MathNook

A blog about MathNook, math, math games, and more.

Online Math Help for Those Who Need Tutoring

October13

Math website

What is a working mom or a busy parent to do when they either don’t have time or don’t understand math well enough themselves to help their child?  These days, money can be really tight, so paying a tutor may not be an option for financial reasons.  Also, taking your child to a tutoring center or getting a tutor to come to your home may not be the most convenient fit for you and your child’s busy schedule.  That’s why there are a few online sites that should be considered.  These give your child the chance to receive top-quality tutoring and support while also working within the time constraints of your schedule.  And the best news is that all of these are free!

  • Khan Academy (www.khanacademy.org) -The Khan Academy has truly revolutionized the way math is taught in schools.  The old system of students learning concepts at school and going home to practice has shifted as students now go home and watch well-crafted videos put out by the Khan Academy which demonstrates even the most complicated mathematical concepts such as Calculus.  Then, the student goes back to class the next day and practices the material with the aid of a teacher who can provide individual assistance if the child becomes stuck on a problem.  But even if your child’s school isn’t using this tool, you can take advantage of it as the Khan Academy’s instructional videos are available online for free.help their child?  These days, money can be really tight, so paying a tutor may not be an option for financial reasons.  Also, taking your child to a tutoring center or getting a tutor to come to your home may not be the most convenient fit for you and your child’s busy schedule.  That’s why there are a few online sites that should be considered.  These give your child the chance to receive top-quality tutoring and support while also working within the time constraints of your schedule.  And the best news is that all of these are free!
  • MathNook (www.mathnook.com) – If you are looking for a great way to make math fun, then look no further than MathNook.  This website features cool video games which help to make education exciting again.  It doesn’t matter if you are good at math yourself and you don’t have to pay for any expensive memberships.  MathNook lets your child work at his or her own pace playing the games which review math concepts and it is all for free.  New games are added regularly and skills range from early math like counting and basic addition and subtraction to more complicated ideas such as geometry and algebra.
  • Webmath (www.webmath.com) – Webmath, in conjunction with Discovery Education, is a great website for tutoring as it has multiple tabs that you can select for help including “General Math” all the way up to “Trigonometry and Calculus.”  Once he or she selects a tab, your child can then few a series of sub-topics and allow your child to enter a problem for a detailed explanation.  This is a great way to get help on a challenging homework assignment when you feel uncomfortable with the material and can’t provide the assistance you wish that you could.

These three sites are among the best the web has to offer when it comes to providing tutoring opportunities for your child.  Math is a key concept for success in the twenty-first century and your misgivings about your own math ability should not hold you back from making sure that your child gets a top-notch math education.  That’s where the Internet can make all the difference.

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Should You Be Concerned About Learning Disabilities?

September26

Every parent wants his or her child to be successful and they can all see that one key to that success is doing well in school.  That is why many parents panic when they hear or read the phrase “learning disability.”  Although it may seem that the diagnosis of learning disabilities is becoming more and more prevalent, the reality is that the disabilities have always been there, parents and educators are now becoming more aware of what is going on with their children and students and finding these problems early on.  If you suspect that your child has a disability, then the key is to talk with his or her teacher or pediatrician to set up professional testing as soon as possible.  So just what should you look for to determine if your child may have a disability?  Here are a few of the most common warning signs.Learning Disabilities

  • First, a parent should be wary of early childhood developmental milestones.  If your child fails to consistently reach these milestones, then there may be a neurological cause for this that should be investigated.  Such milestones can include standing, walking, talking, or forming more and more complex sentences.  If your child is a little behind, then you shouldn’t panic.  But consistent issues in these areas should be brought to the attention of a professional and investigated.
  • Another issue that parents should consider is risk factors for learning disabilities.  If you or your spouse has a learning disability, then there is a chance that your child may development one as well.  Other risk factors include pre-natal alcohol or drug use or difficulties during the delivery that may have caused a cut off in the air supply to your child.  Finally, another risk factor could be any traumatic brain injury that your child may have suffered since birth.
  • Once your child is enrolled in school, if he or she has difficulties, then you should schedule a conference with the teacher to find the cause of the problem as soon as possible.  If it is a simple fix like failure to do homework, then you can handle this immediately.  If your child is bored in school, you may wish to look at doing what you can at home to spice things up like using online games as a supplement to their daily instruction.  But if your child has a larger issue like not reading on grade level or not understanding what they read, then you may need to have him or her tested for a disability.

A learning disability is not the educational equivalent to the end of the world.  If your child has one, then there are many resources available to help them adapt their learning style in the classroom.  Also, teachers today are more aware of learning disabilities and will put something called a 504 plan into place that can help them with extended testing time or other accommodations.  But, learning to deal with the situation is one of the most important first steps that you and your child need to handle after the initial diagnosis.

 

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Tips for Establishing Your School Routine

September18

Back to School

As hard as it may be to believe, it’s that time of year again.  School is back in session and already has been for over a month in some

parts of the country.  As any concerned parent knows, one of the keys to a successful school year is getting things off to a good start by setting the right tone in the first couple of weeks.  That is why it is so important to establish a school routine early on in the year.  You may be shocked to learn that children actually crave routine.  Although they may look like chaotic bundles of energy, they like to know that things are going to happen in a certain order and on a certain schedule.  So provide that for them when they come home from school.  Here are some tips for establishing this routine.

  • Set a standard time for going to bed and getting up.  This one may be the hardest for everyone involved including the parents.  But by setting a standard time for bed, you are helping to make sure that your child gets a good night’s rest which is crucial for exemplary grades and success during the school day.  This set bedtime can also help you reverse plan other pre-bedtime events such as dinner, baths, and bedtimes stories.  By extension, a set time for getting up helps to start the day off right with no rushing around madly to meet the school bus while wolfing down a quick breakfast.  Instead, it allows children to eat a wholesome morning meal that studies have shown is conducive to good learning.parts of the country.  As any concerned parent knows, one of the keys to a successful school year is getting things off to a good start by setting the right tone in the first couple of weeks.  That is why it is so important to establish a school routine early on in the year.  You may be shocked to learn that children actually crave routine.  Although they may look like chaotic bundles of energy, they like to know that things are going to happen in a certain order and on a certain schedule.  So provide that for them when they come home from school.  Here are some tips for establishing this routine.
  • Allow for some after school down time.  Once your children are home  rom school, don’t insist that they jump right into homework.  Give them some time to decompress and blow off some steam with fun activities.  One way to bridge the gap between school and fun is with online math games that can help them stay mentally sharp with arcade style action.  Also, let them have a healthy snack during this time to reenergize them from the long day.
  • Set aside a quiet zone and time for homework.  After they have had a chance to relax a little bit, now it’s time to start homework.  Always make sure you set aside a separate area for this with no distractions such as the Internet, games, or TV.  Kids will let the simplest things draw away their attention, so a seat at the kitchen table may be the safest bet.  Also, institute a quiet zone policy during this time so that siblings and even adults in the household no to respect them enough to let them work peacefully without providing a distraction.
  • Leave the schoolwork for the weekdays.  Finally, one of the biggest suggestions is, whenever possible, leave the schoolwork for the weekdays.  Unless your child’s teacher specifically assigns homework on the weekend, try to get everything done during the week so that they can completely decompress on the weekend.  If your child has a major school project, then the weekend is an optimum time for this type of extended assignment.  Otherwise, use this time for activities and try to schedule in at least one family group activity such as a Family Game Night or Movie Night.

Keeping your child on a schedule is a difficult task.  Don’t feel overwhelmed if you go off schedule once in a while.  But maintaining this schedule as often as possible will give you the opportunity to make sure that your child is relatively stress free and able to succeed academically this school year.

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Using LiveBinders to Find Math Teaching Tools

August26

LiveBindersSchool is back in session for another year and teachers and parents are looking for ways to help their students to succeed in school.  Whether you are a math teacher looking for a new resource or a parent who is homeschooling and trying to find a way to give your child an extra advantage, LiveBinders is a wonderful source for information and activities.  This tool will allow you to put together a number of different pieces of information for your child to help him or her to be able to do well in his or her classes.

The easiest way to understand the concept of LiveBinders is to think of the old-fashioned three ring binders that are so commonplace in classrooms.  With these classroom staples, you can collect and organize a variety of papers, notes, and worksheets.  LiveBinders works in much the same way by allowing teachers or parents to digitally collect materials into one central location.  Teachers are able, for instance, to bind together worksheets or online activities such as math games for their students to view when they are at home.  Teachers can make this information available anywhere a student has an Internet connection for the purposes of reinforcing material, introducing new concepts, or reviewing information prior to a test or quiz.  They can also search through the collections of available binders to find other materials and tools that have been shared by teachers around the world.  This kind of global focus on education is a new step in the right direction as it allows teachers, regardless of where they are, to share and transmit tools and techniques that can help their students excel in the classroom and on the many standardized tests which are becoming all too commonplace in the educational setting.  Teachers who are also worried about major changes in curriculum coming up with new Common Core Standards will be able to find many useful and practical resources and tools to help them succeed in implementing this major shift.

For parents, particularly those who are looking to homeschool, LiveBinders is practically heaven sent.  Many of these parents may feel cut off from information as they do not access to resources that may be more readily available to teachers in a school environment where faculty members can share their best practices.  Now, these same parents can search through digital binders of information and resources and compile their own online notebooks for their children to use to help learn difficult concepts such as advanced math, algebra, or even calculus.  Even those subjects that the parents may feel “shaky” about don’t have to be worrisome as LiveBinders puts experts at your fingertips to make this work much easier.

Whether you are an experienced teacher looking to try something new, a rookie hoping for ideas for the first day of school, and homeschooling parent trying to find a new way to explain a tricky concept, or just a concerned parent trying to give your child an extra leg up on his or her education, LiveBinders can provide an easy resource to not only find materials but also collect and bind those materials that you find under one setting.

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Cool Math Jobs – Cryptographic Researcher

August16

Cool Math JobsFor any true fan of mathematics, one of the most depressing things to hear, particularly from kids, is that math just isn’t “cool.”  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  In fact, thanks to the preponderance of technology, the popularity of shows such as The Big Bang Theory, and the success of “nerdy” entrepreneurs such as Bill Gates, careers in math and science are on the verge of not only being in demand and high paying, but also trendy.  Certainly, one of those careers is the field of cryptographic researcher.

Hacking has been at the forefront of everyone’s mind lately when it comes to computers.  It seems like you can’t turn on the news without hearing about some Fortune 500 company being hacked and having its customers’ personal information being compromised.  That is why one of the biggest potential growth areas for a career is in cryptographic research.  These are the “white hat” hackers who test and probe a company’s computer systems and networks to ensure that the real hackers, the true dangers to the system, can’t get in.  What makes this field so intriguing is that these individuals have to literally think like a cyberthief; the philosophy that “it takes a thief to catch a thief” is at work here as these researchers must learn how to hack systems just like the real criminals so that they can learn how best to defend against the attacks from the real hackers.

Another plus for the field is that a recent study show that careers in cybersecurity are growing at a rate of 3.5 times faster than those of other technology based careers.  And when compared with non-tech careers, the demand for cybersecurity jobs are growing at a rate of 12 times faster.  Most companies are using computers and they are hiring these experts to defend their systems.  Additionally, average salaries in cybersecurity near the $100,000 range that outpaces many of the other careers, even in the technology field.

So the next time that you hear that math isn’t cool or that computers are for geeks, just remember that in the very near future, it will be those very geeks who will be holding successful careers in growth industries that are actually very cool.

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This is a blog about Math Nook, math games, math and other fun and educational subjects.
Math Nook is owned by Jan and Tommy Hall.

Jan is retired from education where she spent 30 years in various positions ranging from classroom teacher to math specialist. She now spends her time working on the website and raising MathPup.

Tommy works full time but spends his free time utilizing his math degree and love of games to create some of the math games found on the website.