If you check out only one resource for your elementary- or high-school-aged kid this summer, make sure it’s online learning sensation Khan Academy, also available as an iPad app. This non-profit educational resource backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, originally started as a collection of tutorial videos Salman Khan made to help his cousin with her math homework. After he became a YouTube sensation, Khan quit his job as a hedge fund analyst and turned Khan Academy into a immense free resource with more than 3100 instructional videos covering K-12 math, science, and humanities topics.
Videos run no more than 10 minutes long. Math topics and are supported with interactive challenges and assessments. Kids can earn badges and points in a variety of ways. Parents can also check in using a “coach” account to see extremely detailed reports about how the child is faring. This is the best resource yet for self-paced learning.
ONBoard online courses from McGraw-Hill help high school students prepare for next year’s Advanced Placement classes. Schools can purchase this review for their students or students can subscribe on their own for $50 per class with 12-month access.
The courses go over skills and concepts for classes including AP Biology, Economics, Environmental Science, Psychology, US Government & Politics, US History, and World History. For example, the AP US History class covers how to analyze primary and secondary sources as well as how to gather and organize information.
Students complete interactive exercises and quizzes, and at the end of each class, receive a final assessment so they know what they need to work on next.
6. Train your brain
A 1-year gift subscription costs $80; a 1-year family membership, with up to five accounts, costs $130. The Lumosity.com games require Flash and can’t be played on your iPhone or iPad. However, the company does offer a small subset through six iOS apps.
7. Become a coding ninja
8. Goose your gray matter on the go
Younger kids might appreciate iPhone and iPad games in the TeachMe series, including the $1 TeachMe: Kindergarten, TeachMe 1st Grade, and so on. Kids practice skills like addition and sight words and use the app’s handwriting recognition to write their answers on-screen. Best of all (according to my daughter), correct answers earn coins to decorate an interactive aquarium or to collect onscreen stickers and Silly-Bandz-style bands.
9. Don’t forget to play outside
Sure, it’s easy to worry about kids forgetting all they’ve learned during the summer, but consider this: letting them run free during the break—emphasis on the word run—may be the best thing you can do for their brains. Focusing on fitness can be especially important if your kid’s school has cut back P.E. or recess.