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    #189310 04/24/14 11:31 AM
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    I'm looking for online enrichment opportunities for my EG/PG first grader with a passion for science and social studies. He has not enjoyed online e-learning tools focused on Math basics like dreambox, aleks, khan. He will do them without complaint as part of his school work and homework but does not seek them out. He used to love out brain pop but kind of outgrew it. He seeks out Documentaries (watches the old popular mechanic series goodness gracious) and non-fiction books...thus I'm looking for something more content driven for him to explore over the summer at his own pace. I wouldn't mind a more engaging math platform if one caught his eye as well.

    I'm not an academic person (and definitely not a STEM mom) myself thus these sources are not easy for me to find or evaluate.

    Someone suggested JHU CTY but it is pricey. This I'm wondering if anyone has reviews to offer?

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    Do you mean Popular Mechanics or Popular Mechanics for Kids?

    If it's PMK then I might have some ideas, if it is just PM then I need to go download wink

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    Dreambox and Khan are kind the two poles if you will re: on-line courses. One, very "gamey" and one more serious. Which kind does he prefer? CTY is definitely more like Khan. Good tough courses--less exploration though and more targeted learning.

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    N.. I don't know if this will be helpful at all, but fwiw - my EG ds is really into science, math and stem. He wasn't into online learning at all when he was 6 - wouldn't have mattered if it was dreambox-ish or cty-ish or whatever. What really worked well for him during the summer were week long camps, either through our science museum or outdoors camps where he was outside learning about things associated with nature. He also loved watching Nova and Nature (PBS) starting when he was really little (2 and 3 years old), but he still enjoyed them at 6. For brief entertainment he also enjoyed Mythbusters wink

    The other thing I did with him was just spend a lot of time outside hiking, climbing on rocks etc. I realize it's not structured learning, but it was really enjoyable to him at that time in his life just to have his mind free to think about whatever, and being outdoors hiking etc all inspired creative thinking for him - he liked to dream up inventions etc. DH also used to let him tinker around in the garage a lot with him, and he enjoyed taking apart old things that didn't work anymore - we were able to find old radios etc, things like that, for just a few dollars at the second-hand store. I've never heard of the popular mechanics series you mentioned, but I'm guessing my ds would have loved it! I

    Science magazines were a big hit with him too - we read to him from Scientific American etc, plus let him go to the used book store and pick out non-fiction books for us to read to him. He could read really well on his own by the time he was an older 6, but he still liked choosing books with us and having us read to him even though he could read. He would also hoard books on his bed - almost all non-fiction, and he never read them front-to-back but would browse wherever he felt like it at the moment. My only warning is beward of anatomy books - ds asked for one so we got him one, not having been fully prepared for a certain aha! moment that happened when he was studying a certain page...

    Sorry I digressed! Those early years were just so much fun smile We're clearly not a family that was too focused on acceleration, more so on just letting our kids explore their interests. And my dh and I are both scientists too, so we most likely would have been doing those things with our kids anyway because that's who we are.

    Art was another thing that our ds really loved and that was fun for him - so don't discount other things outside of science either.

    Re CTY specifically, our ds has taken upper level courses but didn't take any of the elementary courses. I'd probably *not* sign up for CTY at this point both because, as Val mentioned, the courses vary in quality, and they are extremely expensive - you can most likely send your ds to several summer camps for the price of one CTY course. We also found with our ds that sometimes what seems like the most dull and boring course through CTY might be really cool for him, and another that seems like it should be extremely engaging isn't - life's kind of like that, and I'm ok with all that, but CTY is a bit pricey for testing the waters in a course (to be fair, they will let you transfer your $ to a different course). CTY was helpful for ds at the point that he took them because his intent was to use them both for the learning experience and for subject acceleration purposes - but at 6, we really weren't looking at subject acceleration or needing any documented proof of what ds had learned, because of the way science courses were taught in our school district, there wasn't much of anything to gain in terms of specific acceleration until middle school, and we weren't looking for a full-grade acceleration.

    Best wishes,

    polarbear

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    Sounds like this online program is not the answer. I'm not wanting to accelerate. I'm looking for resources for him to explore largely on his own during the summer when under the care of a babysitter all day.

    He will attend 3 camps! So whew I got that covered! He will have lots of Ed pool fun and outings. But he will also have afternoons I. His room as he needs alone time and I want to ensure I have some resources to feed his need for information and exoration.

    Science magazines are a great idea to have on hand. His gifted teacher gives him one a week and he has been surprised how much he has enjoyed reading. As he said, "she keeps giving me stuff to read and making me care about things I though I had no interest in. Who knew black holes were so interesting?"

    Are there video series or apps safe for independent exploration for young kids? He watches Brain Pop on his own accord several times a week but he has practically exhausted it as a resource.

    Oh and the khan vs dreambox is hard...as I think it is more that he did t want to learn more math basics that is the real issue for not loving them. But he will tell you dreambox was too repetitive and he likes the scatch pad on khan!

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    N, another thing he might enjoy is robotics. Lego robotics can be a bit pricey, but our ds loved them when he was younger. I don't know if your ds is quite ready for the actual Mindstorms series yet, but I think they have a younger version available now... and our ds might have been programming Mindstorms at 6, I just really don't remember that far back!

    Our ds also spent a ton of time building things out of Legos and K'nex.

    I also suspect there are a lot of cool apps out there for young kids - unfortunately for my gang the iPad came along a little after this stage of their lives, so I don't have any great recommendations for apps. I think you might find some just by googling "STEM apps for elementary" etc or searching in the app store.

    polarbear

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    The magazine series published by Cricket has a number of good magazines in Science and other areas that your son might like. I think I would suggest trying to get him some of those, or possibly non-fiction science, social studies books aimed at kids and see how he does with those (ie The Elements by T. Grey if your son is interested in Chemistry). Maybe your library already carries some of them.

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    He might like the book series George and the secret key to he universe (half fiction )


    ...reading is pleasure, not just something teachers make you do in school.~B. Cleary

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