Though I’ve been homeschooling for five years, make no mistake: I am no great educator. I’m just good at finding help for subjects in which I’m a little rusty, like…all of them.
Hey, it’s been a long time since I sat behind a classroom desk.
The trick to getting my kids to pay a little more attention than I apparently did in second grade, is to make sure the material is interesting, relevant, and presented in a fun, interactive way. And one of my favorite tools involves a girl and her robot sidekick.
Annie and Moby, the two engaging stars of the educational website Brain Pop Jr, have entertained us for the past few years with their smart videos. With dozens of topics ranging from rainforests to author Jon Scieszka, I have always been impressed with content that doesn’t talk down to kids or revert to potty humor to be funny.
I love the flexibility of the site too: I can hop on to show the kids a couple-minute video to reinforce a concept, or just let them log on and play for a while without worrying that they’ll end up on You Tube accidentally. And there are tons of lesson plans for those of us who need, or want, to blow a topic out even further. Even the games section ties back into lessons so after they play a matching game with Abraham Lincoln-related pictures, they can go straight to the lesson to learn more about our 16th President.
Brain Pop Jr is part of a bigger group of Brain Pop sites and, as the “junior” suggests, is for younger kids between kindergarten and third grade. Brain Pop takes over after that with Moby the robot and an older boy named Tim who replaces Annie. I like Annie better though; sorry Tim.