Supplement Algebra & Geometry With Stinky Kid Math #Review
One thing that I’ve learned over the years as a homeschool parent is that it’s extremely rare that there’s only ONE way to teach something. Take high school math, for example – for every way that your current curricula explains a topic, there’s another out there with an approach that just a tiny bit different. Sometimes, that change can make all the difference, leading to understanding. Is constantly changing curricula the answer? NO. Just add a useful tool like Stinky Kid Math to your math repertoire.
What’s that, you say? You’ve never heard of Stinky Kid Math? Well, neither had we, until recently – so let me explain. Stinky Kid Math is a supplemental program designed with the intent of making abstract math topics approachable for everyone, even those who normally struggle with math. It began with creator Todd Matia’s story of a “stinky kid”, a story to help explain the “why” behind algebra concepts, and has grown from those beginnings to the nearly comprehensive algebra and geometry resource it is today.
Stinky Kid Math includes three “levels” of math: foundational algebra, which includes pre-algebra and some algebra 1; complex algebra, which is composed of algebra 1 and 2; and geometry. Lessons can be accessed via two different organizational methods, either topically or in lesson order. Lessons are accompanied by worksheets with answer keys. There are also four games to play, on algebra and geometry-related topics. The games are quite easy to learn and play, and do include tutorials if there is any question as to the goal of the game.
Lessons often (or possibly always, though I can’t guarantee this, not having watched all 340 videos in their entirety) consist of Mr. Matia lecturing in front of a chalkboard. One nice feature is that he uses multiple colors of chalk to illustrate various parts of a lesson or exercise, all the better for visualizing what he’s explaining.
One thing that did surprise me was that, while worksheets are typed, the answer keys are written out by hand. While all of the ones that we encountered were legible, the use of light-colored inks did make some of them a bit hard-to-read, and while the handwriting did give a more personalized feel, it sacrifices a bit of professionalism.
While the creators say that Stinky Kid Math is a comprehensive program that *could* be used as a complete math program, it was not designed for such use, and does not perfectly correlate with common core, so be aware that there may be small gaps if seeking that sort of use.
The website is surprisingly user-friendly – reasonably computer-savvy kids aren’t going to have any difficulty using this on their own, and even more technically-challenged parents shouldn’t encounter any trouble.
As my younger teens hadn’t yet started their math for the school year during the review period, we instead had them choose several topics that they wished to ensure that they understood, or that they recall having some difficulty with during last school year. They were able to find lessons on the appropriate topics, view them, and print the accompanying worksheet, merely turning it over to me to correct. (Mind you, that’s one benefit that hadn’t occurred to me until now – the handwritten answer keys were a big turn-off for my students. They had zero desire to correct their own work, let alone read the keys so they could copy the answers!)
The kids felt that the material was adequate, if not awe-inspiring – and really, what high school math course is inspiring at the end of summer? – and that it would be worthwhile to use it as a back-up resource when they were stuck on some exercises, *especially* when I wasn’t around to ask for help!
If it’s easy enough to use that they can get in the habit of doing so automatically, then it increases their ability to work independently – and that’s a big win in my view!