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9 Free Apps/Websites To Teach Kids Difficult Subjects With Fun

9 Free Apps/Websites To Teach Kids Difficult Subjects With Fun

The benefits of effectively engaging children with learning are lifelong. Learning a second language at a young age, for example, not only gives children an advantage in future career prospects, but fosters a sense of awareness and tolerance. Teaching children the hard sciences shows them how to analyze problems, propose and test solutions, and build upon past knowledge – all critical thinking skills that are essential throughout life, from personal relationships to the business world.

1. Math

Math Playground is a website that focuses on teaching math for students from first through sixth grade. The site has a comprehensive inventory of logic puzzles, math games, and arcade-style number games, as well as interactive tools for teaching fractions, functions, percents, and more.

Math Playground

    2. Coding

    Available for iPads with iOS 6.0 or later, Kodable is a free, award-winning kid app that teaches elementary-aged children how to code. The game centers around fictional aliens called Fuzzes, who must program their way out of the maze-filled planet Smeeborg. To help the Fuzzes, children learn the essential concepts that form the foundation of modern computer programming. Specific concepts include sequential and algorithmic operations, critical thinking, and conditional logic statements.

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    Kodable

      Download Kodable from the iTunes store.

      3. Chemistry

      One awesome chemistry resource for kids is Kid Science: Chemistry Experiments, a kid app that works with iPhones and iPads with iOS 3.2.1 or later. This app displays videos of simple but amazing chemistry experiments, along with accompanying explanatory text. After each video, students can take a quick quiz to test their knowledge.

      Kid Science

        Download Kid Science: Chemistry Experiments from the iTunes store.

        4. National Geographic Kids

        National Geographic Kids is a completely kids-centered website that teaches about a variety of subjects, from dinosaurs to space to animals. The site offers written articles, short fun facts, quizzes, and surveys to spark kids’ interest in the natural world around them. Popular educational games include “Animal Jam,” “Dolphin Diving,” and “Beaver Badminton.”

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        NatGeo Kids

          5. Science Experiments

          Science Bob provides an incredible number of science-based learning resources, including explanatory videos, experiment ideas, and science fair project instructions.

          Science Bob

            Some of Science Bob’s fun experiment ideas include a delicious drink that illustrates liquid densities, a lunch bag that explodes, and a DIY hovercraft. The website also offers a Q&A section that’s great for teaching fun facts and a video section that explains scientific concepts and demonstrates how to perform experiments.

            6. Languages

            Available for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch with iOS 7.0 or greater, Duolingo is a great app for children to learn a second language. Duolingo offers short, structured lessons in over 20 languages, including Arabic, Japanese, Spanish, and Simplified Chinese. With cute illustrations and a built-in social component, Duolingo keeps kids interested in learning and competing with friends.

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            Duolingo

              Download Duolingo from the iTunes store.

              7. Space

              The NASA Kids’ Club website is a fun and interactive way for kids to learn about space. Children can play games that mimic space settlement and a journey to Mars, and they can also participate in product and space settlement design contests.

              NASA Kids Club

                8. Engineering

                Designed for ages 6 to 8, the Imagination Playground 3D Builder kid app allows children to construct buildings of all shapes and sizes by stacking and connecting virtual blocks. After building, kids can turn on Gravity mode to see how the building would hold up in real life. Like the physical building block toys, Imagination Playground 3D Builder allows children to express their creativity and also understand real-life physics principles. This app works with iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch with iOS 7.0 or later.

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                Imagination Playground

                  Download Imagination Playground 3D Builder from the iTunes store.

                  9. Speed Reading

                  Available for iPhone, iPod, and iPad Touch with iOS 8.0 or later, Story Chaser is a free fast-paced kid app that uses competitive games to teach children how to read quickly. In the app, kids must read short pieces of text and then quickly tap a corresponding word. Students can earn points in the form of coins, which allow them to level up. The game also offers an in-app meeting place where players can view progress and compare scores. Story Chaser uses fun and friendly competition to teach speed-reading techniques and improve scanning comprehension.

                  Story Chaser

                    Download Story Chaser from the iTunes store.

                    Teach your kids how to appreciate learning with these awesome science projects for kids!

                    Featured photo credit: Lucelia Ribiero via flickr.com

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                    Published on November 7, 2018

                    How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

                    How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

                    In 2016, it was estimated that 1.7 million children were being homeschooled in the U.S, roughly 3.3% of all school-aged children.[1] Although this may not sound like a big portion of the population, the growth rate of homeschooling has been 7 to15% per year for the last two decades.

                    The burgeoning numbers are not a coincidence. There are tremendous benefits to homeschooling, including one-on-one teaching, adaptability to individual needs and learning styles, a safe learning environment, encouraging learning for knowledge rather than grades, and tailoring a curriculum to the child’s interests.

                    Is homeschooling something that you have been considering for your family? With all of the tools and resources available for homeschoolers in the 21st century, it may be easier than you think.

                    How to Homeschool (Getting Started)

                    After thinking it through, you’ve decided that homeschooling is the right step for you and your family. Now what? Here are the first things you should do to get your homeschooling journey started on the right track.

                    Figure Out the Laws

                    Homeschooling is regulated by the state, not the federal government. The first step is to find the current and accurate legal requirements mandated by your state in order to educate your child legally.[2]

                    The regulations can vary widely, from strict guidelines to no guidelines at all. However, don’t be overwhelmed by the legal jargon. There are many resources and local communities for homeschooling families that can help you figure out the logistics.

                    Decide on an Approach

                    Every child’s needs are different. This is your chance to choose the homeschooling style or combination of styles that best fits your child’s learning style and interests. A brief description of seven different homeschooling methods are listed below.

                    Supplies/Resources

                    Often times, purchasing a homeschooling curriculum is done too early in the planning process, resulting in buyer’s remorse.

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                    A curriculum is not always needed for homeschooling, and other types of free or less structured resources are readily available.

                    Find a Community

                    Getting connected with a community of homeschoolers is one of the most important parts of building a successful and thriving homeschool environment for your kids.

                    Look for communities online for virtual support or a local group that you and your kids can interact with. Partnering with others fosters better socialization skills for the students and provides opportunities for field trips, classes, and outings that wouldn’t have otherwise been a part of the homeschooling experience.

                    7 Different Homeschooling Methods

                    1. School-At-Home

                    Also known as Traditional homeschool, School-At-Home uses essentially the same curriculum as the local private or public school but at home.

                    The lessons can be completed independently, but more commonly, they are administered by a parent or a teacher-facilitated online school.

                    • Benefits: formal standards, wide selection of curricula, same pace as peers, short-term friendly
                    • Drawbacks: expensive, inflexible, time consuming, parent can get easily burnt out
                    • Resources: K12, Time4Learning, Abeka

                    2. Classical

                    One of the most popular homeschooling methods used, it borrows educational practices from Ancient Greece and Rome. Subject areas are studied chronologically so that students can understand the consequence of ideas over time.

                    Socratic dialogue fosters effective discussions and debate to achieve beyond mere comprehension. There is often a strong emphasis on Great Books[3] as well as Greek and Latin.

                    3. Unit Studies

                    Rather than breaking up education into subjects, unit studies approach each topic as a whole, studying it from the perspective of each subject area.

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                    For example, a unit study about animals could include reading books about animals, learning about the classification of animals, figuring out which animals live on which continents, etc. This method is often used as a technique in other more comprehensive educational methodologies.

                    • Benefits: promotes thinking about concepts as a whole, not monotonous or redundant, student-directed, bolsters weaker subject areas, beneficial for teaching multi-age students
                    • Drawbacks: incomplete, knowledge gaps, curriculum-dependent
                    • Resources: Unit Study, Unit Studies, Unit Studies Made Easy, Konos

                    4. Charlotte Mason

                    This Christian homeschooling style utilizes shorts periods of study (15-20 minute max for elementary, 45 minute max for high school), along with nature walks and history portfolios.

                    Students are encouraged to practice observation, memorization, and narration often. With a focus on “living books” (stories with heroes, life lessons, socio-ethical implications), reading plays a big role in this student-paced teaching style.

                    5. Montessori

                    Maria Montessori developed this method through working with special needs children in the early 20th century.

                    With a primary focus on the student setting the pace and indirect instruction from the teacher, this approach includes free movement, large unstructured time blocks (up to 3 hours), multi-grade classes, and individualized learning plans based on interests.

                    6. Unschooling

                    Unschooling is a learning model largely based on the work of John Holt.[4] The teaching style focuses mainly on the students’ interests, putting priority on experiential, activity-based, and learn as you go approaches.

                    For basic skills such as reading, writing, and math, a systematic technique is employed, but testing and evaluations are typically not utilized. Teachers, in general, play more of a facilitator role.

                    7. Eclectic/Relaxed

                    As the most popular method of homeschool, eclectic homeschooling is child-directed, resourceful, and non-curriculum based.

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                    Parents can sample any combination of homeschooling methods and styles or resources. One growing sector of eclectic homeschooling combines part homeschooling with part traditional schooling.

                    How to Facilitate Homeschooling with Technology

                    One of the reasons homeschooling is more feasible than ever before is due to the accessibility of tools and resources to enhance the learning process.

                    Email

                    Email is a tool that has really stood the test of time. Invented in 1972, it is still used today as a primary means of communicating on the Internet.

                    It is a great way to share assignments, links, and videos between parent and student.

                    Google Drive/Calendar

                    Google Drive offers a multitude of essential programs that can come in handy for homeschoolers, such as Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more.

                    With its sharing capabilities, easy accessibility, and auto-save ability, it’s easier than ever to organize and complete assignments. It will improve students’ writing and typing skills, as well as eliminate the need for paper.

                    Google Calendar is an excellent tool for tracking assignment due dates, planning field trips and activities, and developing time management skills.

                    Ebooks

                    Rather than invest in physical copies of books, ebooks are a wonderful option for saving money and space. There are plenty of places that offer a free or paid subscription to a wide selection of ebooks:

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                    E-Courses

                    When a structured curriculum is necessary for teaching a certain topic, an e-course is the way to go.

                    From watercolors to calculus, there are e-courses available about almost everything. Including different teaching styles that vary from the parents will encourage students to learn in different ways.

                    The visual and auditory stimulation will also be beneficial in helping students understand and retain the concepts being taught.

                    Some recommendations:

                    Youtube

                    Youtube is not just a platform for music videos and cats doing funny things. There are a number of Youtube channels that produce quality educational videos, free of charge.

                    Creating a playlist of videos for various topics is a great way to supplement a homeschool education.

                    Some recommendations:

                    Final Thoughts

                    Homeschooling in the current age looks much different than it did ten years ago. There are more options and more flexibility when it comes to educating kids at home.

                    Don’t be overwhelmed by the idea of homeschooling your children if it could make a positive impact on your family.

                    Featured photo credit: Hal Gatewood via unsplash.com

                    Reference

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