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Stanford University's Program for Kids Parenting Recipe

Stanford University's Program for has a terrific online math program known in our house as "Stanford Math" which offers differentiated learning across targeted math focus areas. This course presents a rigorous and complete mathematics curriculum beginning at the kindergarten level and progressing through the end of pre-algebra. Course content emphasizes conceptual geometry and mathematical foundations, and includes the following 6 focus areas: number sense (integers), number sense (decimals & fractions), geometry, logic & reasoning, measurement, and probablity & statistics. This accelerated mathematics course is designed to allow students to move rapidly through the material they already understand and get to work on the challenging skills they have yet to master. New concepts are introduced through brief, multimedia lectures. The lectures weave among different topic areas to increase engagement. After the lectures, students are given sets of exercises that reinforce the concepts.

The program's genesis is research by Stanford University done in the last 50 years on computer-based education. The program has enrolled students in more than 1.4 million courses thru Stanford's program and numerous others (e.g Johns Hopkins Gifted and Talented program). Stanford Math is good for all kids, not just "talented" ones. During a 20 minute session, the kids cycle through several different areas of math like geometry (their favorite), integers, and statistics. The sessions start off with a 2 minute math race calibrated to the child's level from the last session. It is then followed by 18 minutes of exercises and occasional short lectures. The math program starts at kindergarten grade level. The content is self-paced and tailored to each child's individual progress.

Feel free to start the program before kindergarten; my youngest started at age 4 because his older sisters were doing it and he wanted in! The math program is great because there is no prep time for the parents. The kids log in for 20 minutes at a time (you can adjust the session time) and the program adapts to the abilities of the individual student. If they miss questions, they will get more of that type of question. If you start with the kids young, be prepared to have to sit with them and help them but it will teach you what they are learning. I consider myself to be really good at math and yet I learned more math even at these early levels. My kids go to a normal school. We do Stanford on weekends, vacations, and during the summer. My kids are allowed a minute of computer time for every minute they work on Stanford. Learning math is like learning a foreign language: daily exposure is the best way to learn!

You can sign up for Stanford Math one of two ways, via the more expensive tutor supported courses or through the independent study course.. Both use the same online materials.

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•Signing up as an individual gives you access to weekly reports from a tutor at Stanford. The tutor reviews the work that the children have done on a weekly basis and sends an email with helpful tips. This is $495/quarter per course.

•The independent study option is priced on a annual basis and is $60/quarter. The major difference between the two programs is that there is no assigned tutor from Stanford should questions arise but we were usually able to find answers to our math questions using Google or with Khan Academy which is a free resource.

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Developed by Stanford's Center for the Study of Language and Information, The Language Arts & Writing program helps students develop advanced reading, writing, and critical thinking skills. Rigorous instruction and practice is provided in the grammar, usage, and conventions of standard English.

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