The internet is booming with online learning opportunities for young people. Below are 7 websites that I have had a positive experience with.
PBS Kids Play advertises itself as a “School Readiness” program that offers online learning games for children in Preschool through First Grade. Multiple subjects are explored, from math, to early science, reading, music, social studies, emotional development and even foreign language! What I like most is that all of the learning activities contain engaging characters and almost all of them are from one of the television shows on PBS such as Super Why!, Dinosaur Train, and Thomas the Tank Engine. The website is meant for children ages 3 and up to work independently while parents are able to track their child’s progress throughout the program. There are free trials available, but full access requires a membership. Both home and classroom plans are available for purchase.
IXL is a website that offers lots of practice questions for Math (from Preschool up through Algebra 2) and Language Arts, grades 2-6. This is a good website if you are looking to assess your child’s knowledge and skill in a particular area. All questions are aligned to state and common core standards. The website allows you to answer 20 questions for free, but requires a membership for unlimited access to practice questions. The questions are timed and your progress is scored. Both home and classroom memberships are offered. I think this is a good website simply for checking to see what your child should be learning at each grade level. I don’t always have my daughter answer the questions via the website, however I do look at the questions and the standards at each grade level to get a sense of what she should be learning. The few times that I have let my 3 year old answer questions via the website, the 20 question limit was enough to gauge her performance. For members, there are charts for student progress to let parents know how well their children are doing and what areas need improvement.
Samson’s Classroom has 3 sections: Sight Words, Spelling and Reading Comprehension. The sight word section has over 224 sight words that are commonly used in the English language. The spelling section has over 5, 000 spelling words and also allows the parent or teacher to customize the list and insert additional words. In the reading comprehension section students read a passage and if they answer all the questions correctly they earn “hammer time, ” which is the ability to play a short game. I love that there are several levels of reading comprehension, however I wish there was a way to only allow students to read the higher level passages once they have mastered the prior level. One thing that bothers me is that my daughter always wants to click on the passages that are too difficult for her. She gets frustrated if she answers one question incorrectly, because if she does not answer them all correctly she will not earn “hammer time.” There are home and classroom subscriptions available. The home subscription price was only $30 for a year.
I am in love with this site. Readworks is a website that offers reading passages and questions that help students improve their reading comprehension skills. The passages can be downloaded and printed out and are organized by Lexile level, grade level, theme, and skill. There are lessons plans for grades K-6 and reading passages for grades K-8. Anyone, parent or teacher, can register for free access to all of the sites content. I highly recommend parents whether homeschooling full time or supplemental, check out this site.
5. Khan Academy
Initially a series of online tutorials, the Khan Academy has totally revolutionized free online learning. I remember when the Khan Academy was in its beginning stages and only had videos. I would use some of the videos in my classroom and refer students to watch them at home. Now the website has evolved to allow users to take placement exams, engage in dialogue with other users and even “coach” others through lessons. The “coach” is essentially a teacher or parent that sets up a classroom account that dictates what content they are able to access. The Khan Academy covers topics from basic math to Biology and Art History. There is even SAT, MCAT, GMAT test prep and more. To top it all off, all of the content is FREE!
A great way to supplement your child’s education is to introduce them to computer programming. If classes are offered in your school district check them out and see if they are a good fit for your child. But you can also have them learn these concepts at home. Below are two websites I learned about through the “Hour of Code” — a day when teachers across the country were encouraged to allow students to spend one hour learning about computer programming. I participated by having my daughter “play” with these two websites. Check out http://learn.code.org/ for more free computer programming courses.
Tynker is an online course that teaches young people the basics of computer programming. There are two levels, beginning and intermediate, and both have a lifetime fee of $50. So far we have only explored the free activities listed under “Hour of Code”. Puppy Play time activity was a favorite with my daughter.
Lightbot can be accessed from an iPad, Android device or any computer with a web browser. The goal is to light up all the blue squares using computer programming. According to Lightbot documentation:
“Lightbot is a programming puzzle game. This means that at its core, it is a puzzle game, but its game mechanics lend themselves to actually having a one-to-one relationship with programming concepts.”
Although this activity is aimed at young children, it can be fun and addicting for adults as well.
Mommies, do you subscribe to any online learning tools for your children? Do you have any website to add to the list? Please share ?
Angele is a wife to a wonderful creative husband, mother to two beautiful intelligent daughters and a lover of art, education and laughter. She is the creator and author of ABC remix.