Parenting and Kids

Articles and posts relating to parenting and kids

Year – End Reflection 2018

Year End Reflection 2018

Entering the tail end of Advent and count down to Christmas it is time again to reflect on what had happened this year- 2018. This year I have cut down a lot on blogging as I focused more on the family. I’ve actively hit the books and completed the year long course that I had signed up for. It’s time again for me to decide on what else I will want to add to my resume and what skills I would like to acquire or fine-tune come 2019.

Next year I will be pursuing hobbies which I have neglected while I was busy adjusting to my new role as a single parent. Photography and Japanese are the areas that I am going to add back into my weekly routine. Macro photography, Japanese Cuisine and speaking and writing the language. I’m looking forward to the new challenges in picking up new photography skills and being more fluent in Japanese. 🙂

Here on Dominique’s Desk I will be starting of a new series which will document the challenges/ experience of moving from Primary to Secondary. Having experience this twice with Monkey Boy and Doggie Boy I have a better idea how to prepare both the child and parent adequately for this transition. I will be sharing my thoughts and some pointers which parents can look out for if their kids too are in the transition year.

Do drop me a comment if you have any issues you would like me to address in this upcoming series.

Learning Maths with Smartick


Smartick Login Page

If you are looking for a Maths online program for extra practice here is one that you can consider. Smartick is an online maths helper which you can consider if you are looking for a Maths program for you kids to try out. Targeted at kids between 4-14 yr old this program aims at regular/ daily 15 min sessions for kids to keep the kids occupied and practicing Maths.

The Parental Dashboard

The Parental Dashboard

We were given a 3 month trial of the online program for Monkey boy, Doggie boy and Tiger girl to try out. I made 3 student accounts for them and set them to go test out the programs.  Tiger girl was the most enthusiastic student out of the 3 as her brothers soon dropped off doing the Maths sessions as they were too caught up by their own school homework.

The Starting Video

The Starting Video

Each session starts with an introductory  video which gives the learner an idea of the topic that they would be covering for the 15 min session that day. Most of the time the kids just click off the video and go straight to the exercise as they comment that it is rather boring and long winded. They rather go “hand- on” than listen to a “How-to-solve” video.

A maths question

A maths question

The learner has to go through a series of questions to get ticks which fill up as they go along. When they bar is full they have completed all their maths question for the day and they can now go on to virtual world to play some simple games.

The back end results

The back end results

As you can see above in the parental dashboard Tiger girl’s result for a session is shown. The number of exercises that she has done in the different areas are also stated together with the time taken to solve each question.

Areas of maths that were covered

Areas of maths that were covered by Tiger girl

The percentage of each  topics that  was covered was stated in the graph above. With one glance I can see clearly her progress through the various topics.

My thoughts

Having reviewed a few different Maths online programme I was interested to know how different Smartick was as compared to those out there. Here is my take on it.


  • Daily emails reminders if the child did not complete his session of the day.
  • Email to notify that the child had completed his/her session and the results of that particular session
  • Very responsive customer service who check in with you to see if they can give you a better trial experience.
  • Awards / Diplomas are given to the child when they completed certain topics.
  • Bite size 15 min session are good for kids who have short attention spans


  • Not being able to adjust the topics being practice on a daily basis  and  following the local school curriculum for the level.  Some of the topics that the kids were given were not taught in the schools nor do they find them interesting.
  • The games inside the program were considered ” lame” by the boys and too childish as they seem to be catering for kids under 8. The characters/avatars  too were not interactive like most games that they have played before.
  • There is no allowance to do more of a particular type of question on a certain topic when the child repeatedly gets the similar questions on that topic wrong.
  • There is no differentiated difficulty level in questions which will cater for children of various activities.
  • It not suitable as a teaching tool to reinforce concepts that were prior taught in school or introducing new Maths concepts to the child.

In all Smartick does make a good supplementary Maths program if you just want your child to practice Maths daily with minimal supervision.


Disclaimer:  I was given a 3 month subscription to Smartick for my kids to test it out. All opinion are 100% ours.