How to Choose Math Learning Apps For Your Kids — buyer's guide

How to Choose Math Learning Apps For Your Kids — buyer

Make the right buying decisions for kids' math apps.

What do we mean by a math learning app?

A math learning app is a platform that covers most math topics for a grade level or even an entire stage of schooling. We're distinguishing math learning apps from smaller, more focused ones, such as those concentrating on multiplication tables. We have other guides to choosing those.

A math learning app is a math practice, support, and revision platform that keeps pace with kids' math progress through a school year. Typically, they take a little-and-often approach encouraging kids to use them for ten to fifteen minutes daily.

When is the right time to start using a math learning platform?

The younger kids start using a math learning platform, the more the benefits will begin to compound. Kids don't have to keep relearning forgotten knowledge.

The sooner kids build daily math practice into their routines, the less it will feel like an imposition. They'll know they must complete their math practice before their evening meal or when they get home from school.

The start of the new school year is an especially good time to begin using these educational apps because kids expect changes to their routines in the back-to-school period. However, don't delay at other times of the year; the sooner your kids get a math learning app, the sooner they will benefit.

When is the right time to start using a math learning platform?

The younger kids start using a math learning platform, the more the benefits will begin to compound. Kids don't have to keep relearning forgotten knowledge.

The sooner kids build daily math practice into their routines, the less it will feel like an imposition. They'll know they must complete their math practice before their evening meal or when they get home from school.

The start of the new school year is an especially good time to begin using these educational apps because kids expect changes to their routines in the back-to-school period. However, don't delay at other times of the year; the sooner your kids get a math learning app, the sooner they will benefit.

How will a math app help my kids?

Less stress. If you've ever crammed for a test, you'll know it is not a pleasant time. It can help pass an exam but is not 'good' learning. The knowledge absorbed this way is likely to fade quickly.

 Conversely, a little revision daily is less stressful and embeds learning more successfully. Long-term math apps support this process.

Better learning.

Kids can learn something, practice it, and show they know how to do it all in one math lesson. However, they may need to relearn it if they don't revisit it for a month. This is a problem schools face when teaching kids. School curricula set a pace that does not leave much time for revisiting past learning.

Long-term use of the right math app will ensure that kids periodically revisit their learning. Eventually, their knowledge will become firmly embedded, and they won't need to revise. Just as important, they have that knowledge at their fingertips in the future, which is critical in math as every new topic builds on past learning.

Who uses Math Learning apps?

Math learning apps support kids' school-based learning and provide learning content for homeschooled kids. Even schools use them to provide extra provisions, especially for homework.

Before you subscribe to a math learning app, check whether your kid's school already provides home access to one for its students.

How can Math Learning Apps work for home schooling?

Some homeschooling parents use Math Learning apps similarly to those whose kids attend school. They don't form part of their primary learning but work as extra practice after formal teaching ends.

Other parents build their math teaching around these apps. The apps often have a useful structure to help you create lesson plans. This can be especially helpful if the math apps are aligned with your chosen curriculum or standards.

We have a list of CCSS mapped Math apps.

What features support math apps for long-term learning?

Notifications. Don't make a long-term math app something else you'll need to nag kids about. Choose one that reminds kids to use it at a convenient time. If you don't, kids will either not complete their daily practice or have to rush it before bedtime.

Adaptive. You expect your kids to progress using the math app, so you want the tasks and topics to keep up. Adaptive math apps balance their tasks to help learners develop while occasionally revisiting past skills and knowledge. We have a detailed Guide to Adaptive Learning Apps.

Subscription. Nobody likes recurring payments, but in some cases, they are the best option. They incentivise app developers to refresh their content with deeper and broader material. Bugs are rarer and less likely to go unresolved.

Instant feedback. Kids learn better when they immediately discover whether they are correct. Apps that provide instant marking let kids connect their results with their approach and let them know whether their methods are correct.

Support. Sometimes knowing they've made a mistake is all the support kids need as they think again about their methods. However, if they don't know what they did wrong, it won't help. Look for an app that provides hints and instructions to support wrong answers.

Literacy Support. Many kids needlessly lag behind their potential in math because their literacy skills hold them back. They can't understand what questions are asking or read the guides to help them learn. 

Apps that read out their content are beneficial for these kids. Look for apps that read out all text. Some only read out the questions and not the guides, or vice versa.

Presentation. Some kids find game-like graphics and graphical flourishes keep their attention, while others like a quicker, plainer, and more direct approach. Neither is better, but choosing the right one for your kids is important. Find out what your kids like or test two apps with a different presentation style to see which they prefer.

How should I use math app free trials?

It is tempting to see free trials as a way to get something for nothing, but your kids won't benefit from these apps if you stick to free trials.

However well designed, a new app still has a learning curve where kids are learning about using the app as much as they are about the content. Furthermore, if the app is adaptive, the initial sessions must be used to establish their current levels.

If you try to reduce costs by continuously changing apps to use their free trials, your kids will not see much benefit from their effort.

Use our reviews and best app lists to find a shortlist. Then start with what you think appears to be the most suitable math app. If you find it does what you need, don't feel you must try others. They might be better, but you must balance the educational opportunity cost of not using the first app while testing the second.

How do I know if a math app is helping my kids?

Choose an app with good parental reporting features. This facility might not mean highly detailed information, but enough to satisfy yourself that your kids are getting something from the app.

If you find visuals easier to understand than text, look for a dashboard with graphs and charts. However, remember, your key consideration should be an app that suits your child's learning needs.

We recommend choosing an app with a parental dashboard accessible from your device. You're more likely to forget to check if you have to access your child's device to see their progress.

While you want to use the data to see your kids' progress and ensure you are spending your money on a  useful app, ensure you become part of the feedback to your child. When they do well, praise and

Which math apps should I consider?

The best math app will be different for each child. Use a subscription to the Parent App Library to refine your math app searches using custom filters.

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