Homeschooling Math with Khan Academy and a Whiteboard
Since my son has already finished his Brain Quest 4 Workbook and we still have a few months left in our current school year, I decided to find another resource to help him brush up on some math skills. I’ve long wanted to try using Khan Academy, and even had my two children try their programming course some months ago. They didn’t stick to it so we left it at that.
Just a few weeks ago, I logged into my parent account in Khan Academy and started tinkering with it again. I also read up a bit on how some homeschooling families use Khan Academy and I learned about choosing missions according to grade level. The default setting as goal or mission is The World of Math, and all of the skills in that world was too much for my son and me (who aren’t exactly math lovers). So I tried assigning my son the 4th-grade mission for math and that made it much more manageable (not so overwhelming) for us. Yay!
The mission warm-ups are a few math questions every time you log in to determine which are the skills you’ve mastered, need practice in or have not yet learned. It helps the website in suggesting lessons for practice and mastery. Since my son is a gamer, what he enjoys about using Khan Academy is how he earns points and badges for completing practices and answering consecutive questions correctly. And right now, he is motivated to earn several thousand more points because he wants to unlock the Johnny avatars (Johnny is a cool-looking robot avatar).
My son has struggled with doing mental calculations for some of the math exercises, and using the scratchpad option in Khan Academy is quite hard since he has to use a mouse to write (not using touchscreen). I brought out our trusty old whiteboard and markers and suggested that he use them for computing. Just like before, the whiteboard was a success (yay)! My son doesn’t really like handwriting, and I think the space to write boldly and colorfully and the ease of erasing things make the whiteboard a more fun way for him to write and learn.
I may soon start shopping around for a new math book for the next school year, but for now (and maybe in the future), it looks like Khan Academy and the whiteboard are a winning formula for my gamer homeschooler.