Wednesday, September 05, 2012

What's Working Wednesday: Helpful Math Websites

What's Working Wednesday is my weekly post to showcase something that is working for me or my family at the moment. It may not work for us forever and it may or may not work for you.

School started recently so I have school on my mind.  I wanted to share a couple of helpful websites that I use to supplement our normal math curriculum. My kids set a timer and work on these websites for 20 minutes everyday. I'm sure that I would have my kids use these sites even if I didn't homeschool.

1. Xtra Math
Xtra Math is a fun, free website to help your kids master their math facts. It's way better than flash cards! Signing your kids up is easy. There are even video tutorials if you need help. Some things I like about it:
* It's quick. After the quiz for the day and a couple of "race the teacher" sessions have been completed (less than 10 minutes) the page says, "You're Done!" and the only option is to click "Sign Out." I like the clear beginning and ending. We all know when they've completed all the practice they need for the day.
* The focus is mastery. Students aren't quizzed on their subtraction facts until they can answer all of their addition facts in less than 3 seconds. Once addition, then subtraction are mastered students move on to master multiplication, then division.
* Detailed Reports. It is easy, on the reports page, to see at a glance how your kids are doing and which math facts they are struggling with. Reports are emailed to the parent or teacher every Monday morning so you can see how they are doing even if you haven't been on the website that week to check it out. The reports may be a little confusing at first. Check the "Help" section to help you interpret them. You are also emailed a reminder email if your child has missed a few days - a helpful thing for me.
A sample report from the recesses of my email.
2. Khan Academy
If you haven't checked it out Khan Academy I highly recommend you do. It is an amazing website where you can "Learn almost anything for free"! We have been using it for over a year, mostly for math practice. Again the goal is mastery but you get to pick which areas you work on. I, personally, have really enjoyed this site because I have always loved math. I am working my way through the math practice sections myself and, in the process, am re-learning a lot of difficult math concepts I used to know and learning some things I never did learn. It is great because if there is a math concept that you don't understand there is a video to explain how to do it and step by step hints to help you along. The videos come in handy when I can't explain a math concept to my kids myself (I am sure it will be even more helpful in the future as their math gets tougher!)

I am a "Coach" for each of my kids on Khan Academy so I can see what math concepts they have been working on. The "Coach" section gives a good overview of how your students have been using their time and helps to see at a glance what concepts they need help with.There are many schools that are using Khan Academy in their classrooms. I haven't explored it too much but there are various Teacher Resources to help you implement it in your classroom.

We haven't watched many of them but there are a ton of videos on all kinds of subjects including: math, science, computer science, finance and economics, humanities, test prep, as well as various talks and interviews. If there is a subject that you want to learn more about this just might be the place start.

These two websites have been helpful to me. Do you have any other math websites you recommend for use with your kids?

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