Are you an Appschooler? – The Wired Homeschool

Appschooler [ap-skoo-ler] noun

1. a person who teaches with apps, especially a homeschooler.
2. a child who is homeschooled with apps

The proliferation of educational apps in the iTunes store and Google Play (aka, Android Marketplace) has led to a rise in the use of educational applications in public, private, and home-schools, at least anecdotally.

Do a Google search for “apps in the classroom” and you’ll find hundreds of thousands of hits.  You’ll read a number of different opinions on the topic but thread that runs through most of these articles is that using apps in the “classroom” is beneficial.

As homeschoolers we have the option of choosing the best way to educate our children.  That can be through a more traditional approach (sitting down and giving a lesson and the assigning work) or less traditional approaches (learning physics by riding roller coasters).

Using apps is one of the many ways we can choose to educate our children.  Let me be clear: I’m not talking about sitting in front of a computer using a keyboard and mouse.  I’m narrowing my definition of app (for this article, anyway) to those programs use on portable touch devices like iPods and tablets.

I doubt there is anyone out there who relies 100% on apps for homeschooling their children but it wouldn’t surprise me to see it happening in the next 5-10 years.  Suffice it to say that for now the definition above of  an appschooler applies to anyone who uses at least one app to educate their children.  In the future this definition will be honed to include only those who predominantly use apps in their schooling, eschewing books, DVDs, and online courses as their primary source of educational material.

Using apps for schooling gives parents tons of flexibility. You can homeschool in the car (or minivan), away from home while on vacation, or even at the park. As the use of apps becomes more popular, homeschoolers will start relying on this method much more. Soon, we may even see curriculum publishers releasing apps of their own for free to supplement their paper-based materials. Appschooling may even become a form of homeschooling in 10-15 years!

Are you an appschooler? Would you homeschool using only apps if the option was available to you? Comment below!

  • N. Silber

    We do design our entire home learning program around apps.  For my sons, who are on the autism spectrum, it has opened the door to learning in a more motivating and effective way than any other educational tool.

    • Would you say you primarily use apps?  That’s very interesting!

  • We use a lot of apps: Brainpop, National Geographic Today, National Geographic magazine subscription on the iPad, Human Japanese (learning Japanese!), Kanomoji (program for Japanese toddlers to practice writing hiragana – good for beginners), kids do all their writing on the iPad, use the calculator, Wolfram fractal app, Rocket Math, FreeBooks – reading classics like War of the Worlds, John Carter books, list goes on and on.  

    • Nice rundown of apps that you’re using.  How old are your children?  Do you use traditional curriculum too?

      •  12 &9  – we’re a techie/geek house so everyone has their own iPad. 12 year old actually chipped in $150 of his own money to upgrade his.  Yes, I use a regular math program but when the geometry lesson asked him to draw the fractals I only had him do one then told him to use the fractal app and it allowed him to really go off and explore the different iterations and different types a lot faster.  The kids also use Keynote to make presentations – usually science or geography related for classes I teach – they do the research on the iPad and make the presentations on it.  They’ve also recently learned how to download their photos from their real cameras and edit them on the iPad, make cards and journals. 
        Yes, I do use some traditional curriculum but I’m always looking to supplement with the iPad because the kids don’t think its ‘school work’ if its on the iPad. 🙂

  • Vitafamiliae

    I recently did a post about the favorite apps at our house:

    I hadn’t thought of letting them do projects/presentations with the iPad. Gonna have to try that one!

  • Elizabethmattick

    Hi! We have itty bitty homeschoolers right now, (2, 4, and 6). But apps are already showing up all over the place. My hubby’s a programmer and we’re starting to think of making our own elementary app. Something along the lines of elementary math manipulatives that I don’t have to clean up! LOL

  • Elizabeth Simon

    I would love to homeschool with apps only. We love some of those mentioned and I also love Elements. This is an awesome way to learn about… elements. Also really like  Civil War, World War II, Magic of Reality, Oregon Trail, 3D brain, Organs, MS Anatomy ….

    • Thanks for the list of apps!  I’ll have to have a look at some of those.

  • YES! We are actually almost completely appschooling with my 9 and 12 year olds this year. I love and they absolutely love it! We are still doing math with books, but are supplementing it with apps. 🙂 I would SO homeschool with just apps and great books to read aloud to my kids. And probably will with my two youngest who are just 2 and 3.5! 🙂

  • Yes we are definitely using apps for homeschooling. My son has an old iPhone that he uses the BrainPop app every day. My 10 yo just finishe reading 20,000 Leagues under the sea on the kindle app. For reading we like the Teach me series apps and the Bob book apps. The problem I have so that there are so many apps now that it can be an overload. I still like reading physical books to my kids. I would love to get more books on tablets to reduce all the papers laying around the house.

    • Sounds like you’re convinced.

      • I’m not convinced its a cure all for eduction. I still think more work needs to be done on the software side. I also think physical books are still beneficial for education. Also I still want my children to write on paper nicely.

  • Angela

    I never thought of this. What a great idea!! We are currently in our 16th year homeschooling (4th, 8th, 12th, and one in college). Something new and interesting like this is just perfect!!! Thank you for the info and the idea!

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