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Apps for homeschooling

Homeschooling has never been more popular. Unofficial estimates put the total of homeschooled children at close to 2 million, and that number continues to grow even while the overall total of school-age children is in decline. While some parents cite moral and religious reasons as factors in their decision to homeschool, others are just dissatisfied with what schools have to offer, preferring a non-traditionalist approach where children can learn at their own pace.

While previous generations may have struggled to find resources for effective homeschooling, today’s parents are supported by a vast array of digital devices and online services. At the forefront of this tech-driven revolution is a huge treasure-trove of educational apps. Whether it’s English, the arts, geography, history, math, music or science, there is literally “an app for that.”

The following is just a tiny sample of the many great apps that are available for kids of all ages and abilities:

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Includes all the definitions from Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. Offers voice-activated word search, an integrated Thesaurus, Word of the Day, and other great vocabulary-building tools.

Platform: iPhone/iPod, iPad, Android
Cost: Free

World Atlas by National Geographic

The same wonderful detail that you are used to seeing on National Geographic's award-winning wall maps. Includes 3 different styles of maps. Synced with Microsoft Bing maps to zoom down to street level. Includes the Flags and Facts database for up-to-date geographic and socio-economic data.

Platform: iPhone/iPod
Cost: $1.99


This free Scrabble-like app helps kids develop world building and vocabulary skills. 15 different levels with over 2,500 hidden words. Stuck on a word? Just shake to scramble the keyboard and start over. Includes word definitions and iPod music support.

Platform: iPhone/iPod
Cost: Free

Simplex Spelling HD

For first and second graders. Improves spelling and reading skills in a fun and interactive way by using a "reverse phonics" approach to learning. Over 220 of the most common English words. Can also help remedial students or students learning English as a second language.

Platform: iPhone/iPod, iPad
Cost: $2.99

Shake the States

A simple app puzzle of the US that helps children - and parents - learn the location of all the states. Touch and drag 1 of the 50 states to its proper position on the map and it will stick; make a mistake and it will fall away! Also teaches the proper pronunciation of the states' names.

Platform: iPhone/iPod, iPad
Cost: $1.99

Presidents vs. Aliens

Learning presidential details has never been easier, faster, or more fun!  As you learn all the presidential facts, including quotes, nicknames and historical events, you use your knowledge to help the presidents defeat the aliens. As you collect presidents, you unlock bonus games, including Heads of State!

Platform: iPhone/Pod
Cost: $1.99 ("Lite" version: free)

Tam & Tao in Numberland

Every homeschooler of young children needs a good ‘learn your numbers’ app – this award-winning Montessori Method app is our favorite. See how to write a number, hear its name, and count objects to reinforce the learning. Practice writing numbers using a digital notebook. Learn numbers in another language by switching between English, Spanish and French.

Platform: iPhone/iPod, iPad
Cost: $1.99

Zaner-Bloser Handwriting

Two different apps here: Zaner-Bloser Manuscript and Zaner-Bloser Cursive. Pick the one your child needs. Includes video animations to show the correct formation of all letter and numbers. Shaded and blank tracing screens are used to help kids practice. Built-in "reward" system to celebrate success.

Platform: iPhone/iPod
Cost: $1.99 each

Jungle Time

An easy-to-use, intuitive app which helps kids learn how to tell the time. Shake or tap the device to pose a new problem and drag the clock hands to show the correct time. A talking clock reads the question aloud and confirms the time when you set the clock.

Platform: iPhone/iPod
Cost: $0.99

Chore Pad

And one to help you run your homeschool more smoothly! Chore Pad lets you allocate tasks and chores to every member of the family. Set up rewards to keep your kids on track and motivated. Simple charts show what has been accomplished by each user on a daily and weekly basis.

Platform: iPhone/iPod
Cost: $2.99 (iPhone/iPod); $4.99 (iPad)

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