Essential Non-School Apps for Your Homeschool

Homeschooling is more than a method of education – it’s a lifestyle. 

So it’s not surprising that there’s overlap with other areas of life when it comes to the best tools to use for the job. For example, when it comes to digital tools, I’ve found that all kinds of non-school-related apps have helped our homeschool.

Here are a few I use to help me…

… Keep House.

My favorite housekeeping app so far (that is, the only one I’ve stuck with for more than a week) is HomeRoutines. Besides helping me organize my house cleaning routines, it reminds me to do all the little things I always forget – like taking vitamins in the morning. And my kids love the funny sound it makes when we use the in-app timer for our quick 5-minute clean-ups (the sound is called the “Kazoo of Winning”…. so awesome!)

Housekeeping apps can help you maintain some semblance of order amid the homeschooling chaos. And they might even help you get the kids involved in cleaning (a girl can dream, right?)! For older kids, you could also use an app as part of an ongoing home economics life skills course. 

…Eliminate Distractions.

We use the free NoiseZ app for iPhones but any app or a sound machine works to help minimize distractions. The “brown noise” sound in NoiseZ (it’s like white noise but less harsh-sounding) masks noisy siblings and helps homeschoolers stay focused on their work.

So, the next time your oldest is practicing piano and the toddler is singing

🎶 “Go, Go Thomas… Thomas Number One!!” 🎶

at the top of her lungs, use a white noise app to mask it all and give your middle child a fighting chance at concentrating on his work.

…Spice-Up Schoolwork.

There are all kinds of photo and portfolio apps out there but I always end up going back to the basics. The Photos app and Camera that come with your smart phone are great, easy-to-use, tools for homeschoolers! 

We’ve taken pictures of all kinds of things to add to our notebooking binders and student files. Photos are especially helpful for science experiments,  cooking projects and activities you’d like a record of like field trips or other large-scale projects (because it’s hard to add a 3D Salt-Dough Map to your notebook).  Photos can be added to student blogs, online portfolios or yearbooks, too.

blue and green salt dough map of landforms with labels

And don’t forget about the video features that come standard on many phones now. Using time-lapse or slow motion can spice up work in many subjects. Most recently, we used the Slo-Mo feature on my iPhone to help us demonstrate that Galileo was right about objects free-falling at the same rate regardless of their mass (click here or on the video image below to check it out)!

Video by www.sensiblehomeschool.com

…Simplify Prep Work.

If you don’t already have a scanner app on your phone, get one now!! I use ScannerPro and it’s saved me so much time over the years!

I can easily scan reproducible hard-copy workbook pages and then send them directly to my printer to make copies for each of my kids. I’ve used this app extensively with The Story of the World Activity Books which have hundreds of reproducible student history and geography activity pages.

Automatic edge detection makes it super-easy to use and the app has produced really high-quality scans for my kids’ work.

Every homeschool parent should have a scanner app!

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Take a look at each of the apps you have and think about how they might help improve your homeschool days. And, next time you’re searching for digital tools for your homeschool, remember not to limit yourself to “educational” apps!

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Essential Non-School Apps for Your Homeschool title with iPhone and apps close-up