Review by Polly Conway, Common Sense Education | Updated March 2012

BJ Pinchbeck's Homework Helper

One-stop shop offers lots of links to helpful learning sites

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2-12 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Created by a kid, the site makes sense to fellow students looking for online homework guidance.

Cons: It can seem like almost too much information at times; they could be a bit more exclusive.

Bottom Line: This well-curated, easy-to-use collection of links on lots of subjects should feel really accessible to kids.

Direct your students here for summer study time; they should be able to deal with the friendly format, and the fact that a kid created the site makes it infinitely more palatable. For students who need extra guidance on almost any subject, it's a great supplement to an after-school program or a place for kids to start when you can't personally help everyone. For you, there's a ton of resource links and a handful of lesson plans to use in the classroom. Everybody wins!

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BJ Pinchbeck's Homework Helper is a website containing a library of educational links that cover nearly every topic you can think of. The site is constructed so that each category is broken into subcategories. For example, the "English" section offers links on grammar, mythology, poetry, literature, and authors; "Computer Science" offers links on programming, networks, and web design; and the "Science" section offers information about anatomy, botany, biology, physics, and much more. As a bonus, BJ Pinchbeck provides a "College Companion," an entire site dedicated to preparing for college prep and being successful while in college.

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This site is simply a library of links to helpful websites, which cover almost every topic under the sun. Kids can sift through educational links to uncover information about their determined subject matter. If a student needs help or just wants to delve deeper into a certain topic, this is a place that offers a good array of information. For instance, kids interested in social studies click on the Social Studies tab. From here they can find links to sites about Ancient History, American History, Geography, and more. 

It's a wonderful resource for finding information. The links on the site are carefully selected and should be really helpful for kids researching topics online. Pinchbeck created his site with the help of his father and the Discovery Channel at nine years old -- what a cool kid! Not only does his site cover information relating to ordinary scholastic subjects, it also includes progressive and engaging sites that encourage kids to get involved in politics and their communities. As you browse through the many different links, you'll probably encounter some sites that are broken or no longer existing. It's also easy to navigate away from the original site and topic of concentration, if kids aren't careful. On that note, users should be cautious about straying to links with mature or inappropriate content. But overall, this is a no-hassle library of links, helpful for quick questions and homework assignments with something for everyone. For kids who need extra help to complete their homework, this balance of freedom and support could boost their confidence.

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Overall Rating
3

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
3

Studying isn't really that fun, but this kid-created site makes it as pleasant as possible. Design is pretty tidy and simple; it's ultimately a bunch of lists that kids can peruse.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
3

Kids have a lot of choices as well as control when they visit the site; they'll figure out what resources work best. Research skills gained here are certainly transferrable; it's a really good start that isn't overwhelming.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
3

There's no specific help page, but the site's purpose is pretty self explanatory. There are also a bunch of teacher resources and lesson plans. Without a sign-in option, you can't save favorite links.


Common Sense Reviewer
Polly Conway Classroom teacher

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Featured review by
rosetree ,
2
Good collection of science links

Good collection of area specific sites. User can scroll to the exact area.

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