P7150013When I taught my SAT class this summer, I asked students to raise their hands if they used Khan Academy; only half the class had even heard of it!

Khan is a powerful, free resource for help in math, science, history, and SAT prep. Please do go to www.KhanAcademy.org and familiarize yourself with all Khan has to offer (including topics of interest to parents such as medicine, banking  and art history), and then make sure your child knows how to navigate the site.

Here are some Khan Academy highlights:

  • Math: Khan offers video lessons on every math topic from arithmetic through calculus, plus online practice exercises. These are great for homework help and test review. I also recommend that kids who are struggling in their math class preview their lessons; that is, watch a Khan video before math class, to help get more out of the teacher’s lesson.
  • Biology, chemistry, history: These videos are great for previewing a chapter or reviewing for a test. They’re also great for student athletes and other super-busy kids who come home late and too exhausted to read their textbook assignments; often, they can watch a Khan video on the same material and get by until they catch up with their reading over the weekend.
  • SAT prep: Khan provides step-by-step solutions to the math questions in tests 4-10 in the Official SAT Guide, second edition. Kids can do a practice section and then check their answers and correct their errors by watching the corresponding video. The videos are also great for students who find the SAT math very hard; I suggest these students watch as Salman Khan solves one problem, then pause the video and try the problem themselves…then move on to the next problem. This kind of practice can help kids catch on to SAT math which can seem so daunting.

Salman Khan explains that Khan Academy allows for self-paced, mastery learning, in which every student can get as much practice and review as she or he needs in order to achieve, not superficial knowledge, but deep mastery of the material.

Finally, I have found that I need to sit down with my students and lead them through the Khan site, explore its features together, and try a few of the math exercises. Once kids get a taste of what Khan Academy has to offer, they begin using it themselves.

[photo of The Survivor Tree, 9/11 Memorial, Manhattan]