While I want my kids to have a relaxing fun summer, there is plenty of downtime where they can take 30 minutes a day to work on some skills.
For example, I want them both to improve on their touch typing. I also want Walsh to be faster at his math facts. He passed all the multiplication math facts tests but he figures them out instead of knowing them by memory. (He hates rote memory activities.)
I asked parents on the Momania Facebook page to recommend some of their favorite sites. And they came up with some great ones. Here are what they suggested. Please tell us your favorites.
For typing: One mom shared this very fun touch typing site from the BBC called Dance Mat Typing. Talking animals guide the kids through four levels 12 stages of touch typing. They show you how to use the home keys and the correct finger for each key. I think my kids will think this if fun and will accomplish want I want — faster typing and using the right fingers!
For rote math skills like multiplication tables:
One mom suggested Xtra Math. I’m not that far into it yet. It’s a totally free site, with no advertising and they won’t sell your info. I just registered all three kids. You get reports by email or you look online to see how they are doing. You can adjust the program for them. For example, Walsh doesn’t really need to practice addition and subtraction but he does multiplication and division so you can set it for just those activities. It looks pretty straight forward. No bells or whistles or sugar to make them thing this is fun. I could be wrong though.
Khan Academy – This website offers videos in many academic areas and also offers practice examples. It seems to be free as well.
BigBrainz.com — This one you’ll have to pay for to get the good stuff. It is a real video game that kids want to play and end up learning their math facts. (See the video above.) I know Walsh will love this one. (I hate downloading things though. I worry about viruses. Anyone had any problems with viruses?)
Computer skills – like HTML, Dreamweaver, Photoshop — The kids want to be on the computer so I’ve decided to at least make some of that time useful.
Last summer I used Lynda.com to work on my HTML/CSS and Dreamweaver skills. I am planning to get again this summer so the kids can jump on also learn HTML, Dreamweaver, Illustrator, or Flash. The website has it all so they can jump around and actually learn really useful skills.
It is $25 a month for the regular subscription but I don’t think that gets you the practice exercises. If you have the software then it doesn’t matter because you can just start a project on your own.
Summer study books – Our school recommended SummerSkills.com for summer books to study with. They ask for 20 minutes three times a week. It comes with three lessons a week for 10 weeks. So it’s not a huge time commitment but will keep them thinking.
Walsh will be skipping fourth grade math and jumping into fifth grade math in the fourth grade. So the teachers suggested he review the fourth-grade math book.
Rose is jumping to eighth grade math in sixth grade. She took sixth and seventh grade math this year so I got the seventh grade math book just for review fractions and decimals in algebraic equations.
I got Lilina the kindergarten math book so she would have something to do while the other kids worked, and she loves it. The other kids haven’t started with theirs but Lilina is already on lesson 7. I knew she knew all the preschool math so I went a grade up for her. Some of the stuff is completely new to her (like fractions) but that’s OK.
So what are your favorite learning sites? What should we check out?