Free Online Dictionary For Kids Homework Organizer

Q: What suggestions do you have for helping my son become more organized about his schoolwork?
A: I have several! Here are some ideas to try.

Set up a homework/study calendar. Look for one that has a lot of space for writing. Encourage your son to use a red pen to mark the dates of tests or due dates for important projects. Then have him use a green pen for activities leading up to the due date. For example, spelling test may be entered on Friday and the spelling homework activities leading up to the test may be entered in green.

 Make a home-study kit. A lot of homework time is wasted looking for pencils and paper. Having materials on hand makes being organized much easier, so put the necessary tools in place. A shoebox will do, and I recently made a model home study kit using an easy-to-put-together box from a discount store. Keep the following in your son's kit (let him help you shop for these items if he's interested):

  • paper: lined, blank, and graphing
  • pencils and pens
  • ruler
  • crayons
  • marking pens
  • dictionary

File fix-up. Have your son set up a file folder for each of his academic subjects. He can do this with regular office-supply folders or make his own folders with construction paper. He can then label each folder and only keep important papers. For example, it is a good idea to look at old spelling tests to prepare for comprehensive tests at the end of the semester. Also, it is helpful to keep adding all the research for a paper to a folder so everything he needs will be in one place when he starts to write.

Teach him a 5-minute focus exercise. Before your son starts his schoolwork, encourage him to take 5 minutes to focus on what he needs to do. This can take the form of writing down what he will do. For example:

1. Math problems __
2. Look up information for report __
3. Study spelling words __
4. Read __

Then he can check off each task as completed. It feels great to check off items on a to-do list.

themathpage.com

The format of TheMathPage is very helpful. It gives a tutorial, plus related problems and examples on subjects from arithmetic to calculus — through high school level. Students can try to get all the answers before viewing the correct response, as well. Though this site was able to address only the simplest of our three math queries, it has nice interactive features and loads quickly. Expect to poke around a bit to find a specific topic — the site lacks a search engine.

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Best English Websites

owl.english.purdue.edu

The Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL) offers assistance in a variety of English-related areas, like writing, research, grammar, and ESL, for students from grade 7 through college. Here kids will find advice on structuring a thesis or essay, doing research, and avoiding composition pitfalls. Surprisingly, it lacks a dictionary and thesaurus, and not all lessons go into as much depth as we would have liked, but OWL was the only English Website we evaluated that was able to answer all of our English-based test questions. The site loads speedily, is easy to navigate, has a helpful search engine, and claims to have more than 200 free resources for students.

grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/index.htm

The Guide to Grammar & Writing concentrates mainly on the mechanics of writing; it doesn't go into as much depth on the composition of a paper. Still, older students in need of grammar help are in luck: Detailed pages explain parts of speech, sentence structure, and paragraph flow. This site offers very in-depth explanations and has different methods for testing students' knowledge, instead of providing only one basic quiz for each topic. The site also loads very fast, and both its display and text are relatively easy to read. With more than 170 quizzes, there's plenty of practice available, but be aware: In some tests, the user's wrong answers aren't noted, so students will need to scroll up and down to compare their answers with the correct ones.

Other English Websites

grammarbook.com

GrammarBook is more of a guidebook for middle and high school students wanting to know the correct mechanics of writing. The grammar rules that are provided are helpful and clear; the information comes from the Chicago Manual of Style, a credible source for many types of writing. However, before relying on this site, kids should check with their teachers to make sure that Chicago style is acceptable, as opposed to other formats like MLA or APA. Note: In our examination, we found that some of the links on the site are dead.

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Best Science Websites

physicsclassroom.com

The Physics Classroom was the overall best Website evaluated, and it was the only site to receive a perfect score for its ability to address particular topics. This superbly organized site gives high-scoring tutorials and excellent animated multimedia examples that demystify the concepts of physics for high school students. Sample problems are illustrated and clearly explained. Physics Classroom is also the simplest to use of all the sites we tested: It's easily navigable, loads quickly, and has very legible text. Currently, the site lacks a search engine, so honing in on one topic can be time-consuming. However, there are plans to add a search function soon.

hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/hph.html

HyperPhysics is uniquely organized: Its navigation process is set up in the form of a mind map, so the topics (mechanics, heat, sound, electricity, etc.) are linked to and arranged in a circle around the central subject. If high schoolers know what topic they're looking for, the mind map system is helpful; navigating between topics, however, is more difficult, especially since HyperPhysics doesn't have a search engine. A bonus: The site's examples allow you to input various numbers and see how your changes affect the answer, which is very helpful. This site was also able to address all of our test science questions, although not as completely as Physics Classroom.

Other Science Websites

schoolphysics.co.uk

School Physics loads fairly quickly and provides resources for those looking for science help on the Web on topics from matter to nuclear physics. However, the site was not particularly easy to navigate: Its subjects are listed by students' age (11 to 19), which can be confusing; we found that some of the links provided are dead; and, more often than not, the equations don't include answers. It was nice to see the experiments that this Website provided, but the end results are usually not included, which makes it difficult for students to gauge whether they are drawing the right conclusions. Still, the site offers a dictionary, and it was able to touch on all of the science topics in our testing.

library.thinkquest.org/10796/index.html

Learn Physics Today (a part of ThinkQuest) allows high school students to attempt to solve a problem several times before providing the correct answer. Kids can really try to tackle topics like mechanics and electricity on their own, which can be a very helpful way to learn. However, the site's layout leaves a lot to be desired, as it isn't too aesthetically pleasing or simple to navigate (made even more difficult by the fact that there is no search engine). Still, the decent examples and quizzes on this site, despite its narrow content, make it a passable source for studying.

regentsprep.org/regents/physics/physics.cfm
Regents Prep is most appropriate for high schoolers who want to reinforce what they're learning in school. We found that most of this site is geared toward explaining specifics on topics like energy, waves, and mechanics, so this may not be the best source for initial learning. Regents Prep includes helpful labs, quizzes, and visual aids as supplementary materials, so if a student need to brush up on a specific science subject, this site can be useful. Plus, it loads quickly, so kids can find what they need without wasting time waiting.

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