Someone asked me how to talk to kids about difficult topics. This is daunting but worth the effort. It grows informed kids willing to discuss anything from history to science to politics. I used a lot of online resources to get mine there.
One great thing about growing up in the information age, though, is that you don’t have to go it alone. There are many sources of information out there. You can use these! There are also terrible sources. Let’s hope your kids aren’t using these.
So, beyond talking to your kids about difficult subjects, I would suggest teaching them where to get information. When my kids were small, I showed them where to find answers, how to evaluate a source, and how to check facts. (I also filtered out the smut. That’s a topic for another day.)
But if you want to send them to a source they can trust, so you can get some work done, here are three of my favorite online learning tools for kids.
$10.95 a month
Funny, entertaining, and educational, Brainpop may be my favorite online educational tool. If you are freaking out over the sex talk, start here. Kids watch short animation on science, social studies, math, technology, English, health, arts, and music and can test their knowledge at the end with a multiple choice quiz. More than once, I turned homework time into a two-hour learning festival where my kids were having a blast. In fact, it can be as difficult to get a kid away from Brainpop as it is to get them away from cat videos on YouTube but when you do get them away, they will full of knowledge. I have lost a few hours to Brainpop myself.
$9.95 a month
Your middle schooler turns to you, expecting you to help her with her math homework. But it’s been 20 years since you thought about the Pythagorean Theorem. Turn to Cosmeo’s Math Solver’s for a quick reminder on how to solve that problem. Or let you kid watch a teacher explain over and over again if necessary a troubling topic. Trouble with the times tables? Get him playing a video games that requires he master them to move to the next level. Fourth grader writing a paper on Madagascar? Wouldn’t it be nice to dial up every documentary the Discovery Channel has ever made on the subject? Need photos, data, or video she can use in her school project? Done. Done. And done. Check out the 30-day free trial.
Schmoop helps middle school, high school, and college students get papers their written. It gives them resources to help them evaluate books, and think about themes in literature, poetry, and history. The content is written by PH.D students and it can help your student study more efficiently by providing study questions, links to audio and video content and writing guides. Is your tween staring at a blank piece of paper with a book-report deadline looming? Schmoop will help her break it down into an outline, add notes in, and guide her toward a finished paper while inspiring her with relevant quotes along the way.
There are also great sources out there for helping you through the sex talk. I will cover those in another post. Don’t miss it! Sign up for alerts from GeekGirlFriends.com here.