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School is just around the corner for most. And, I have an important discovery to share with you! A new species the Homo-teenagus has been discovered. What is Homo-teenagus you may ask? Homo-teenagus is between 13 – 18 years old, stays up until all hours of the night chatting with friends, consuming YouTube and Netflix, and sleeps late into the day. Homo-teenagus only emerges from their natural habitat (their room) for food, bathing, and to use the bathroom. Lucky for us parents on those last two!
Has your teenager shown some of the habits of this new species? Have they shown no evidence of being proactively preparing for the upcoming school year? Then, read on…
Table of Contents
Summer Learning Slide is Real (and It’s Not a Ride)
The facts of summer learning slide are sobering. “Most students lose two months of grade-level equivalency in math skills every summer.1” And the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) confirms that “teachers spend a significant amount of time re-teaching material due to summer learning loss.1” In addition, when household income was considered “all students, regardless of the resources in their home, lost roughly equal amounts of math skills over summer. However, substantial economic differences were found for reading.2”
So, what do you do with your rarely seen teenager? Fear not! I have some help in these waning weeks of the summer teenager hibernation season! The rare and elusive homo-teenagus can be saved!
Being the concerned parent, I eventually cajoled or, otherwise wrangled our homo-teenagus to at least start reviewing some math and lit. “What? Interrupt my summer vacation with math equations? <rolls eyes>” . Well, I did try. And, it looks like I will have to try again with an incentive.
Free & Low Cost Learning Web sites to Prevent Summer Learning Slide (and Get Back in the Game for Back to School)
Prod or, otherwise cajole your teenager into doing something (anything) to make up for Summer Learning Slide. To help get them ready for back to school, take a look at this list of learning web sites that can help your middle or high school student.
Learning Web sites
Khan Academy – “Khan Academy offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom. We tackle math, science, computer programming, history, art history, economics, and more. Our math missions guide learners from kindergarten to calculus using state-of-the-art, adaptive technology that identifies strengths and learning gaps.”
B.J. Pinchbeck’s Homework Helper – “BJ Pinchbeck’s Homework Helper started in 1996. Today, BJ Pinchbeck’s Homework Helper acts as a curator of the best educational resources.”
These next two websites are more programming oriented. Since some relationship exists between better math scores and exposure to coding, I thought they were worth inclusion. Girls can code, too!
App Inventor.org – Learn to program Droid apps. “AppInventor.org is a site for learning and teaching how to program mobile apps with MIT’s App Inventor. These tutorials are refined versions of the tutorials that have been on the Google and MIT App Inventor sites from App Inventor’s inception– thousands of beginners have used them to learn programming and learn App Inventor.”
Code.org – “Launched in 2013, Code.org® is a non-profit dedicated to expanding access to computer science, and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color. Our vision is that every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer science.
Going Back to School? Double Check Your Technology
In addition to getting your student back to school ready, it can’t hurt to take a look at your technology. Whether you share one computer or, have a house full of tech, there are some clear signs you might be ready for some new technology. Some of the reasons/symptoms include:
- Excessively long startup (aka boot-up times).
- Frequent system freezes/crashes and slowness.
- Current computer can not accept latest operating system version.
- Display is fuzzy, distorted or, blinks frequently.
- Hard drive read/write errors or, malfunctions.
Shopping for Technology
If you were able to check off more than a few symptoms on the list above, consider heading down to the nearest store for a new computer. I have a WalMart near me with some computers so, I checked it out.
At WalMart, I was pleasantly surprised to see a mix of all new models from HP with prices ranging from $349 – $999 that each packed some good value.
From the looks of it, there is more than one to choose from that would make an affordably priced family laptop, and also a perfect fit for middle, high school or college students that need a laptop at a good overall value.
A Little About a Laptop
Every family will make their own best decision when selecting a new laptop. For this write-up the focus is on the HP ENVY Notebook 13-d040wm.
What struck me about this HP ENVY was just how thin it was! My daughter even compared it in size to a Macbook Air or, something similar.
SD Card slot, headphone jack
HDMI and USB ports
The 12.9mm thin laptop has an all-metal body and edge-to-edge Quad HD+ display. A 6th generation Intel® CoreTM i processor, 256 GB Solid State Drive, and a full range of ports, performance and supreme thinness get the laptop on even footing. A heavy-hitting battery, with up to 7 hours and 30 minutes of productivity is included and the state-of-the-art audio by Bang & Olufsen rounds out this package nicely.
Specs for the Truly Geeky (or Just Plain Curious)
- Operating system: Windows 10 Home
- Processor: 6th generation Intel® CoreTM i7-6500U Processor
- Display: 13.3-inch QHD+ UWVA eDP WLED-backlit flush glass screen (3200 x 1800)(38a)
- Memory: 8 GB LPDDR3 SDRAM (onboard)
- Solid-State drive: 256 GB M.2 solid-state drive
- Graphics: Intel® HD Graphics 520
- Audio: Bang & Olufsen with dual speakers
- Battery life: Up to 7 hours and 30 minutes
- Product weight: 2.98 lb
- Keyboard: Full-size island-style backlit keyboard
Learn more about the HP ENVY Notebook 13-d040wm here.
What are you doing to get your homo-teenagus back to school ready? Let me know in the comments, below. If you like your HP computer like my family does, be sure to visit Walmart to share your thoughts! Encourage other families to shop smart this back to school season with your online review.
References cited in this post: