The kids received something extra special under the Christmas tree..and I’ve been putting it to good use. They all got their own tablets, and they are loving them. Tablets! Each of them?? Yes, sirree. But hang on now, you need to know two things.
1.) I got a REALLY good deal…
2.) I had ulterior motives (mwahahahaa!)
Each of my three darling children had one “big ticket item” on their Christmas wish lists… The price tag of which would have totaled over seven hundred dollars. As my eyeballs bulged out of my head and I nearly choked on my water, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to deliver an iPod 5, a Kindle Fire, and an Acer tablet with keyboard. And I wasn’t sure I even wanted to try (did my kids NEED those things?)
Honestly, I wasn’t going to try. Not until I received a Walmart sales ad spouting great prices on some great-looking, kid sized tablets in a variety of colors. (They were $70 at Christmas from the Wal-Mart website, now they’re $79, which is still a really good deal.) A quick price comparison on Amazon (they were $128 new) and I saw that these really were available at a great price, and I knew I was starting to cave.
“Self,” I said, “Let’s think about this logically, Do my children really need tablets? We have plenty of technology available to the children already. Will they not be tempted to keep their nose in their tablets all day long? What benefit might they actually be to have?” <– Yes, I talk to myself, go with it.
Of course you see where this is going. The obvious benefit that immediately came to mind? Homeschool!
- These tablets come with keyboards – with a word processor app my oldest can write stories as she often likes to do; with a wordpress app, she could write on her blog
- Math apps will let the kids practice math facts and skills
- Reading apps can help my kids practice spelling and grammar and other reading skills
- The Kindle App can let them read books on the go
- Logical games can work on thinking skills.
- There are tons of free educational apps for tablets.
See? Lots of possibilities. Of course, they won’t only use the tablets for school. There will be plenty of time to enjoy them, too. While we were on Christmas break I let them have their fun adding games and playing on them for most of their free time. And now? We have a ‘no electronics before 3pm’ rule in our house, even if school is done, and that includes tablets. (Unless of course I tell them to go do some math practice or something.)
So now we’re looking for great apps. We’ve been using a few good ones to supplement school for the past month. Here are some of the free educational apps we’ve been using:
Free educational apps for tablets
- Math Bingo
- 10monkeys Multiplication
- SpellingCity (Kindle Tablet Edition)
- Duolingo: Learn Languages Free
- Phonics Interactive Tic-Tac-Toe Game (This was free when we got it, but not now? I’m leaving it because it’s really good, and maybe it will be free again..)
- Origami Tutorial
- D Logic
- Logic Puzzles
So the kids have really been enjoying their tablets, obviously. And they haven’t even whined too much about doing extra practice on them because, well, they want any excuse to get on them really. Yes, I have had to stay on top of the usage, and it can easily get out of hand, but they’re turning out to be great tools, too. They’re a little small on storage space (when you’re adding so many apps!) but they have slots for mini SD cards, so we can expand the storage space. I’m looking forward to seeing how this goes, so I’ll keep you updated!