By Jack Zammit – Podcast and Tech Reviewer
It’s a commonly-felt dilemma, especially in this upside down, post pandemic world we live in. You enrol you child in school. You get them all ready for their day. You sit down with them after classes and help them with homework. And yet, they just do not seem to get it – something is in the way of them absorbing and learning fully and deeply. Children are disappointed, disillusioned and confused, and you, the parents, exhausted.
For many years, our school systems and learning centres have remained incredibly stagnant in their form. In many ways they likely seem identical to when you were in school. And yet the world around us has changed so dramatically.
The pandemic offers its own sense of challenges as well, forcing us to rely on the power of virtual platforms more than ever before. Its high time we lean into it and use its potential as a learning tool to get our children back into learning. Whether your child struggles with concentration, confidence, or comprehension, here are my five best apps for young learners to teach them everything from reading to math and get them back into learning.
1. Khan Academy Kids – Free – All Platforms
Maybe you’ve already heard of Khan Academy but feel it might be too much for your child. If so Khan Academy Kids is the perfect answer. It combines the world-renowned teachings of Khan in a fun and engaging format for youngsters. Tackle reading skills, math, science and more with colorful animal friends cheering you on along the way. With so much content and so many ways to tackle problems, including drawing and speech-to-text options, there are opportunities abound for young kids at all learning levels to improve their skills.
2. Code.org – Free – Website
An incredible collection of projects and workshops, Code.org is the quintessential place for your little one to find their inner programmer. Get inspiration by browsing through a collection of over 152 million projects created by people around the globe, ranging all levels of expertise, from first-time Hello World’s to full-on videogames in tons of different languages like Java and Python. For those looking to go the extra mile or at a show of promise, there are fully planned and laid out course sets that will take your child through the basic of computer science, everything from the Internet to binary and back. An excellent choice for those with an interest in computers.
3. IXL – Monthly subscription – All platforms
Truly the school away from school. IXL is the complete package in every sense of the word: a complete range of math, science, language and social studies for every grade, PreK to 12. Analytical tools for parents and teachers to view a student’s progress. A smart algorithm that allows for mistakes and makes sure your child is working on the areas they need the most help. Bright and fun textbooks with puzzles and minigames to reinforce concepts – heck, for an extra five dollars a month, they’ll even teach you Spanish. With real curriculum based learning, IXL is the best place to really help a struggling student.
4. Math Master – Free — Android
A personal favourite of mine, this app keeps it simple and clean. While it may be better off for older kids, its elementary design makes it uniquely flexible many age groups. Solve equations, earn points. Keep your streak and beat the level with the most points possible. It’s a simple challenge, but endlessly engaging. With so many unique puzzles covering addition, multiplication, equalities and more, it’s the perfect easy recommend to someone looking to improve their math skills. As study tool or even just a way to pass the time, this app gets the job done.
5. Epic: Kids Books and Educational Reading Library – Free and paid versions – All platforms
Reading has always been an essential skill, now more than ever in our modern world, which is why its so important to foster a love of reading. With an incredible collection of over 40000 books, Epic is the place where your child is sure to find a great read. With a focus on parents reading with their child, Epic’s wide variety of reads – from animal books to beloved children’s series to comic books – offers something for everyone. For parents and educators, the ability to schedule reading time, the Dictionary Look-Up and Read Aloud features give you all the tools you need to facilitate your child’s reading prowess. Choose to upgrade to Unlimited, and you’ll get access to hundreds of entertaining educational videos and audiobooks as well – all on the same, easy-to-use platform.