How to Sign Your Kid Up For Khan Academy

Parents, August is right around the corner, and before you know it, school will be starting up again. With the new school year comes new math concepts, and some of it might strike you as confusing and difficult. In some math classrooms, the processes that teachers are using are not the same as the ones you might have used.

Before you complain about this, remember: your child’s teacher is giving your child the tools needed to really be successful at math. Remind your child to work towards understanding the way the teacher is modeling/helping to discover, and make sure you’re also providing them with tips and techniques that you have learned.

Math isn’t just a subject; it’s a language, and, like with any language, there are different ways of saying the same thing. One tool that can be really helpful for parents and students alike is Khan Academy.

Khan Academy started as the place to go to learn math for free, but now you can learn about art, computer programming, economics, physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, finance, history, and more. It’s easy to get started, and the math is all organized by grade level. It’s great for literally all grades, from Kindergarten through College.

When you sign up, you want to sign yourself up as a parent first. Then, you can create accounts for your children/teens. This will allow you to track their progress and make sure they are logged in when they say they are (I loved this feature as a teacher!).

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If you’ve got multiple parents/guardians wanting to help with the math, recommend having the parent who feels weakest in math sign up as the parent account. Then, the other parent and guardians can create coach accounts. The coach accounts can coach both the student and the parents. It’s fun for the parent who doesn’t feel as confident in math to compete with the student to learn more math and earn more energy points and badges, and can make it a lot of fun.

What do you think of Khan Academy? Do your students already use it, or is this a new tool for you? If you already use it, what grade level do you have the highest mastery in?

 

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FiveStar Notebooks

Parents, I have great news for you! Students typically need at least one notebook per class once the school year starts. For some kids, that’s as many as seven or eight different notebooks!

There are lots of options out there, but I have found that FiveStar Notebooks tend to last the whole year, which means you child will be organized and ready all year long. When it comes time to study for finals, they will be ready.

The covers don’t rip off like other notebooks because they have sturdy plastic covers, and, in some cases, sturdy cardboard backs.

There’s always a folder for handouts, which really makes FiveStar notebooks ideal for middle and high school students.

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Do you love FiveStar products? What notebook is your favorite and why?

Wyzant Tutoring

Parents, this one is for you! How many of you look at your students’ work and panic? You might think this is NOT how I learned math, or they’re reading that already? How many of you wish you had the time to help your student with their homework?

Have no fear! Wyzant Tutoring is a company I work with that does JUST THAT! It is a network of freelance tutors that serve areas across the United States. This means that, no matter where you are, you can find a tutor to help your child with any subject!

In fact, they can even help you! Maybe you need help with computers or programs. Maybe you’re going back to school and want help studying for the SAT, GRE, GMAT, or LSAT…

There is a tutor on Wyzant who can help you achieve your goals.

If you are in the NYC area, look up my profile. I will happily offer you a discount if you mention this website (The Learning Cornerstone).

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Have you used Wyzant at all? What was your experience like?

The Best Calculators by Grade Level

Before we talk about the best calculators out there, I want to address the use of calculators. I hold onto the idea that you really shouldn’t use a calculator on a regular basis. It’s better for your cognitive thinking skills for you to do the math, either on paper or mentally, rather than relying on your calculator or your computer to produce the answer. That said, sometimes, a calculator is useful to help save time. It is important to use your calculator wisely so you aren’t wasting time with simple operations. Save it for the more complex work!

Now, onto the list! I will be the first to admit that this list is extremely biased. As a math teacher, life is so much easier when students all have the same brand of calculator, and the Texas Instrument Brand currently has a lock on the school market. I have yet to encounter a school professional that prefers Casio or other brands.

That said, you don’t always need the most expensive TI Calculator out there. In fact, sometimes, a simpler one is better. I have personally used each of the calculators on this list, and highly recommend them. I’m organizing the list by suggested grade level, with a couple “splurge” calculators at the end for students who already love math.

5th and 6th Grade:

While I won’t advocate for 5th and 6th graders using calculators regularly, it is an important skill for them to start to develop. These two calculators are standard function ones that are easy to use, and low-cost while still being reliable.

The blue 503SV is purely battery powered, while the 1706SV uses solar power. Both are high quality, it is just a matter of preference.

7th and 8th Grade:

In middle school, it’s time to step up your calculator game. Instead of a standard function like we saw above, we want a Scientific Calculator. This will allow students to perform operations with exponents, fractions, parenthesis, and more easily.

I definitely recommend the TI-30XIIS because the two-line display makes it easy for teachers to help students identify errors they made while entering their math. Also, this calculator is a better bridge from the standard function to the graphing. That said, I had the TI-30Xa when I was in high school algebra, and it served me very well.

High School:

In high school, its time to transition away from the Scientific Calculator and to the Graphing Calculator. A graphing calculator is able to perform more complicated functions, such as quickly graphing an equation, populating a table, and more.

In reality, using the TI-83 is perfectly fine. It does everything you need through college math. The TI-84 computes a little faster, and can connect to your computer in more ways than the TI-83.

Splurge:

If you really love math, or are getting a calculator for someone studying math or science in college, these are really amazing options that I have used.

If you want to go really crazy, the TI-Inspire is supposed to be fancier, but at that point, I’d rather just use my computer.

Which calculator is your favorite? Did I include it above, or do you have another favorite? Why?

The Parent Pathway

The Parent Pathway contains content that is specific to parents, but is also useful to students and teachers. The Parent Pathway will provide access to tutoring opportunities outside of the school for the student, as well as access to resources and courses to help your student be their very best. There will be tips here for parents to design workspaces for their students and guides for you to help your students achieve higher than before.

Courses to help parents understand Common Core standards and their impact on the students are also in development.