Stanley F. Schmidt, I could kiss you!

Well, maybe not literally. But figuratively, yep, I could. And Sal Khan too.

Life of Fred: Apples by Stanley F. Schmidt is kind of a maths text-book, kind of a story, and with a bizarre sense of humour and an absolute resistance to ‘dumbing things down’, but you really have to see it to get it. (There are sample pages at that link) As well as providing a fun practise for maths concepts, there are so many conversation starters as well, snippets of information with no real bearing on the story, but great fun for us to share.

Afterwards I set C up with the Khan Academy while A and I played with some bean pouring and melon-balling.

The Khan academy (thanks to another friend for convincing me try it!) is a fabulous free resource begun by Sal Khan for maths learning. It is very no frills, but has a video and practise questions for many, many topics. When you register, you are shown a topic tree, you choose a topic and it will display questions on that topic. From this screen you can watch a video, or use a ‘scratch pad’ (think “Paint”) to help you solve the question. When you get enough right, you have mastery and the computer recommends the next topic for you.

Its lovely when you find something that works.  🙂  It’s even better when they are free or affordable.

Online Game for Reading

Okay, its pretty easy, but here is a fun game for younger children supposed to help with reading. And at least part of it is free, it saves their progress and it’s very bright and colourful. The older two have both been enjoying playing it in the last few days,  so I thought I’d let you know about it.

You can also log in as a parent and see your child’s progress (or buy an extension level or two, of course 🙂 )

Screen time: Online Games

I’m trying to be zen about computer use 🙂 Anyway, I keep my feelers out and I do hear of a lot of online games for children. Primus and Secondus are my chief testers. I pop them in their folder, and we see what sticks. Here are some of our favourites, roughly in the order we found them, so not best to worse.

Boohbah: Because it requires no reading or any mouse skills, it is a great beginners activity (it’s not really a game). Children move the mouse and ‘stuff’ happens. The learning content is the co-ordination, and the cause and effect.

Starfall: From the US but free. Only  small amount of control is needed to start with. It is designed to teach reading. It starts with initial sounds, and moves on from there. There are simple readers and worksheets that can be downloaded and printed too.

Kidspsych:  logic puzzles. It has two sections, one for under 5’s, one for over 5’s. I’m not sure I get the appeal, but Primus enjoyed it for quite a while.

Bembo’s Zoo: Maybe you could say it’s alphabet, but it’s just interesting to watch.

Poisson Rouge: It’s a great site with a wide range of activities. There is no reading – in fact very little language at all, and what is there is French, but don’t let that stop you, you don’t need it to enjoy the games and activities.

Think Math: Math games for K-5, US, some imperial measurements

Cool Math Games: A current favourite of LE, there are a wide range of fantastic games, everything from arithmetic to logic, puzzles, and problem solving. New games added regularly, and for younger children there is Cool Math Games for Little Kids

Fantastic Contraption: Logic and problem solving

Playschool: Classic

Sesame Street Playlists: has short videos interspersed with games covering basic skills, sorted by subject

Putumayo Kids: World music videos to watch

cbeebies: Lots of games, usually tv related

Writing this has shown me how many I have on my bookmarks list to give the boys to try, so now we have to test them. You know, for research purposes 😉