Some of you may have heard of Superstar Teacher. It is an online learning platform that provides lessons through videos and supplementary materials. Conceptualized in 2011, it aims to offer students and parents the ease, joy and efficiency of learning through the internet. It is developed by a team of curriculum specialists, delivered by the best teachers, and promised to be fun and interesting. 🙂
In the video lessons, there are interactive quizzes to assess students and track their understanding. Supplementary materials like worksheets can be downloaded, printed and used along with the videos. Study tracker tool and monthly reports are also available to track progress and performance. Additionally, it’s available on app store – our child can learn anywhere and anytime!
Superstar Teacher offers 4 subjects – Math, Science, English and Chinese from Primary 1 up to Secondary 4 with optional printed worksheets (perfect for those who does not have a printer). Lessons delivered will focus on topical coverage and strategy-based learning to tackle tough schools’ and national examinations (PSLE and ‘O’ levels).
Core subjects are priced at $528 each for primary levels and $598 each for secondary levels (can be used for one year). They can be renewed for another year from $99 onwards – very cost-effective when sharing with siblings. 😀
It all sounds pretty amazing, if you ask me. But the more important questions are – How effective it is? Is it suitable for more-dependent and less-intuitive students? What’s the impact of increasing our child’s screen time with e-learning portal? There’s a lot to consider before you jump on the e-learning bandwagon.
In a poll conducted by The Straits Times, nearly eight in ten Singaporean parents with children in primary school pay for private tuition. Do you belong to the minority who doesn’t send your child for tuition?
I admit that I belong to the ‘majority’. Being a full-time working mother doesn’t allow me to be with my son 24/7. It’s even harder to stay updated with the latest MOE syllabus when I’ve been out of school for so long.
Therefore, sending my son for tuition is unavoidable. Even when I’m working overtime, I’m assured that Edison is in good hands with his tutors.
Here in Singapore, we’re truly blessed with so many tuition and enrichment centers. On top of that, we’ve the convenience and expertise of home tutors who can provide our children with 1-to-1 attention at their own pace.
Since the start of Term 3 in 2016, I’ve engaged a Chinese tutor for Edison. Prior to that, he attended group tuition at two different centers. As he’s rather weak in the subject, I found that having a private tutor helps him greatly. In his SA2 last year, he has improved from Band 3 to Band 2.
It was a huge relief to me, I was at my wits’ end trying to find out how to help him in a subject that I myself are not good at. Furthermore, it’s Higher Chinese that he’s taking (he barely passed in SA1). We were lucky to find an experienced tutor who can motivate him to learn the subject. Much to my delight, Edison enjoys his lesson with him too.
This year, I’ve decided to stop his Math tuition at the tuition center. I engaged a Math tutor for Edison. I’ve also seen good improvement after one term with his tutor.
Benefits of hiring a private tutor for your kids
In my opinion, there are many advantages of having a private tutor – here are just some of them.
1. A private tutor can work at a child’s pace. Obviously, this is MAIN advantage. When your child is totally lost or weak in a certain topic, the tutor can explain everything from scratch and customize their lessons based on the child’s pace.
2. A private tutor can give a child one-to-one attention. Whether your child is more visual, has short attention span, or prefer learning through activity, an experienced tutor can cater their classes based on the child’s learning style and preferences.
3. A private tutor can work on specific learning obstacles. Be it dyslexia, attention issues or behavioural problems, a specialized and experienced tutor can help the child to advance in leaps and bounds.
4. A private tutor can impart vital study / exam skills. These include time management, handy tips like summarising and focusing on titles while skim reading, and strategies like paying attention to what the teacher emphasises in class, in order to predict the content of future tests.
5. A private tutor is flexible in timing and convenient. This is certainly the main advantage, especially for working parents like me. Sometimes, fetching your child to tuition center can be quite troublesome – difficulty in finding a carpark, travelling time, etc.
Edison at the recent Edusave Awards ceremony – his first time
Edison started Primary Four this year, and I’ve been hearing complaints from him about how tough Primary Four is. It’s only February now, how can he (or rather me) endure till Nov?
Well, it’s not like I haven’t been through Primary Four myself, but sometimes I really do pity him. Why Primary Four has to be so tough? During my primary school days, I didn’t study so seriously. All I could remember was playing all sort of games with my neighbours after school. And there was nothing called ‘homework’ or ‘tuition’ back then.
The weekly Chinese 默写 (mò xiě: write from memory) is the real killer. He has to memorize a paragraph as long as 40 characters. This is on top of the spelling list (ting xie) with more than 15 new Chinese characters each week.
Last week, he struggled with his mo xie again. He was so frustrated when he couldn’t get it correct after several attempts. My heart cracked into half when I saw a tear rolled down his cheek. I told him to stop learning and go to sleep early. I’ve never push him too hard for exam, not to mention the regular spelling tests.
I don’t want his weekly mò xiě madness to destroy the joy of learning Chinese. I wish he could have a sibling to walk down the path of schooling with him. Someone who can share knowledge and experience with him. But there’s no one. It was all my fault. 😥
So, I thought of an idea! 💡
Instead of asking him to learn on his own, I sit down with him and learn together with him. Yeah! It’s good that I learn some Chinese words too. Grew up in a national school in Malaysia with English and Malay as the main languages, my Chinese vocabulary is VERY limited. And because I didn’t use the language for so long, I’ve almost forgotten how to write most of them.
“When your children fall short, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed, it is just means you’re not yet finished.”
~ Jaci Mun-Gavin
The stressful exam period is over, I’m sure all of you – parents with schooling kids – are rejoicing now. It’s a fact that exam period is exceptionally stressful for parents and kids. Many of us would go the extra miles to prepare our kids for their exam – be it major public exams, or just normal school exams.
From getting our hands on past-year papers from elite schools to stocking up bottles of chicken essence, taking leave from work for last-minute revisions, and drafting grand revision plans, we’re getting increasingly hands-on. Give me a high five! =)
People labelled us as “kiasu parents”, but who cares. The good thing is, it brings us closer to our kids as we tackle questions together, revise for exam together, encourage them through the little things, or simply being there for them. That’s the beauty of family bonding over exams amidst the stress.
When exam is finally over, we’ve to brave ourselves for their results. When the results are not a true representation of their hard works, we plunged into disappointment. And even so, we had to hide our feelings so as not to further discourage our children. We heard of news that kids commit suicide over poor exam results, and we feared losing our loved ones.
Every cycle, I went through shock, disbelief, denial and finally acceptance. It’s hard not to panic when Edison starts coming home with test results below expectations. How much do academic grades really matter to me, you may wonder. Well, it doesn’t matter as much as I thought it would be.
While walking home with Edison last week, I was listening with half an ear as he chirped on about his last day at school. Last day in P3, I mean. And then, something about his Chinese compo test caught my attention.
Understanding math concepts has always been challenging for primary school students because either 1) the teaching method is boring, 2) the concepts aren’t explained in practical ways which leaves them asking “What does all this mean?”, or 3) too many worksheets that kill the joy of learning math.
As we all know, there is no shortcut to success in math except through consistent practice, understanding of concepts thoroughly, and build a strong foundation since young. But that doesn’t mean that you have to spend the entire weekend working on math problems with your child.
Most of us are working parents; I can certainly understand your feelings and frustrations. Weekend is a luxury – no one wants to stay at home to drill math questions. I’ll be honest – I don’t do that too. Very often, we’ve the urge to outsource the problem. Tutors are everywhere in Singapore that most of us can afford. Why make our life so stressful?
But I’m committed to my son’s education. I help him with his school works and daily revisions. I encourage him to learn math and develop interest in the subject. I guide him to independence through self and active learning. And I make use of digital technology to enhance his learning in math.
Five Ways to Solve Your Child’s Math Problems with KooBits ProblemSums
In this post, I’ll share with you FIVE different ways to solve your child’s math problems with KooBits ProblemSums, a Singapore math online learning system for primary school students.
1. Learn math as a game with fun quizzes, word problems and rewards
Let’s admit it. Traditional assessment books are boring. If they don’t work for your child, it’s time to try something interactive and learn math through games that are layered with incentives.
In KooBits ProblemSums, our child can learn math through various games i.e. Daily Challenge, Sunday Mini Challenge and Peer Challenge. Each of these challenges is layered with an interesting Challenge Points (CPs) reward system that allows the child to earn points. To top it off, the top scorers and lucky winners will get interesting prizes like toys and movie tickets every week.
If you’re worried that your child might become obsessed with the challenges to redeem more prices, rest assured that this will not happen. There is a cap on the number of questions that our child can do every day, and the portal will automatically shut off after 10pm.
Here’s Edison beaming with pride and excitement for winning a pair of movie tickets from KooBits for the first time.
2. Develop a progress chart and work on the weaknesses, particularly for the slow learners
Every parent does their best to give their child a headstart in education. Some of us may expect our child to come out tops, but neither are we prepared when they end up padding the bottom ranks.
If a child struggles at school, it’s crucial for the parents to remain committed in their child’s education. The child will blossom by learning at his or her own pace, and having extra attention from the parents.
KooBits ProblemSums allows the child to learn at their own pace through a differentiated skills map where all the topics are aligned with the latest MOE syllabus. The progress of the child is captured in the proficiency report; hence parents can help the child to further work on his or her weaknesses.
.Unlike other e-learning programs in the market, KooBits ProblemSums is not a ‘one size fits all’ program. It doesn’t just randomly pick questions from the database, but it also customizes our child’s unique learning profile over time. For instance, if Edison is weak in the topic Fractions, he will get more questions on this topic from the system.
This intelligent system totally wins me over! Need I say more?
3. Reap the benefits of peer learning and motivation
All types of peer learning have been shown to be highly effective in terms of boosting motivation and fun than learning alone. I make use of Peer Challenge in KooBits ProblemSums to further motivate him.
This morning when we login to KooBits ProblemSums, he received a challenge from his classmate. I told him, “If you accept the challenge, you will win points. After that, you can also send a challenge to your friend.” He immediately jumped into action and took the challenge. Like most kids, winning is a BIG DEAL! He doesn’t want to lose face, so he must accept the challenge.
In Peer Challenge, our child can send a challenge to a friend of the same school or a random opponent (automatically assigned by the system). When our child challenges their friends or respond to challenges from friends, they will earn Challenge Points (CPs).
So, reap the benefits of peer learning and interaction. If you’re already using KooBits ProblemSums, don’t hesitate to ask other parents to join and let our children benefit from peer learning.
4. Learn anywhere and anytime, even if it’s just ten minutes a day
Digital technology gives us access to math questions no matter where we are, as long as we’re connected to the internet. I’m sure most kids will be hungry for an electronic fix when we’re queuing to pay for our groceries, waiting for food to be served, etc. “Mama, can I play with your iPhone?” this question never fails to irritate me.
Instead of allowing him to break into games, I dish out my tablet and tell him to complete his Daily Challenge on KooBits ProblemSums first. This math portal supports login from PC, MAC, iPad, Android or other tablets. Now, our kids can get their hands on math questions wherever they go.
Ten minutes a day adds up to a little more than an hour a week. So, make use of these free times to learn math. You’ll be surprised at how these daily bite-sized learning can benefit your child, especially for short attention span children.
5. Cultivate self-learning and independence since young
If you ask me what impresses me most about KooBits ProblemSums, I would say the MASSIVE collections of challenging math word problems and video lessons. The math portal features more than 700 mathematical skills and 10,000+ problem sum questions. Seriously, I don’t need a paper-based assessment book anymore.
To top everything off, all questions come with an immediate feedback mechanism to guide students, as well as detailed step-by-step solutions with problem-solving strategies, models and diagrams. Let’s watch one sample question and solution here:
KooBits ProblemSums goes beyond the traditional MCQ and fill-in-the-blank questions as the questions require students to enter workings for reflective review. The math portal also has a pictorial model function that allows students to draw model diagrams effortlessly.
Don’t worry if you do not have time to do the marking for your child. This brilliant portal comes with auto-marking features, which is a huge relief for many parents.
Technology drives innovation in teaching and learning. With a fantastic math portal like KooBits ProblemSums, we can cultivate self-learning ability of our child since young.
Using KooBits ProblemSums is one of the best educational decisions I’ve ever made for Edison. The benefits of it far exceed the traditional paper-based assessment books and teaching method. And I truly believe that it will help Edison to excel in math.
During the product demonstration with KooBits, I was told that the annual subscription fee for this math portal will be kept below $30. This is really a steal! I spend more than $30 on math assessment books every year.
As of now, ProblemSums is only available for school purchase. KooBits has a plan to open the subscription to all parents in future so that more children can benefit from it. And the good news is – KooBits has extended a 6-month FREE TRIAL to my blog readers. (Thank you so much, KooBits!)
So, get your free trial today by clicking on the button below. There’s absolutely no string attached, and no credit card information needed to register! Grab this opportunity to make tutoring math more fun and less stressful for you and your child as well.
[su_button url=”http://synad3.nuffnang.com.sg/gtrack/click/14071″ target=”blank” background=”#F9999A” size=”5″ center=”yes” rel=”nofollow”]Sign me up for FREE trial![/su_button]
For more information on KooBits ProblemSums, please visit their website HERE. You can also read my previous post about the detailed product features.
If you have other useful tips for making math fun for kids, do share them in the comment section below. I love to hear from you too!
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Nuffnang. All opinions are honest and are my own. We strongly recommend KooBits based on its benefits and uniqueness.