So many kids who struggle during the school year whether it’s with basic reading or math waste the summer away watching TV, playing video games, or hanging out (and possibly getting into trouble) when they could be using this time much more productively. Summer is the perfect time to give kids a leg-up on the coming year or remedial help if they’re struggling in school. And best of all, you can access teaching tools for children and adults across a wide variety of age, proficiency levels and subjects at absolutely no cost on the web.
All young people experience learning losses when they do not engage in educational activities during the summer. Research spanning 100 years shows that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of the summer. Most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in math over the summer months. Low-income students also lose more than two months in reading achievement, despite the fact that their middle-class peers make slight gains. The difference can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities. As a result, low-income youth are less likely to graduate from high school or enter college.
Websites such as Khanacademy.org and Openculture.com are free and can make a huge difference in whether your child falls behind or excels over the summer. Many of these sites will test a student’s current proficiency levels and track their progress as they move through a series of practice drills designed to aid understanding and improve competence using proven learning techniques along with interactive colorful graphics that aid learning for even complex subjects while keeping interest high and students engaged.
Built in 2006 by Salman Khan, a Bangladeshi American educator to help his nephews, the website has over 3,200 videos viewable online on everything from arithmetic to physics and hundreds of practice drills to help students master subjects at their own pace. Khan Academy believes everybody is entitled to a world-class education at any time and everywhere including adults. Students can make use of their extensive video library, interactive challenges, and assessments from any computer with access to the web.
Open Culture is another great website especially for high school age, college students and others interested in continuing education. Open Culture scans the web and assembles links to a host of the best free online educational resources. You can access over 500 courses from Ivy League schools like Harvard, Stanford, Yale and MIT or get free textbooks. There are many websites that offer free language lessons in Spanish, Chinese, Japanese and others and Open Culture is a portal to them. Open Culture also shows you where you can view free movies like Oscar winners, sci-fi classics, and even Hitchcock.
The web has so many resources that educate and provide enlightened entertainment suitable for summer’s school holiday. As a parent, even a working parent, you owe it to your child to insist that they access online education resources for at least an hour a day. By keeping the brain active, you and your child can face the new school year prepared to excel.