“I Discovered Smartick While Looking for Online Afterschool Math”
Alexandra Garlaschi. Mother of Three Smartick Children. IT Professional.
How did the need arise to improve your older son’s math? Perhaps it was influenced by your training as an IT technician?
It wasn’t my idea. I had a neighbor whose 4-year-old son worked with a paper-based program. When I saw how easily he completed the sheets, I decided to go to the nearest center. That’s where it all began. Of my three children, my 9 year old son, who is the oldest, has worked with them. Honestly, it was good, but after almost 4 years it became a chore. Although the method is effective, it’s too monotonous and it’s always the same; if your child works on addition, they work on addition until they finish it, rather than work on subtraction and so on – so it becomes boring. Besides, it was a lot of money for three children.
How did you find out about Smartick?
After daily fights over studying with the offline program, and having two more children who were old enough to start it, I thought: “There must be something similar online.” I discovered Smartick while looking for online afterschool math. I searched on the internet until I found Smartick. We’ve been using it since June of last year.
In general, would you say that people are concious of the importance of mathematics?
I don’t think that it’s given the importance that it should be. Mathematics is much more than just learning a system multiplication and division. To give you an example, my youngest son couldn’t read when he started using Smartick, and he wasn’t familiar with numbers other than 0 to 10. Now he is doing addition with carrying, and his reading has improved greatly. He hasn’t had any other tutors.
How do you use Smartick at home? Do you have a set time? Before or after homework?
They usually do it after dinner and before their homework. But it depends, because they take turns. Normally one starts at 4, then the next, and so on until they finish.
How are the children doing in school?
They are doing really well. I think they’re working at a higher capacity than they would be if they didn’t use Smartick.
How do each of their experiences differ?
Well the oldest, who used the paper-based program before, is having a hard time. But I think that’s because he’s assumed that it is what it is and just does it without any type of motivation, which is the reason why we have changed methods so many times. So far, we haven’t managed to find anything that he feels comfortable with.
The younger children do it without question, they treat it like a game. I hope it lasts.
What do they like most? Do you look at your email reports often?
They like the logic sessions most of all, and the younger ones will generally do any of the exercises. Best of all is afterwards; “how many ticks do you have?” “I’ll give you this!” “I want to buy a hat,” or, “I got a diploma.” That motivates them a lot.
Do you have any recommendations for the team? We love to receive feedback.
Well, so far, I think that everything is great as it is. Although, I would like to be able to change the theme that they work on – within reason – because I just don’t know how to motivate my eldest son.
Do they like logic?
More than anything.
Note from the Smartick team: We know that an extra effort must be made with children like Alexandra’s eldest son. For them, math is associated with repetition and monotony. Therefore, we are increasingly setting them more logic sessions – which they like – and we will see how it goes. We really appreciate feedback, because without it we can’t make improvements to the platform. It’s one of the advantages of not having to stick to a serie of printed booklets.