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Thank you, Khan Academy

September 20, 2012

My children think math is fun.  They are practically fighting over who gets to do math on the computer.  If there is ever any down time, it’s always, “Mommy, can I do some more Khan Academy?”

Khan Academy, for the uninitiated, is a free website where you can watch videos and learn about all kinds of things–math mainly, but I’ve noticed a lot of new lessons on art history, as well as science, economics, finance, history.  I think the goal is to have lessons on any and everything.  Then there is a practice program whereby you can earn badges and points as you progress and master skills.  Talk about a motivator!  The boys haven’t been on for a while, but ever since last week, it’s been the #1 activity of choice around here.  A and C were excited to earn points simply for being a member for over a year.  D wanted his own account and I was happy to see that now there is a login option for children under 13 without needing an email account.  I signed him up and he is already up to 14,000+ points.  Who knew doing extra math could be so much fun.

I initially logged on again last week after a horrendous day when math wasn’t going well for anyone.  D couldn’t remember how to add and carry or subtract with borrowing.  C couldn’t multiply double digit numbers for anything and I just couldn’t face explaining it for the 17th time.  So I stuck him in front of a Khan Academy video and let Sal do it instead.  Voila, more points were earned and then he got right to work in his math book.  Long division has not gone quite so smoothly this week, but I have high hopes.

A is working towards the Journeyman Arithmetician badge, and I really need to do more practice problems myself so I can keep ahead of him.  I was always good at math and liked it, but it’s been a good 22 years since I last had a math class and I’ve forgotten so much.  My ACT score got me out of basic math in college, and then being a music major, I never had to take any more math classes after that.   I can see that algebra is not too far down the road though, so maybe I’ll start spending more time on Khan Academy, you know, in all my spare time . . .

We really have settled into a nice routine with school this week, and while there’s really nothing I’d rather be doing, it does seems to be all I am capable of doing these days.  As soon as breakfast is over, we get to work, and we work hard.  Well, except for the two-year-old.  He does things like empty all my dishsoap into the sink and put assorted odds and ends into the fish tank when I’m not looking.  But the other three work hard and I’m right there with them and by the time we’re finished for the day, I’m always feeling a little fried and so I send them outside to play and then I just sit there . . . and do nothing for a while.

We’ve actually had a quite interesting week so far; hopefully I can find some time to gather my thoughts and blog about it later on.

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