Shmoop

Website review by
Erin Brereton, Common Sense Media
Shmoop Website Poster Image
Clever study materials for teens merge humor and learning.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 4 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this website.

Educational value

Kids can learn about literature, economics, civics, digital literacy, U.S. history, and the other key school subjects. Biology, pre-algebra and algebra, Shakespeare, and poetry are also covered. Teens can get an explanation of the meaning in new and old books or view math concepts. A few sections deal with unexpected topics, like Dr. Seuss books and the Bible. The engaging, well-organized content should help kids learn about new concepts. Shmoop's cleverly written content is divided into digestible sections and offers solid educational value.

Positive messages

The site's DMV section includes tips on driving safely; teens can also learn about potential career options.

Violence
Sex
Language
Consumerism

Banner ads appear throughout the site; Shmoop also charges for some of its content.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that some sections of this teen-centric educational site cost money to access. (SAT prep materials are $23; AP exam guides are $17.) However, there's plenty of free content to help kids learn about literature, algebra, and other school subjects. Teens don't have to register to use the site, but they'll be able to save sample essays they're working on if they do.

User Reviews

Parent Written byAugusta D. August 22, 2017

Incredibly subjective and simple-minded analysis of great literature

This website does not do any of the literature it analyzes justice. All analysis is based on subjective opinions and does not allow for student's own inter... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byAlreadyTaken May 30, 2013

Useful Site

Prices are high, but sometimes you can get a free pass through an online class or whatnot. In that case, this is a great site. I used it a bit for the AP World... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bydoggo November 1, 2016

Just horriable

If you don't want to pay $12 a month don't bother with this site you get attacked by ads and the website is unresponsive because of this

What's it about?

SHMOOP's mostly-free materials, written by Ph.D. and Masters students from prestigious U.S. colleges, offer instruction on topics ranging from Shakespeare to pre-algebra. The content features a creative twist: Instead of using stuffy academic phrasing, the materials are written in a conversational tone. Information is also presented in a unique, quirky format. Pretend character profiles, for example, help kids learn about Greek and Roman mythology; teen drivers can cruise through a section that uses humor to stress responsible driving.

Is it any good?

Shmoop features educational materials to help teens understand a variety of topics, including biology, U.S. history, algebra, and calculus. The site's literature section covers classics; users can also access in-depth allegory, character, and theme info on modern reads like "The Hunger Games." The site's real strength, though, is in its presentation. Instead of just offering endless pages of content, Shmoop breaks subjects down in fun ways. Mythological character profiles list zany faux relationship statuses (Agamemnon laments that he "was married to Clytemnestra, but then she killed me... so yeah"). Virtual flashcards help teens memorize AP Spanish terms, and a lengthy DMV section weaves humor into its state-by-state rules of the road. And the site's learning resources are legit: Ph.D. and Masters students from schools like Stanford and Harvard write much of the conversational content, which is peppered with pop culture references. A separate section for educators includes resources for teaching civics, literature, and other topics, for a fee.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about ways to learn using digital tools. How do you use the Internet to learn new things or review what you've learned? For suggestions on using technology to improve kids' academic success, check out our School Performance Tips guide.

  • How is spending time using a site like Shmoop different from spending time online connecting with friends? What kind of time limits should you set on Facebook/Twitter/IM time?

  • How can you tell if information on a website came from a valid source, is just someone's opinion, or is information that hasn't really been researched?

Website details

For kids who love homework help

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