Weird Kids: How KhanAcademy Ruined Bedtime

I’m not afraid to admit it, I have weird kids.  I was a weird kid too so it is not surprising that my own are considered weird as well.  How do I know they are weird?  Lots of meetings with various school specialists in three different districts.  My kids have been mentally poked and prodded for years trying to figure out why kids that tested out as very intelligent, were having such a hard time completing their school work.  One of the psychological assessors tried hard to find words to describe their test results once and ended up with “unique.”  Basically, the message was they don’t fall into any of the known psychological categories so their was nothing they could actually do to help them.

Anyway, now that we’ve established they are weird, let’s get on to KhanAcademy ruining bedtime.  In 4th grade, my son Alistair was finally challenged in math class (mentally challenged that is, not just challenged to get his work done).  We had moved him to his third school in 5 years as each of the previous schools were unable to get through to him.  (He’s in Minnetoka Minnesota school district now which is the most phenomenal school district ever in addressing individual kid’s needs).

But he was finally challenged, and because of that he started asking me questions about math at bedtime.  At first it was a couple simple questions and then we moved on to bedtime stories.  After a few weeks he said “Let’s just talk about math instead of stories tonight.”  Wow!  As a engineer it was like music to my ears.  So we talked about math most nights for a number of months.  I would always ask him whether he wanted to talk about something new or something he was working on.  New stuff was introducing summations, probability functions, imaginary numbers, and other fun topics for 4th graders.

After a few months of this, we were introduced to KhanAcademy.  I thought this was one of the coolest sites every and quickly got addicted to the math section myself.  But to get my son’s interest I had to pay him to work on KhanAcademy for a few weeks until he became addicted himself.  That’s when the problems started.

The math questions stopped coming at bedtime anymore.  After a few days I asked why we weren’t talking about math anymore?  He said he didn’t need to ask anymore because he could just ask KhanAcademy.  KhanAcademy is apparently better at teaching math concepts than I am.

Bedtime had become less fun.

Fast forward one year later.  I found a piece of paper on his desk with chemistry equations written on them.  I love chemistry as well and asked him if he had any questions about stoichiometry?  He said no, he was learning it from KhanAcademy.

Damn you KhanAcademy, you’ve ruined bedtime!

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