- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 9, 2000

If you could visit my home, say around 11 on any given evening, you might find me sitting at my computer surfing the Web. I can while away hours just searching for new and exciting Internet sites that can be used in our home education program. This week, I thought I would share with you five of my favorites.
The first is Crosswalk.com's site (http://homeschool.crosswalk.com). In my opinion, Crosswalk's home-school channel is the premier general home-schooling site on the Internet. You will find articles written by well-known home-schooling authors and speakers plus practical information on home education. I especially like its library resource, where you can access various subjects through a links database containing Web sites according to school subjects.
The second is About.com's site (www.homeschooling.about.com). What I particularly like about this site is receiving its weekly home-schooling newsletter via e-mail. Each week, you can receive an electronic newsletter listing helpful home-school information and Internet addresses.
Math has never been my children's strong suit, and math story problems … well, maybe we shouldn't go there.
On one of my recent late-night Web-surfing excursions, I came across Mathstories.com's site (www.mathstories.com). Boasting 400 work-sheet selections, this site is devoted totally to math story problems. Choose a level first through eighth grade. Then select a mathematical operation addition, multiplication, percentages, etc. and a work sheet appears. Your child can read the problems on the screen and work them on a separate sheet of paper, or you can print a copy.
The nicest thing about this site is that for all the grades, with the exception of first, the answers are provided. Mathstories.com asks parents and home-schoolers to consider contributing $10 to offset the cost of hosting, maintaining and further developing the site.
I think it is a real bargain considering the timesaver this site can be to home-school parents who are looking for materials to strengthen math skills.
Would your children like to do science experiments, but do you find you never have time to sit down and prepare? Visit Krampf.com's site (www.krampf.com), sponsored by Robert Krampf's Science Education Co. Mr. Krampf, a scientist, travels internationally, giving presentations to public, private and home-school groups.
He also has an Experiment of the Week e-mail service. Mr. Krampf will send e-mails of experiments that your children can try themselves. Often the experiment pertains to a recent event. Last year, in celebration of the Fourth of July, the experiment dealt with why fireworks make so much noise. After Hurricane Floyd in the fall, Mr. Krampf sent an experiment dealing with storm surge.
The experiments are unusual, fun and cheap. To receive your weekly experiments, just send your e-mail address to Mr. Krampf. Experimenting has never been easier.
So far, we have looked at Internet sites where you and your child can gain new knowledge and strengthen existing skills. But what if you are searching for books and resources to add to your home-school library? I suggest a visit to my favorite on-line home-school catalog, at Debra Bell's Home School Resource Center (www.hsrc.com).
The motto at Mrs. Bell's center is, "Homeschool mom approved. Homeschool kid tested." I have bought many resources from this company, and I have never been disappointed. Its product line is great. It specializes in resources for the creative home-schooler. Mrs. Bell and her crack office staff are always on the lookout for materials that meet their high standards of quality.
I know some of you are reading this column and saying, "This all sounds great, but our family doesn't own a computer." Unless you live in a remote area, the Internet is as close as your local public library. On your next library trip, instead of browsing the aisles, you and your child could spend time on line.
Whether you have a computer in your home or use one at your local library, be an informed and involved parent. Never allow your child to access a site that you have not visited first. Better yet, visit the Internet together. You will not only be available to monitor the sites that your children visit, but you can show them that you're never too old to learn. Happy surfing.
Kim Huber, a mother of four children, has been home-schooling for 16 years. She and her husband serve on the Christian Homeschool Association of Pennsylvania's board of directors. She can be reached by e-mail (CHAPKimH@aol.com).

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