Homeschooling with an iPod

My wonderful husband purchased an iPod Touch for me as a Christmas present, and let me just tell you I have loved every moment with my iPod. But what I love most about my iPod is how it has streamlined our homeschool.

Obviously, homeschooling is possible without Apple, Mac, and all of the i-products. We were managing fine with paper planners and our CD player (before it played its last tune). But the lure of efficiency (and, let’s admit, flashy) is quite irresistible. So here’s what I have found most alluring.

1. Educational songs and music in one location.

That’s right, I no longer have a scrimmage with stacks of CDs while impatient kiddos move on without me. I don’t misplace music. I don’t leave the player on pause to the detriment of the CD player. With a simple click, our math songs, geography songs, and classical music is all right where I need it, ready to play. I do not have a dock for my iPod, but for right now the speaker on the device itself is quite adequate.

Another brilliant feature is the quick access to youtube. One of the perks of the Harmony Fine Arts course we are doing is her link to a youtube playlist that includes all of the music studied during the course. With my iPod, I have instant access to the playlist of classic music performances as well!

2. A “handy” timer and camera, literally.

It is a small thing, but there is a timer on my iPod as well. Convenience is the word here. It’s the same device I have in my hand for every subject. I don’t have to get up and down off the floor (which is getting to be a real feat these days) to turn off a blaring alarm while two kids try to top the noise. The alarm is set for “marimba”—such a pleasant sound in comparison.

The camera on the iPod is also convenient for blogging. There is nothing like the “hold it right there” moment while you dig out the camera to snap a shot for your blog post. Especially with young kids, moments are very hard to hold. Since my iPod is right there (timer ticking, music playing), it’s much easier for me to catch our homeschool in action.

3. Let’s not forget the apps.

And so many free ones, too. I have yet to use a lot of these during our school day, though I have incorporated them into a few future lesson plans. Most of my apps I save for doctor’s appointments and other periods of long waiting. Nevertheless, there are so many fun educational games and programs for homeschool. A few of my current favorites are:

  • World Map
  • Phone4Kids
  • Math Puppy
  • Zoom (a game based on the numberline)
  • Alphabet Tracing
  • Preschool Memory Match

4. My lesson plans are on my iPod!

I’m currently testing out the app iPlanLessons, a homeschool lesson planner designed by homeschool parents for the ipod/ipad. Again the word here is convenience. I really like having my plans “in hand.” I’m much more faithful to remember chalkboard work, introduction of new concepts, and some of those other incidentals that I tend to overlook with my paper planner (chiefly because I don’t make note of such things in my paper planner; second, because I don’t look at what I’ve written).

Since I’m holding my music, timer, camera, and maps, it’s nothing for me to swipe over and glance at my lesson plans for the day. I feel as flashy and impressive as my iPod.

On a Personal Note…

There are a number of features that I also enjoy for my personal time, like listening to my favorite tunes while punching in lesson plans, doing dishes, cleaning house, etc. Absolute luxury. Then, there’s my cribbage app, brushing up on my cribbage skills so that I can beat my husband at the game the next time we play.

Finally, there’s Evernote, my absolute favorite way to store information. Evernote is a program that allows you to write notes, take and store pictures, and save website pages in one location. On my computer, I use it for storing websites and library lists for our geography study, filing the information by country. I also file away blogging ideas that I may run across. On my iPod, it has been a simply terrific way to take notes as I read through The Well-Educated Mind. Pandora, Evernote, and a book equals perfect bliss.

Now if it would just brew coffee (decaf, of course), we’d really be in business.