Generally, when I suggest to a student that summer break can be used for any type of learning experience, I am greeted with an open-mouthed look of disgust that would best be described as revulsion. However, teens can often make use of online resources over the summer to stretch their brains and retain knowledge gained the prior school year. With a constantly expanding educational world on the web, there are a plethora of resources parents should be aware of that can help even the most unwilling student become a summer scholar.
- For the reluctant reader: Try readtheory.org. This site has students take a pre-test to determine their reading level. Responding to a few quick questions, which increase in difficulty throughout the quiz, can help prepare students for the ever-tricky task of completing the reading section of the ACT in record time as well as improve accuracy.
- For those on a math mission: Try khanacademy.com. Most students will have heard about Khan Academy by the time they reach high school because yes, it is that awesome. This website helps even the most disinclined math student breeze through complex formulas and equations with its hand-on tutoring and video learning exercises for students. It’s also easily navigable for even the technologically indisposed, and its class structure organization will help students easily review last year’s math core concepts before beginning school.
- For the AP scholar: Try John Green’s web series, Crash Course on YouTube. In 15-20 minutes YA novelist John Green (and his brother, Hank, and other scholars in various fields) discuss subjects ranging from Literature and US History to Psychology and Economics. These videos connect with students by using pop culture and quirky animations to explain difficult concepts and deeply analyze complex subject matter.
While there are tremendous resources online for students, these websites stand apart as resources to allow student-guided learning in order to refresh prior knowledge as well as deeply explore areas of interest in an intellectual setting. Additionally, the user-friendly and engaging method of educating within these sites may just inspire the most resistant of summer learners to acquire new knowledge.