Last night was Mom’s Night Out and we got to talking about ebooks, audiobooks and online programs that we use for ourselves or homeschool. I quickly found out that not everyone know the tricks to finding free apps through Amazon Prime and their local libraries. Since I do not want to keep this information to myself I thought I better create a post and share with mom’s and families everywhere who want to find great free apps to use to spice things up for school.
If you would like to learn more about how we use digital devices in our homeschool then hop over and read our post- Ways to Use Digital Devices for Homeschool. I share what devices we have used as well as a few other tricks!
Free Apps for Younger Learners:
These apps are ones that we have used with preschool to upper elementary students. My younger boys have loved learning and practicing their numbers, letters, basic reading while being able to play on their tablets. It’s especially nice to have free apps for road trips, going on a field trip farther away or when staying the night at grandma’s house.
ABCmouse.com– Early Learning Academy-ABCmouse.com teaches through a variety of interactive learning activities for kids including educational games, books, animations, songs, art activities, puzzles, and offline printables – all of which can be monitored by parents through an innovative Progress Tracker.
Amazon Prime Video is where we find shows like Peep’s Big Wide World, Little Bear,etc.
Endless Numbers– As a follow-up to Endless Alphabet, set the stage for early numeracy learning with Endless Numbers! Kids will have a blast learning number recognition, sequences, quantity, numerical patterns, and simple addition with the adorable Endless monsters. Each number features interactive sequences and equation puzzles with numbers that come alive, and a short animation that provides context and meaning to each number.
Endless Reader– (6 free words to start) As a follow-up to Endless Alphabet, set the stage for early reading success with Endless Reader! This app introduces “sight words”, the most commonly used words in school, library, and children’s books. Kids need to recognize these words by sight in order to achieve reading fluency. Recognizing sight words is advantageous for beginning readers because many of these words have unusual spelling, cannot be sounded out using phonics knowledge, and often cannot be represented using pictures.
PBS KIDS Video– The app provides a safe, child-friendly viewing experience for all ages. Kids can easily browse and watch videos at home, on the road, or anywhere with a 3G or WiFi connection. New full episodes come out every Friday from your favorite PBS KIDS shows.
Starfall ABCs– Children delight as they see, hear, and interact with letters and sounds in words, sentences, and games. They learn to recognize letters while developing the skills they need to become confident readers. All children, especially English language learners, benefit.
Starfall Learn To Read– Each numbered section features a vowel sound and its related spelling. Your child will hear, touch, read and eventually master this sound-spelling through a variety of engaging activities, movies, and songs. Encourage your child to play and explore! Your child will come to recognize the relationship between spoken and written language while having fun learning to read. This app is excellent for emerging readers and English language learners.
Starfall I’m Reading– I’m Reading develops comprehension and reading fluency in beginning and advancing readers. This app will help your child make the leap from learning to read, to reading to learn. The stories in this app contain a controlled vocabulary set, using the words most frequently encountered in print. The stories and activities reinforce high-frequency words, also called “sight words,” in sentences rather than in isolation. This ensures the young reader will make a meaningful association with each word and more readily commit it to memory. The stories can be read aloud to model the qualities of fluent reading: intonation, expression, inflection and rate. Users can enable or disable the AutoRead feature. Ear buttons are supplied for fluency when AutoRead is off.
Teach Your Monster to Read– Children create a monster and take it on a magical journey over three extensive games – meeting a host of colourful characters along the way and improving their reading skills as they progress.
Our Favorite Devices for free Apps:
I was asked by a sweet mama friend about what devices I would recommend and so I wanted to tell everyone what our family has used. First off we love tech but do not believe that children need the latest and greatest or the most expensive. I researched quite a bit and found the Nextbook branded tablets to work quite well and at a much better price than an ipad or ipad mini! Now we have owned 3-4 different Nextbook tablets and have branched out to RCA brand plus we own two Kindles as well..
Make sure that the device you purchase has at least 16GB but can accept additional storage via micro sd so that you can download all the wonderful apps that you found in this post.
Free Apps for Older Learners:
Check with your local library to see which subscriptions they offer. I personally check the 3-5 smaller libraries then have gotten a library card at two of the larger anchor cities of my state WITHOUT setting foot in their door. These cards are e-cards only but I can now access a ton more ebooks and online research and databases. I have provided links to download the apps below but you may need to get account information from your sponsoring library to access additional feature that usually cost money or subscription.
Amazon Prime -Start Free Trial Now offers a lot of documentaries and tv shows that I have enjoyed with my high school students.
AcornTV– Acorn TV is an American subscription streaming service offering television programming from the United Kingdom, as well as Ireland, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. It is available on a variety of devices including Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and Roku
Duolingo- Duolingo is a freemium language-learning platform that includes a language-learning website and app, as well as a digital language proficiency assessment exam. As of August 2018, the language-learning website and app offer 81 different language courses across 37 languages.
Hoopla Digital– Your public library at your fingertips. Anytime. Anywhere. hoopla is a groundbreaking digital media service offered by your local public library that allows you to watch videos & tv, borrow audiobooks, ebooks and music. You can even add Hoopla to your Roku!
Kindle Reading App on Most Devices– Read Kindle books on your computer, tablet, or mobile phone with Kindle reading apps. I have found books for all ages can be borrowed through your library and read on the Kindle App!
LibriVox Audio Books– LibriVox Audio Books offers unlimited access to over 24,000 free audiobooks. Each LibriVox audiobook can be streamed over the internet or downloaded for later use without any charge. The LibriVox Audio Books app includes listings for new recordings, featuring classic best sellers and out of print treasures.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE Librivox! I have been using it to learn so much!
Lynda- Lynda.com offers a wide range of on-demand video courses and tutorials to help anyone learn software, technology, creative and business skills to achieve their personal and professional goals. Pick up your perfect new skill and save on being more marketable with Cash Back at Ebates. Browse the Lynda.com library and get access to affordable online tutorials and classes while saving with Lynda.com promo codes. Revamp your resume and achieve your academic and business goals for less at Lynda.com.It’s a paid program UNLESS your library has gotten a subscription.
Mango Languages-Download the Mango Languages app to learn a new language on the go with hands-free features and offline accessibility. Prepare for business trips, family vacations, or study abroad with practical, conversation-based language lessons.
Overdrive– Borrow eBooks, audiobooks, and streaming video from your library using OverDrive on your Android device. More than 30,000 libraries worldwide offer titles from OverDrive, so download the app and find your next book today! Available 24/7, now the library comes to you.
No more late fees. Titles are automatically returned.Place holds, create wish lists, and return titles easily.
Sync libraries, bookmarks, and recent positions across mobile devices
RBdigital– Check out your favorite audiobooks, eBooks, videos, magazines, comics, educational offerings, and much more. With RBdigital for libraries, you can access 10+ content services—all from a single app. A couple of our local libraries offer this service so it’s nice to be able to use it through an app and not just at my desktop!
Roku Channel- if you own a Roku then you will want to add the Roku Channel to your program selections for the free movies that they offer. The selection of movies rotates with some older movies from the ’80’s and ’90’s, classics, westerns and some more recent feature films. Do NOT buy the streaming stick because it gets hot very quickly and does not work nearly as well as the actual Roku device. Just make sure that the cords the Roku comes with is compatible on your tv!
How do YOU use Apps in YOUR homeschool?
Please let me know if you have found free apps, programs or resources through your local library that I have not listed. I am always looking for more FREE ways to educate myself and my kids!