I started homeschooling my son, who’s now 11 years old, in September 2013. I learned about Khan Academy through a blog and conversations with my friends, and then I decided to create an account for myself to see what was available.
Photograph of the Kalukin family
How we use Khan Academy
My son started exploring Khan Academy while he was still attending public school. He used it informally outside of class, and he was very motivated by the badges and avatars!
When I began working through the math content myself to see what kinds of problems and videos were available, I got hooked. As I continued to use the site, my son noticed my progress. Being quite competitive, he started spending more time on Khan Academy and working harder to earn energy points and badges. He got very proud whenever he surpassed me, and he made sure to let me know!
When we started homeschooling, we used Khan Academy in addition to paper workbooks. However, my son liked learning online much more than learning with workbooks, so we shifted to using Khan Academy as our main math resource. Each year, his goal is to complete the mission for his grade level. Sometimes I ask him to work on specific skills, but most of the time he chooses what to practice himself. He goes at his own pace and is already working on material several grades above his level.
Sometimes I watch my son while he’s working, and I use Khan Academy’s email updates to make sure he’s on track. He also updates me about his badges!
How our homeschooling changed
Khan Academy has made us feel more confident about what we’re doing in math. The grade-level missions are especially helpful. I know that if my son completes his mission, he’s covered all the math concepts for his current grade level and has a strong foundation for the next one.
I’d like my son to use the videos when he isn’t sure how to solve a problem, but sometimes he doesn’t take the time to watch them. Now that he’s getting to harder material, I want to help him see how the videos can support him.
Words of wisdom
If you’re interested in Khan Academy, dive in and give it a try! Start by letting your child pick something that interests them. For my son, it was Vi Hart’s recreational math videos - they really got him interested in Khan Academy.
Also, competing with your children for badges or energy points can be a great way to motivate them. When my son gets frustrated or distracted by other activities, the prospect of challenging me encourages him to keep at it. And by working on Khan Academy alongside him, I can model lifelong learning.