Thursday, October 6, 2011

iPad as homeschooling tool

Note: I wrote this last week and randomly scheduled it to publish today and forgot all about it...when I saw that it had posted I was struck by the serendipity of the situation. As I was doing some school prep on my iPad last night an AP news alert popped up, "Apple reports that Steve Jobs has died." I'm glad to have something with which to honor Steve Jobs this morning. I, for one, am grateful that his mom chose life and gave him up for adoption instead of the alternative, and that he then went on to persevere and share his gifts and vision with the world. Grant eternal rest unto him and may he rest in peace.

This iPad situation ought to be discussed. I realize that I railed againt technology the last time I mentioned it. But, "doth not the appetite alter? A man loves the meat in his youth that he cannot endure in his age! Shall quips and sentences and these paper bullets of the brain awe a man from the career of his humour? No!" The iPad must be used! I use my iPad almost exclusively as a tool. A tool for EVERYTHING IN MY LIFE. This is my homeschooling edition of "why the iPad is better the sliced bread" series. In all seriousness though, I do hope that this answers questions that people have about whether or not to get an iPad and then how to use it to it's best advantage. It may bore most of you though so here's the summary: How did my mom homeschool me without an iPad?

Specific school related uses for me are...
1. Audiobooks app. It's libravox (free audiobooks) in an app and you can download whole audio books onto your device and use it offline , i.e. anywhere.
2. Kindle/iBooks apps. Same as above. Free books...
We use the audiobook and iBook at the same time, we listen to the audio and follow along with our eyes.3. I have downloaded all textbooks and teachers guides (sotw activity guide and text, Salsa TG, homeschool in the woods timeline figures, etc.) that I can so I'm hauling less, a lot less. More school on the go and more school outside.
4. I put all of the CDs that we need for the year into my iPads iTunes account. This year we are using IEWs, poetry memorization CDs, and SOTW audio , various christian music for devotions, and all of our music for our composer study. No more misplacing CDs! [Friday Anthony and I laid out in our backyard watching the clouds go by while listening to our Mozart and to Grammarland...wouldn't have done that if I'd needed the computer and cd player.]
5. I use Evernote as a a homeschool journal, I can take pictures with the iPad of our little projects and field trips and write as much or as little as I want. It's so much easier to do it on the go then try to remember later. I can't say enough about Evernote, it's got load of uses other then this...more on that in a later post).
6. Not to mention the calendar function...lesson plans, field trips, co ops, all synced with my computer and my husbands work schedule.
7. File storage. All of my excel and word documents I store in Dropbox so I can access them from any of our computers or my iPad. So my school schedule, all my templates for planning things, resources, library book lists, etc. With Documents To Go you can also edit and create them. I'm never without my important information.
8. I actually don't use it for drills or educational games much because I use it for my home organization so much. but I do use Chore Pad HD for a chore chart with the kids and it As Christine put it, "nobel peace prize worthy".
9. Netflix, all there educational videos anywhere, anytime.
10. Nature study resources. We have Peterson guide apps, tree identification apps and Handbook of Nature study on there. Nature hikes are much lighter now.

I would never do any of these things on a computer because it would be too clumsy. The iPad is so easily portable but not a tiny screen and weird keyboard like a phone. It is "the marriage of two minds." (Gosh, pardon the excessive use of Shakespeare here, I don't know what's come over me.)

As an do not need to pay for a data package every month necessarily. I pay $20 for a prepaid plan that I can turn off and on at will and it is a lot more economical then the $50/mnth min. That the phone companies try to get you on.

And that is just the school stuff! Don't get me started on grocery lists and recipe storage, on packing lists and to do lists, trip planning, maps, audio libraries, garden tracking and planning, DVR management!
I'm pretty sure that there must be an app that cleans my house and changes diapers. It is unREAL how many things it does. Sometimes I think it must be magic because surely technology can't be this awesome.
And I am not a techy AT ALL. I don't even like technology most of the time. But this puppy is worth every penny. Just make sure you get the biggest size you can, you'll use all the space.


  1. I should totally homeschool Duncan next year.

  2. Mark convinced himself it was a homeschool expense when he purchased it, making him feel less guilty. I have to say it's also great to keep the little ones busy while trying to get some work done with Helen.

  3. Makes me feel utterly left behind with my yellow legal pad! (ypad)

  4. Wow... you are an amazing homeschooling mom! I don't do any of this stuff! Can I get a list of all the stuff you are doing and where you found it???

    --Devin Ventre :)

  5. i want one! you are a blogging machine these days alexis!

  6. I have been wondering about Ipads. Now I know!

    ps. 4 year old girls do give a lot of clues to adolescent issues. I think 4 is a challenging age.

  7. wow...This has given me great scope for the imagination. I will be looking for more ways to incorporate my iPad into school now.