Smartick Math – a review

This isn’t an ad, a paid review, or anything related. My 6yo just finished a free two-week trial of Smartick Math, and we decided it isn’t the program for us.

Recently, at least in the circles I frequent, there’s been a buzz about Smartick Math – how kids ask to do math, don’t complain, stealth learning, etc.

So, since they were offering a free two week trial, I signed my math-obsessed six-year-old up.

We’ve had experience this year with iReady, another online math system that uses diagnostic tests and adjusts the lessons according to competency. I was curious as to how this would compare.

Sign-up was a piece of cake. No credit card required or fine print about cancelling within a certain amount of time to get your money back.

Multiple kids can use the same device, too, which is helpful for families with multiple learners. 

However, we won’t be subscribing to Smartick for a variety of reasons. 

  1. My son didn’t talk about math when he finished a lesson for the day. He talked about how many points he earned. In an effort to “gamify” math, the math wasn’t the goal or focal point. Instead, you earn points to then buy objects for your house and avatar. And this kid LOVES math. He talks about math All. The. Time. 
  2. I wasn’t impressed by the initial placement test. J had never seen one type of question before, and so he was placed at a much lower level than he should have been. Even at the end of every lesson, when they ask the kids to rate the difficulty of the lesson, I didn’t see any adjustment in the level.
  3. We limit screen time, and there are days we don’t have any screen time at all. When J does get screen time, I want it to be for something that he can’t do without the screen – we don’t need to be digitally connected to do math.
  4. The tutorials are optional. Instead, kids just see 15 minutes of questions with very little feedback about why their answer might be incorrect. This might work for some kinds of learners, but not for others.
  5. It compares kids to other Smartick users. No. Just no. That should NOT be a motivator and could actually be demotivating for struggling students.

I’m sure Smartick works for some families and motivates kids who otherwise protest. 

But it’s not for us. 

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