Khan Academy


Watch free, K-12 videos about math, science, and history.

I’d heard so much about Khan Academy and its revolutionary way of teaching by video, that once I dove in, I was surprised by how bare bones (yet still effective) the lessons actually are. Each video features a teacher narrating work on a blackboard (you don’t see the teacher). The explanations are clear and no-nonsense. The videos are neatly categorized as math, science, history and so on.

Kids' reactions vary wildly. My 10-year-old instantly took to the videos and started using them as a reference for work he was doing in class. Then, he kept going! He studied the videos all summer long and managed to tackle material that’s way beyond his grade level. We’ve just re-started school for the fall, but I’m sure the Khan videos will follow him throughout the year. My 12-year-old, however, can’t get into the lessons. She finds the videos too dry for her learning style. As a parent I’ve found the lessons useful as a way to brush-up for homework help and keep up with my kids’ classwork (algebra looms!). The site has has been heavily featured in the media after an inspiring TED talk by its founder Salman Khan and a subsequent investment in the company by Bill Gates.

For math, the videos often follow a standard set of strategies for solving math problems. (This may be at odds with the way math is taught at some schools). For example, addition and subtraction is taught using traditional table strategy; if your child is being taught with number line-based strategies, the Khan videos might be confusing, so be sure to vet the lessons before getting your kids started on them.

We’ve featured the iPad app version of the Khan videos here, but if you don’t have access to an iPad you can watch through the official site (all videos are on YouTube).