Wednesday, 14 November 2012

IPad Education

I'm in awe of people who managed to homeschool before the internet. How on earth anyone got through lesson planning without Pinterest is completely beyond me.

I've said before how disenchanted I am with our public library. It's really big, and I know we are much more fortunate than many who live in small villages. The story time group is fantastic, but the books available to children, particularly early readers, is devastatingly lacking. Anything that would even vaguely challenge his reading ability seems to be about vampires, or witches, or completely inappropriate relationships (he recently brought home a book about a kid with a crush on his teacher. We didn't get past the first chapter).

With this in mind I'm so excited to be ordering some books from Lamplighter publishing to add to our home collection, (in no small part thanks to their current offer of buying a $100 certificate and getting a second one free!) but the reality is although my children love books, right now the iPad is where it's at.

I've only had it for a month, so maybe it's a novelty thing, but I feel like my homeschool life just got a whole lot easier.

So this post is, for the most part, dedicated to how we use it - although some of these uses worked fine on my iPhone too, it's all so much easier on the pad ;0)

1. Record Keeping 
There are tonnes of free apps, but my personal favourite is Evernote. We used it long before we got the iPad, and there is a desktop download, web based page and phone app that you could use instead (as I did for the last two years).
The most useful thing about it is storing examples of work. I take two seconds to snap some photos for the worksheets the children have just completed, tag them (subject, child) and they are automatically stored by date. Very useful when it comes to looking back through for end of term reports!

There is also a recording facility, so I've recorded the children doing things like reciting a new memory verse (which will be totally cute to listen to in years to come).
I also use the note taking facility to jot down any developmental leaps (walking, reading, swam 5m etc...) and once again Evernote auto tags the date and, if you like, location. Fab.

2. BrainPop
Brainpop is brilliant, we are using the free version of brain pop jr without an account currently. It's brilliant and there is a new video every week. The videos are cute, subtitled and have two quizzes on the content at the end (easy and hard) as well a joke and a relevant comic strip. The best part (according to Cosmo) is that there's a little leaderboard so you can try and beat your score on the quizzes by taking them again, and/or compete against a sibling.

3. Montessori geography
We LOVE the Montessori geography apps. There are some free ones (the UK for example) but we have chosen to pay for the European one. Cosmo is happy able to work on this alone and is learning to identify all the countries in Europe, not only by name and location, but also by shape. I'm learning as he does!
Eventually we'll upgrade to the other continents, but right now this one has plenty of content to keep us busy.
The Montessori pre-language opposites app is also brilliant for lychee.

4. Starfall ABCs
It's no secret that we are massive fans of the starfall website and subscribe to more starfall too. The app isn't free, and it also doesn't have all the content of the full site, but it's perfect for little ones who can't use a mouse yet to explore limited content. Lychee happily spent 30 minutes playing on it whilst I had a church meeting last week. For £1.99 it's been totally worth it.

5. Little writer
Lychee needs some serious help with this app, but she loves it.
I would have thought it was beneath Cosmo, but he seems to really enjoy it too, and it's encouraging him to form letters and numbers correctly (instead of two circles for an eight, for example) so I'm not complaining.

6. FlashCardlet
A great little app that allows you to create sets of flash cards for memory work. Easy to set up and easy for the kids to use. Cosmo loves flipping through his memory verses from Plant's Grown Up.

So those are my current favourites, obviously I'm sure we'll discover more as we go, but that's it for now.

Do you have an iPad/iPhone other electronic device you use for homeschooling? What apps do you recommend?

This post is linked up at noordinarybloghop


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