Anyone using Khan Academy for math? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 08-29-2013, 10:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We've been using Dreambox the last year and while I like the program my DD complains that it is too "babyish". So we are going to try Khan Academy with her this year. Would love to hear others' experiences with it...


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#2 of 12 Old 08-29-2013, 10:40 AM
 
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My kids really like it. They don't use it sequentially though. If there's an idea they want to know more about, or if they are struggling with a concept, they would use it.

 

I am studying science at university level and I use it occasionally for math help. I think its very good if you are interested in a topic. Not sure how it would work to replace a curriculum though, but that's only because we've never done it like that.

 

My kids also really, really like some of the other resources. My son loves the electronics and programming stuff and he's enjoyed some of the economics videos.

 

TBH it fills pretty much exactly the same role BrainPop had/has.

 

My kids who use it are 10 and 8, so I think around the same ages as your, looking at your sig.


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#3 of 12 Old 08-29-2013, 11:57 AM
 
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My two oldest (12yo and 9yo) both have accounts on khan academy. They mostly play around on there, watch some math videos. I don't get involved with it yet.

 

They also both do Saxon Math for their math curriculum. 12yo ds is finishing up Saxon Math 87 and 9yo is about 1/3 of the way through Saxon 54.


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#4 of 12 Old 08-29-2013, 01:24 PM
 
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We've used it in fits and starts. Really like it for some things ... particularly for enriching, consolidating or getting a new angle on more complex high school topics. I think it really comes into itself at the high school level, and is a bit shallower and more tedious at the K-7/8 level. But maybe that's because my kids were already at a Grade 7/8 level when they started using it. They found it frustrating to have to work through the earlier stuff in order to get rid of nagging software suggestions that they go back and complete multi-digit multiplication with decimals.

 

I think they've just revamped the software to get more flexibility in meeting kids at their current working level and interests. So maybe that wouldn't be a problem any more.

 

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#5 of 12 Old 08-29-2013, 01:39 PM
 
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"I think they've just revamped the software to get more flexibility in meeting kids at their current working level and interests. So maybe that wouldn't be a problem any more."

 

My daughter was using it tonight after a bit of a break. They now have a placement test which might help with this a bit. Also, neither of my kids went in at the beginner level after the test, and just based on what they did tonight, which was just whatever took their fancy, the suggestions for the next video seemed good.

 

It does remind me, there is one issue with it I've found and that is that for certain topics, there are a lot more videos than exercises. My kids (and I) seem to learn best when there are exercises. 


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#6 of 12 Old 08-30-2013, 06:58 PM
 
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Oddly enough there was a story on the CBC (Canadian) national news the other evening about Khan Academy, which dd10 happened to overhear as her dad was watching. So she came barreling into the computer room almost immediately after I wrote my last post and said "I want to get to work on Khan Academy again!" She's been at it a couple of days and has spent hours at it. 

 

The new interface is considerably better, and the Mastery Challenges allow her to vault ahead in areas that have either already been learned elsewhere or are patently obvious and intuitive to her. 

 

For her it's the perfect thing right now. She blasted through a year of curriculum in about 4 months last year, and hasn't bothered with formal math at all since, but is hoping to dive into a high school course in a week or so at the local public school (part-time, one course, first school-math ever). So Khan Academy is serving as a great review, confidence-builder and introduction to some new stuff ... in whatever proportions she wants. 

 

I've gone and spent some time in my own student interface, just to explore. I really like it, particularly at the 8th grade and up level.

 

For K-3 or K-4 math I'd definitely want something more conceptual for actual teaching/learning, since Khan Academy is very arithmetic-focused at that level and lacks the foundational work on number sense, place value and the interconnectedness of operations. I think it could work as a main math curriculum from about Grade 4 up, but it would be best if the child had a very strong sense capacity for "mathematical thinking." 

 

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#7 of 12 Old 08-31-2013, 10:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the replies, everyone. Yes, it was the new "revamped" math curriculum setup that got me interested in it. 

 

DD has big holes in her math learning. Although she was advanced in math at age 5 or so, she dropped her interest in it completely to the point where she actively refused to do any of it (probably some anxiety issue we didn't understand back then). When she started Dreambox last year I had her begin at Grade 1. She made it up to Grade 3 but has not begun multiplication yet (she did have a good grasp of multiplication last year when we reviewed it for the FSA test, a standardized test administered by the government, but she promptly forgot it all after the test b/c she didn't touch math again). 

 

So anyways, I'm happy with the placement test, happy that she can go back and go over the basics. But Miranda, I was interested in what you said about it being heavily focussed on arithmetic at that level. Can you recommend any curricula or programs that provide a more rounded introduction to math at the primary levels? DD is not keen on workbooks and so far seems willing to give KA a try because she can do it on the computer and watch videos rather than read lines on a page to learn about math concepts. I like math but don't feel up to ensuring on my own that she covers all aspects in the optimal order, so a curriculum would be ideal.


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#8 of 12 Old 09-12-2013, 07:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Piglet68 View Post
 

But Miranda, I was interested in what you said about it being heavily focussed on arithmetic at that level. Can you recommend any curricula or programs that provide a more rounded introduction to math at the primary levels? DD is not keen on workbooks and so far seems willing to give KA a try because she can do it on the computer and watch videos rather than read lines on a page to learn about math concepts. I like math but don't feel up to ensuring on my own that she covers all aspects in the optimal order, so a curriculum would be ideal.

 

I just remembered that I never answered this. Sorry!

 

My kids did a fair bit of Miquon Math, in a very non-workbook-oriented way. Mostly the math lab stuff... guided discovery. But it really works best at the K-4 level, and it's hard to start mid-stream; if your dd was really struggling it would certainly be worth working through Miquon from the start. But it doesn't sound like she is. So ...

 

Singapore Primary Math worked really well for us, but it's all workbooks. Maybe you could do a lot of it verbally ... but if she likes to be independent, that wouldn't work so well. I really can't think of a perfect suggestion for you. 

 

Hmm... RightStart Math is very manipulative- and game-based, and quite conceptual. I looked at it a couple of times for my kids. Disadvantages I saw: it's expensive and it requires a fair bit of parental involvement. For us it didn't seem a great fit, because my kids' levels didn't match up well with RightStart, but I think my kids were the quirky ones, not RS.

 

Where I think KhanAcademy needs to put their work is in providing virtual manipulatives at the K-5 level. They have little bits of interactivity in their workspace (javascript or whatever) that allow you to move things around and see the symbolic effects, but these seem to be almost all at the high school level: non-linear graphing, geometry, cartesian co-ordinates and such. If they had a robust place for kids to play with and demonstrate regrouping using virtual base-ten manipulatives, or to figure out the commutative property of multiplication, etc., I think that would really make the program stand alone for younger kids. 

 

Sorry no magic bullets from here.

 

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#9 of 12 Old 09-12-2013, 09:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for the suggestions, Miranda! 

 

So far it's going well with KA and what I'm liking is that she can choose which learning module to work on next from a list of subjects. She's discovered that she likes graphs so has been focussing on those lessons for now. I also think she would love geometry and will suggest that. The interface of KA is very easy so she doesn't need my help with that. I'm happy so long as she is working on something. She also prefers to work things out herself, and KA allows her to do that with hints that get progressive and video tutorials. 

 

I will check out Miquon, however. She is really working at a 3rd grade level right now (she has some knowledge of multiplication but we started her right from the beginning last year to fill in the holes) so it might still be appropriate. I like the idea of "math lab".


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#10 of 12 Old 09-12-2013, 10:31 PM
 
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"Where I think KhanAcademy needs to put their work is in providing virtual manipulatives at the K-5 level. "

 

I so agree with that. My kids gave the algebra a go on there recently and were quite surprised at how dry it was. I think in the UK we possibly tend to approach algebra differently, so starting much younger and expecting to use manipulatives. Or possibly you guys have a different word for what we call algebra. Regardless, everyone benefits from interactive math and I'm surprised its not on there. The small amount there did seem to be seemed to be well done, just a shame there wasn't more!


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#11 of 12 Old 09-12-2013, 10:41 PM
 
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yeah, although they're incredibly outdated, the old Singapore Primary Math CD-ROMs (circa 1999?) did a great job of providing engaging, conceptual virtual manipulatives for elementary school math learning. It's not like no one has thought up ways to present this stuff virtually. Khan Academy is perfectly situated to incorporate those sorts of things. I really love the philosophy of the program and would love to see it grow in that direction.

 

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#12 of 12 Old 09-12-2013, 10:58 PM
 
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the other reason it surprised me slightly was that programming-wise, I don't think it would be that hard to do. I really would have thought there would be a queue of interns to work on khan academy anyway. OTOH Khan academy gets better all the time IMO so maybe its something that will come :) .  


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