Have you ever been frustrated helping children because you have forgotten how to do math or some other skill?
Bill Gates and Sal Khan have given grandparents, parents, and teachers of the world a great gift. They want to ensure a world-class education for children worldwide. The free site is www.khanacademy.org.
When you go to the site the main choices of basic arithmetic to studying for the SAT are available.
Let’s start with a video for young children. Click on arithmetic and then basic addition. Sal begins with one plus one. He draws one avocado plus one avocado equals two avocados on the screen and talks like he is a friendly smiling tutor sitting next to you. His voice tells you he loves doing this. Sal helps the viewer count up the avocados. Then he goes to three plus four avocados, counts them up, and shows how to make and use a number line to add. Other basic math lessons include one and two digit addition, subtraction, borrowing, multiplication, division, fractions, percents, ratios, and properties. Each lesson is 15 minutes or less with practice.
To sign up for practice go back to the home page and click on practice at the top. You will see many circles with practice choices. Look at the one-labeled telling time to get an idea of how all practice works. Young children often have difficulty because of all the digital clocks around. Click on this circle and there will be many practices, hints, reviews, plus a way to check answers.
Adults can become coaches by signing up. The Khan Academy has a few suggestions. After young children have a snack and a little free time sit down with them for 15 minutes. Do homework, practice reading and math, play an educational game, carry on a conversation, or do a Khan Academy lesson. New lessons will be e-mailed every two weeks. The lessons you see on the home page are just a sample of what is available. More than 41 million adults and children around the globe in 16 different languages are learning from Khan Academy video tutorials. You can also check out grandparentsteachtoo.org.
Fifteen thousand classrooms now use the videos in some way. Sal Khan and his team are adding projects and making the tutorials interactive.
Sal Khan thinks of learning as Swiss cheese. No matter how old learners are there are gaps or holes that can be filled. There are skills not mastered.
Esther Macalady is a former teacher, who lives in Golden, and participates in the Grandparents Teach Too writing group.