June 21, 2007
As anyone who’s ever raised a child can testify, parents sometimes need a bit of help and advice. After all, kids don’t come with a user manual.A new website launched Wednesday – with advertising and a big boost from venture capital – is designed to provide a bit of help and support. Education.com is an editorial site with over 4,000 reference articles about raising kids, along with online communities in which parents can interact with each other, and with education experts.
The goal of the site, according to founder and CEO Ron Fortune, is to build “a one stop online destination targeting parents to supplement education so that students can be more successful in school as well as in life.”
In a takeoff of the national policy of “no child left behind,” Fortune says he wants to make sure that “no parents are left behind.” He says “parents need to have information to help kids in direct ways.”
The site’s articles tend to be short and to the point – perhaps not as much detail as some people would want, but they’re well written and tightly edited which is generally a good thing.
For example, one article on the site, “Can TV Teach Your Kid to Read,” addresses that weighty subject in only 348 words – hardly enough to cover the entire subject, but enough to provide reference to a couple of studies and provide food for thought.
Another useful piece, “Is my child on track?” provides a summary of developmental milestones with the essential caveat that “all kids develop at their own pace.”
The site has resources for kids with special needs whether that’s autistic kids, gifted kids or kids with behavioral disorders. Again, there isn’t a great deal of depth in each article, but there are links to specialized information when appropriate.
Click here to hear Larry Magid’s podcast interview of Education.com CEO Ron Fortune.
There is also a magazine section with advice columns from a child psychologist, a physical activities expert, and a “dad with three young kids” who also happens to be a former editor at Teen People and other publications.
While I respect the well-written expert advice, to me, the most promising parts of this site are the “communities” and “get local” sections.
Communities provides to create common interest groups and a chance to interact with other parents in discussion boards where activity, so far, includes topics such as “should parenting style change once your child graduates high school,” “teaching reading at home” and “the new SAT.”
The “get local section” – which wasn’t yet implemented when I tested the site – is where parents will be able to find out what’s happening in their own communities.