Few things are as important as your child's education -- yet hiring tutors or signing up for classes can drain your finances long before your kids even get to college! But luckily it doesn't have to be that way. A ton of websites and services exist that can enrich your child's education for free. Whatever your child is interested in, check out these venues to explore further.
1. If your kid needs a tutor or help with his homework: Students in grades 6 through 12 can turn to the National Homework Hotline. Manned by students at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, this hotline is open between 7 to 10 p.m. Eastern Time, Sunday through Thursday, from September through May by calling 1-877-ASK-ROSE or submitting questions by email and online chat at AskRose.org.
2. If your kid loves museums: Museums often have free community days, and many are linked to companies where you're a customer. For instance, if you have an account at Bank of America, you can flash your bank card and gain free admission to 150 participating museums, science centers, botanical gardens, and other cultural institutions nationwide. Find out more at Museums.BankofAmerica.com.
3. If your kid's into computers: At Code.org, kids can watch a video of tech heavyweights like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg saying, "Anyone can code." Then they can learn the ropes through online tutorials or by checking out a list of local schools offering coding classes for free.
4. If your kid's a bookworm: Your local public library is an untapped font of opportunities, from story time to reading with a buddy. "In some public libraries, you can have access to thousands of e-books and, probably best of all, free access to top-notch online research databases that students can use for accurate information for papers and projects," says Brian Stewart, founder of BWSEducationConsulting.com.
5. If your kid's into math: KhanAcademy.org has virtual lessons and quizzes in all sorts of subjects, particularly math.
6. If your kid needs to prepare for a standardized test: FreeTestPrep.com helps kids prepare for a variety of standardized tests, from the ACT, SAT, GED, and beyond, with sample questions and more on what to expect.
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7. If your kid's taking an AP course: "For students taking AP classes, you can find real sample multiple choice and essay questions along with sample responses," says Stewart. Go to CollegeBoard.com.
8. If your kid's ready for college courses: Coursera.org provides access to courses at top universities from Stanford to Yale, via video lectures and other online tutorials.
9. To teach your kid how to type: With the amount of computer work kids do these days, knowing how to really type is a huge advantage and time saver. Parents rave that this online typing course at BBC.co.uk is the best way to teach kids how to type and can be done all at once or in stages.
10. For help paying for a class your kid's dying to take: Kids don't have to be in college to be eligible for scholarships; many organizations offer financial assistance to kids for a range of educational opportunities. For instance, since 1998, the Children's Scholarship Fund at ScholarshipFund.org has given out more than a half billion dollars in scholarships to nearly 139,000 children grades K through 8.
Have you found ways to enrich your child's education for free?