidence,” Stephanie explains, and wonders, “How can we make math understandable in its simplest form to get a solid foundation?”
And that’s the struggle that many other parents have been having too. Finding a math academy that works for their child-- especially during the pandemic.
It’s no secret that parents have been struggling to homeschool their kids as they continue to learn with remote learning and hybrid learning situations.
Many weren’t prepared for taking on the toll of monitoring their children during school hours, and many of them see their children struggling not only because of technical difficulties and a lack of virtual learning resources, but also because they don’t have the release and joy of playing with their friends outside for recess, passing classmates in the hallway, and staying after class for extra help.
The pandemic has had students, parents, and teachers in a rut, unsure where to turn when they feel up against the roadblocks of remote learning.
For parents, balancing parenting, a job, and facilitating education for their children is a difficult request, says Laura Marham Ph.D in PsychologyToday. “It’s unreasonable that parents are expected to be their children’s teachers! It’s an impossible job, and there’s no way to do it perfectly.”
For children, Dr. Marham continues that the remote learning environment is not supposed to be how children learn. “The problem is not with [a parent’s] patience or [their] child’s motivation. The problem is that remote learning is not how children are designed to learn.”
For teachers, many already know the many struggles they could be facing during this. According to Sarah Schwartz of EdWeek, “56 percent of teachers said that they had covered only half, or less than half, of the curriculum content that they would have gotten to by this time last year.” For those who have children with learning disabilities like Stephanie, it’s even harder for teachers to supplement additional resources to help them. Schwartz continues: “Online teachers were more likely to say that they needed guidance on how to best support students with severe disabilities.”
So, what can be the solution? For teachers, parents, and students, many solutions have been coming up to save them from hysteria while remote and hybrid learning ebbs and flows as more and more schools continue trying to find the best course of action.
Stephanie was looking for a math academy that was remote, affordable, and showed results. She’d tried several techniques in the past when she was employed; tutoring, after-school programs, and even an in-person math academy, but they neither showed results nor were engaging enough to stick in Elijah’s brain (or to encourage him to come back).
As Stephanie continued scrolling through her parenting Facebook groups, which was her go-to for anything child or learning-related, she stumbled across Elephant Learning’s math academy. Looking in the comments, she started learning that the platform was accessible to any type of child; those suffering from disabilities, those older, those younger, those who were so far behind in math that it didn’t seem salvageable.
As she did more research, she came across the price, which was more affordable than she’d imagined. With Elijah’s math grade continuing to sink, Stephanie was determined to find a solution that would give him lasting change to eliminate Stephanie’s sanity and Elijah’s stress.
First steps first for Elijah: the placement exam. Initially, the word “exam” made Stephanie a bit nervous. After all, more tests on top of what he’s already working on in school didn’t seem any fun for him. But once Elijah got onto it, she realized just how different Elephant Learning’s exam-- and platform-- was from traditional school learning.
See, the placement exam is a one-time test to figure out where Elijah is in math. This includes where he’s struggling, where he’s flourishing, and what concepts he’ll need to master to get to the next level. After the exam, a number came up on the screen: 9.5.
This was Elijah’s Elephant Age, which meant where he tested in the Elephant Learning platform. It was a bit under his actual age of 12 years old, which Stephanie expected, but having a solid starting point on which to build from was certainly something she could get behind.
For Elijah, Elephant Learning felt more like a game than it did math work, but as he continued in the process, it was clear that he was building mastery. The game suggests ten minutes a day for three days a week to prevent burnout, but Elijah oftentimes wanted to play for much, much longer. To him, the game was a fun challenge of upping his Elephant Age and completing lessons more accurately-- much different than scribbling numbers onto a worksheet like he had to do in school.
What also encouraged Elijah to continue upping his level was the process of the game. In school, he’ll typically take a test and get points eliminated when he gets an answer wrong, like the way most teachers are required to provide tests.
But with Elephant Learning, things were a little bit different. If he got a question wrong, he wouldn’t see a drop in his Elephant Age, defeating his previous successes. Instead, the platform would continue solidifying the problems he’s struggling with, bringing them back more and more until Elijah had complete mastery of them. Only then would it continue to the next level.
This process deeply alleviated Elijah’s stressors and anxiety over “failing.” In Elephant Learning, the platform was a path to mastery, not a pass/fail that left him feeling behind.
Stephanie was engaged with their new math academy much more than she thought. When she imagined a math learning game, she thought she’d need to closely monitor him throughout the process so she could see what he was getting right and wrong. Turns out, she could get all of that information herself, but without peeking over his shoulder.
Since Elephant Learning is all about giving parents the tools to be their children’s cheerleaders, parents receive detailed email overview deciphering all of their children’s progress during their latest game.
Along with Elijah’s progress, Stephanie also got video and written resources on how to best support Elijah throughout the learning process, so she could continue being actively engaged in his learning without feeling helpless and confused.
When Elijah first started the program, he tested at a 9.5 Elephant Age, a good three years below his actual age. Within a short period, his score jumped, as he started mastering concepts left and right.
He continued climbing and climbing, determined to up his Elephant Age and his math grade. For Stephanie, Elijah’s math grades were one less thing she had to be stressed out about, and with the affordability and the effectiveness of the platform, she was the newest advocate for Elephant Learning’s math academy mastering technique.