My son took the SATs last summer. I encouraged him to study in advance. But he declined all my generous offers of tutors and SAT preparation classes. I know him. So this was all predictable. In fact, that’s why I insisted he take the test before he was a sophomore. I figured that he would be disappointed in his score and learn – for next time – that studying is good. (I know, I'm probably delusional but I persist anyway.) He didn’t do too badly on the test so I’m not sure he learned that lesson. But I'm pretty sure he’d like to do better next time. Who doesn't want a better score?

I’m signing him to take the test again. So, once again, I’ll be encouraging him to study. This time, though, I plan to set him up with a prep course that he can do while slumped on the couch staring at a screen -- his favorite activity. I'm looking for a class that will come to us and is taught by an engaging, interesting teacher who really knows the subject matter. I want the class to be individualized and focus on questions that will be on the test. I want it to offers quick refreshers on topics he has forgotten, not bore him by going over stuff he already knows, but to go in-depth into material he doesn't know or didn't understand. Oh, and I’d like to get the class for free.

If you are laughing at me right now, then you aren’t familiar with the Khan Academy.

This free online school offers quick classes in a variety of subjects – from art history to organic chemistry. In fact, there are 3,100 courses at the moment -- and more in the making. And they are taught with a depth of knowledge, interest in the subject, and sense of fun that is often lacking in school.

The Khan Academy, naturally, offers a complete (free) SAT math test prep course. To take it, all my student needs is The Official SAT Study Guide ($12.99) and an internet connected computer or tablet. The first lecture tells him to start working through the problems in the book until he hits one that gives him trouble. Then he is to come back to the Khan Academy Test Prep class and watch the video that goes with that page in the book. If he needs more help with the math than a reminder, the teacher will direct him to an in-depth Kahn Academy lecture on that area of math.

Targeted, quick, and just about free. Just what I’m looking for.

Christina Tynan-Wood writes the Family Tech column for Family Circle, and is the author of “How to Be a Geek Goddess.” You can find her at