Improving Your Child’s Learning through Parental Involvement and an iPad

Every parent wants to keep their children motivated to learn; and we know that the best way to keep up that motivation is to be more involved in our children’s education. One of the more challenging subjects to keep kids motivated and excited about is math. While we can do our best to keep learning interesting by providing a variety of activities that can be done at a child’s own pace, it’s always great when we find tools that can supplement the process. Along comes SkyMath, an app that is helping children and their parents get what they want and need.

In a recent interview with Scott Hamilton, CEO of Circumventure Learning and developer of SkyMath, you will learn how this app is guiding kids towards a better understanding of math skills while also satisfying parent’s need to be more involved in their kid’s learning outside of the classroom.

What is SkyMath?

SkyMath is an educational iOS app for the iPad and a self-directed digital learning tool designed for elementary aged kids based on math game-exercises. The goal of SkyMath is to get kids learning outside of the classroom and meet parent’s demand for increasing the educational benefits of their children’s time on personal digital devices.

The app will determine where each kid is in math through a quick adaptive assessment, then recommend some curated iOS apps and videos depending on the lessons that are needed to master. Parents and kids will get reports on what skills are being learned along the way.

CAN THE APP BE USED BY PARENTS AND KIDS ON ONE DEVICE OR WILL THE PARENT AND CHILD EACH NEED THEIR OWN DEVICE?

Scott: SkyMath is an app for kids to use on an iPad to gain knowledge and confidence in math. Parents can be nearby to answer questions a child may have and to offer encouragement, but a parent is not required to participate in any way other than to set rewards for the child to earn, and to approve of learning apps recommended for use in practicing each new math skill. The parent tab on SkyMath requires a parent-set PIN, and notifications are sent to the parent’s e-mail when a child learns a new math skill.

HOW CAN PARENTS BECOME MORE ACTIVELY INVOLVED AT HOME IN WHAT THEIR CHILDREN ARE LEARNING IN THE CLASSROOM?

Scott: For most of us, as parents of elementary-age kids, we find out about what our children are learning in the classroom mostly from our children and occasionally from teachers. SkyMath finds out what each child needs to learn in math and sets a path for them to do it. Some parents have found SkyMath to be a great way to get their kids to ask them for help in learning the math they are doing on their own. With SkyMath, parents can also select a particular math skill that they know will be coming up in class.

HOW CAN PARENTS USE TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES TO THEIR OWN ADVANTAGE WITH THEIR KIDS?

Scott: Many of our kids are now spending at least 4-5 hours a week on iPads. There are some really fun games and things that keep them occupied which can be a huge help. But we can use things like SkyMath to help turn some of that time into learning time. Many kids, especially girls, benefit from being able to learn on their own in ways that allow them to shine in class. There are amazing learning websites and apps out there that help develop skills in coding, math, art, and everything in between. Whether your child is struggling in a subject or developing a unique learning interest, there is something for everyone – the challenge is finding them.

HOW CAN PARENTS MAKE THE MOST OF THE TIME THEIR KIDS SPEND USING ELECTRONIC DEVICES?

Scott: Since our kids are already spending lots of time on iPads during non-school time, SkyMath is a great way to help turn some of that time into a way for them to get ahead in math. Greater knowledge and confidence in math will help them in science, technology, problem solving, and critical thinking, all of which will help them get into a good college and eventually have much better job opportunities.

WHAT IMPACT DOES HOME INVOLVEMENT BY PARENTS HAVE ON A CHILD’S EDUCATION IN THE CLASSROOM?

Scott: For elementary-age kids, parent encouragement and approval of learning is extremely motivating. It is powerful for them to see that what matters at school is also valued at home, and vice-versa. A child’s confidence in a subject, like math, can be bolstered by learning time at home that parents encourage. This confidence leads to them raising their hand more often in class.

How can you get more involved in your child’s learning?
  • Ask your kids to teach you what they are learning in school. Teaching someone else what you have learned is one of the best ways to reinforce your knowledge.
  • Look for opportunities to talk about math. Cooking with kids is a great chance to put fraction skills to use, and shopping is a great time to use addition and subtraction skills.
  • Ask your children to explain their opinions. If possible, be near your children when they are working on their homework. They may not always need your help, but knowing what they are working on is the first step to becoming more involved.

With the help of SkyMath, iPads are turned into a fun and personalized math guide that allows kids to travel across magical floating islands while learning math proficiency. The SkyMath platform has the very best teacher-recommended apps and videos for kids that track their progress and rewards learning milestones. Parents can also check out Common Sense Media and Teachers with Apps to find other great learning tools.

Have you ever thought about volunteering at your kid’s school? Check out Becoming Involved in Your Child’s Learning for more helpful ways to stay engaged in your child’s education.

Photo Credits: Sarah CogginsCircumventure LearningBrad Flickinger

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LaToya

LaToya lives in Illinois with her husband of 19 years and their 2 teenage boys. She works full-time outside of the home while juggling all the last minute add-ons to the family calendar. When she is not attending one of her boy’s baseball or soccer games, she is completing one of many DIY projects that are lying around the house. Since obtaining her Bachelor’s of Arts degree from DePaul University this summer, she is looking forward to more free time to play around in her craft room, or “crap” room as her husband so affectionately refers to it.

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