Guide to Web sites for parents

Parents of young school-agers can find helpful resources on the Web. (© Weibell)
Parents of young school-agers can find helpful resources on the Web. (© Weibell)

By Barry Abisch
Provided by WorldNow

For parents of pre-schoolers, the announcement that Sesame Street is upgrading its Web site to add interactivity and other features probably is welcome news. But what about parents of older kids who will be heading off to school this year? A tour of the Web lead us to a number of sites with content that will be helpful to parents. Here are some suggestions to get you started.

Some of the richest content can be found in the parents section of the Scholastic Web site. Scholastic publishes magazines and books for young people, and has been in the business since 1920. Don't let the fact that this is a commercial site dissuade you from visiting. Topics covered on the Web site include schools and learning, books and reading, activities and family life. You also can subscribe to monthly newsletters; samples are provided.

The Parent Resource Center section of the national Parent Teacher Association Web site is less visually appealing compared to the Scholastic site. But start poking around, and there is a lot of available information. Some of the content is organized around the themes of student achievement; media technology; safety and nutrition, health and wellness.

Parent involvement is a recurring theme in education today. It is a prominent focus of the PTA Web site, and also is featured in the Parent and Community section of the National Education Association Web site. The NEA represents teachers across the country. Parents of middle-schoolers might be especially interested in Bridging the Homework Divide, an NEA publication available for download.

Another source of publications is the resource index maintained by the National Coalition For Parent Involvement In Education. The Coalition is an umbrella group for hundreds of organizations, and the index lists dozens of reports and documents prepared by some of its member organizations.

While deals with health issues facing school-aged youngsters, it also has a collection of articles cataloged as "School Stuff. If your child is of reading age, print out Going Back to School and let him or her read it with you.

Also check out the FREE page on the federal Department of Education. In this case, FREE is an acronym for Free Resources for Educational Excellence, a guide to information on a wide range of topics compiled by many agencies and organizations such as the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution and the National Science Foundation. The site could be particularly helpful with some of those pesky homework assignments.

Meanwhile, if you have pre-schoolers in the house, do keep an eye on the Sesame Street Website. You can sign up for e-mail alerts with updates on the $14 million rebuilding project.