I was at a McDonald’s PlayPlace years ago – long before I was considering homeschooling.
There was a man with his daughter there and she was probably around 5 years old.
He very confidently said to her, “Hey honey, why don’t you read that big list of rules up there?”
He looked at me a little smugly as she began to perfectly read all 10 rules without a moments hesitation or a need to sound anything out.
My daughter of the same age was struggling through site word flashcards at the time, so I was more than impressed.
I put my pride down and said, “Um, how in the world did she learn to read so well at her age?”
The dad replied, “Some app my wife has her play with.”
You cannot imagine my irritation that he did not know which app it was.
It was the first time that I really realized the power that apps have for education.
Some app gave this girl the gift of literacy – that’s pretty amazing!
As a mom to elementary aged kids, I have a love/hate relationship with all the screens in my house.
I even put our TV in a storage closet one day out of total frustration with the power it seemed to have over my kids.
But, I cannot deny that there are some amazing benefits to using apps to enrich my kids’ education – and make homeschooling easier.
As you’ll see in the app list below, there are things your homeschoolers can learn through an app – even if you have no idea how to do it yourself!
Don’t we live in an awesome time?!
Your kid can learn about coding, art, or speaking Spanish from an app while you drink more coffee!
There are so many things about education that require practice, practice, practice.
Whether it is practice reading, practice with math facts, or practice with state capitals – sometimes you just have to put the work in.
I love that these apps provide a fun, interactive way to practice – without mom spending a fortune of money or time.
If you are homeschooling more than 1 kid, you know that there is downtime during the day while mom is working with individual kids.
Yes, your kid can run outside for some recess or play with legos while he waits, but he can also continue learning independently with an app!
I love that my younger kids have time working on reading and math skills, even though I’m tied up working with my older kid and vice versa.
I don’t know about you, but we read a lot in our homeschool.
That’s great and my kids really respond to it, but my kids also light up when there is a change of pace.
I feel like adding a little screen time learning really helps my kid to keep from getting bored with our routine or homeschooling methods.
High quality educational apps are perfect for a homeschool that is taking a summer break or any other holiday break.
Your kids can still learn a lot, stay sharp on skills, but still have fun.
And just as important – mom gets a break too!
Yes and no.
A good number are free.
Some have ads, some don’t.
A few you have to pay for.
I know we all love free, but I also encourage you to give the paid apps a chance.
If it enriches your child’s education, helps them to understand a new concept, or helps them finally remember difficult facts – it will be worth every penny!
As the idea came to me to share the apps that I use for my kids, I decided to do some extra research and dig up the very best apps for homeschooling.
I focused on ones with the highest number of downloads, the highest star ratings, and the best written reviews.
Dive in and see what apps you can use for your homeschool!
This is a super popular spelling app that parents love because it has no ads AND it’s free.
That is a rare find.
“Best free spelling and phonics game for toddlers, preschool, and kindergarten kids! ABC Spelling is colorful and easy to use educational game that helps young children learn the alphabet, sound out words, and associate letters with pictures. Play anytime and anywhere, it only takes a moment to turn on your phone and help your child learn the ABCs!”
I love that this app offers an endless stream of age appropriate material to keep your homeschooler engaged in reading.
As an added plus, they offer a 30 day free trial, so you can fully try it out before paying for anything.
“ReadingIQ is the comprehensive digital learning library app for kids ages to 2-12, designed by national education experts to perfectly align with your child’s reading ability and grade level. ReadingIQ features thousands of award winning books and childhood classics from popular publishers such as National Geographic, Whitman, and Charlesbridge, and includes the entire ABCmouse library as well extensive titles that aren’t available anywhere else.”
Duolingo was not designed specifically for kids, but kids can definitely benefit from this awesome app that the Wall Street Journal calls “The best language learning app.”
Lessons are short, typically 5 minutes a day, and include games! My 8 year old was able to dive right in, no problem.
Duolingo offers Spanish, French, German, Italian, English and other languages for free!
“You’ll love to study and practice reading, listening, and writing – we’ve turned it into a game. Every lesson covers new parts of a language, from vocabulary and grammar to writing and conversational skills. Discover new words and improve your reading skills every day – a little bit of Japanese reading daily can help you learn quickly!”
This is a new app that teaches Spanish to kids using stories!
FabuLingua takes a very unique approach that they have actually copywrited called “Magical Translations.”
As an added bonus, your kid does not need to know how to read or write to start benefiting from FabuLingua!
A 30 day free trial is offered so you can see how your kids respond to it before you buy.
“Through our Magical Translations method, children see only the Spanish text, but hear the narrator’s rhythmic (and strategically timed) alternation between Spanish and its English translation. Our method is supported by Dr. Stephen Krashen’s Comprehensive Input Hypothesis. Simply put, “comprehensible input” is new-language input that can be comprehended by listeners despite them not understanding all the words. This theory and our method are most effective when applied during early childhood, when children’s brains will wire more efficiently to the languages to which they are exposed.”
Khan Academy is well respected, high quality, free online math curriculum.
Who knew they put out a free, no ad, educational app for kids?! This app will be a great supplement to any homeschool curriculum.
“Learning is Joyful with Khan Academy Kids! Our award winning app includes thousands of educational activities, books, songs, and games, for toddlers, preschoolers, kindergarteners, and first graders. A cast of adorable characters guide children through lessons and our adaptive learning path customizes their experience to help them master different skills.”
This crazy popular app is another free option to help your kids practice math facts!
The format throws flashcards out the window in favor of a fantasy quest where your avatar battles monsters with math facts. My favorite thing about this is that it does not time your kid to answer the question as quickly as possible. My kids hate being timed, so that is a huge plus!
“Math practice used to be a struggle — but not anymore. Prodigy, a no-cost math game that’s loved by over a million teachers and 50 million students around the world, is using game-based learning to transform education.
Prodigy delivers a unique learning experience through an interactive math game where success depends on correctly answering skill-building math questions. Players can earn rewards, go on quests and play with friends — all while learning new skills!”
Who doesn’t need practice with their state capitals?!
This app is a great way to let your homeschooler learn more about the states and solidly memorize those capitals!
“Do you know where is Vermont? What city is the capital of Wisconsin? In this game, you will find all 50 states of the United States of America! All 50 state capital cities! All state flags and outline maps! From New England and the Great Lakes to the California coast and the Alaska wilderness!
* Northeast (Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey etc.).
* Midwest (Ohio, Illinois, South Dakota etc.).
* South (Alabama, Texas, North Carolina etc.).
* West (Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and others).”
Coding really intimidates me, but I understand it is starting to become an essential skill in the job market.
I love the idea of using this simple (and free!) app to give middle school/high schoolers a taste of coding, confidence, and an increased interest in this important skill.
Younger kids can learn to code too!
Tommy the Turtle is a very highly rated free app that introduces younger kids into coding! I am looking forward to adding this into our homeschool mix soon.
“With an accessible interface, kids of all ages and abilities can use commands, sequences, and loops to make Tommy the Turtle move, dance, and sing on screen. In challenge mode, kids can test their coding abilities by solving the Tommy the Turtle challenges with his friends. This coding app is designed to expose young kids to early programming concepts. Teachers can even use this app as an hour of code lesson for their classroom. The ultimate coding for children app so kids can learn to code in a fun way!”
You might be a little surprised to see a yoga app in this list – what does that have to do with education and homeschooling?
I strongly recommend a purposeful physical education in your homeschool, and this is a great way to start!
My kids are super fans of Cosmic Kids Yoga. We often start our homeschool day with one of these fun videos!
“Now with 50+ yoga adventures including the Frozen, Star Wars, Minecraft and Moana specials, plus 17 Zen Den mindfulness sessions, 14 Peace Out guided relaxations as well as Yoga Pose Universe clips, stories and songs.
Popular in schools and homes all over the world, this is healthy screen time that kids simply love. Includes every Cosmic Kids yoga and mindfulness video in a safe space, with no commercials or links. Stream our entire library – and get every new video first. Recommended for schools! Try it free for two weeks!”
Is there anything more mind numbing than memorizing multiplication facts?!
If your homeschooler is just learning them or needs to keep their skills sharp, this is a fun app to keep them engaged with this important skill set.
“The best App to practice Multiplication Tables with built-in Ninja Run game.
• Multiplications between 0 and 12
• Visual diagram for better understanding
• Cool Ninja Run game included
• Fast Paced
• Practice with your friend in 30-Sec Duel Mode
• Includes Multiplication Table in Help
• Exchangeable NumPad in Help (calculator version or phone version)
• Sound On/Off option in Help
• High Scores stored
• Cool interface
• Available in Spanish, English, German, French and Italian
• Exchangeable language option
• Best of all: FREE!!
• And purchasable Ad Removal optional inside App”
My oldest daughter LOVES STEM!
She is all about solving problems, building things, and everything science. Who knew they could make an app to support that?!
The reviews on this app were very strong and I’m excited to introduce it in our homeschool soon!
“STEM Kids contains hundreds of articles, videos and pictures to kick start your child’s education in STEM subjects. We aim to bring to life early education in sciences. Kids can read the interesting facts and explanations themselves or sit down with you, their grandparents or older siblings to learn together.
STEM Kids can inspire your kids’ education and career in the fastest growing sector in the United States and the World! Start by capturing their interest and who knows how far they will go!”
Here is another STEM app that my kids love! Lots of great information delivered in an easy to understand and remember way.
My kids particularly love testing their knowledge against each other during the quizzes!
“Welcome to the world of the STEM Buddies. Doc, Victor, Helix, Cookie and their robot dog Issy! The STEM Buddies love Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). They hang out by their treehouse and explore life and science while they play. They will make your children (age 4-9) love STEM, too.
We use storytelling, animations and activities to help children learn about STEM. This educational app is interactive and fun. It includes a series of short animated stories about the daily life of the STEM Buddies. Each story is centered around one STEM topic and has a set of learning objectives so you can check if your child has grasped the concepts introduced.”
My kids use this app casually while I brush out their hair or while we’re in a waiting room. I have been AMAZED at how much detail is in the stories and how well my kids remember it.
Just the other day, I was reading a Bible story and my middle child corrected the devotional I was reading because it didn’t mention that God gave Moses the sign of healing a leperous hand to prove that God sent him. She said she remembered the story from the “Jesus app!”
“Through interactive adventures and beautiful animations, kids explore the big stories of the Bible. The Bible App for Kids is a delight-filled experience designed to encourage kids to return again and again. It’s the beginning of a lifelong love of God’s Word.”
This app truly looks like a blast!
I know your kids will love diving into all things space, planets, stars, constellations, and astronomy!
“Solar system for kids offers a lot of great features:
PLAY astronomical game and LEARN about our solar system
LISTEN to interesting astronomy facts
VISIT planets and stars, comets and any other celestial body
WATCH funny educational movies about space
TEST your knowledge with short quizzes
WIN or improve your result
HAVE FUN and learn astronomy!”
What a fun way to supplement music in your homeschool!
You kids can start composing and playing their own songs today!
“Create your own music with Sketch-a-Song! Our colorful, intuitive interface makes it fun and easy for anyone to make music in seconds. Used by over 300,000 people to make over 2,000,000 songs so far!! Or, to find our most recent product, go to musiquest.com
Sketch-a-Song is proudly ad free, and there are no in-app purchases. Just make music and have fun!”
No piano teacher? No problem!
Getting a kid to lessons every week can be super inconvenient and super expensive.
This is a great app to get your kid enjoying music and learning to play an instrument!
“Simply Piano is a fast and fun way to learn piano, from beginner to pro. Works with any piano or keyboard. Chosen as one of Google Play’s Best Apps of 2019.
– Tons of fun songs like Imagine, Chandelier, All Of Me, Counting Stars and La La Land, also J.S. Bach
– Includes courses for different musical tastes and playing levels
– Learn the basics step-by-step from reading sheet music to playing with both hands
– Suitable for all ages, no previous knowledge required to learn piano”
I remember spending way too much time trying to teach my first grader how to draw from a book.
Where was this app? Definitely download this for your artistic kids…or to develop your non artistic kids!
“Simple line drawing is designed for kids or children to learn drawing somethings by using simple lines. This app will teach the kids how to draw things followed by a step by step teaching guide.
First of all, we will demo the drawings. Then the kids can draw the things by a step by step guide lines to reinforce the memory of the kids. After finish the drawing, the kids can paint the drawings as well.”
My middle kid has long since surpassed my ability to help with drawing.
This app is for her and any kid who desperately wants to learn to draw but their parents only know how to draw stick figures.
“If you understand the importance of drawing to develop capacities and intelligence of their child, but on his request to draw a cat, dog or other pet, you can only throw up your hands helplessly, then this app is for you!
App “Learn to Draw for Kids” is designed for the youngest artists and their parents. It contains 50 simple and clear step by step drawing lessons. Each lesson consistently shows the basic steps for creating a pattern – from the general to the particular, from simple to complex, as taught by great artists. In a simple and understandable form, we will show how to draw a lot of different domestic and wild animals, fish, birds and even insects: beetles, bees, spiders, and other favorite characters from fairy tales and children cartoons.”
We have had a ton of fun with world geography this year, so I wish I would have found this app earlier!
This is a great way to teach and quiz your kids while enriching their geography knowledge.
“This application is aimed at people of any age and it is perfect for children. It helps them develop many useful skills, as well as improve their school performance and have a good mark for school geography test. Trivia games help kids to train their brains but StudyGe is not just regular educational game it’s much more. This learning game has a lot of interactive elements that makes the learning process much easier.”
As a disclaimer, I would like to say that I’m not advocating to make apps the core of your curriculum.
But apps can be a fun supplement to your homeschool!
We live in a pretty amazing time when incredible amounts of knowledge and information can be found in the little computers we carry around with us every day.
I know your kids will love these apps, and I know you will love how they enrich and complement all the hard work you are doing in your homeschool.
Did I miss any? Please share any apps that you are using and loving in your homeschool in the comments below!
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