Shmoop Website Poster Image

Shmoop

(i)

 

Clever study materials for teens merge humor and learning.

What parents need to know

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
Not applicable
Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

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

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

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?

QUALITY

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.

Families can talk 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

Subjects:Math: algebra, calculus
Language & Reading: forming arguments, text analysis
Skills:Self-Direction: academic development, work to achieve goals
Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, problem solving
Genre:Educational
Price:Free-approx. $10/student/guide and up
Pricing structure:Free, Paid

This review of Shmoop was written by

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What parents and kids say

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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 History Exam, and it helped me a good deal. Quick and easy way to prepare for exams.
What other families should know
Too much consumerism
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 other families should know
Too much consumerism

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