By Tracey Dowdy
My father faced many challenges in life but none greater than tutoring his daughters in math. God bless that man. Hours at the dining room table drilling us on times tables, explaining fractions, long division, finding the square root…no wonder he had gray hair long before he turned 40.
I was smart enough to marry a man who could do the same for our kids. He covered subjects like math and chemistry, I took care of English and History. I seriously think that should be part of parenting classes – who is going to help with what homework – but that’s an article for another day.
Until that happens, or at least while we wait, the gods of the Internet have provided several excellent web sites that can fill in when the questions asked are outside your scope of knowledge or you’ve run out of ways to explain a concept. Even better, no matter what your child’s learning style, these sites can make learning not only accessible, but fun as well.
IXL offers “dynamic, adaptive learning” so “practice feels like play. Students will find resources to help with math, science, social studies and language arts from Pre-K through Twelfth grade. Available as a website and an app, IXL provides Common Core aligned content that will boost your child’s confidence as well as their skill set.
Access to a limited number of exercises is free, but membership is required for full access to resources like unlimited practice activities, analytics, awards, and certificates. (Membership fees: $9.95/month or $79.95/year)
Bookopolis recognizes that readers are leaders and wants to instill a lifelong love of reading in kids aged 7-12. The web site tracks reading and writing accomplishments and encourages kids by awarding badges and points for adding or recommending books to others, writing reviews and reports, or inviting their friends to join. Kids practice persuasive writing, reports, keyboarding skills, comprehension, and keep an online reading log. There are contests, suggestions for reluctant readers – a lifesaver for parents when book reports are assigned – and links to fun pages like “Doodle with Tom Gates”, hero of Liz Pinchon’s series of books. (Free)
Khan Academy provides thousands of educational video tutorials covering a broad range of subjects including math, science, history, English, art, and computer programming for students K-5 through university. Tutorials are available in English, French, Spanish, and Brazilian Portuguese and are Common Core aligned. Recognizing that each student learns differently and develops skills at different times, students have unlimited access to resources to ensure they achieve mastery through “conceptual understanding, procedural fluency, and real-world application.” (Free)
Google Scholar “provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature.” Ad free and limited to scholarly works such as abstracts, articles, books, and court opinions instead of the entire scope of the Internet, Google Scholar is ideal for students just starting in academic research. Keep in mind that articles are automatically sorted by topic, not date, so just as with Google, students will need to be mindful of relevance and the date information was published. (Free)
Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.