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.

Educational Apps – Part 2

I love the iPad, I do, and I love finding a great app for the kids (and myself) to use. We are enjoying a few right now that I wanted to share with everyone.

1. Shakespeare in Bits – I love this program as do the twins. They love Shakespeare and were excited to have such an interactive form of his work. We are currently working on Romeo and Juliet, and although we have only had the app for a week or so, it is quickly becoming one of our favorites.

Screenshot from Shakespeare in Bits - Macbeth

2. Science 360 

This is a great science app brought to you by the National Science Foundation. The app is a collection of pictures and videos from around the world. The kids like to get on it and just browse the collection.

Science 360

3. eReading Greek Myths

I bought this on a whim and the boys like this great app. It covers several different myths, and it has several options for reading, including having the story read to you. The company states that the app is especially good for students that have reading issues.

4. NYPL Biblion: World’s Fair

This is my new favorite app. It is the New York Public Library’s collection of the world fair. It is a fascinating look at everything that was going on during the fair. Articles, essays, pictures, and videos make up this collection, and together they make up this wonderful resource. I highly recommend spending some time exploring this app.

Educational Apps

What? We aren't allowed to waste time on the computer anymore?

So the school year has started for us, and my video-game loving kids have been cut off from any media during the week. The kids are experiencing major withdraws, but luckily for them, I-pad apps are allowed if they are educational.

Thank goodness for the iPad and great apps.

I have found some good apps this week, and I thought I would share what they are. If anyone else has found some interesting apps, please leave a comment, as we are always looking for more good apps.

1. Presidents vs. Aliens – From the creator of Stack the States comes another great app. Kids will have fun learning about the presidents, and they will want to play because of the game element. The game has you answering questions about presidents, and then battling aliens with the presidents. All my kids love this game, and I like the fact that you can adjust what is asked about the presidents in the settings, making it easier for the younger players.

2. Splash Math – Decca needed some review/practice in math,  and his math books have not come yet, so I downloaded this on a whim. He likes it, and it seems to do a good job teaching basic math. It is not a complete program, more of a review of material. The app works good though, and I like that the kids earn points for an aquarium, which motivates them to play.

3. Beware Madame La Guillotine! – This is such a great app, and it really brings history alive. You travel to the time of the French Revolution and experience this time period through the eyes of Charlotte Corday. I highly recommend this for older kids/teens/parents. Check out the video below for more info.