Let’s be honest, homechooling can be challenging for us parents of younger children. The younger a child is, the more time consuming it is for us and the more involved we have to be.
So wouldn’t you agree that having independent learning activities in our bag of tricks is incredibly valuable for those times we need somewhat uninterrupted time to prepare dinner or get some other household chores done. As a single mom especially, I find it almost lifesaving.
In fact as I type this, my daughter has managed to tie some sort of contraption in my hair, with blankets, feathers and shoelaces that’s somehow tied to my arm. This would be the perfect time for me to dip into my own bag of tricks. Let me take inventory of what exactly is in there.
- Probably the biggest learning tool I appreciate having is the iPad. My original purpose for buying my iPad was to help in this goal of independent learning and it did not disappoint. My daughter is 5 so mouse skills on a computer are difficult for her, but even as a baby she seemed to know how to use the iPad. Our iPad is full of learning videos and games.
- For foreign language learning for younger children, we use Little Pim. There are 6 35 minute episodes. They have it available in several languages but our family has chosen French. I purchased the digital version as it was cheaper, no shipping, and most importantly I could put it on my iPad for my daughter. Probably once a week, I tell her to take the iPad and watch one Little Pim episode. She learns each time she watches it, repeating what she hears as she watches it.
- For math we have Splash Math for Grades K-5. The Kindergarten one especially was ideal for independent learning as it was fun and engaging and my daughter really enjoyed it. The questions are read to the child and with the iPad it’s not hard for them to figure out what they’re supposed to do. Even tho she’s doing Grade 1 math now, she still enjoys going back to the Kindergarten level app.
- For geography my daughter enjoys the free app Map the World – Travelzoo Inc. They can pick what continent they want to work on and then all the countries turn into puzzle pieces that they need to put back into it’s spot, one country at a time. The name of the country is announced when touched, and it snaps into place if correct. Although there are a lot of countries for each continent, it isn’t as hard as it sounds, and my daughter was able to do this one from a very young age.
- We have quite a few programming apps ideal for children 4-6 to begin learning coding with.
- I struggle to recommend this one as I find the price higher than I’d personally pay. A $50 app, I bought it once at a rare sale. It’s Hooked On Phonics – Classroom Edition. Besides the price, it’s a great learning to read program that I’m very happy we have. Phonics and reading is made fun for kids, and my daughter loves going through each lesson, game, ebook and song. Some songs I hear repeatedly as my daughter will play it endless amount of times. This app has given me quite a bit of uninterrupted time which is why I feel compelled to add this to my list, that and it really is a quality educational learning app.
- Another great online reading game my daughter literally begs me to play is “Reading Eggs. See my full review.
- To teach animal science is my daughter’s favourite show Wild Kratts. It plays on tv almost daily and I tape it for her to watch. I am completely amazed at how much she knows about animals.