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How Learning Math Became Fun for Bored Sedona
Aug 03

How Learning Math Became Fun for Bored Sedona

By Elephant Learning | Case Study

When nine-year-old Sedona’s public school told her mother, Heather, that her daughter was performing at a higher level than her peers, Heather was skeptical. 

How could it be? Sedona was completely disengaged from the academic side of school and was more interested in the social aspects. 

To be sure her daughter would learn at her own pace without distraction, Heather decided to switch to homeschooling and began to search for a math app that could help. It needed to be engaging, fun, and provide the challenge that her daughter needed to regain interest in learning. 

The Transition to Homeschooling

Sedona was bored with school. 

It was a place to visit with friends and have fun at recess and lunch; it wasn’t a place to learn.

“The academic challenge that she needed just wasn’t there,” says Heather. 

Despite already being held back, when Sedona finished grade two, her school informed Heather that Sedona was making progress and working at a fourth-grade level. 

Heather wasn’t convinced. She felt strongly that her daughter was actually behind where she should be, especially in mathematics.

“I couldn’t believe that she was at a fourth-grade level,” says Heather. “But I couldn’t place her in grade three at her public school knowing she could become even more bored.” 

Despite what Sedona’s school said, Heather knew her daughter was not fully processing the information she was learning. 

She worried that allowing Sedona to progress to third grade would set her further back.  

By providing Sedona with the support and challenge that she needed at home, Heather hoped to regain her daughter’s focus on learning. 

But Heather couldn’t do it alone. 

“I decided to homeschool her, but at this point, I’d appreciate all the help I can get,” she says.  

While Heather was aware that Sedona wasn’t getting the attention and tools she needed at her public school, “The last thing I’d want her to do is to get further behind due to the transition to homeschool.”

For a child already uninterested in academics, finding the right approach can be challenging.

Related: 5 Common Math App Pitfalls — and How Elephant Learning Can Help

Sedona was frequently frustrated by lessons, and Heather says that frustration often made it impossible to get through to her. Also, she would often immediately forget what she learned in a lesson and was unable to apply what she had just learned to solve math problems. 

“For example, I go over multiplication [facts], and she forgets because evidently, I need to go over them a lot more,” says mom.

Sedona needed help, and so did Heather.

Finding The Perfect Math App

Heather found Elephant Learning and was intrigued by the math app’s promise to teach one year’s worth of math in just three months. 

She thought that Elephant Learning’s method of teaching math through a game-based approach would help alleviate both Sedona’s frustration and boredom with mathematics and academics in general.

Elephant Learning leverages the latest scientific research in mathematics education to provide students with experiential learning. 

It uses real-life examples to teach math concepts and language through a series of puzzles designed by mathematical and pedagogical experts. Students must complete the challenges from a proven curriculum to progress in the math app. 

Almost most importantly, it’s a lot of fun. 

For disengaged students like Sedona, having fun while learning is critical because it creates engagement and further interest. It’s a lot like “Angry Birds,” but for mathematics.

Elephant Learning focuses on the essential language necessary for the student to understand the teacher or parent in a classroom or real-life situation. 

The app is organized around concepts and allows the child to master each idea so that these concepts can then be applied to learn additional and more complex mathematics.

Customizing the app for each child ensures they can demonstrate an understanding of each concept before moving onto the next set of games. 

Think of these concepts as a series of sequential steps, critical to truly understanding and excelling at mathematics. 

Each step needs to be fully absorbed and understood before the child can continue learning, building upon each fundamental block. This is often lost in schools that teach a group of children and lack the resources to provide individualized instruction.

Not having the attention or resources for each individual student can be permanently detrimental to a child’s learning process. It can discourage them, cause them to check out, or even prevent them from wanting to learn at all.

For example, if a child is unable to master addition, they will be less likely to grasp multiplication or division.

Celebrating a child’s wins within the program can also foster an intrinsic motivation to play. 

This was just the kind of motivation that Sedona needed to hold her interest. 

The puzzles were challenging, but frustrating or boring, and motivated her to continue at her own pace. 

The Elephant Learning math app also allowed Heather to accurately gauge where her daughter was in terms of math comprehension.

After downloading the math app, the student takes a placement exam. However, like all the lessons in Elephant Learning, it’s administered as a game series. Students don’t realize it’s a test.

This exam allows the app to accurately place the child according to the concepts they have already mastered and those they still need to develop. Once a child correctly solves the puzzles and “tests out” of a specific concept, they automatically move on to the next module and series of games.

To gauge your child’s progress, the app utilizes “Elephant Age” as a metric. Elephant Age is a straightforward metric for a parent to determine how their child is doing. It reflects the average age of their child’s mathematical comprehension.  

Elephant Learning also provides detailed reports, which allowed Heather insight into what Sedona mastered, what she was currently working on, and where she was struggling.

It also offered corresponding activities that Heather could do with Sedona to help accelerate her daughter’s learning even further.

Related: Brooke Restores Her Confidence in Mathematics with the Elephant Learning Math App

Sedona’s Experience With Elephant Learning

Using the Elephant Learning math app to teach math concepts results in complete comprehension, a renewed desire to learn, and increased confidence in all areas. 

When Sedona first started the app, she tested at an eight-year-old Elephant Learning Age. This means Sedona was a whole year behind, just as Heather suspected.

However, enthralled by the Elephant Learning math app and its method of gamification, Sedona quickly caught up to her peers. 

After six months, not only had she caught up, but she actually enjoyed learning.

Sedona gained over one year’s worth of math comprehension in just six months.

Sedona’s Results: 

  • Age: 9.7 years
  • Starting Elephant Learning Age: 8.1 years
  • Current Elephant Learning Age: 9.4 years
  • The difference after six months: 1.3 years

For disengaged students like Sedona, having fun while learning is critical because it creates engagement and further interest.

How a Mom of Five Turned to a Math Game for Kids When School Kept Changing Curriculum
Jul 27

How a Mom of Five Turned to a Math Game for Kids When School Kept Changing Curriculum

By Elephant Learning | Case Study , Math Apps

Once you understand math concepts and the language of mathematics you and your child will be able to cope with the changing methodology and curriculum.

You can also set your child up for lifelong success in mathematics, STEM, and overall problem-solving. 

When Paris realized that her kids were not growing to their full math potential at their French immersion school, she knew she needed something effective and engaging – quick.  

Luckily, on her search to find the most effective math games for kids, Paris found and fell in love with Elephant Learning, which helped her boys yield outstanding results.  

Challenges with Changing Math Curriculums

For many parents, it seems like the approach to mathematical problem-solving and the curriculum is changing almost daily. 

This can make it difficult to know how to help your child, especially if they are struggling or behind in math.

As schools grapple with the implementation of common core and other changes in the way mathematics is taught, children and their parents are often caught in the middle, left confused. 

To make matters worse, schools can implement these changes with little warning for parents, students, or even teachers.  While these quick pivots may be intended to offer the best curriculum for students, children are often puzzled with the adjustment, with their parents entirely unaware of their struggle. 

This rapid implementation is what happened at the school where Paris’ three sons, four-year-old Trevor, five-year-old Garet, and seven-year-old Trent attended. 

“It seems as though the method was different every day,” she said. “It was frustrating because my eldest son was barely grasping the concepts using the previous methods.”

The boys attended an excellent French immersion school that Paris called, “a great school.”

However, teachers there made little effort to tailor instruction to meet each child’s learning style, skill level, and ensure their success. 

While the language experience was immersive, the mathematics instruction was not. 

Trent and Garet struggled to solve any kind of word problem. And the change in instruction methodology proved to be an impossible challenge for the family to keep up with. 

As it was, Trent had math homework three times a week, and younger brother Garet was about to start mathematics instruction in school. 

At the same time, Paris gave birth to twins. Suddenly their busy family of five had ballooned to seven. 

Something had to give. 

“Things were hectic at home and I no longer had the time to sit for long periods to help them with their homework as I should,” Paris explained. 

The Search for Effective Math Games

Paris began to look for games that could help her boys with their math comprehension and stumbled upon Elephant Learning online. 

She hoped the program could step in and give the help that she no longer had the time to provide.   

“I had heard great things about Elephant Learning and wanted both boys to take advantage of the program,” she said. 

But the addition of twins meant that money was also tight.

Determined to not let her children miss out on the opportunity, Paris applied for and received Elephant Learning’s Math Matters scholarship.

Elephant Learning teaches mathematics conceptually. This is very similar to how immersion programs (like the one Garet and Trent attend) teach a second language. 

Through a series of puzzles, the Elephant Learning app provides mathematical exercises that build fluency in the language of mathematics. 

This helps develop a child’s intuition for math, and they gain a more in-depth, true understanding of the concept, which can be applied to math homework and everyday math.

Teaching mathematics is very similar to teaching the concept of colors to a young child. We need to show them the color red for them to start recognizing that, for example, this truck is red or that ball is red.

You can’t teach ‘red.’

Elephant Learning’s math games help demonstrate the meanings of mathematical concepts in the same way that showing a child colored objects, can teach colors.  

An Elephant Learning game might cover addition by asking that the student provide five items, and eventually, four more. 

This allows the parent to connect the particular math subject to the experiences that their children have everyday, via the Elephant Learning app. 

If your child sees five plus four and struggles to answer it, you can ask them to bring you five items. Then four more items. 

Because your child already did this in their Elephant Learning math game, they will be able to connect the written concepts to the experiences they’ve had in these games and real life. 

They now have the tools to understand what the concepts mean through experience and demonstration, instead of language instruction. 

Additionally, Elephant Learning provides a written description for each subject on how it will be taught for your review.

The app also provides a safe space to experiment and play around with mathematical concepts.

This safe space is critical to building a child’s confidence in mathematics.

It’s a game. The exercises have less pressure than a math test or homework. They want to win, and if they fail the first time, they will try again until they master the puzzle and ultimately, the concept, instead of feeling defeated and giving up. 

Children deepen their understanding, and mathematics becomes more accessible and fun.

This approach allows Elephant Learning to guarantee that children will learn one years’ worth of math in as little as three months.

Related: The Three-Step Method to Teaching Math Effectively

Trent, Trevor, and Garet Take On Elephant Learning


Needless to say that the Elephant Learning app exceeded all of Paris’ expectations. 

Confirming Paris’ concerns, Trent, Garet, and Trevor tested below their age groups when they began using the app.

However, within just six months of using the app, all three boys’ progress showed an understanding of mathematics that far exceeded their peers. 

They leveraged the fun and challenge of the math games for kids, designed to aid in mastering math concepts, as they continued to move through the learning sequence. 

When Trent first tried Elephant Learning, he had an Elephant Age of 6.3 years. In just six months, he had gained 3.1 years of mathematics and was testing at 10.4 years. 

Garet’s progress was even more remarkable. Within the six months, he had gained 3.5 years of mathematics. 

Even four-year-old Trevor gained just over two years’ worth of mathematics understanding!

Related: It’s Possible To Take The Dread Out Of Math Lessons

Trent’s Results: 

  • Age: 8.3 years
  • Starting Elephant Learning Age: 6.3 years
  • Current Elephant Learning Age: 10.4 years
  • The difference after six months: 3.1 years

Trevor’s Results: 

  • Age: 4.8 years
  • Starting Elephant Learning Age: 3 years
  • Current Elephant Learning Age: 5.1 years
  • The difference after six months: 2.1 years

Garet’s Results:

  • Age: 5.8 years
  • Starting Elephant Learning Age: 5 years
  • Current Elephant Learning Age: 8.5 years
  • The difference after six months: 3.5 years

Elephant Learning makes math fun. Your child will learn the concepts, develop an intuition for math, and ultimately, be set up for lifelong success. 

Brooke Restores Her Confidence in Mathematics with the Elephant Learning Math App
Jul 20

Brooke Restores Her Confidence in Mathematics with the Elephant Learning Math App

By Elephant Learning | Case Study , Math Apps

Devastated after being told she “couldn’t do math” and rapidly falling behind her peers, Brooke was further devastated by a series of disruptions in school. 

Then she found the math app, Elephant Learning, restored her math confidence, and quickly caught up with her peers. 

Brooke’s Defeat in Mathematics

At ten years old, Brooke had lost any confidence that she had in her ability to do math. 

Her mom watched helplessly as Brooke’s lack of confidence grew, and a series of school mishaps made things worse. 

“I believe a teacher from her private school told her she wasn’t good at math,” says Brooke’s mom, Amy. “She is so sweet, and now she is convinced that she can’t do it.”

Confidence is critical to learning, especially in subjects like mathematics.

Confident students can perform under pressure, and they are more likely to be able to rebound when things are tough. 

They are also more willing to take risks and try something new. They are, in short, okay with failing in the short term and more likely, therefore, to succeed over the long term. 

In the fall, Amy pulled Brooke from her private school and placed her in the public system, where she hoped her daughter would find the help she needed. 

Amy quickly learned that her daughter was extremely behind her peers, and Brooke would receive extra help in the form of small group tutoring. 

However, a series of mishaps compounded Brooke’s issues with mathematics.

Her teacher left the classroom and was replaced temporarily with a substitute until the school could find and hire a replacement. At the same time, the small group help that Brooke received took a scheduled month off. 

A lack of continuity in the classroom can be harmful to the best students, but for a struggling student like Brooke, it can be devastating. 

It can spark a cyclical effect where a student fails to trust those who are supposed to help and then falls even further behind. This can further undermine a child’s confidence. 

Even though she was willing to hire someone, Amy was unable to find anyone who had the time to tutor her daughter. It was a perfect storm of circumstances that threatened to destroy any chance of Brooke catching up and restoring her confidence in her ability in math. “We can’t win for losing,” says Amy.

As an involved and proactive parent, Amy did the right thing reaching outward for additional help.  

Wanting to catch your students up in math in their early years, helping them develop the problem-solving skills they will need for the rest of their lives, is integral –  especially when we see that 75% of high school students are not proficient in high school mathematics (and that is up from 66% the previous year). 

Once students get into algebra, if they don’t understand the concept, it’s game over. 

There’s no way to memorize algebra. The best they can do is memorize mnemonics, but as soon as the equations become more complex, which happens fairly quickly, these strategies no longer work.

Because math concepts build on top of each other, if your child doesn’t understand math during their first year, they’re not going to understand things later. 

Early math readiness is significant because the research also shows that children who do more math at the preschool level are better readers, writers, and problem solvers. They also have better grammar and better reading comprehension. 

As children, they may not fully understand counting, but now they’re on to addition and subtraction using memorization as a technique to pass, instead of comprehending the subject.

Once they get to multiplication, the children that were great at memorization look like they are doing well, but it is as if you entered a third-year biochem class after missing the first two years. Everyone sounds like they’re speaking English, but you would not understand what they’re talking about.

In fact, one study showed that preschool math scores predict fifth-grade overall scores, not just fifth-grade math scores.

Related: 5 Common Math App Pitfalls – And How Elephant Learning is Different

Finding the Elephant Learning Math App

Frustrated by Brooke’s lack of confidence and knowing she was slipping farther and farther behind, Amy searched for help. 

She found the math app, Elephant Learning online, and was intrigued by the app’s many good reviews, particularly from parents whose children struggled with mathematics. 

Brooke was immediately engaged with the gamified curriculum.  

Elephant Learning was created with the most effective mathematics activities documented by early-age education researchers who dedicated their lives to discovering the most effective way to teach.  

Because of this, Brooke easily exceeded the recommended 30 minutes per week, excited to continue the puzzles and games as she learned.  

In addition, Amy loved that there were coaching videos provided to help throughout the entire process, as well as advice on how to work with students on mistakes so that there is never a ton of pressure.  

Parents will also find games to play with their children outside of the app that further supports learning. 

Many math apps are parent-free zones or, at best, parents are an afterthought within the app. Elephant Learning knows that the best results come when the parent is involved in the child’s education. 

Every study shows that outcomes for students are better when parents are involved. 

Brooke’s Experience With Elephant Learning

Math tends to be like mental gymnastics: it exercises your mind. 

Children who are doing more math are practicing mental skills more often; just like you might practice a simple skill like chewing gum and walking at the same time, children can practice counting while holding a number in their head.

When she started Elephant Learning, Brooke lagged behind most of her peers. 

At age ten, she tested at an Elephant Learning Age of just 7.5 years. An Elephant Learning age is determined by an average of what most children know at a given age. 

To her mom, Amy’s pleasant surprise, within only six months of using the app, Brooke had gained over one year’s worth of math and was quickly regaining her confidence.

Once there’s a gap in your child’s math understanding, math anxiety builds due to that gap.

If your child doesn’t understand the teacher or topic during a math lesson, they assume they’re not good.

Our society tells them it’s okay if they are just “not a numbers person,” encouraging them to give up trying.

Once it is okay not to be good at one subject, it makes it easy to have excuses for being deficient in other subjects.

At Elephant Learning, our only goal is to ensure that children are empowered by mathematics. Not only do we aim to empower the student but also the parent. You no longer have to be afraid to take your child’s math education into your own hands.

Related: Why Your Child Is Behind In Math (Yes, Even Your Child)

Brooke’s Results: 

  • Age: 10.9 years
  • Starting Elephant Learning Age: 7.5 years
  • Current Elephant Learning Age: 8.6 years
  • The difference after six months: 1.1 years

“She is so sweet and now she is convinced that she can’t do it.”
– Mom, Amy

Colby and Shiya Regain Their Confidence and Lost Ground in Mathematics
Jul 13

Colby and Shiya Regain Their Confidence and Lost Ground in Mathematics

By Elephant Learning | Case Study

1.) Challenges

Frustrated by her eleven-year-old son’s lack of progress in the public-school system, Samantha pulled him. Although she believed that homeschooling was the only viable option for Colby, she admits that “It’s been a battle because honestly, I’m not trained to teach anyone with his type of learning disabilities.” Colby was diagnosed with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and ADD. “He had fallen so far behind,” says Samantha, “that he had just given up.”

Meanwhile, nine-year-old Shiya has no known disabilities, but she often lacked the confidence to try. It is essential for Shiya that she does well, and she is very proud of herself when she achieves it. “At the first sign that she isn’t doing something correctly, however, she reverts into her shell protecting herself from getting something wrong,” says Samantha.

Although she had been homeschooling her four children for the last three years, Samantha was still very concerned by their reluctance to try. She tried to teach her children that getting something wrong isn’t a bad thing at all. “That’s how we learn. We learn from our mistakes.” She adds, “I have always felt getting something wrong is just as important as getting something right.”

2.) Finding Elephant Learning

Samantha began searching for something that could help her deliver the math curriculum and help her children catch up to where they should be in terms of their math skills. At the same time, she wanted to ensure this help could address Colby’s learning disabilities and encourage Shiya to take chances and gain confidence in math.

She found Elephant Learning online and was immediately encouraged by the reviews she read.

Related: Delilah and Lee Don’t Let Extreme Shyness and a Fear of Failure Slow Down Their Math Learning

3.) Colby and Shiya’s Experience With Elephant Learning

Related: Annabelle Reaches Her Potential, and Then Some, With Elephant Learning

Samantha’s investment in Elephant Learning had an immediate payoff. With a targeted, gamified approach to teaching mathematics, it took the fear of failure out of the equation for both children. Within six months of using the app, both children had regained much of the ground they had lost in the public-school system terms of their mathematics learning. Shiya gained two and a half years’ worth of mathematics, and Colby gained over three years!

4.) Colby’s Results: 

  • Age: 11.1 years
  • Starting Elephant Learning Age: 7.8 years
  • Current Elephant Learning Age: 11.1 years
  • The difference after six months: 3.3 years

Shiya’s Results: 

  • Age: 9.3 years
  • Starting Elephant Learning Age: 6.3 years
  • Current Elephant Learning Age: 8.8 years
  • The difference after six months: 2.5 years

“He had fallen so far behind, he had just given up.” – Mom, Samantha

Taking the Dread out of Math Lessons for Benjamin, Cassandra, Edmund, Graham, Hadara, and Ivy
Jul 06

Taking the Dread out of Math Lessons for Benjamin, Cassandra, Edmund, Graham, Hadara, and Ivy

By Elephant Learning | Case Study

When mathematics is something you dread, it can be a challenge to help your children but also ensure they don’t learn to dread math themselves. Elephant Learning helped this homeschooling mom deliver math curriculum, bring her children’s learning up to grade level, and bring back everyone’s enthusiasm for math learning. 

1.) Challenges

Homeschooling presents many challenges for parents. However, delivering a math curriculum is a particular challenge for some, compounded when parents or guardians don’t feel they have the skills to help their children. This was Melissa’s problem as she homeschooled her seven children aged three to sixteen. “Math is one area I have always struggled with. So it is difficult to ensure my kids get an excellent math education,” says Melissa. But Melissa also says that she is “learning that when I struggle, I need to ask for help.” 

Melissa felt that she needed help to deliver a math curriculum for her children.  In particular, she wanted something to fill the gaps she had identified in her children’s math learning and ensure they were at grade level or beyond. 

As someone who dreads math herself, Melissa knew how vital attitude and confidence is to math success. So, she also wanted the kind of assistance that would encourage her children’s confidence in math and inspire them to look forward to their math lessons.  

2.) Finding Elephant Learning

Luckily, says Melissa, she found an ad for Elephant Learning on Facebook. The app seemed to be exactly what she was looking for according to the reviews and descriptions of Elephant Learning. She applied for and received a scholarship for five of her children: fifteen-year-old Benjamin, fourteen-year-old Cassandra, eleven-year-old Edmund, eight-year-old Graham, seven-year-old Hadara, and four-year-old Ivy.

Related: Math Lessons Can Be a Huge Challenge for a Homeschooling Mom With Math Anxiety

3.) Benjamin, Cassandra, Edmund, Graham, Hadara, and Ivy’s Experience With Elephant Learning

The results were everything Melissa imagined and more!  In just the first six months of using Elephant Learning, the five children who used the app, all made remarkable progress. They were soon doing math at or near their grade level. Elephant Learning provided the extra help in delivering mathematics that Melissa needed but also delivered on its promise to ensure users would gain at least one year’s worth of math in six months. Several of Melissa’s children, including Benjamin and Ivy, gained well over two years’ worth of math! 

Related: Delilah and Lee Don’t Let Extreme Shyness and a Fear of Failure Slow Down Their Math Learning

4.) Benjamin’s Results: 

  • Age: 15.8 years
  • Starting Elephant Learning Age: 9.4 years
  • Current Elephant Learning Age: 11.5 years
  • The difference after six months: 2.1 years!

Cassandra’s Results: 

  • Age: 14 years
  • Starting Elephant Learning Age: 9 years
  • Current Elephant Learning Age: 10.8 years
  • The difference after six months: 1.8 years

Edmund’s Results:

  • Age: 11.9 years
  • Starting Elephant Learning Age: 9 years
  • Current Elephant Learning Age: 10.5 years
  • The difference after six months: 1.5 years!

Graham’s Results: 

  • Age: 8.9 years
  • Starting Elephant Learning Age: 7.7 years
  • Current Elephant Learning Age: 8.8 years
  • The difference after six months: 1.1 years

Hadara’s Results:

  • Age: 7 years
  • Starting Elephant Learning Age: 5.6 years
  • Current Elephant Learning Age: 6.7 years
  • The difference after six months: 1.1 years

Ivy’s Results: 

  • Age: 3.9 years
  • Starting Elephant Learning Age: 3 years
  • Current Elephant Learning Age: 5.6 years
  • The difference after six months: 2.6 years

“As a homeschooling mom, I just can’t do it all.” – Mom, Melissa

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