It’s no secret that we enjoy using tech in our homeschool. We have one hour a day where the kids can use whatever type of media they want, and of course I ask them to do something educational before delving into a million YouTube videos of “Let’s Play Minecraft”.
One of the things that we struggle with is finding websites and apps that are compatible for my children who have challenges with learning. Many of the learning apps and websites that are available for kids are made for the neurotypical child and do not have accommodations for the neurodiverse child.
I have rounded up my Top 3 Websites that we like to use the most in our family:
1 . Prodigy Math
We have always been a fan of Prodigy. With three boys who love role playing games and mystical creatures, Prodigy fits the bill. Not only does it play like a role playing game were their character goes on a quest, you are also able to capture and battle against little creatures.
What I love most about Prodigy is that it allows you to choose not only the level of math that you know your child is at, but also you can also choose certain units, questions, or concepts.
Prodigy will only advance to the next level as your child advances, so you know that they will always be at a level that they understand.
Another great thing about Prodigy is that the questions can be narrated if your child has trouble with reading, or is not a reader at all. This is a really big plus for my dyslexic child, as it means that I don’t have to sit beside him the whole time in order to clarify things. If they miss the question the first time, they can click the narration button again so that they can hear it read aloud (and then ask mom if they need more help).
2. Nessy Learning
Nessy is a website made for children with learning challenges – there are many different options for parents to choose from. I think that the easiest way to get started is to pick between Nessy Reading and Spelling or the Nessy Parent Pack. Nessy Reading and Spelling is for parents that want their children to focus on language arts, and the Nessy Parent Pack is for parents that want more of a comprehensive experience that includes games for math, prescreening for dyslexia, as well as the spelling and reading apps.
What I like about the Parent Pack is that we can go from math, to reading readiness, to spelling, back to math, to dyslexia challenges all just by choosing whatever game level we wanted. My kids sometimes get tired of online games (I think it’s the ADHD), so I like that my kids can move on if they get frustrated, and try something new. In the parent pack my kids really enjoy Nessy Numbers, and Dsylexia Quest. In both of these programs kids are encouraged to collect items like gems as they complete the levels. I sometimes wonder how many gems they think they really need!
Nessy also has narration available, which I think is so important for kids that are struggling to read and understand. Just being able to do some questions on their own really helps to build their confidence which is so important for neurodiverse kids. It really excites my kids when they can finish a level of the game all by themselves because they were able to get in-game help, not help from mom.
Nessy also provides a guide to dyslexia, (get a free copy here) which I found pretty invaluable. Since we are just starting our journey into dyslexia and learning how to meet our kids where they are in regards to their challenges, every little bit helps. I like that this website is marketed towards kids with dyslexia and explains to parents what it is so that they can better teach their kids.
Khan Academy is a real favourite of mine. It also has narration ability, however, your child needs to press the narration button on every question if they want to hear it out loud. It is not a default like it is on Nessy or Prodigy Math.
Khan Academy has really expanded it’s repertoire in the last few years and isn’t just a math website anymore. Children (and adults) can learn Grammar, Science, Computer Programming and Computer Animation.
I also like that I can plan lessons dependent on my child’s ability level as well as their grade level, or learning outcomes required by my province.
Of course the fact that each time my kids pass a level they unlock a new character in the dashboard is a slight bonus. I will say that sometimes when using Khan Academy for 30 mins, 20 of those minutes is just changing their avatar!
My Final Thoughts:
As with everything, you need to find what works best for your family. There are other websites that I frequently use with my neurotypical kid, and they work great, but not everything works for each person in the same way.
Make sure that when you are looking for resources online you try and see if you can test them out, or see if you can find reviews from parents that have the same concerns as you, or even see if you can buy an access through a coop (or similar) to make it more affordable if it doesn’t work out.
Speaking of Trial access – I have a discount coupon for Nessy Parent Pack (which is good until Monday October 16 2017) PPBLOG15 . Have fun and let me know in comments what you think!
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