Welcome to our monthly Spotlight on Five! ~ Apps

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Welcome to our monthly Spotlight on Five

Using Apps in the Homeschool

I was recently visiting a friend, when her two-year-old-daughter walked over, picked up her mom’s smart phone, opened an app, and began playing a game designed to help children her age learn their letters and numbers. No one batted an eye; it was perfectly normal that this toddler in diapers was perfectly comfortable navigating this tool. I realized at that moment, that parenting and education have vastly changed in the twelve years since my son was born!

I also realized that it is an exciting time to homeschool. Every day, new and improved apps are being developed and released for smart phones or tablets, enabling students to have a whole host of high quality resources at their fingertips. We are big fans of the iPad in our homeschool. It took a while before we were willing to budget money for the use of any kind of tablet, but once we did, there were no regrets.

Whether you are teaching a first-grader (or two-year-old!) to read or facilitating science labs with your high school senior, there’s an app for that! There’s an app for just about everything. While some apps are certainly better than others, we have managed to find quite a few that have become staples for our family.

We have been so pleased with the level of content in many educational apps that we often designate Friday as “appschooling” day. I am amazed as I sit back and watch my son dissect a frog, practice fraction math, develop a timeline for his latest history study, view artwork in galleries all over the world, and work analogy problems with the ease of brushing his teeth.

While using apps is truly a fun, hands-on way of learning, our iPad has also becomes a valuable tool for organizing lessons, keeping track of our days, and developing tutorials. It often replaces our computer for research and allows for easy travel schooling when on vacation or for errands day. It holds hundreds of books for read aloud or independent reading time and keeps us connected when we are off exploring the world around us.

We love appschooling! For an active boy, who thrives with interactive learning, it is a blessing to behold! He is engaged, enthralled, excited . . . about learning! Does it get any better than that?

Marcy Crabtree

Marcy Crabtree spent nearly 15 years as an Ob nurse, sometimes juggling homeschooling with the job she calls her first ministry. Grateful that her main ministry today is at home, she has been married to Tom for 16 years and is 12-year-old Ben’s proud momma. Her homeschool style is delight-directed with lots of unit studies, lapbooks, and notebooks. She is greatly influenced by Charlotte Mason’s love of living books and the Principle Approach method of homeschooling. If she ever writes a book herself, it’s likely to be titled Homeschooling by the Field Trip Method, though homeschooling by the “rabbit trail” method might be more fitting. Marcy blogs all things homeschool at Ben and Me.


Take a look below at this month’s resources for additional ideas. Be sure to let us know how you teach using apps in your homeschool. Email Paul and Gena Suarez and share your story. We’d love to hear about it!


December’s Spotlight on GREAT APPS!   


Knowledge Quest / Quest Magazine

Cheer Chick Charlie

Talking Fingers, Inc. / Talking Shapes App

Dover Publications / Boost™: My First Book of Puzzle Fun App


Knowledge Quest / Quest Magazine 


Knowledge Quest

Quest Magazine – The Ultimate Way for Kids to
Learn History 
Get The Latest Issue FREE and Receive 7 Days of Complimentary Access to the Full Magazine.
“Yes, I got [the magazine] and it’s great! My daughter has already started reading it and loves it!” – Debbie 
“[This is a] tremendous magazine on getting kids excited about learning history . . . ” – Ed Dale 
THE world history magazine for kids, families, educators, and history buffs. Stunning photographs and famous masterpieces, gripping stories and intriguing articles, detailed maps and timelines, all bring the past to life.
December’s issue is chock-full of fun and thought-provoking articles, including “Shi Huangdi’s Quest for Eternal Life,” “Was Jesus Really Born on December 25th,” The Magi of Persia Follow the Star,” “Gutenberg and the First Printed Book,” “The Sinking of the Mary Rose” and “Breaking News from the Revolutionary War.” Educational videos included right in the magazine!
Available for Android, Kindle and the web very soon! 
Quest Magazine is brought to you by the people at Knowledge Quest, Inc., publishers of Map Trek and the bestselling Child’s Geography series.

Math Apps For the 21st Century Classroom

Math File Folder Games, a mobile app development company, creates iOS apps that engage elementary and middle school children in the world of mathematics. The company has developed seven math apps so far that offer an enriching, fun experience for children everywhere. has created the apps with both the learning needs of the student and the requirements of both parents and teachers in mind. The apps can be set-up in such a way so that progress reports can be sent to either the teacher or the parents in order to be assessed. This is a great way to discover which areas of math a student is having the most difficulty learning, so that they may be better helped. understands that teachers are looking for new ways to better reach the children who they’re tasked with educating. With a fun, 21st Century approach to math, children are more likely to feel less intimidated by the process of learning and more motivated.

Parents, teachers and students can visit to access more information on their math apps along with resources such as free printable math games, recommendations on usage and more.


Cheer Chick Charlie

Cheer Chick Charlie

Everybody needs a cheerleader in their life to keep them happy, healthy and energized. 
Finally an app that gets kids moving! Introducing Cheer Chick Charlie™ 
The Cheer Chick Charlie app teaches children to choreograph their own dance routines with motions, kicks and jumps, then encourages them to dance with Charlie as she performs their routine at the venue of their choice. They can earn ribbons, medals and trophies which urges kids to make the routines faster, longer and trickier for greater coordination and fitness.
Who is Cheer Chick Charlie™? Cheer Chick Charlie is the best friend every little girl deserves. She is active, friendly, compassionate, spirited and supportive. But most of all, she inspires those around her to believe in themselves and trust their instincts and abilities. Charlie is an exciting new children’s book series and product line from Australia that helps kids with their confidence, resilience, health and fitness. The range includes novels, fitness gear, doll, interactive website and the newly released app. The app is a great way to meet Charlie and learn a few cool dance moves in the process. Available NOW at the iTunes store.
Cheer Chick Charlie is aimed at 5-12 year olds.


Talking Fingers, Inc. / Talking Shapes 


Talking Fingers--Talking Shapes

Preschoolers Discover That Letters Are Really “Talking Shapes” That Stand for Speech Sounds, in New Early Reading App from Talking Fingers Inc. 

In the new iPad app, Talking Shapes, from educational publisher, Talking Fingers Inc., children discover that the words they say can be turned into words they see by building words with the letters they draw. Highly interactive stories and games let children record their own voices as they practice drawing letters, reading, spelling, phonemic awareness and phonics.

Noted neuropsychologist, Dr. Jeannine Herron, has applied the most recent research on how young brains learn, to create wonderfully interactive stories about how two sisters invented the alphabet “long, long ago”. Each letter is embedded in a picture that helps children remember both the sound and shape of the letter. Independent research has shown significant improvement in preschoolers’ skills after using Talking Shapes.

  • Children learn that spoken words are made of individual sounds (phoneme awareness).
  • Children learn that letters stand for those sounds (phonics).
  • Children learn how to draw letters.
  • Children learn how to sound out and write 3-letter words.

Only $5.99 for the first three of seven books available in Talking Shapes App, on iTunes. Books four through seven are in development.

Dover Publications / Boost™: My First Book of Puzzle Fun App


Dover's Boost: My First Book of Puzzle Fun App Keeping children entertained and engaged is the key to learning, and Dover’s Boost™: Seriously Fun Learning series offers a wide range of fun-filled coloring and activity books that help teach a variety of basic skills.

And with the very first Boost app, early-school-age youngsters can solve simple crossword puzzles, complete dot-to-dot drawings, do word searches on letter-filled grids, wend their way through easy-to-navigate mazes, and more. Plus, all of the illustrations can be colored, adding to the fun.

My First Book of Puzzle Fun App is a great way to increase a child’s vocabulary, sharpen spelling skills, and explore the world through creative play.




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Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it. - Proverbs 22:6

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