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Better than TV?

I implemented using the online tools for my oldest who is 7. She has been struggling with math as it bores her to just sit and memorize (the Belgian way of teaching).

She is having such a good time with Khan Academy and the videos and lessons. Yesterday I turned on the TV for her sister and asked her if she wanted to watch and she begged to keep working. After I made sure my daughter had not been replaced by aliens (she loves TV) I told her to keep doing lessons as long as she wanted!

Thank you for helping me make her understand math is fun, not boring!

Dan, father of an overachieving 2nd grader

Our son Sam is in 2nd grade. He has a natural, self-motivated love of learning. We have struggled from the day he entered Kindergarten to find a way to keep him interested in school while being so much more advanced than the other students. Public schools are not equipped to handle advanced learners and we were concerned that he would become bored with school and lose interest in learning. The school suggested moving him up a grade level, but when your 2nd grader is testing at Junior High levels, a move to 3rd grade is meaningless.

It was very discouraging to hear other parents, teachers, and administrators answer our worries about Sam with statements like “eventually the other kids will catch up and then he’ll be with the pack.” Really? We shouldn’t worry that the system will eventually break his spirit?

We looked at charter and private schools to find a more advanced program that would keep him interested, challenged, and moving forward but even there (which we couldn’t have afforded anyway) he would have been in classes with 15 other kids and not receiving the special education needed. Having a super smart kid is like having a special-needs student, except the school isn’t trained on how to care or help. Our only solution was to have “Daddy School” in the evenings whenever I could find the time and energy to craft interesting and challenging extra school work. It was fun and helpful but I’m not a school teacher and didn’t know what to do – and have struggled to remember certain math principles I haven’t used in over a decade.

Then we were turned on to Khan Academy. Sam’s world has become brighter! He loves math and treats learning new things like it is a video game – taking more pride in accomplishing a new skill than in beating the next level of Mario Brothers. He will beg permission to get on Khan Academy the way he used to beg for more time with the Nintendo. The challenge of learning a new skill, besting his completion streaks, and earning badges has been a godsend.

Khan Academy is a way for our self-motivated 2nd grader to challenge himself and keep an interest in learning. What we’ll do once he finishes the Calculus lessons in a few more months is beyond me, but at least he has an invaluable source of math challenges for now. We still do Daddy School, but now it is with guidance and planned lessons, and I can be sure the principles are being taught correctly.

Thank you, Sal and everyone involved with Khan Academy. It means the world to me to have a way to keep my son motivated to learn amidst a cookie-cutter educational system that ignores him.

Got a tutoring story to share? Email implementations@khanacademy.org.