I know my children have "holes" in their math learning and at least one of my children is "behind" same-age peers with math skills, so the idea of an automated program for children ages 2-16 that guarantees that children will learn at least one year of math in 30 minutes a week over three months appealed to me.
That said, I knew from past experience that such speedy results may not happen in our home. For my kiddoes and our lifestyle rarely rectify with typical program use and outcomes. Still, I was hopeful that at least some forward movement would occur as we used Elephant Math (as we came to call the program in our home) - and it did.
Children Advance in Skills
Two of my children used Elephant Math during our review period - one with greater consistency than the other.
The one who was less consistent advanced .6 years in "Math Age" while the other advanced nearly a full year.
Helpful Features for Parents and Students
Elephant Math has a number of characteristics that I think make it helpful to parents and children. The program is:A Hit or Miss?
- Economic: The program is $35 a month for up to three children and scholarships are available.
- Family-Friendly: There are family plans for families of up to seven children.
- Guaranteed: Your children are guaranteed to learn up to one year of math in three months when using the program for 30 minutes a week.
- Convenient: The program is an online one with an easy-to-sue interface. There is also an option to print simple worksheets for those who like some offscreen practice, too.
- Quick: Students only need to spend 10 minutes a day, three times a week to reap results.
- Easy to Check In On: There are a number of real-time reports related to time use, skills practiced, passing/failing of skills, etc.
Even with all it's proven claims and helpful features, in our family Elephant Math sadly did not prove a "hit" for both of my children that tested the online math app. Thus, now that we are finished reviewing the program, only one of my children will continue with it.
The one who will not be continuing dutifully used the program when told to so, but truly did not care for it and, when I asked for commentary for this review, that child said succinctly:
It is easy to use. You log in, hit "continue coursework" and pick a game.
I usually pick "Baseballs". Then, the coursework tells you in a weird voice what to do. You do it. It's easy, but boring. It does not teach me much. It reviews things. I don't want to continue it.
Despite this child's relatively inconsistent use of the program and lack of enthusiasm for it, I would say the child still progressed.
My other child did as well, will continue with Elephant Math, and had a mixed bag of things to say about the program:
I wanted to do Elephant Math because it looked like it was mostly games and it promised to teach a year of math in three months.
When I first started using it, I was kind of disappointed, because it wasn't all games. As a matter of fact, I have not found a single game on it. What I thought would be all different games is just the same math questions with different characters or themes. This might appeal to children who don't use computers or computer games a lot, but it didn't appeal to me.
I do like that you only have to use the program 10 minutes each day, because with a lot of other programs, you have to do at least 15 minutes and sometimes a lot more. So, this one can fit in easily on days when I am busy.
I find that the problems are different, too.
When I started, I was doing multiplication and division, but not like normal multiplication and division with a problem like 2 x 2 = 4.
Instead, it was presented in a different way, which I liked, using pictures, problem solving, etc. For example, "I have 24 watermelons. If I out them in groups of 4, how many groups will I get?" I like this because it is not boring number problems that aggravate me.
Also, the program does not have lessons that teach you how to do things. No one explains anything or does a video lesson. You learn by trial and error and doing the problems, which I kind of like.
I also like how you can see your progress immediately when you sign in and how you can see when you are almost finishing stuff.
The program also has a selection of voices that read the problems so kids who cannot read well can still use the program. What I really like about the program is that with all the voices, you can turn certain ones on and off, so you are not stuck with voices that sound like robots or have heavy accents. You can choose the ones you like. They have them from all around the world.
You can also test out of things, I hear, but I have not figured out how to it yet. When I just told me mom I want to, she said she would help me.
I know my brother does not want to keep using the program, because it is a little bit dry and repetitive, but I want to use it sometimes, because you only have to use it for 10 minutes a day and I am making progress.
The program says it is good for ages 2-16. I think two would be a little bit young and 16 might be a tad bit too old. The program, I think, is good for preschool, elementary and middle school age children who have a tight schedule, don't mind themes instead of games, and like to learn by trial and error.
With both of my children's experience and comments in mind, I would say that Elephant Math is worth a look if you seek an online math program that works in short sessions, assessing, where children are at and bringing them to the next level.
The program, though not favored by both of my children, helped both of them to practice and improve their math skills and it also provided us all with easy reports to check in to see how they are doing.