A terrific new math program for kids—Smartick
16th February 2017
Cheery Friday greetings to our Learning How to Learners!
Books of the Week
As you know, we’re big fans of biographies. And we’ve got an exceptional one to tout: Cleopatra: A Life, by Stacy Schiff. Great biographies give a sense of what might have been happening behind the scenes in important times in history. While giving a sense of the person, they also give a great feel for the place and time. Read Schiff’s book and savor a trip back to the tumultuous times when the Roman and Egyptian worlds collided. Stacy Schiff herself read the audio version of the book.
If you’d like to get a sense of a very different place and time, we strongly recommend The Little House on the Prairie series, by Laura Ingalls Wilder. These books tell about the true story of young Laura growing up during US pioneer days in the late 1800s and early 1900s. These books aren’t just kids’ books—Barb’s husband Phil, (a tough motorcyclist!), has been enthralled by these books for years. There’s a reason why these books have sold millions worldwide. If you’d like to start with just one, we recommend The Little House on the Prairie. Incidentally, these are great books also to read aloud with your family. (And there’s an Audible version, also.)
How to Help Your Child Excel in Math—and Have a Great Career
Speaking of family, when her daughters were growing up, Barb wanted them to be “free range” kids who largely directed themselves in whatever they wanted to learn or do outside school. There was one rule: that Barb herself got to pick one single activity that her girls had to do, whether they liked it or not. That single activity was 20 minutes or so of extra math practice on most days. Barb has found that many school systems, at least in Western countries, place so much emphasis on understanding of math that they don’t work to also build the procedural fluency—that is, in chunking—that research shows is essential in acquiring expertise in any subject. So Barb placed her daughters in Kumon math, which emphasizes a brief period of daily practice in the solid fundamentals. Cut to the chase—now, twenty-five years later, Barb (and her husband Phil’s!) two daughters went from initially disliking and not being good at math, to great career success as a doctor and journalist.
The reason we’re sharing this story is because we’ve found a modern day, much-improved version of the math program Barb used with her girls. This new program is Smartick. The founder of Smartick, engineer Daniel González de Vega, was inspired to begin his world-class company when he discovered that the methods being used to teach math were not helpful for his sister. Now, many years later, Smartick works with leading researchers to ensure their approach is not only sound, but supplies the best possible approaches to building your child’s intuition about math.
Barb believes that one of the greatest gifts you can give your child is a an open future where all doors are open, career-wise—and the best way to do that is to ensure your child has a solid foundation in math. We’re big believers in Smartick’s system, and we think that if you check out their free 15 day trial, you’ll become believers, also. (And no, we don’t benefit by promoting Smartick.) So if you have a child, whether he or she is already a superstar in math, or is struggling with math, give Smartick a try.
Interview on “Daily Bits”
Here’s a nice interview with Barb about learning and her upcoming book Mindshift on “Daily Bits Of,” a website devoted to giving you daily bits to help your learning.
Online Courses through Amazon
Our perceptive friends at Class Central are always on top of the latest trends in online learning. A recent move of interest is that edX is making a few of their courses available on Amazon for certificate purchase. As Class Central notes in their overview article, “Amazon has over 7,000 ‘educational courses’ that can be purchased on their site.”
That’s all for this week. Have a happy week in Learning How to Learn!
Barb, Terry, and the entire Learning How to Learn team
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