Are you wondering what kind of homeschool skills your Amazon Alexa has?
Ever wanted to say, “Alexa, homeschool the kids!”??
You are in the right place!
Alexa (or Echo) has so many skills that kids can use for learning and fun!
We have had an Alexa for 3 years, but we only used it for music and weather updates. Every now and then, I might use it for a cooking timer or to ask a quick question.
Recently, I started looking into more Alexa skills on the Alexa app and I was blown away!
Wait, What is an Amazon Alexa?
An Amazon Alexa (or also called Amazon Echo), is a cylinder shopper “smart speaker” that just needs an outlet and wifi to function.
I like to think of her as Siri on steroids.
There are many different generations and variations on Alexa, so it can fit into just about anyone’s budget.
If you don’t own one already, take a minute and check out these options:
I actually own an Alexa (the tall cylinder), but the Echo dot (short cylinder) can do all the same things for a cheaper price. It does have a smaller speaker though if that matters to you.
Why Would I Use Amazon Alexa for My Homeschool?
I know what you’re thinking. Alexa isn’t for homeschooling, its for music, cooking timers, and maybe if you’re really techie you’ve used it to make a grocery list.
I’m about to blow your socks off though with all the untapped things that little cylinder can do!
But first, here are some of the benefits of Alexa to your homeschool that you may not have considered:
The device is stationary and plugged into a wall. You do not need to go fumbling for a device during a lesson that can get lost between the couch cushions.
It is controlled by your voice, so you don’t have to stop what you are doing. You can also place it out of reach because your kids don’t need their hands to make it work.
It seems to me that so many things for kids these days require a screen. I love how fun and educational Alexa is and there is no screen time involved!
That also means there is no risk of my kids coming across adult content. I have actually tested our Alexa to see if she would say something inappropriate and she apparently has filters to prevent that – a pleasant surprise!
3. Teacher Needs a Break!
There are a lot of great skills you are going to find out about that can teach your children or help them practice skills…while you do anything else you need to do at the moment. Drink coffee, catch up on that text message you haven’t written, fold the laundry, schedule that appointment, eat chocolate in your bathroom…whatever it is you need to get to!
A word of caution – younger kids have a harder time being understood by Alexa, so definitely stay with them until they get the hang of talking to her.
How to Use Amazon Alexa in Your Homeschool
1. Alexa Timer
I don’t know about you, but I use timers in my homeschool a lot.
“You guys can take a 15-minute break.”
“Okay, why don’t you read to mommy for 10 minutes”
Instead of taking out your phone to time things like that, just say, “Alexa, Set a 10-minute timer.”
Half the time I can’t find my phone, and its a distraction to my kids whenever I do pull it out.
I love that Alexa is hands-free and screen-free!
2. Amazon Music
My kids’ Charlotte Mason box curriculum has always come with a CD of music for the year. I never got around to buying a CD player (who has those in their house anymore?!), so I would try and play the CD on my laptop.
That also started to become a huge pain and distraction. Sometimes the laptop wasn’t charged, and other times I couldn’t find the CD.
When I opened the laptop, my kids thought it was time to play games or watch a youtube video – listening to music was a little bit of a disappointment.
I got the idea to use Alexa and found that she could pull up almost all the same songs faster and at a higher quality than the CD!
There is a small cost per month for Amazon music, but it has been well worth it for us.
Something we hope to start this year is playing classical music on Alexa in the morning and during independent work.
3. Alexa Flash Briefing for Current Events
The older homeschool student would absolutely benefit from listening to the Alexa Flash Briefing in the morning with you.
You can talk about current events and what is going on in the world in a really succinct way – without having to listen to tv commercials or opinionated pundits.
It is only a few minutes long and you can also set Alexa to use the news channel of your choice (i.e. Fox News, CNN).
To open it say, “Alexa, tell me the news,” or “Alexa, give me my flash briefing.”
4. Answer Any Question
Alexa is like a talking Google. She can answer just about anything and that includes math questions.
As a homeschool teacher, you’re not expected to know the answer to everything, but you are expected to be able to help your child find those answers.
I have spent time googling things, but again, it is a distraction, takes time, and gets us off the path of our lesson.
It is much easier to ask Alexa and listen to her response.
You may want to encourage your homeschooler to think of questions to ask Alexa – kids come up with some pretty interesting questions and you may both learn a lot!
***Added benefit here is that you would not want your child typing in random questions to Google, because you have no idea what kind of inappropriate content or ads Google might pull.
5. Alexa Math Skills
Math has been a bit of a sore spot for us. The main reason I went searching for more Alexa skills for our homeschool is that I wanted something fun to spice up our math work.
What is more fun than playing math games with a robot?!
There are many Alexa math skills to pick from, but try these fun ones out to get started:
- “Alexa, open Lemonade Stand“
- “Alexa, open Bamboo Math“
- “Alexa, open Math Facts“
- “Alexa, open 1-2-3 Math“
- “Alexa, open Smart Math”
***If you have a child who struggles, I recommend playing these games yourself before inviting your kid to play. Make sure it is at his level and something he will enjoy.
6. Alexa Language Arts Skills
Alexa has a number of really awesome skills that will enrich your homeschool language arts curriculum.
- “Alexa, open Bamboo Books“
- “Alexa, open Highlights Storybook“
These skills are a really fun way to work on your child’s reading comprehension. Pieces of a story are read, and the child must answer questions about the story in order to hear the next piece.
- “Alexa, open Mad Libs“
Who doesn’t love Mad Libs? I actually bought my kid a mad lib book this summer for some English practice, but I had no idea she could have played it with Alexa!
- “Alexa, open Speak Spell“
Practicing spelling with a talking robot is so much better than with your mom!
- “Alexa, open Storytime.”
This is a skill that reads short stories to your kids (no weird robotic voices). If you are tired or just don’t feel like reading aloud to your kids, this is a great alternative! It is one of my kids’ favorites for sure!
7. Alexa Movement Skills
Ever need your kids to just get the wiggles out during a homeschooling break?
Maybe you need a recess break, but the weather is bad or the baby is taking a nap?
We had a BLAST trying all of these silly Alexa movement skills! And I got a bit of workout too!
- “Alexa, open Freeze Dance“
- “Alexa, open Animal Workout“
- “Alexa, open Crabby Dance“
- “Alexa, open Hide and Seek“
- “Alexa, open Incredibles Hero Training“
- “Alexa, open Kung Fu Panda“
8. Just for Fun Alexa Skills
Okay, these skills are just for some screen-free laughs and fun. Check them out!
- “Alexa, open Play 20 questions“
- “Alexa, open Animal Sound Game“
- “Alexa, open Would You Rather“
- “Alexa, open Choose Your Own Adventure“
- “Alexa, open Kid’s Quiz“
- “Alexa, open Categories for Kids“
- “Alexa, open Scooby-Doo! Mystery Inc. Theater”
- “Alexa, 0pen The Muffin Man Game“
Wait, there’s more – Free Printable!
Well, there you have it – how to homeschool with Alexa!
You are probably super excited to get rocking and rolling with all these Alexa skills you just found out about…but there is a huge chance you are going to forget everything you just read.
I’m a step ahead of you!
I made this super simple printable for you to tape up next to your Alexa and remind you all the cool things she can do!
You can circle your favorites and scratch out the ones your kids didn’t like as much.
Alexa is also constantly updating, so I left blank spaces for you to fill in new skills as you discover them! I already have a running list of new ones to try – Curiosity, This Day in History, and Science Kid Radio!
I’ll have to wait till my kids get bored of playing Scooby-Doo and Freeze Dance, so I can get a turn to check them out 🙂
Anyhow, you can get this awesome printable for FREE today when you subscribe to The Simple Homeschooler (NO spam ever, unsubscribe anytime).
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Be sure to pin this to your favorite Pinterest board and share it with your friends and followers.