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Friday Introductions: Khan Academy

Posted by on September 21, 2012

My older daughter is taking pre-algebra this year. Now, it’s been a really long time since I’ve worked an algebra program of any kind –like 25 years. When she brings home algebra problems that she needs help with, I have to dig deep into the recesses of my brain to figure out how to help her. And sometimes I’m wrong, which doesn’t make her very happy.

That’s why when I stumbled across Khan Academy’s website, I was thrilled. This free website offers video tutorials on a whole bunch of subjects, including algebra. They cover history, economics, math, science and even computer science. The videos are easy to understand, and each one includes practice problems. We used it over the summer as a refresher to keep the kids up to speed on their math.

It can be tough to admit to our kids we don’t know everything. We don’t want to appear stupid in front of our kids. When your sixth-grader is doing math problems that you don’t remember how to do, you can feel like an inadequate parent. But an important part of parenting is to admit when we don’t know something and find a way to help our kids anyway.

When my girls first started playing sports, I didn’t know a whole lot about either sport. When they needed help with a move, I was pretty useless. So, I watched YouTube videos and talked to their coaches until I understood what my kids needed. Helping them with their schoolwork or to understand difficult things in the Bible is no different. I need to find ways to help them, not pretend I know everything. Proverbs 16:18 says “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” When we choose to pretend we know everything, we’re setting ourselves up for a fall — and our kids might get crushed in the process.

So, if you’re struggling for answers to your kids’ homework or if you’re just looking for a different way for your kids to practice their math facts or study for their science test, swallow your pride and check out Khan Academy. They might have the answers you don’t.

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