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Parents Guide to Buying Computers

Share in the Fun of New Discoveries
by Patti Hermes

Have you discovered any new internet resources lately? Have you shared any of your favorites with friends or family? Stuck in a rut, surfing the same old sites, while you or your children grow out of them? Wishing for a new direction, but donit want to spend the time searching, only to come up empty-handed?

While the computer is a very important member of our household, with a central position in the family room, we rarely discuss our usage with others. Occasionally, I mention the fact that my son has ventured into surfing, with a list of favorites that rivals my own. But the conversation usually lags there. If I mention weire always looking to try out something new the reply usually is iOh we are tooi. But suggestions are rarely forthcoming.

His thirst for new discoveries is never-ending. So I make it a habit to introduce him to new (to us) sites on a regular basis, once or twice a week. And I make a point of finding them on my own, kind of.

So where do I get these new sites? You want me to share?

(1) Newsletters, both print and online. My current favorite is Big Learning for Families because it mixes fun and education for a wide range of ages and abilities, and there are usually at least two links per newsletter (subscribe for free at www.biglearning.com).
(2) Search Engines. I put in a few keywords, like dinosaurs, math games, science for kids, and then save the results. While Google and Yahoo are the most obvious, sometimes itis fun to check out a lesser known search engine, such as Kids Click (http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/KidsClick!/ ) for totally different results. When we have a few minutes, when I hear that familiar whine, iDo you have any new web sites for me?i we click on the links together, and save the good ones in his favorites folder.
(3) Teacher Resources. If youive ever noticed a page for teacher resources on a favorite web site, there are often links to more, a virtual chain leading you to the good stuff. For instance, on Crayola.com there are both Parents and Educators links.
(4) Magazines and newspaper articles. While sometimes a list of ten or more web sites can be a little daunting, I pay attention to the one or two links within an article, sometimes cutting it out and leaving it at the computer, for later surfing.

So now that Iive shared a few of my favorites, share a few of yours with your circle of friends and relatives. Just like when you recommend a good pediatrician, the best-tasting vitamins, or a good book: pass it on.

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Patti Hermes is a freelance writer and columnist, specializing in family and parenting subjects and works for children, as well as essays and a blog, Writes For Chocolate. She works at home where she referees two spirited little boys and occasionally their father. Originally from Massachusetts, she and her husband of eighteen years are now raising their happy family in the Midwest.

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