iPad Apps of the Week

We are in the middle of a very hectic week. You know the kind of week when you and the kids are in and out of the car every single day. Homeschooling works great with hectic schedules though because it is quite easy to school on the go. Between audio books and the iPad I feel like we actually get a good deal accomplished even if the kid’s written output for the week seems to be lacking.

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Because we are in the car so much this week I decided to download some new apps for the kids, and I discovered some gems that I want to share with my readers. The first app that I found is Mystery Math, and I have to say this is my son’s new favorite math game. This is a wonderful game that combines a fun story with math problems. The basic idea is you are trying to save all the fireflies that have been captured, and along the way you collect numbers and solve problems.

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Mystery Math keeps my son’s interest, which is no easy accomplishment. Because he is interested he readily solves all the math problems. The graphics are wonderful, the game is fun to look at for both kids and adults, and the math problems can be set to make it challenging for your student. The game is recommended for ages 6-12 and is $2.99, and I think this is a good price for the quality of the app. Any child who needs to cement their math facts in a fun setting would benefit from this game.

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The next app that I found this week is a poetry app that I got for the twins called Poems By Heart from Penguin Classics. It is a free app, but to get any real use out of it you need to buy a poetry pack. Each pack includes four poems, and the poems are rated for you from easy to very hard. Each pack costs $0.99, so they are not too expensive. We started out with the adventures pack which includes Jabberwocky, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, The Owl and the Pussycat, and The Charge of the Light Brigade. Later we added the Gothic pack.

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The idea of this app is to memorize these poems. There is an overview of each poem which you can read, or you can have it read to you in either a female or male voice. After listening to the poem you can move on to learning it.

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This is a great app to use for memorization work and poetry studies. The only drawbacks to this app is that there is not too many poems to choose from and that the voice readings, while perfectly acceptable, are lacking somewhat in their interpretation  Otherwise we all love this app. It is a fun way to learn poetry whether you are at home or on the go.

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Another great app we discovered this week is BBC Earth WondersMy youngest son loves nature and animal videos, so I decided to buy this app for him. This app, priced at $3.99, is beautiful, and I find myself watching the videos and looking at the pictures as much as him. The clips come from various BBC shows such as Planet Earth, and they are all in HD, as are the photos.

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This app looks great, and it’s interface is wonderful. My son is especially fond of Explore the Globe where you can rotate the globe and pick on areas of interest. You can also search by theme.

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The only downside to Earth Wonders is that you have to download the video files, and the files take up a good deal of space. This app is probably best used on a newer iPad or iPhone because of this. The reviews for this app seem to be either positive or negative, and I am guessing the difference in opinion is caused by whether you are using it on a newer iPad or not.

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Finally, just for fun, we all downloaded the app Action Movie FX this week. What can I say about this app? Well it is not educational, it is somewhat violent, the kids are wasting a good deal of time on it, and we all absolutely love it. It is nice to make videos together and to laugh about it together. The app is free, if you want to buy additional packs it is an extra $0.99 per pack. It is recommended for ages nine and up due to mild cartoon/fantasy violence.

Creative Learning with an iPad

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I am constantly amazed at what a great tool the iPad is for homeschooling. It is also wonderful for creative and gifted students. My kids all received an iPad mini for Christmas, and it is the single most used item in our homeschool now. It is perfect for watching videos, taking online classes, reading books, using as a whiteboard, listening to music, writing notes, and much more.

I want to highlight how all my kids use their iPad, and this week I am focusing on Autry. She is musical and motivated by creating and sharing, and I think her favorite apps reflect this.

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One of her favorite apps is GarageBand . She loves to record vocals and her ukulele playing then add other tracks. The pic above is from a song she is currently working on. Sometimes she uses the music for a movie she is editing, other times she shares a song she made on SoundCloud. Whatever she does, GarageBand is a great, creative outlet for her.

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Another app that she uses quite often is Pages. Autry loves to write and to illustrate her books. She utilizes Pages for her writing, and she imports her drawings from SketchbookPro, another app that she loves. I am impressed by how easy these apps are to use, and how professional the finished product looks.

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Autry also enjoys blogging  (she gets that from me) about her life, her friends, and her music. She uses the WordPress app for her blogging needs. She is able to take pictures on her iPad, edit them using Camera+, and then import them right into WordPress. She then adds her text and any other media she wants and then she is done, no computer needed at all.

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