Homeschooling with an iPad is quickly opening many doors. Resources that once cost hundreds of dollars and took up a lot of space can now be acquired much cheaper and are portable. Some of the favorite resources in our home are educational games, E-Reader tools, and videos. Children today are so much more tech savvy than folks in my generation. When I got my iPad, I really had no clue how to operate it, so I gave it to my kids and left it up to them to show me what to do. They have trained me well! In our homeschooling journey, we have discovered a number of fun and educational apps that fit really well with our family.
My overall favorite app (or I should say apps) is iBooks, which is useful for reading books available in a PDF or E-Book format. I love being able to have my virtual bookshelf at my fingertips. I am a bona fide book junkie, and I really like the fact that these electronic books take up much less space than physical books.
A useful feature of iBooks is the ability to email PDF/E-Book files from my virtual bookshelf. This allows me to use my virtual bookshelf as a previewing and storing location for electronic copies of workbooks and other consumables. It is wonderful to be able to have iBooks with me to study or peruse for lessons when I have a spare moment.
After a book reader app, our family favorites, hands down, are Words with Friends (Zynga) and Hanging with Friends (Zynga). Games? Definitely. These are versions of classic word games that are played virtually. These games have enhanced our children’s vocabulary and spelling skills more than they know! True, games can be time robbers, and that is why parents need to determine the amount of time children are allowed to play games—no matter how educational they are.
Our children are all older now, middle school through college graduates, and I have learned to rely on the Khan Academy app to help me answer questions for which my answers are inadequate. I have even used this app in some of the co-op classes I teach. It is a free app and is very user friendly. For Mom and Dad, The Old Schoolhouse® app provides a fabulous way to read the magazine and links to many helpful sites for homeschoolers.
I did a search in the App Store on my iPad recently and found hundreds of results when I searched for “educational apps.” Many of these apps are free—always a good thing around our house. Apps ranged from preschool level to college level. I was like a kid in a candy store; I wanted to download and explore every free app available.
Sarah Dugger is a pastor’s wife and busy mom. Sarah has been married to her husband André since 1986, and they have six children. She has taught in both public and private schools and currently homeschools her three children who have not yet graduated. She is an avid reader and writer. Sarah currently writes for the TOS Homeschool Crew, the TOS Molly Team, and the Schoolhouse Teachers website.