A couple of months ago I saw my son’s grades dropping on his Math tests. While we did homework it was quite apparent that he had no idea what he was really doing. He is in 2nd grade, so there wasn’t anything really “hard” about what he was learning, yet he didn’t seem to be catching the concepts. And one day I asked him how he did on his Math test and he told me that the whole class had failed and so the teacher is going to give them the test again.
My son has always come home with complaints about his focus in class and originally I was concerned his lack of focus was the contributing factor to his dropping grades. But when he told me that ALL the kids had failed, I suspected an other issue. So I started to teach him myself when he came home from school. I cut out papers to make “dollars” and taught him basic concepts of rounding and estimating, etc. He wasn’t having too much fun though. But he was learning the concepts. It was tough, it really wasn’t how I wanted to spend the few hours I have with him during the week after work.
Then a friend of mine posted something on Facebook about MIT providing free online lessons (not for a degree). And one of HIS friends posted about an online school that teaches in video format. I thought to myself, this is going to be perfect for him. With all the video and computer games, interacting online would feel comfortable to him. The website is Khan Academy. They have a variety of FREE online lessons for a large range of levels. I watched some of the lessons and noticed that they were using multiple colors on screen to show how the problem was solved. Which is great because people learn much better that way!
So one day I told my son, we were going to do things differently now. We were going to better ourselves and part of that meant doing Math lessons. He was less than thrilled…. He started crying right away saying he didn’t want to waste his time etc. I’m pretty sure I had to bribe him and minimize the lesson to 3 to 5 minutes or something like that. And then I let him go play outside. But he LEARNED something. So when he got to school the next day he was able to do his Math work more easily. He was hooked right then and there. The next day he came over, he ASKED for the Math lesson!
In literally 3 videos, my son went from failing his Math tests to an A. He now gets 100% on all of his Math tests and it somehow also motivated him in his Reading. He has been doing very well on his tests and I couldn’t be more proud.