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There is no doubt that the face of home education is changing. Before the burst in technology, children could often be seen using textbooks as the primary way of learning. Fast forward to today and you’ll notice that most children are using some form of technology to aid in the learning of a variety of subject matter. If you’ve ever questioned the benefits of handing over your phone for your kids to use educational apps for homeschooling, keep reading.
What is an App?
Before jumping into the list of reasons for using apps for homeschooling, let’s talk about what an app is and why using them are on the rise. Simply put, app stands for app-lication, with desktop and mobile being the two primary ways to access them. An app is a type of software that gives you (or in this case, your child) the ability to perform certain tasks.
Using mobile applications (apps) over websites have become increasingly popular because they are proven to be more convenient, offering a better and easier user experience through faster processing speed. There are also a vast number of ways to get apps for just about any type of device (iPhone, Android, etc.).
7 Reasons for Using Apps for Homeschooling
Previous generations did not have a large selection of resources to create an effective learning experience. Not to say that was a hindrance; however, today’s homeschooling parents have the support of online and digital services. At the foundation of this techno-evolution is an ever-increasing pool of educational apps. With the biggest benefit being the ability to find apps for just about every core subject, and some, the following benefits are concrete reasons why parents should consider using apps for homeschooling.
1) Help with homeschooling “on-the-go”
Whether you are roadschooling or doing most of your homeschooling in the home, having instant and ongoing access to learning is a plus. With educational apps downloaded on your, or your child’s favorite device, learning on-the-go becomes a lot easier.
2) Gamified and interactive
Gamified and interactive apps have taken learning to new heights for children, especially those who struggle with the classic use of pencil and paper to learn. When lessons are transformed into games, children begin to take on a new interest in learning. Almost instantly, learning becomes active and something children desire to do.
3) Can be used when siblings is using other devices
Another perk to using apps for homeschooling is the versatility provided if you have more than one child. This makes homeschooling multiples much easier because while one child may be doing something on the computer and another could be using a tablet.
4) Use less paper
Can we say eco-friendly, printer-friendly, and money-saving? Yes, yes, and yes! When using online and digital devices, you’re not using paper which is a win-win, especially if you don’t have the time to find resources and print them off. Not to mention, parents are more likely to actually utilize a resource that is easier to manage versus a stack of papers.
5) Fill educational gaps
There are some learning styles that simply do not work well with textbooks, workbooks, and the like. For some children, educational gaps are better filled with educational apps that offer a unique approach to learning through games, hands-on activities, and vibrant visuals.
6) Enhance learning
Similar to being an educational gap filler, using apps for homeschooling can enhance a child’s learning experience in ways that other resources cannot. There is a plethora of information that can be learned from apps that otherwise may not have been taught and/or learned.
7) Teach kids valuable smartphone skills
Last but not least, using apps gives parents the opportunity to teach their children valuable smartphone skills, from how to properly use the device and program to using online etiquette. Children who are taught smartphone skills are less likely to abuse the privilege of having the device and use it for its intended purpose.
What to Look for When Choosing Apps for Home Education
Perhaps you’ve decided that using apps for your homeschool would be beneficial; however, knowing which to choose is still a bit cloudy. No worries, I have you covered there as well. Continue reading to learn what to look for when choosing apps for homeschooling.
Is it age/development appropriate?
This is one of the most important things to look for in apps. In some cases, you may want to download the app and sift through it before trusting that the material is actually appropriate for your child. Always take into consideration the development of your child over age because what some six-year-olds are ready for, others may not be.
Will it hold your child's interest?
The attention span of children should be another determining factor in what you choose to use. The younger the child, the less attention span they will have and vice versa. Even then, ensure that your child is actually interested in what you have downloaded for them. Consider including them in the process when choosing apps to download.
Is the app free of ads/in-app purchases?
Ads and in-app purchases are one of the top ways businesses make revenue, so it is understandable why they are there; however, they aren’t always a good thing when children are involved. To keep your child from racking up unnecessary charges, be sure the apps you consider are free of ads and in-app purchases, or at least give the option to turn them off.
How good are the reviews?
Reading reviews are one of the most effective ways to help choose the best educational apps for your children. Take your time to read through several as you’ll find a variety of thoughts and beliefs that could help or hinder your child’s experience with the app. I've found that CommonSense Media is the best source for advice from parents and experts. You can also ask for the recommendations of other techie homeschool families in the Techin' Your Homeschool Facebook group.
What's the best device for children to use for apps?
That's a tough question because it all depends on your family. How old are your children? What's their level of self-control? Will they be using the device for other tasks besides using apps? How developed are their techie skills?
Typically, a tablet is a better choice than a phone for mobile apps. But, the best tablet depends on which features are most important to you. Are you an Android or iOS fan? How important is camera quality? Do you need storage? I address these questions and lots more in THIS POST about choosing the best tablet for your child.
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What is the Best Tablet for Children?
My personal recommendations are …
This 9.3”, 32 GB tablet comes equipped with a stylus, has a great screen quality, a fingerprint sensor for added security (yay!) plus speakers that far outdo its competitors.
For students who are always on-the-go, this one has excellent battery life. The kickstand is also great for viewing videos comfortably.
With a nice-sized 10.5” screen, top-notch display, expandable storage options, great camera, and fast processor, this is a very solid choice.
For those with a smaller budget who still want a great tablet, the Kindle Fire HD 10 is a great option.
10 Popular Apps for Homeschooling
Educational apps can be fun and engaging for children. There are hundreds of different apps available that offer a fun way for children to learn. Apps are fun for learning because they incorporate games with an educational aspect and many times kids don’t even realize they are learning because the games are so much fun.
Here are a few apps for both iOS systems and Android (Google) that will make their way into your homeschool lesson plans.
One of the most popular math apps available, MathBoard is a highly configurable math app that is appropriate for kindergarten through middle school-aged students. From simple addition to multiplication and division, you can use the app to match the abilities of your child. For older students, the app generates activities and quizzes for simple equations and single step algebraic equations for more advanced math. Find it HERE.
This is a complete bundle of the ABC apps which allow kids to explore, play and learn. The app uses stunning photos, fun videos, and fun activities for open-ended play and for kids to learn more about the 180 animals featured in the app. The app also allows kids to learn about more than 50 insects with scratch-and-reveal activities. Find it HERE.
This app lets children learn about different countries, including their landmarks, locations, major cities, and more. The developers have other apps that allow children to learn the states, presidents and other subjects. Find it HERE. (You can find it in the Google Play Store as well).
Reading Racer uses voice-recognition software to allow kids to race to win by reading out loud! This app listens and interacts to the words they’re saying and gives rewards whenever they do well. Find it HERE.
Piano Maestro is both fun and engaging, and a great way for kids to learn the piano. This app will do everything from teaching you the notes to playing a full piece! Find it HERE.
This PBS app features over 100 free creative games for children ages 2-8. The app includes different science, math, and letter games. There are always new educational apps being added so kids can find new and fun learning apps often. PBS has many other educational apps available in the Google Play store that are subject-focused so you can download the specific subject app if you’d like. Find it HERE.
Kids can go with Sarah and Duck as they visit the park to fly a kite, feed the ducks, and help Umbrella avoid the water puddles. The app also allows children to create their very own park and collect special rewards. The app has different game-playing styles that are great for promoting imagination and problem-solving skills. Find it HERE.
With this app, preschoolers can learn about friendship while they explore the world around them. The app teaches compassion, kindness, and independence. Kids can choose their favorite monster and the care for him during the day as he brushes his teeth, takes a bath or feeds him which can help teach lessons about the routines of everyday life and help develop fine motor skills. Find it HERE.
This awesome app lets your kids draw cartoons and animate their own series right from the app! You can even add in audio to bring your drawings to life. Find it HERE.
Explore the starry night sky with this simple app! Observe planets, comets, constellations and more with one simple app. Find it HERE.
Discover More Homeschooling Apps Recommended by Techie Homeschool Moms
I've asked other homeschool moms what apps they use for homeschooling and compiled the results by subject into lists here on my blog. of education apps here on my blog. Click each link below to see the lists or CLICK HERE to download a list of all the recommended apps.
Regardless of your reasoning for homeschooling, most parents will agree that to some degree, having the liberty to use a non-traditional approach to education is top on the list. Part of this method is being able to incorporate a variety of resources that will give your children a holistic educational experience. Using apps in your homeschool is one way to do this, and the reasons and suggestions mentioned above will get you well on your way to do just that.
Tell me, what are some educational apps you use in your homeschool? Let me know in the comments below!
Must-Have Tech for Homeschooling
- “Must Have” Smartphone Apps for Homeschool Moms
- 5 Apps Every Homeschooler Needs to Know About
- Why I Stopped Managing My Kids' Screen Time
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