July 23, 2014

Trying Khan for Math

Nathaniel seems to have a knack for mathematical concepts. He can picture fractional quantities in his head, for example. He is impatient with memorization and drills, however.
He’s fifteen now. He knows math at a sort of B-student-in-pre-algebra-but-occasionally-horrifies-me-by-counting-on-his-fingers-to-add-seven-to-ninety-five level. I think he under-performs on tests, largely because of his impatience with the testing.
Jessica is nearly the opposite. She struggles with any sort of mathematical visualization and dreads story problems but takes real pleasure in knowing and repeating the process of an arithmetical operation. Drills of well-known material make her happy, and timed tests make her happier.
In both cases, I’d like to see the kids advancing faster than they are, and testing better. I suggested as much—and suggesting is always risky for a homeschool parent. So now I get to be teacher.
Really, though, I’m happy to try. I’ve always been a little envious of the teaching.
My first command decision was to re-abandon Saxon, this time for the Khan Academy.
I’m building a list of reasons why. So far it looks like this. 
I'm betting that Khan is better at...
  • ...targeting lessons to what a kid needs to learn.
  • ...building test-taking skills (critical to homeschooled kids who want the chance to go to college!)
  • ...providing repeated drills when (and only when) necessary.
  • ...reinforcing concepts already learned.

We’ll see how it goes.

No comments: