Must-Have Back-to-School Apps

Posted on August 25, 2011


School days are here and if it’s one word that’s on our mind as parents, it’s “organization.” Keeping the kids on task with their homework, remembering meetings, asking the kids if they did their homework, grocery shopping, helping the kids finish their homework. Well, you get my drift.

In lieu of this impending reality, the question I’ve heard lately is: “Are there any apps that can help me stay organized in regards to my kid’s school schedules and assignments?” And my answer is, “Absolutely.” Below I’ve listed some of my favorite picks.

Spellboard ($4.99 iPad) by Palaware provides a wonderful solution for an annoying task. Weekly spelling words. Every parent knows how much of a test of their sanity this weekly battle can be. Thankfully, Spellboard is here to take the edge off for everyone.

Quickly and easily enter in the week’s spelling words, record yourself pronouncing the word, add details for the list (like grade level) and even an optional sentance containing the word and, once you’ve gone through the list, you’re done. Your child can now go use the app to quiz himself for the rest of the week. The app keeps track of troublesome words so kids can word on they particularly struggle with.

In short, Spellboard spells r-e-l-i-e-f for everyone. There’s also an iPod Touch/iPhone buddy app so kids can practice on the go! For more about this wonderful app, go here.
Mathboard ($4.99 iPad) by Palaware is a wonderful math tool from children from kindergarten through elementary school. It generates up to 250 random problems for the following concepts: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, squares, cubes and square roots. Quiz your kids and see where their problem areas lie by viewing their correct and incorrect answers. Time them to see how fast they can solve problems.

This app is even perfect for classroom use and has gotten some great reviews from the teaching community. This solves the problem of printing out dozens of speed drills and automatically does the grading for parents. This app simply adds up to success.
The Elements ($13.99 for iPad) by Element Collection makes the periodic table come to life like never before. This mesmerizing eBook inspires even the most lukewarm minds to feel a spark of curiosity about science. If you have a high schooler who will be studying the periodic table this year, this app is a great supplemental learning tool to invest in.

Of course The Elements includes all the essential facts and figures you’d expect to find in a virtual textbook about elements, but it goes much farther than that. The iPad version presents gorgeous, 360 digital renderings of each element for students to twist, turn and scrutinize. Read fascinating facts about each element while you explore the beautiful accompanying picture.

This app is a must-have for visual learners. If you have a budding scientist on your hands, it’s worth the investment.

iHomeWork ($1.99 universal app) by Paul Pilone could just safe you from sanity if your child isn’t quite organized enough to keep track of assignments that are due. Or, if you like helping them stay on track, this is the perfect tool for you. While it’s ideal for college students, it’s useful for any grade. Keep track of due dates, assignments, and anything else pertaining to the school calendar. Set up alerts for everything, color code the calendar by subject, keep track of school reading and much more. iHomework is thorough, organized and very easy to use. If your youngster has an iPod touch, they can easily learn to use it for themselves. There’s even a companion Mac app for easy backup and syncing.

Simple Physics (Free, universal) by Andrew Garrison gives kids a chance to have fun with physics. Kids can create and design structures in very little time in the blueprint design. If the structure fails, they can try and try again until they get it right. This app is a great way for kids to explore the world of physics – it might even inspire your little einstein to become an engineer.

If you have a child who tends to hate all things mathematical or scientific, this app can get them excited about what they thought they hated.

Wunderlist (Free, iPhone) by 6 Wunderkinder is a great way to stay organized. Keep that to-do list short and stay on task.

The Wunderlist mobile app for iPhone and iPod Touch will boost your productivity. Organize your to-do lists on the go and synchronize them with your free Wunderlist account. View and modify your tasks on Windows, Mac, iPad, Android and the Web. Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide use Wunderlist everyday. Wunderlist – your tasks anywhere, anytime.
Snoozzerr Recordings ($.99 for iPhone) by Hsin-Ju Chuangis an incredible lecture recorder that does much more than simply record voices. If you have a child who struggles with a particular subject, this app could be a major asset. Not only will it record the lecture from their teacher, it also has integrated time-links, voice data and picture files users can add. Quickly snap photos of the corresponding notes taken during any particular part of the lecture for easy reference.

This can be invaluable for students who are serious about learning, auditory learners, or even students with learning disabilities. While, in theory, it’s geared toward the college crowd, it can be a wonderful resource for kids with iPod Touches – though I am positive it will require special permission from school teachers and other school officials . If user of this app within the classroom is granted, parents can re-listen to lectures with their children in order to help them re-hash concepts they are struggling to grasp.


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Do you have a favorite not listed here? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Hannah is an educator, mom to three wonderful children ages 3 and younger and proud wife of an Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran. She is the founder of My Appinions is a site where she posts reviews of iOS apps of all kinds but with a heavy emphasis on ones with educational and practical value. You can find her on Twitter @MyAppinions and Instagram as Banjonomad.