We had a wonderful summer. But like all good things, it has come to a close, with the warmth of the sun still lingering, and a few days of curling up in the shade with a book left. I talked to the kids about school schedules for a bit, with one in middle school, one entering high school and one still in elementary (not to mention the junior in high school, who is rockin’ it and demanding classes they usually don’t allow at her grade level). School is challenging, always, for a geeky kid.
There are ways to ameliorate that. Finding a subject they really like, and enhancing it outside school to tie in topics they are less fond of is a good option. One of the geeky kids told me at length how she finds French so much easier than English (and made me laugh by comparing two grades with only a few points difference as being ‘horrible’ for the lower one). I asked her about Duolingo, and she lit up, explaining that they use it in class. And her siblings use it to study Spanish, although there are many languages available with this fun and free little app.
We talked about how sometimes playing a game can help with studying a subject. Every day the Geeky Kids -and all of us – are bombarded with information. It’s only gotten more intense with the rise of the internet. My middle-schooler is being issued a laptop by her school, and they all use computers and surf the web routinely. The trick to remembering the information you need, and not just the information you want (like all the New 52 DC Comics plotlines), is to make it sticky. Sticky information, like stale jujubes, stays with you. Games are a great way to give info a good stick-to-your brain texture.
There are a lot of apps you can use to assist learning. The ones below I have tested and found useful.
- Calculus Interactive: nice introduction to calculus, what it is, and why we need it.
- Cell Divison: For biology, a great interactive progression of mitosis, meosis, and the changes in a replicating cell.
- Elements of Photography: for the older student who wants to get into shooting with a DSLR. Explains ISO, aperture, DOF, and much more. Very well organized.
- Essential Anatomy: Jr. Mad Scientists, rejoice! A 3D exploration of the human body without the yicky dissection parts.
- Graphing Calculator MathLab: this is the one calculator app to rule them all. Absolutely wonderful for graphing, overlaying multiple equations in full color and infinite expansion with the familiar pinch/zoom.
- Learn 5000 Spanish Words Fast: a fun little game for learning Spanish, you control a rocketship and shoot the correct word when prompted with the translation. There are aliens, so look out!
- SimplePhysics: build things, stay under budget, and then cross your fingers they don’t fall down again…
- StudyDroid: Basic flashcard app, great for studying with a custom deck, or finding one that is pre-built for your subject.
- Ultimate Hangman: Not just English, you can select wordbanks from other languages. You can also select subject-specific wordbanks like elements, and medical terms.
And with that, I will leave you all for the summer. I hope you enjoyed the Geeky Kids series, and it gave you some ideas to plan for outings with kids who don’t like the Daystar and aren’t interested in ‘normal kid’ stuff. If you didn’t catch them all, you can find the series at the links below.