A coupon code follows this post, which is brought to you in partnership with myself and Smartick Method
Pulling through the winter months with a one-year-old can prove trying at times. Throw in two homeschooled kids, a sleep-deprived mama, and you’ve got yourself a family in survival mode. I’ve been here before, and I know that thriving mode will come, but for now we’re in the phase of getting by. Sleep happens when the opportunity presents itself, which is frequently in sequences of 90 minutes at a time, day or night. But whether this Mama sleeps or not, by 8am, if I’m lucky, there are three kids, ready to start their days. While we tend to learn together, following each of our varied interests deep into books, magazines and documentaries, we also work through our language and math studies using various methods.
This time last year, while our babe was new and fresh, I let myself slip into a napping schedule which coincided with the older kids watching far too many movies. At first it was fun for everyone, but as things progressed, I had irritable kids and a whole lotta guilt. So we’ve been reevaluating how we use media in our home. Even I know, if I spend too long sitting, staring at a screen, I begin to feel anxious and sluggish, so I can see how our kids could feel that way too. We’ve talked about it as a family and here is what we’ve implemented. Media with intent.
So when Smartick reached out to me to try out their math program at a time that we were hungry for change, I jumped at the well-timed opportunity. Lucky for me, it turned to be just what we needed. So we joined the other 10000 students online and committed to a 15 minute math session, daily for at least 5 days a week. My kids were instantly enthralled with the tick system, and they enjoyed watching their number of ticks add up until they could cash them in for virtual pets and lightsabers.
Smartick recommends that in order for our children to benefit from the Artificial Intelligence Technology, it’s important that we don’t help the kids with their responses. This way, the program predicts the most relevant lessons for the student. Since my kids average about 1/2 hour daily on the program, that makes for 1 hour of mama-time, guilt-free. We implement the lesson time with just one device; that makes for some quiet reading for the child who isn’t online. Half of their time is spent completing math- based ‘work’ using the 15 minute lesson that is laid out for them, while the second half of their time is spent playing various games, purchasing food for their virtual pet, and watching tutorials. Once their time is complete, an email is delivered to my inbox, informing me of their progress. Fun for the kids (tick!) Guilt-free for Mama (tick!) Completing some school work (tick!) It’s a win X 3!
The program is intended to replace after-school tutoring programs, but since we are homeschoolers, completing our learning outside of traditional brick and mortar school, Smartick has proven to work well alongside our daily math games and lessons. In fact, we’ve even begun to take cues from the work during their online math, to structure our math learning in our home. If we’re working on patterns in our online math, why not work on patterns while we’re chopping red and green peppers for supper? Or maybe Wildflower is tackling place value online, so we start a bean counter with three different corresponding cups and begin to master this skill set. We like that each short lesson contains a handful of varied questions to solve, so it keeps the kids interested yet challenged. We also love that it allows our kids to progress at their own rate, rather than at grade level. Why would we only work at a grade 3 level, if we are capable of moving beyond?
I’m also aware that there is a full team of educators available to both parents and kids, if needed, which as homeschoolers, we may eventually take advantage of. We have yet to reach out to them, since our work is still quite simple for me to decode, but it helps to create a feeling of security, in case we should require some help.
SO…what, are you wondering, have I spent my mama- hour working on? Sometimes it’s an hour of laundry folding, while simultaneously indulging in some of my own media with intent…the intent of relaxing, which we also recognize as valuable! Sometimes, if there’s a sleeping baby, I’ll shower! And sometimes, most of the time, I’ll take some time to catch up on some reading. Most importantly, I’m trying to fill my own cup, an hour a day, during the greyest months of the year.
This post is presented to you in partnership with Smartick Method, but the opinions are based upon my own experiences. If this program is something you think your family could benefit from, click here to receive 25% off of your subscription.