“I’ve done one!” Miss7 squealed excitedly.
“That means two to go,” I encouraged her.
Master12 walked out of the bedroom at that point.
“Two more what?” he asked.
“Two more maths sections and I get my ten dollars,” sang Miss7, clicking on an icon and opening up the next set of questions.
I promised in the original sponsored post for this Mathspace program I’d do a follow up. Like I learned when I bought my drone, it’s one thing to read the blurb and reviews on something, and a totally different thing to actually experience doing it. Unlike my drone, this program didn’t crash once and the kids genuinely enjoyed their initial ‘new purchase’ experience.
In fact, I’m pleased to say every time someone got to jump in and play maths there were arguments over who I was going to set up next.
The thing I giggled quietly about most, however, was the new rivalry which sprung up almost immediately, and which I think is going to serve us well.
“Dad, I need your computer,” whispered Master12. “Quick.”
“I haven’t finished my last section,” he said, all but pushing me out of my chair, “and I don’t want her to beat me.”
I was glad Tracey didn’t see this. Apparently, I have a bit of a competitive side which drives her wild, and when it shows its head in our children she’s prone to saying things like ‘god, he’s so your child’ in a way which doesn’t come across as super awesome. As I’ve tried numerous times to explain to her, I don’t care about winning. It’s losing I’m not fussed about.
Unfortunately, I found out after announcing to all our kids the opportunity to earn big bucks, the program starts at grade three.
“But…but…but..,” stammered Miss7 when I told her – she’s in grade two – before bawling at me like I was the worst Dad she’s ever had.
So we signed her up for the grade three curriculum and figured we’d help a lot.
No need. Each question has a hint button they can press if they get stuck and the interface is bright and cheery and not at all as scary as I make maths when I’m teaching the kids. She skipped through her sections just as quickly, intently and greedily as the others, and I now have the added bonus of pretending she’s in our homeschooling gifted program.
Before getting a proper hands on take on what it is Mathspace does, I was told one of the features is it breaks a question down into steps, helping the kids to better understand the process instead of just stumbling around in the dark for an answer. I knew this but I didn’t realise how great this was until I watched over a few shoulders. The kids can also jot notes on the screen while they work stuff out. Or, if you’re Master12, fart ass around drawing doodles to make your siblings chuckle.
“You spent half your time drawing hearts around questions you thought you knew the answers to,” I reminded him.
The set up was the hardest bit for me. You just have to get through things like putting names in and choosing the appropriate curriculum. I didn’t realise there were so many available in Australia, so I just picked the first grade-appropriate ones on the list. I say, just.
I ended up having to use the Conversation function to shoot off some questions to a person (but a real person, so that’s nice) to ask how I could set up my other children on the profile. Turns out you’ll need a separate profile for each kid, and therefore a separate email for each kid. This email thing might not be a problem for most families, but we were dusting off email addresses we haven’t used in years for anything but keeping our spam collections in.
If you’re going to step up from Mathspace Essentials to the Mathspace Plus program then you’ll need to have a Westpac account for each kid – which is only fair because they are, after all, covering the initial cost of getting us into the program. And anyway, that’s how the $10 reward gets deposited into your kid’s account if they complete their week’s tasks.
Miss7 beat Master12 by one question – not that he didn’t pull out all the stops trying to get across the line first.
“Dad, help,” Master12 called after they’d both been tapping away at their screens for ten minutes. I walked over, concerned he was going to ask me something about a difficult equation.
“Just use the hint button,” I told him.
“It’s not that,” he whispered urgently, glancing at his sister then back to me. “I think she’s going to beat me. Can you get her to sweep the floor or something while I get ahead?”
I was glad Tracey didn’t hear this too. He really, really is so my boy some days it’s more like he’s been cloned than conceived.
Raising a family on little more than laughs
This post is obviously sponsored by Westpac, proudly offering free access to maths education through Mathspace Essentials. Get on it. Conditions apply.