Monday, March 21, 2011

iPad Homeschooling

When deciding to purchase the iPad, it was suppose to be mine and I would share it with my family. The reason we chose an iPad over a regular eReader was because there were so many apps that could be used for our homeschooling. I may still get an eReader one day as well since the iPad is so popular in our house. It's used for reading, watching movies, playing games, watching the stars and much more.

Right now I'm looking for books for next year. Most of the books listed for reading next year for the Well-Trained Mind and CM (the two places I look for material to keep around the house) are available on the iPad for free. I've downloaded many reading and book shopping programs and if one doesn't have the book for free another one does. It's great! Some books I'll need to purchase from a book store and have here, but this device will reduce the amount of storage we need for books dramatically.

Netflix has proven to be a well used service in our home. We signed up with them months ago (almost as soon as they were available in Canada). There are many movies that they don't have that we wish they did and one that we loved to watch that they now don't offer. The benefit is that we have a wide range of documentaries, animal shows, and other great movies at our finger tips. I downloaded the app as soon as I got the iPad and we watch movies anywhere in the house, including in bed sometimes. A caution about Netflix is to be sure that you have unlimited downloads on your internet service so that you don`t get a big bill at the end of the month. It happened to a friend of mine. We already had unlimited internet so only paid the Netflix fee.

Here are a list of apps that we love with descriptions:

SketchBook Pro
This is a drawing program. I think I paid for this one. It has many brush styles including leaves and other textures. Zoe plays with this program often and saves her creations.

ABC Phonics Word Family Writing HD
Zoe likes this one. She likes to draw and make letters and she loves to read. This program is all of these. She can trace the letters of words. She can choose a family of words, hear the words, and she can choose upper or lower case letters to trace.

Tumble Books
We have been a fan of Tumble Books online (through our library), so I decided to download some of them on our iPad. Zoe and Austyn both watch these. If you`ve never seen them before, they are popular children`s books, slightly animated and read aloud on the screen. The only problem I find with this program is that it`s not made for the iPad yet so the quality is a bit low, but the kids don`t notice it much. It`s still well worth the money I spent.

Cut the Rope
This one could be debated as educational or not. I see it as educational because it`s playing with gravity and other forces to figure out how to get the food into the cute little green guys`mouth by cutting ropes. Both of my kids love this one. It`s a fun game!

Both kids like this one. It`s sand running out of hour glasses and the purpose of the game is to get all of the sand go where it is suppose to by colour. Drawing lines to prevent the sand from spilling where it doesn`t belong.

Talking Gina and Talking Tom
These two programs are just for fun and a good laugh. Austyn and Zoe both love to play with these guys and they laugh. These games don`t have much educational purpose, but we need programs like this in our lives too. Why not! It`s fun!

Isaac Newton`s Gravity HD
Austyn loves this game. It`s a bunch of puzzles that he solves by placing items in specific spots to try and get the button pressed to move to the next puzzle. It works with gravity and there are sometimes elements added to make it more interesting.

This is similar to Isaac Newton`s Gravity HD but you can also invent things. Austyn loves this one and invents things all the time. He will align different items on the screen and when a ball falls out of the hole

Labyrinth 2 HD
I remember these as a kid. The wooden maze with holes. Maneuvering a metal ball-bearing through it to get it in the hole at the end. This one is nice because you can start with an easy board and each board after is more difficult. There are magnets, fans, other balls, and laser beams to keep it interesting. Austyn plays this game just about every day. He is excellent at it.

Air Hockey
We play this one some days. You can choose one person or two. It works just like a regular air hockey table, complete with the sound effects.

Paper Toss World Tour HD
This is a popular game on our iPad as well. Tossing paper into the trash has never been so challenging.

Word Ball
If your kids know The Electric Company they will love this game. I have to admit that I was not too sure about this game when I first downloaded it but am impressed with the results. Austyn has proven to me that he has learned some phonics blends from this game. OU and OW were a breeze for him because of this game. They have to select the letters of specific sounds that are being sung about in the video and after that they have to fling the letters into passing words to make new words.

This reference program does so much I`m not even sure what to share about it. It will tell you about any word. You can count calories with it. You can learn about the stats of your name. You can see who was born in your city. If there is something you want to know but aren`t sure where to look this program could help.

This program is a collection of animations on a variety of educational and interesting subjects. The characters read mail from viewers and answer their questions on a variety of subjects.

Smarty Pants School
Zoe likes this one. It`s finding letters in signs and matching upper and lower letters. At first when I posted this I said that it was too easy. I take it back. It grows with her abilities and she is spelling words and reading with this app. I recommend it!

Blackboard Sight Words
The downfall of this game is that the words are all in uppercase and are shown on little squares. It shows words and says the word and there is a section to practice spelling the words. Both of my kids like this one.

Science House Video Science
This is a bunch of science videos made by a science teacher. He explains how to do the experiments and stay safe.

Star Walk
We use this one to look at the stars and the night sky any time of day live. We can even see what is on the other side of the earth by pointing the iPad to the foor.

Google Earth
This is so cool to use when looking at different places or reading about places in history. We have seen the Egyptian pyramids from above and there are little write-ups about each thing. It`s a great way to get to know our planet.

Play Along
We have just downloaded this one but it`s pretty cool. There is a violin playing music and you play along on the piano. You can see above the keys which notes you need to press, when and for how long.

Other Apps worth mentioning
Rush Hour
iAptitude (good for testing skills for older kids)
World Spelling Day and World Math Day Apps
My First Spanish 100
Math Bingo
Study Flash
Flash to Pass
Particle Zoo
Solar Walk
GoSkyWatch Planetarium
3D Brain
Animals 360
World History Maps
National Geographic World Atlas
Smithsonian Infinity of Nations
Smithsonian MEanderthal
Learn to Draw
Classical Guitar
Kids Yoga
Adobe ideas
WeatherEye HD
Sims 3 World Adventures
Barns & Noble

Wish List:

Audubon Guides
iLiveMath Ford Cars
Art Authority
ArtPuzzle HD
Spell Board

As you can see we`ve downloaded many apps! Have fun checking them out. If you have an iPad and know of an app that I`ve missed, share in the comments.

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