Back to School and Blog With Friends
It’s fall, y’all! Nah, not really. It will still be hot, hot, hot around here for at least six weeks. But, it IS back to school season. Our girls started preschool last week, and things are going mostly smoothly. Except for tears. Theirs and mine! But school goes on, so this month, the Blog With Friends group is back, with lots of fun ideas for back to school, from tasty after school treats, DIY school supplies, saving summer memories and more. I’m getting back to my family tech basics, as I’ll be sharing in my entry, Apps to use and apps to lose for the school year. I’m going to share some great apps for keeping the learning process fun at home, while advising you on apps you don’t want any of your kids using, including the hook-up apps!
For Back to School September, eight bloggers are presenting you with some fun projects, tips and advice on making back to school and the rest of the academic year a little easier – and fun! There’s a tasty Kit Kat brownie treat, DIY pencil case, homework table and nap mat cover, DIY school wreath, plus a DIY summer vacation memory saver! See the links at the bottom of the post for these fabulous ideas from these beautiful Back to School ideas friends!
And now…apps to use + apps to lose for the school year!
- Rosetta Stone Kids Reading – You may have heard of Rosetta Stone for its foreign language learning. Now, they have apps to help kids read, and it starts at the beginning and grows with your child. The games start at the beginner level, so our preschoolers were able to jump right in. The app difficulty builds with your child’s skills, with letter sound matchup, odd one out, and working up to story memory. There are fun little characters to cheer on your child, too.
- Imagicademy: Mickey’s Magical Math World – Disney has plenty of apps on the market, all of which provide hours of fun. This app, however, also provides plenty of learning time, from numbers and letters to shapes and sorting. There’s also lots of funny talking aliens, which our girls thought were hilarious, plus all our favorites – Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy and Goofy. There’s the added bonus of teaching kids the importance of recycling.
- FarFaria – With hundreds of books and more added weekly in history, fairy tales, adventure, sports, monsters, animals and more, FarFaria won’t get boring. There are 11 different realms including Adventure Island, Genius Jungle, Sing Along City, Looney Lagoon, Fairy Tale Falls and Mt. Make Believe. Each book is rated from P to 4, that lets you quickly know what level it is rated for so you can better decide which one to read. With ratings for Pre-Readers, Beginning Readers, Progressing Readers, Early Fluent Readers and Fluent Readers, FarFaria has you covered from birth to age 9, all the way through 4th grade level.
If you want even more fun, colorful, musical apps for your toddler, check out my post on Learning Apps for a Busy Toddler.
- My Homework – This is one of my favorite apps I’ve come across for students, high school or college level. You can keep track of your class schedule as well as your assignments and even color-code them by due date. You can sync it with your desktop/laptop and phone and keep it all together.
- gFlashPro: flashcards & tests – Okay, so flash cards never go out of style, but hand writing them on index cards isn’t the only way to go anymore. With this app, you can create, download and manipulate the cards in every single subject you can think of. You can also share the cards with others, if you want. AND it will set up a matching game study session for you, so you can really prepare for tests. Another good one for college and high school students.
- Evernote – Lots and lots of people have heard of Evernote and use it to keep their notes, appointments, photos, memos, everything together. So, you can scan all your class notes into the app and have them right on hand whenever you want them. You can search and tag, and get the notes indexed for you.
- Dictionary.com – It’s FREE. You get a dictionary and thesaurus on your phone or tablet. Did I mention it’s FREE???
- Wikipedia – Sure, we all love to make fun of it from time to time, but the truth is, a LOT of people start a search on Wiki. And for good reason. It’s an encyclopedia catalog of gazillions of articles in hundreds of languages. Even if the info isn’t all you’re looking for, it’s a great jumping-off point for research.
Apps to Avoid
Designed with good intentions, no doubt, but sometimes apps can go astray. Or, to be more specific, the users go astray. Keep in mind that all the following apps are great when used for their intended purpose. If you see one of these on your kid’s phone, don’t rush to judgment. Sit down and ask them what they use them for and find out for yourself if your kid can use it or lose it.
- Temporary Apps – Just what you imagine: they create and use information and then delete it. Or, at least we think/hope/assume it’s deleted. But as I’ve preached at you before, nothing in the digital age ever really goes away. The biggest of the bunch is Snapchat, where your picture “self-destructs” after a certain amount of time. But if I screen-shot your image, well, I can let it live on in perpetuity. Right now, there’s also Wickr, Slingshot, Yovo, Clipchat and Cyberdust.
- Anonymous Apps – Anonymous apps allow you to vent and rant in a hidden place, but since nothing is truly anonymous in the Internet age, I always advise caution. Plus, the app makers are tracking usage and data, so they know your phone’s GPS at the very least. Some of the biggest contenders in this category include Yik Yak, Whisper, Rumr, and one targeted specifically for the under-college-age crowd, After School.
- Alternate Texting Apps – If you’re an Android phone user like myself, you’ve probably got limits on your text allowance each month. The alternate texting apps are great for saving money, since they are usually unlimited. But…if you’re trying to hide your identity or keep secrets, it can catch up with your. Kik is very popular among teens, but there are plenty of other ones, including What’s App (which is great for remote group study sessions),Line, Slack, CryptoCat, and MeowChat.
- Hookup Apps – A hookup today is the same as when you and I were in high school and college, it’s just a lot easier to do nowadays. Keep an eye out on your kid’s phone for Tinder, Down, Pure, Skout, and even Coffee Meets Bagel. Yes, really.
Hope you learned a little from what you’ve seen. Ready for more ideas on back to school season? Keep on reading!
Back to School Blog With Friends
Need some Pinterest-worthy projects to work on this summer?
Check out the other bloggers in this month’s A Blog With Friends Project!
- Kit Kat Brownie Bars: Add these to your favorite treats line-up by Karen at Baking in a Tornado
- Favorite Sites for Teaching Online: A list of favorite web 2.0 tools from an online teacher! by Lydia at Cluttered Genius
- Duct Tape Pencil Pouch: Your kids can personalize their own, easy to create, pencil pouch to use all year! by Rabia at The Lieber Family
- Back to School Table: DIY a great place to do homework by Joy at Evil Joy Speaks
- Summer Vacation Memories: DIY a map of where you’ve been on summer vacation, surrounded by photos by Eileen at Eileen’s Perpetually Busy
- Cozy Cover: Sewing tutorial for a nap mat cover by Stacy of Stacy Sews and Schools
- Simple Back-to-School Wreath: DIY a fun decoration to celebrate the school year by Robin of Someone Else’s Genius