Friday’s Hardwired Homeschool Hints: Best iPhone Apps For Homeschoolers

fridays hardwired homeschool hints pic Once Uber received his netbook for Christmas – – ahem, should I say his second netbook – – he had no need to share the iPod Touch with me anymore, so it finally became mine – – all mine!!

Oh boy, it’s been like Christmas for me every day because every day I discover some cool and exciting new application that I hadn’t dreamed of before.

Now granted, the majority of them are about as useful as a raincoat in the Sahara, but there are a few that are incredibly handy – – even for homeschoolers!!

  • Amazon Kindle for iPhone – the absolute first application you need to download – – period – – is the Kindle app.  Instant access to books, magazines, periodicals, etc. is an absolute MUST for a homeschooling mom.  Every homeschooling book you can think of is probably available via Kindle, but don’t shell out 300 smackeroos for a Kindle device, just add it FREE to your iPhone and voila!
  • Evernote – The ultimate online organizer is also a terrific iPhone app!  You can create text, photo, or even audio notes of everything you want to track in your homeschool – – lessons, projects, field trips, grades.  You name it – you can organize it in Evernote and then sync it with any computer.
  • Poptiq – If you are a car schooler – – even every once in a while – – you will want Poptiq.  Download educational videos from anywhere on the net, and then take with you on the go.  Why shouldn’t your kids be able to watch Discovery Channel on the way to gymnastics??
  • Classics – for your bibliophiles, be sure they have access to a fun and easy way to read the best of classic literature!
  • Google Earth – you love it on the web and you’ll love it on the iPhone!
  • Today in History – what an incredibly fun way to open up each school day!  Take turns with your iPod touch and let each family member have a day sharing what important events happened on this day.
  • Wikipanion – Free app that provides easy navigation, search, and use of Wikipedia.  Awesome tool!!
  • WorldCat – locate any book in any library, worldwide!
  • Oregon Trail – there is a free and a paid version of this great program which has come to iPhone in all its glory!
  • Brain Quest for iPhone – those cards that every homeschooler had somewhere in the back of their minivan have gone hi-tech! You can download Brain Quest apps by grade and subject.  Still great for car rides or waiting in the doctor’s office.
  • Mathomatic – solve even the most complicated math problems in step by step fashion so you can finally understand WHY you get the correct answer.
  • Narrator – multimedia storytelling platform for the iPhone and iPod touch.  Great for students with learning differences!
  • iVocabulary – perfect foreign language tool for beginning learners.  Learn vocabulary for multiple languages.

If you have a favorite iPhone app for homeschooling that I haven’t listed, be sure to mention it in the comments!

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Attention – – We Have A Jailbreak!

There are some terrific upsides to having an Uber-techie son.  I need something Photoshopped?  He’s on it.  Problem uninstalling a program?  He’s got the shortcut key to fix it.  Forget how to unstick my sticky keys?  It’s all in that beautiful brain of his.

But then, there are the downsides.  Like his desire to fix things that aren’t really broke just to make them a little bit better. 

Case in point?  Our cute little new gadget  – – the iPod Touch.  It does all the neat things it is supposed to do.  It surfs.  It tells you the weather.  It let’s you download cool games like Yahtzee.  In my humble opinion, it is absolutely perfect just the way it is.

Not the way Uber sees it.  In his mind, it won’t be perfect until it is completely customizable, able to have endless add-ons, and be completely controlled.  This is called: Jailbreaking your iPod.  Isn’t that cute?

So just when I was getting to know my shiny new little friend, he turned into a gangsta on the run.  His backgrounds are all edgy, his apps all look kind of sinister, and he has tattoos masquerading as screen savers.  It’s kind of creeping me out, to be honest.  This isn’t the iPod I signed up for. 

Uber assures me it is perfectly safe and legit.  I’m thinking if that were really the case they would have called it something like “Releasing Karmic Energy” rather than “jailbreaking.”

I’m trying to convince him to send my half back to jail.  He’s not buying. I think he’s scared that my half would squeal under the bright lights. 

ipod touch 2

 

The i’S Have It!

So we did it.  Uber and I went halfsies on the iPod Touch. 

It is SO cool.  At least that is what I hear.

There are HUNDREDS of way cool applications to download.  At least that is what I hear.

You can stream music from the web, drink virtual beer, play Yahtzee, and find the nearest bathroom from wherever you are.  At least that is what I hear.

I have held that cute little thing in my hands for a grand total of about 30 minutes in the last four days.  It looks very cool.  That much I can say for a fact.

I fear that I have made a dire mistake.  Or perhaps Uber just needs a refresher lesson on fractions??

006 This is Uber at 7 a.m., not even out of bed but already hoarding his half of the new gadget (well, and by proxy, my half as well)

The Great Dilemmas Of Life

Uber has recently come into some money.  Well, (if Obama can quote scripture, then so can I) the truth is that he has “put off childish things” (1 Cor. 13), and has decided he doesn’t want most of his video games anymore.  He even cancelled his video game rental subscription!  Even though the Video Game Freeze of 2008 came on kind of gradually, I’m still not sure I was completely prepared for the Great Video Game Chuck-Off of 2009.

This was a kid who when he was five years old, could beat his dad at several Sega Genesis games. ( Good times, good times)  This was a kid whose online nickname was always something that involved the word ‘videogamer’ in between some random numbers.  Who used to ask for stuffed animal replicas of his favorite gaming characters. 

Where did that kid go???

These days, it’s all about social networking and portable applications.  If it can’t “Friend” you or let you send text messages while you pee, then what the heck good is it??!!  So after successfully selling most of his massive collection to the future “Videogamer66775”s of the world, he has pocketed some serious bucks, and is poring over iTouch websites and books. 

The good news is that Uber has kindly offered to let me go halvsies with him on the iTouch.  You see, I recently put off a couple childish things myself, and came into a few George Washington’s of my own.  And therein lies the dilemma…

I have been doing a bit of research on one of those handy dandy Roku devices that let you stream your Netflix and Amazon movies and tv shows right to your television.  I had almost put down my payment on the puppy when Uber offered me this alternative way to burn my bundle of clams. 

“You seriously would rather have some device that just lets you sit on the couch and watch movies once in a while rather than this cool portable gadget that lets you not only watch movies, but update your Facebook, help you find cool restaurants when you are out, and keep up with your RSS feeds??” he taunted.

I’m considering signing him up for the debate team.  He can be seriously persuasive when he wants to be.  So, I’ve given myself a one week cool-down period to decide where my pretty pennies will finally end up. 

Half of an iTouch or a whole Roku?  I may not sleep for a week.

itouch vs roku

 

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