Making maths add up for kids
So the kids are back at school – but who knows how far behind they may be and how to pull them up again? Er, Numerise does! Here’s what you need to know about this clever online maths product.
There was a time when a measly six weeks with kids at home felt like an eternity, but boy has 2020 given us all a new perspective on that. No one’s fault, of course – unless you’re of a mind to take potshots at a virus – but the full impact of six months of homeschooling (home-antagonising?) has yet to be fully revealed.
Luckily, there are some educational companies who have anticipated the havoc Covid-19 may have wreaked and have thought through how to get kids back up at it and, hopefully, back up to speed. Sparx, an established classroom and homework maths solution, is one such company and its very clever Numerise product may just be the thing you and your lackadaisical offspring are looking for.
Founded 11 years ago by maths lecturer Dr Mark Dixon, Sparx has years of experience supporting teachers and pupils within school and online – their technology helps with lesson planning, online homework setting and marking and that stuff we as parents don’t often give a second thought to. And, Mr Hegarty himself (yes, from HegartyMaths) joined the Sparx Family last year as Education and Schools Director and brings his extraordinary knowledge to all of the Sparx Family products. So, whilst Sparx helps with maths at school, Numerise, is Sparx’ first product aimed at parents and children at home. It is primarily for 10-16 year olds (key stages 3 and 4) though actually it’s useful for anyone wanting to brush up on their maths skills.
It launched in May as a free product to help with home learning (and lordy, didn’t we need it?) but it’s also coming into its own now, as children go back to school and parents panic about how much maths memory they will have retained during their six month Tik Tok marathon. I tested it out on my 11 year old Cass last month as a way to try and get him to locate his maths brain, prior to starting secondary school this week and thought he’d be a useful case study as, unlike the rest of his maths-backwards family, Cass is at the ‘very able’ end of the maths scale, and the whole schtick with Numerise is that it can work out your ability level – whether low, middle or high – and offer a kind of personal learning via an algorithm that allows children to work at their own pace but always keeps them reaching for the next goal.
After a few false starts of choosing the wrong start point, Cass found his correct level and started there. There are videos to show the kids how to solve the problems, the kids work through the levels, and you as parents get to see how much work they’ve done over the week, how many questions they answered correctly and how much they are improving. All without having to utter the words, ‘Have you done your homework?’ Think of it as an online tutor without the £35-per-hour payback!
Brilliantly, there is a special subsection called ‘Secondary Ready’, which is a mini-course geared entirely to allowing children entering Year 7 to hit the ground running. And if your quadratic equations are as patchy as mine, you’ll be pleased to learn that parents receive a weekly email and support videos so you can help your kids along.
You get two weeks to try out Numerise for free before committing to a subscription, so get your kids to give it a go and see what they think – if you decide to go for it, remember to book up for the paid version by 31 September, as you can get a huge discount off both monthly (£7.99 down from £15.99 per month) and yearly (£90 down from £120 per year) subscriptions.