When I was a kid we had no computers. We played outside a lot and read and colored and rode bikes. We learned by doing with very little technological input.
This has changed. My children know how to use a computer, a BluRay player, a Wii console, a flat-screen TV, the iPad, an iPhone, a Nook and a Kindle Fire. These things are exciting and stimulating and provide good entertainment for long trips or on sick days. Unfortunately, the temptation to use these items is great and it is frustrating to see children become sedentary instead of creative and active. We have to find a balance – encouraging old-fashioned play, and embracing technology so our children can gain the skills that their world demands.
How do we incorporate technological advances while still ensuring our children are not becoming couch potatoes who are incapable of using God’s gift of the mind? Send them outside to soak in nature and shake those wiggles out. A Wii isn’t going to cut it – sorry! Read to them and make sure they are reading on their own. Try to monitor “screen time” so you can prevent it from becoming a time-suck. When they do want to use technology, make sure they have many educational games and apps to pick from.
Here below are a few great iPhone/iPad apps that the Homeschool Post team have shared as educational, fun, and helpful for use by homeschool families. [If you read through the list and leave a comment, we will enter you to win a copy of the Glo Bible app (worth $89.99) - which works on Mac, PC, iPad, and iPhone!]
FUN & EDUCATIONAL APPS
Star & Planet Finder and Night Sky are guides that help you to identify stars, planets, constellations and satellites in the sky. It is like having a tiny planetarium at your disposal. Simply point your phone towards the object in question and find out just what you are gazing at! Star & Planet Finder is free, but Night Sky by iCandi Apps is 99 cents.
The NASA app tells you where and when to watch in the sky, and includes a compass to guide you. You’ll also be able to search descriptions of their missions past and present, look at photos, watch videos, and tune in to NASA TV.
You can use this app in the car and have it read the Bible to you while you are out and about. There are cords you can buy that let you transmit your iPhone device audio over the radio in your vehicle. This is way handy and works with music and all sorts of apps!
BrainPOP® has a different animated movie every day on various educational subjects and topics (science, math, history, language, technology, arts, music, etc). Kids can watch (and laugh – they are really cute) and then take an interactive quiz to test their comprehension. The free version only allows one video per day, but you can go back and view previous day’s movies if you miss them. The app works for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch.
Every day there’s a new SAT question for you to answer with this fun test prep app. Give your 13 year old a big head by letting them revel in the fact that they have mastered college level material in 7th grade. Every snobby homeschool kid’s dream, right? Grade levels are irrelevant.
Worth every penny of that $1.99 if you ask me (or my toddler). Jam packed with all sorts of puzzles to stretch a little brain – from easy to very difficult. This app is fun and very entertaining for those moments when the big kids are busy with school and you need to keep little hands busy. A life-saver in the doctor’s office waiting room or church pew, too!
This is a fun and musical app for little ones. It has animal sounds, instrument sounds, musical variations, and phonic sounds to encourage reading.
From the app store: “Doodle Buddy Gold is the most fun you can have with your finger! Finger paint with your favorite colors and drop in playful stamps. Connect with a friend to draw together over the Internet.” My kids like to draw with their dad when he’s away because you can share a drawing with someone via wifi! My toddler’s favorite part of this app is the stamps (emoticons that make sounds as you place them on the “page”). It is fun to shake the phone and erase your drawings, too.
Younger children (recommended for ages 2 to 6) can learn motor skills, number sequence, shapes and more with this beautiful app. The graphics and sound effects are wonderful. There are three levels of difficulty and the app is free for the first 3 puzzles and $1.99 for a pack of 51.
Phone for Kids on the surface seems like a great way to “trick” the baby or toddler in to thinking he’s “using your phone” because the interface of the game makes your iPhone seem like it is functioning as normal… however, it actually adds educational games in the place of real functions. It has a fake “texting” message center that makes cute noises and mimics the real text function. It has a phone keypad that dials and rings for busy fingers. It has cute “app icons” that each offer games within games to keep your little one learning and busy. Some 24 games teach the basics on colors, numbers, letters, shapes, direction, days of the week, animals, and more. It has a fun drawing pad that trails sparkles and glitter every time you trace your finger on the screen, too. My 3 year old and 1 year old both love this app.
ABCs and Animals is an interactive set of of flash cards designed for infants and toddlers. Cute pictures and noises. With each touch of the screen, more exciting things happen. On the other hand, ABC Animals (sounds so similar, right?) is a different kind of flash cards aimed at the advancing preschooler who is ready to try and trace his/her letters! Bonus – the animals are insanely cute. Just look at those buggy eyes! Shake to erase, tap to repeat, and begin again with endless phonic fun!
Do you watch educational movies as part of your homeschool curriculum? I know we do! It is great to have Netflix on the go in your iPad or iPhone so you can watch shows ANYWHERE. Netflix for iPhone/iPad is free, but you need an account (monthly fee that ranges depending on what plan you pick) to use it.
A beautiful timeline reference app which will give you a unique perspective on the events of world history, including: kingdoms, empires, rulers, battles, explorations, literature, architecture and more! Wonders of Old is a 4-part app series, dividing the events of world history into four historical time periods: ancient, medieval, new world and modern. Wonders of Old: Medieval Timeline is the second app in this series. Created by Knowledge Quest for homeschoolers. Costs $4.99, but well worth it!
Learning about the states has never been more fun! I sure wish they had come out with this game a few years back when we were deep in our state-unit. There are 4 games in this app that enrich your geography learning.
All the countries of the world are at your fingertips with this 3-game app. Teach international geography effortlessly as your students play pile up, stack, and map-it to learn continents, languages, flags, major cities, capitals, landmarks, and more. The game has more than 1000 questions and 193 flash cards. It works on iPad or iPhone and you can have up to 6 different player profiles.
Dictionary & Thesaurus for iPad
If you are a word-lover, this sure beats wasting time searching the shelves of your book cases for the dictionary and flipping through it. Keep your iPad handy when typing a blog post, writing a report, or reading great literature – just in case you want to look up a definition or trade out a word for something with more pizzazz. You don’t even have to be online to search for words! The “word of the day” feature is fun, too!
Created for home-educators by iHomeEducator and Knowledge Quest, Inc., this app aims to teach your history student about every day life during the medieval time period. Learn about Vikings, castles, cathedrals, kings, knights and ladies – where they lived, what they wore and ate. Craft ideas and recipes are included! Recommended for the iPad because of detailed and large graphics. App cost $5.99.
Awesome chores and behavior app that is fully customizable, has the ability to track many kids (and parents if you want to reward yourself as well), and allows you to create your own point system. I love the sounds the stars make as you check your “list” off. Makes getting things done fun for the kids.
Description from the App Store: “Ancient World mobile application is a historical atlas and geography encyclopedia in one. Map Trek allows you to teach geography alongside history. This is a resource that any parent or student can use with brilliant success, even if you don’t remember a thing from your history or geography classes in school.” This program is created by Knowledge Quest and costs $9.99.
From the App Store: “An ideal application for students, children and others who would like to learn the names of various body parts, organs and other terminologies related to the human body. There is also an option to take tests on how far you are progressing with each lesson.”
It may not seem fair to give Glo Bible the longest review, but I have to tell you, there’s just nothing out there in the app world that can even rival it. This is the KING of apps – and what better subject matter than God’s Word?! You just have to see this app in action to believe it. It is a completely linked and all-encompassing Bible study tool. Maps, virtual tours, photos, art, history, videos, study notes, articles, and the best looking interface I have seen in an app yet.
Don’t take my word for it. Go check out their website or watch the video below. It is breathtaking.
…don’t say you weren’t warned: you’ll be forever changed by it…
We love Glo Bible and use it on our iPad daily. For those who don’t have an iPad, you can also use it on your iPhone, PC, or Mac! I loved it so much that I asked them if I could advertise on the Post (hence the leaderboard ad up top). I’m keeping it up for the month of May – especially while they have their MOTHER’S DAY SALE on – and you can get Premium for only $39.99! That’s 55% off, y’all.
Now for the Give Away!
We’re giving away a premium version of Glo Bible (worth $89.99) – which you can use on up to 5 different devices.
Here’s how you win it:
Leave a comment here on this post and tell us what your top three educational (or just favorite useful) apps are. You can get additional entries by following along and doing what the Rafflecopter giveaway tool asks, as well. Be sure to subscribe to our feed and “like us” on facebook so you won’t miss the news about who won the give-away, which we will announce next Friday. Entries are accepted through midnight next Thursday night.
Disclaimer: I have paid for most of these apps myself, some are apps that were added by other authors here at the Homeschool Post (and they paid for them themselves, too). A few have been given to us to try out for free – including the Knowledge Quest history apps and the Glo Bible. They didn’t pay us or sponsor this post, however, and the opinions in it are our own. The only link in this post which is an affiliate link is the one under the Holy Bible app which links to an Amazon product. Oh, and I stayed up WAY too late on a Friday night putting this together.