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Best Websites for Back to School

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Going back to school can be a hard transition for families. New schedules, maybe a new school, and new friends create a lot of excitement, but can can create a good amount of anxiety as well. One of the things that makes us anxious as parents is whether our kids will succeed academically. In some cases, they've spent the summer with that section of their brain turned off (the one that actually thinks cohesively about things). The web is full of wonderful things to help kids of all ages learn and practice their academics. Here are some of the best websites to help your child transition back to school.

1. Sheppard Software

Sheppard Software is a virtual playground where kids and non-kids can go to learn and play at the same time. There is so much to do on the site, that it seems like you'll never get to all of it. Broken out into 9 broad categories, the Sheppard Software website is a library of educational information that is fun, interactive, and, best of all, free. This is a great place to brush up on the academic fundamentals that your kids may have let slip over the summer.

2. Khan Academy

Khan Academy
If you haven't heard of Khan Academy yet, you're missing out. These folks are leading a revolution in education, using the internet as their platform. As of today, they have over 3,300 educational videos on all kinds of topics, ranging from algebra and trigonometry to computer science, to the basics of finance. It's an amazing online classroom with tons of content to help you or your child brush up on those difficult concepts. For back to school, I can't think of a better resource.

3. Starfall

Starfall.com
Starfall is an educational website that provides tons of interactive content for your younger child. It's broken out into four basic categories of learning: reading, math, shapes, and phonics. When it comes to education, the folks at Starfall know what they're doing. This site is designed by professional educators to be an interactive zone of learning for your child. The visuals are great, and your child will have fun while they engage their mind. For back to school, this website is a must see!

4. Dreambox

Dreambox
If you're looking for math-specific training, Dreambox is the place to go. The folks at Dreambox are not only math experts, they're also learning experts. They've designed their site to engage students in every way possible to help them learn math. One of the ways they do this is through what they call "Adaptive Learning Technology." In a nutshell, this technology constantly assesses your child's progress and adjusts the instruction according to what your child is getting and not getting. They also present it in an engaging and motivating way. It's easy to get kids excited to get on Dreambox (don't tell them they're going to "work on math").

5. Lumosity

One of my new favorite topics is the concept of brain training, the idea that you can exercise and train your brain just like any muscle in your body, and gain improvements. That's what Lumosity is all about, online brain training. Maybe your child just needs a brush up on those brain muscles that haven't been flexed all summer. Lumosity is the place to go. They've got the science to back up their claims that if you exercise the brain in the areas of memory, speed, attention, flexibility, and problem solving, you can improve your brain's performance. Lumosity is a great place to start for back to school brain calisthenics!

These websites are a great place to start for back to school training for your child. With all the fun that happens in the summer, it's nice to have places on the web where we can re-focus our energy and get back to school!
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