Does your daughter have a school science project due and
she hasn’t been able to find her way through all the extraneous
material on the Internet? Maybe your son needs help with
mathematics that you’ve long forgotten how to do and you’d
appreciate some online help?
This article will show you how to zero in on the sites that provide this kind
Many of the reference and homework helper
sites are kid-safe, though you should exercise caution
before you let your children loose on the Internet,
even when you are certain they are using kid-safe sites.
Filtering software could reduce the chances of youngsters
being exposed to potentially harmful or undesirable
sites, but it’s not foolproof. Your best bet is to educate
yourself and your child about the dangers of the Internet
and to monitor your child’s Internet time.
If you’re not sure what being cybersmart means, visit
Cybersmart Kids Online [http://www.cybersmartkids.com.au/]
for information and tips. There’s a special section
just for parents concerning possible risks for a child
using the Internet. You’ll also find child-friendly
information about the Internet.
Now that you know about potential online dangers and
how to avoid them, you’ll want to monitor your child’s
homework. By keeping track of the research they need
to do and how they are progressing at it, your child
will appreciate your interest and take more pride in
Don’t begrudge the hours of homework your child needs
to complete. Think about the benefits of homework assignments.
Homework not only helps children develop good study
habits, it reinforces school lessons and allows them
to explore subjects further. It also gives them a chance
to learn to use reference materials. Learning to work
independently and to use time management skills is important
these days because of the distractions children are
bound to meet up with on the Internet.
It’s a good idea to keep your computer in a central
location where you can easily see the screen at a quick
glance. An Internet connection in a child’s bedroom
should be closely monitored. In addition, your child
should be made well aware of the dangers of the Internet.
You and your child should practice effective
search strategies. Effective searching includes knowing
where to look for the information you need.
Start with a kid-safe search engine. You’ve probably
used Yahoo! [http://www.yahoo.com]
but have you tried the kid-safe Yahooligans! guide [http://www.yahooligans.com]?
Load this page onto your browser window and you’ll have
several options available including a Yahooligans! Reference
section, the School Bell section, parent and teacher
guides, and a search box to conduct your search in.
When carrying out individual searches in the Reference
section, students will be able to choose the reference
source they want to search in, whether it’s a dictionary,
an encyclopedia, or one of the other sources listed
in the drop-down menu.
Ask Jeeves [http://www.askjeeves.com]
also has a portal site just for kids. Ask Jeeves for
has a study resource section, a news resource section,
and a search box where kids can type in a complete question,
instead of just keywords, to conduct a search. The study
resource section has a selection of tools that includes
a dictionary, an atlas, math help, and other reference
Several other Web search tools have been put together
just for kids and will provide sufficient research information
and study tools for most of your child’s assignments
is a Web search for kids put together by librarians
at the Ramapo Catskill Library System and maintained
by the Colorado State Library. The site has a kid-friendly
interface, and while it does not block bad sites, it
guides kids to sites with good information. The site’s
main page is broken down into categories (according
to the Dewey Decimal System), and there’s a search box
available to conduct keyword searches. One of the nice
things about Kidsclick is that there’s no advertising.
If you’re still trying to learn about the Internet
and searching techniques, take time to read the information
at the Kidsclick World of Web Searching pages [http://www.worldsofsearching.org].
You can also access these pages by clicking on the Search
Lessons link on the main Kidsclick page. These pages
detail some search techniques that will help you sort
through the estimated 800 million plus Web pages that
exist on the Internet. The instructions are easy for
kids and computer newbies to use.
Homework Help Sites
Now that you’ve got searching down to
an art, you’re ready to venture into some of the portal
sites that have been created for assisting with homework.
Discovery Channel’s Discovery School [http://school.discovery.com]
has sections for students, teachers, and parents. The
Student section takes you to BJ Pinchbeck’s Homework
Helpers, with more than 700 links. Pinchbeck’s page
is broken down into sections according to subjects and
includes the usual math, science, news, and foreign
language subject heads as well as a variety of other
school-related topics. Look for handy features like
lesson plans, Web math, brain boosters. and worksheet
generators in the parent section. Teachers, meanwhile,
will find an assortment of teaching tools for classroom
use as well as to advance their own skills.
Fact Monster [http://www.Factmonster.com]
has daily features that can be both educational and
distracting, but selecting a category from the side
of the page should lead you directly to the homework-specific
help you’re seeking. Your child can always spend a bit
of time discovering the other aspects of this site once
his homework is completed.
The Homework Spot [http://www.homeworkspot.com]
is very kid-friendly. The main page includes various
categories to choose from and includes a list of questions
kids ask most. Clicking on questions such as “Where
can I practice fractions?,” “Where can I get blank maps?,”
and “Where can find I a country’s flag?” will take you
to the answers. A Tips section offers some good advice
on topics such as note-taking, studying, and essay writing.
is terrific for students but has good resources for
parents and teachers as well. The site has indexes for
students and for younger children too. Use the homework
help section to select a school subject and you’ll be
provided with a list of links and descriptions that
you can go to for your material. Reference resources
include atlases, calendars, museums, and a button to
contact a librarian or an expert, and a section on search
engines provides links to some great search engines
Homework Central [http://www.homeworkcentral.com]
says it offers “the world’s best free study and research
help.” Part of “bigchalk, the Education network,” the
site is broken down into sections for elementary, middle
school, and high school students as well as for teachers,
parents, and librarians. The search box allows you to
specify the Grade level you are searching for. Homework
Central offers links to a wide selection of reference
materials and provides instructions on how to complete
various tasks. Students can go directly to the Homework
Help section and find the area they’re seeking help
Some schools have subscriptions to search utilities,
such as eLibrary [http://www.elibrary.com].
Often students can access these subscription services
from home as well as at school. Have your child check
with their school librarian to see if any of these services
are available. eLibrary is actually partnered with numerous
sources, including periodicals, books, maps, photographs,
and other reference sources to provide information.
You can also try the Internet Public Library Youth Division
online library for materials related to children aged
4 to 11.
The Internet Public Library [http://www.ipl.org/]
has both a Kidspace and a Teenspace section [http://www.ipl.org/div/youthres/]
that offer a variety of homework resources. Click on
the category of your choice to easily access the section
you’re looking for.
Secondary and higher education students especially
will benefit from encyclopedia sources such as Britannica
and Encarta [http://encarta.msn.com].
Older students can also submit questions to Academic
Assistance Access [http://www.tutoraid.org]
at no cost and will usually receive an answer within
12-24 hours. Students will need an e-mail account, though,
since they’ll have to subscribe to a mailing list that
deals with the subject they’re seeking help in.
If you still haven’t found what you’re looking for,
there are more homework links at http://www.wuziegames.com/homeworklinks.html.
After that, if you still haven’t found what you need…maybe
the assignment is too hard.