To all of you parents who feel that what your child is learning in math is beyond your memory of math details in school, this column is for you.
If you've ever stayed up late to Google “surface area of a prism” in order to explain the concept at home to your child, or called a relative with a math degree for answers to questions, then there is hope.
I know it's the end of the school year, but I recently discovered the Khan Academy website, which has more than 3,100 videos explaining various concepts of all grade levels in individual lessons. I wish I had been using this website, developed by Salman Khan and found at www.
As of March, there's now a related Khan Academy mobile application on the iTunes store. The app includes the video lessons found on the website, as well as a list below each one of the concepts explained and where in the videos they can be found.
The app, the website and access to all of the content is free and includes math subjects from basic arithmetic and pre-algebra through calculus and beyond, plus science, finance and economics, humanities and preparation for tests like the SAT.
All of the videos feature Khan explaining the lessons off-camera while demonstrating his points via scribbles on screen.
“The Khan Academy is an organization on a mission,” states its website. “We're a nonprofit with the goal of changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education to anyone anywhere.”
Khan Academy started several years ago when Khan, then a hedge fund analyst in Boston with degrees from MIT and Harvard, wanted to help his 12-year-old cousin practice her math skills.
He spent 30 minutes to an hour each day on the phone working on math with her using an interactive notepad; later, discussions included his other cousins. He found he needed better tools and started posting his tutorials on YouTube in 2006.
I started making the videos so they could pause it and watch a lot of the stuff at their own pace and their own time.”