An iPad or Tablet
A tablet of some sort is fabulous for homeschooling. Any tablet that has app download capabilities, as well as a wireless connection should work, but if there are specific apps you’re after, be sure that the device you invest in is compatible.
After the tablet, a calculator seems like a crazy addition to our gadgets, but it’s truly one of the most used gizmos in our homeschool. While the kids can access a calculator from the tablet app, it’s really easier to have a simple calculator on hand.
Since we take our photos using our iPhones, iPods and iPads (can you tell we’re an Apple family?), Dropbox has been a lifesaver for us in terms of freeing up storage on our devices. While there’s always iCloud, we prefer Dropbox, because we often access it from our computers, as well. The basic plan is free, but we’ve upgraded to the paid version, because we have so. many. pictures.
Yes, just like the calculator app, there’s an app for a countdown timer, but we also like to have a separate one on hand. Sometimes, it’s just nice not to have your phone or tablet at the school table. Electronic timers are fantastic for chunking time and working for specific periods to complete tasks. Often, we’ll set the timer for 15 or 20 minutes and have laser-like focus on an assignment or project. Those designated minutes make us more productive and make the project go more smoothly. Timers are also great for when the kids are doing independent reading.
Dragon Naturally Speaking
Do you have a child with dyslexia? Does your child have great ideas and thoughts but the process of getting these thoughts from his brain to the page appear overwhelming. Dragon Naturally Speaking is a computer program (and app!) that lets you speak what you want to say, and it types it for you. There’s definitely a learning curve and it doesn’t work so well for young children, but at 14, the oldest has mastered the art of conversing with Dragon.
Headphones are an absolute must-have for any homeschooling family. Everyone prefers different types, so it’s really about which types works for each of your family members. Some of our favorites are Sony earbuds, Bose earbuds and other people the traditional Apple earbuds. Test them out. See what your families prefer and get a few spare sets!
A selfie stick?!? Weird, right? Hear me out. Homeschoolers love taking pictures to help document trips they have taken and more! If you have a selfie stick the entire family can get into the picture together! You can spend time laughing, smiling and recording memories. Using this little gadget to record your moments together is priceless. And if you’re wondering if you absolutely must have these things in order to be a homeschooling family, the answer is, of course, no. What you really need is a curious mind, a love for learning, and dedication to tackle everything that comes your way…. And of course, caffeine helps too!
Eva Goldstein-Meola is not only co-founder of Open Tent Academy, but an instructor as well as a former homeschooling mother. She has lived in New Jersey, Florida, Western Massachusetts, Northern Virginia and now resides just outside of Jerusalem. Eva holds a Master’s Degree as a Consulting Teacher of Reading and Writing, IEW certification and a Bachelor’s Degree as an Elementary Teacher. She has also been involved in education since 1986 as a Private Tutor, Teacher, Reading Specialist, Homeschooling Mother, Homeschooling Teacher and Business Owner of an Online Education Consortium.