Online Homework Help for Research
International Children's Library
Parents need to know that the International Children's Digital Library is a multicultural library that features carefully selected, age-rated and age-appropriate books. Childrenslibrary.org includes children's books from more than 40 countries and in 55 languages. The site is easily accessible and allows users to search for books by age, country, language, length, or genre. Parents can rest easy -- the site doesn't have any interactive areas, and the nonprofit organization uses strict policies on privacy and external links to keep kids away from inappropriate content. The limited amount of required information from members isn't sold or distributed to other parties.
ipl 2 for Kids
Parents need to know that ipl2 for Kids is a section of the huge Internet Public Library experimental resource, which is created and maintained by professors and students at library and information science programs. The site is organized by subject and does link to other sites. It may be a bit too cluttered for younger students to find what they're looking for on their own, but for older students, parents, and teachers, it's a well-stocked resource. Kids can submit a question (barring medical, legal, tax, and personal opinion) to a volunteer librarian and receive a well-researched answer back within about a week.
Parents need to know that Word Central is an educational site that offers a full children's dictionary, word games, and daily buzzwords. The exercises included on this site give kids an opportunity to better their vocabulary and to learn about the origin of language. Word Central does a great job of catering their definitions to a younger audience and has clearly placed effort on providing appropriate terminology. A "Build Your Own Dictionary" section allows users to create their own words, parts of speech, and definitions. The only advertisements on site are promoting Merriam-Webster merchandise.
Online Homework Help for Social Studies
Parents need to know that BrainPOP Jr. is a pay site that creates online animated curriculum-based content that is aligned to state education standards. BrainPOP Jr. targets kids in kindergarten to third grade. Kids don't need proficient reading skills to use this audio-heavy site. Lessons all begin with a brief video and include a wide variety of school and life topics. There's also a companion site for older kids, a game site called GameUp, and a Spanish language site. Families pay $85 a year or $8.45 a month for access; homeschooling families, schools, and other organizations pay more.
Smithsonian Education Students
Parents need to know that Smithsonian Education Students is a treasure trove of resources for kids who are interested in all sorts of topics like history, science, and cultures, or for kids who are looking for information on a specific subject for a school report. There are games, articles, experiments, a searchable resource library, and more to explore here. For kids who live close to Washington, D.C., or are soon to visit, there's also a ton of information on this site about the current exhibits and events of special interest to kids at the Smithsonian museums.
Kidipede: History for Kids
Parents need to know that the Kidipede history site is a well-organized -- albeit a bit dry -- homework and report helper for middle schoolers. Unfortunately, at least one page that promises to get students "more help" with a topic is actually a broken link. The many flashing ads for things like phone service and credit cards are distracting. One very helpful page is a "How to Cite this Site" page, which kids definitely need as teachers and schools demand better citations of online resources to fight plagiarism.
Online Homework Help for Math & Science
Parents need to know that Math Playground is a site true to its name; it's jam-packed with math problems disguised as fun games. Created by a math teacher and educational consultant, there's nothing fluffy on the site. Games that require specific and complex skills, tutorial videos (made by students), logic puzzles, beginning programming, and an amazing supply of word problems are all here. This site requires the latest Flash Player and Java software; functionality will be missing if you don't have these. Google ads appear on every page.
Parents need to know that the Exploratorium website is a science website from the San Francisco museum of the same name. Kids don't need to register to use the site; the videos, interactive exercises and other features are free. Users are encouraged to follow the museum on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites to post comments and interact with other fans -- but can't comment on each and every section of the site. Many of the videos, for example, on the site don't include comment functionality.
Parents need to know that StudyJams! is a free Scholastic site that provides engaging multimedia lessons on math and science, ranging from basic algebra problems to more complex concepts like scientific theory and evidence. The site is ad-free and doesn't collect any information from users. (There's nothing inappropriate for kids under 8, but the lessons may be too challenging for the average kid.)
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