Homeschool Essential - the indispensable iPad

If I could have just one thing that could accomplish all my homeschooling for me, that would be the iPad.  This little device is amazing.

We have apps, but that is not our main use for the iPad.  Here’s what we really use it most for and why for us it has become almost indispensable.  Surely, I’d survive without it, but oh, how I love how it makes certain things so much easier.

Music

I read the SQUILT lesson plans {aff. link} from the iPad and then we click the links within the curriculum and the iPad takes us directly to the You Tube video of the piece we are supposed to listen to.  I also play Pandora or Spotify at lunch or at other times for the kids to listen.

Art Appreciation

We view galleries online or use Meet The Masters on the iPad at the kitchen table.  Bear often asks me to find her a picture she can copy (like a rabbit, or a bird).  We also have done chalk pastel tutorials from the iPad.

Reading books on the Kindle App or in the PDF book app
Amazon {aff. link} has tons of free ebooks.  You can also get free books via Google Books.  There is a Kindle app and a Google Play app that allow us to read the books from our iPad.  We love real books, but ebooks allow us to click on words we don’t know and they get defined for us.  It saves the extra step of looking them up.  Bear is more apt to click on a word than to interrupt her reading to fetch the very heavy dictionary.

Dictionary and thesaurus
I haven’t spent the money on the ad-free versions of these, yet, but I constantly look up words on the iPad while we read books or when we are doing writing assignments.  I don’t let Bear look up words herself yet, which is why I am leaning toward paying for the ad-free apps.  I’d like her to take the ownership of looking up words.

Latin

Quizlet has Prima Latina flashcards and bear enjoys studying her Latin words on the iPad.

Lit2Go on the internet
Lit2Go is SUCH a gem! Audio book classics free online (or that you can download).  This is how Bear reads Little Women.  She plays the audio file and reads along, clicking on unknown words to get the definition.

Ability to find out about anything


Well, this one needs a word of caution.  As I stated before, the kids are not allowed to do searches.  I or my husband do the searches for them.  However, when I get presented with questions to which I do not know answers, I ask my iPad, for it is infinitely smarter for some things.  We recently looked up a bunch of facts for our Ireland lapbook, and she did a whole research “paper” on the Potato Famine by taking notes a la IEW from the iPad.

Entertaining Younger Siblings
At gymnastics, J-jo must wait a Very.Long.Time.  I usually allow him some iPad .  This is where most of our educational apps (such as Calendar Time, Bugsy K Math, Toca Builders, Writing Wizard) come in handy.

Exercising for brain breaks (hey, it just takes 7 minutes!)
My husband wrote The 7 Minute Workout app to encourage himself to stay on top of his exercise routine.  If you don’t have time to exercise, now you have no excuses. It takes all of 7 minutes.  Seven extra little minutes right before you shower.  It leads you through 12 exercises and the kids absolutely love to join him in going through it.

Memory Work
Every car ride to gymnastics, Bear and J-jo go through the Memory Work on the Classical Conversations app.  We have both Cycle 1 and 2 apps and are currently memorizing the Cycle 2 work.  We will go back to Cycle 1 in the summer, then start Cycle 3 when that app comes out in the fall.  I prefer the app to the music CD because of the visual component of it.  All the songs from the CD are on it, except the timeline song.  (I wish they would put the timeline song on the app!)

Cooking
I wish it could actually cook for me, but I’ve heard it can clean countertops.  I have a lot of Kitchen Stewardship’s cookbooks in my iBooks and of course there are all the recipes on the web.  I organize my meal plans on Pinterest and often use the iPad to search for the recipe I have pinned.

Prayer
The You Version app (free) and the Divine Office app are two apps I use daily for my prayer life.

Do you have an iPad?  What do you like to use it for?

Check out other uses for technology in your homeschool (link goes live 2/26/2104)