If summer school sounds like a cruel form of punishment, chances are you don’t have a bunch of kids to keep busy for the next three months.Summer school doesn’t have to be a physical, teacher-led class that begins at 8 a.m. Sure, summer learning can build or maintain skills obtained during the school year, but it can also be a time to explore “the fun stuff” that kids may have interest in, including art, computer programming, foreign languages and music.
An internet search for “online summer classes for kids” will turn up endless options that range from free to hundreds of dollars; here are a few such opportunities:
Brain Chase – brainchase.com – If Indiana Jones taught summer school, chances are it would look a little bit like Brain Chase. The six-week learning adventure involves an actual treasure hunt, with clues that are unlocked by performing customized academic challenges. Not only does the format make a game out of learning, but the first student to guess the correct location of the treasure wins a prize. The 2016 summer adventure begins June 20 and costs between $79-$259, based on the subjects selected.
Bravewriter – bravewriter.com – These writing classes have start and end dates, limited class sizes, online classroom interaction and are taught by professional writers who emphasize helping kids write what they have to say. Online summer classes range from building basic writing skills to fan fiction writing; classes are generally three to four weeks in length and cost between $149-$199.
Rosetta Stone – rosettastone.com – Rather than online classes, Rosetta Stone offers learning software that is designed for homeschool students. The company uses the immersion method of language learning, which means kids will only hear the language they’re learning and begin speaking it in the first lesson. The software comes with a parent portal to oversee progress and includes a microphone headset to assist in language learning. With more than 20 languages to choose from, cost begins at $159.
Spatulatta.com – spatulatta.com – This isn’t for academic learning, rather it focuses on building a useful life skill: cooking. Recipes can be searched by meal, holiday, ingredient or cuisine and includes a free instructional video that features kids, either who are cooking on their own or with an adult. Your young cooks may need adult supervision while acquiring their new skills.
Youth Digital – youthdigital.com – As the name suggests, Youth Digital focuses on helping kids become digital creators. They can select from a number of technology subjects, including 3D printing, servers, animation, apps and more. Each course includes 12 modules with a video, quiz, challenge and time to work on a final project, for example, a video game or fashion collection. Courses cost $249.99.
Craftsy — craftsy.com — If your kids are looking to graduate from yarn, pipe cleaners and popsicle sticks, craftsy.com offers courses in the arts, including drawing, knitting, cake decorating, jewelry, paper crafts, sewing and more. Granted, these courses are taught by and for adults, but the instructional videos are such that older grade school kids may be able to follow along. Each course includes short video lessons and access to the instructor if you have questions. Classes range in price, from free mini-classes to $99.99.
Khan Academy – khanacademy.org – The stated mission is to “provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere,” which is accomplished through instructional videos and exercises. Courses include math, science, computer programming, arts and humanities, economics and more. The system is self-directed, but tracked through a learning dashboard that can be connected to a parent (coach) dashboard.