I am a techie girl at heart. It just runs in my veins. I can’t remember ever NOT having a computer…and I am an 80s baby. I remember using DOS long before there was Windows. I remember having Prodigy before AOL and balking at Google because I loved my Yahoo searches. I remember Lycos and Tomagotchis, Alphie and Walkman, Lite Brite and Teddy Ruxpin (mine sang Digable Planets regularly). I come from a long line of computer programmers and IT personnel. My original major in college was computer science. ::shudder:: I have a major crush on my Kindle Fire HD, I am anxiously awaiting my next phone upgrade, and man you should see my kitchen gadget collection. That said, I’m happy to report that I’m raising a kid with an love for all things electronic.
I’m doing something new this year with our Kindle Fire. Come check out the 15 apps that we’re focusing on this school year.
Note: I am linking to the free versions of these apps if there is one. However, we have the paid version of most of them.
- Evernote – This is a mom app. It helps keep everything organized, and I have really come to love it for lesson planning as well as blog planning. It’s quickly becoming my recipe catch-all as well.
- American Bible Challenge – FABULOUS!!! Based off the TV game show and so fun. I love that if we get a question wrong, it stores it and will take us to a “bible study” section where we can read the passage of the bible the question pertains to and get it right the next time.
- WorldMap – Great globe alternative (which we don’t have because I won’t settle…OR pay full price, ha!), and the best free app for zooming in, which we can’t do on our paper map. It’s both a political and physical map.
- Pandora – Kind of a mom app. I use it to play jazz music while we work. But Kidd Z has a few of his own stations as well.
- Dragonbox – A sneaky, undercover algebra app that even older kids will love! Expensive for an app, but well worth it! I even spent hours playing one day.
- Treble Cat – Wonderful introduction to sight reading music.
- Cimo Spelling – Spelling sight words. Words are harder each level.
- Stack the States – We’ll be doing a state study on all our breaks, as well as next summer, so I grabbed this app a few weeks back when it was free. It. Is. Amazing!
- Dinosaur Chess – A fun way to learn. Kidd Z’s loving it and is actually better than I am at this point!
- Madagascar Math Ops – Never a bad time to drill math facts! And I love those penguins!
- DuoLingo – for Spanish practice.
- ABCs Tracing Cursive Letters – because it’s a dying art and I want my child to be able to read actual historical documents one day. Or, you know, a handwritten letter.
- Unblock Me – A simple logic game, but hours of fun.
- VarageSale – One last mom app. When my favorite homeschool curriculum swap moved off of Facebook this year, this is where it went….SO organized now!
- 2nd Grade Learning – Random acts of learning in every subject.
A few words on how we regulate screen time here. First, the tablet is not a toy. It’s a learning tool. I had to make that clear to him right away. For this reason, it’s the only electronic thing that can be played with during the week (video games and tvs are for weekend only). I have Kindle Free Time set up (the free version) and Kidd Z has 2 profiles. One is an “everything” profile. In this profile is every app and book that’s on the Kindle that I don’t mind him playing with or reading. This is the profile he uses on the weekends. It is set for unlimited reading of books, 1 hour of apps, and 1 hour of videos a day. The second profile is the “learning” profile. He uses this profile during the week if we’re out somewhere or even at home if there’s down time. This profile has only educational apps like the ones listed above, plus some brain-training/logic-type games (like card matching, simon, etc). There are also a limited number of classic books like Alice and Wonderland and the Jungle Book. Again, reading time is unlimited, there is no video time, and apps max out after an hour.
We’ve got a good thing going right now. Do you use apps in your homeschool?