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‘Top 5 Educational Apps’ that will help any Roadschooling Adventure 

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What’s the first questions we face when telling new people about our Roadschooling Adventure across Europe…..? Well it’s almost always ‘How did you set about teaching your kids?’

With experienced teaching backgrounds behind us, we were pretty confident we could structure the daily learning using more traditional methods (workbooks, daily dairies) alongside the obvious educational benefits of visiting places like the WW1 trenches, Chateau des Engimes or Postojna Caves. All of which made it into our ‘Top 10 Educational Experiences across Europe‘… but what else have we used to help the girls learning?

EDUCATIONAL APPS

Well, we’ve spent hours researching and experimenting with various apps, until we got it down to these 5 ‘easy to use’ apps below, so we hope they help others considering road schooling/homeschooling their children

Educational App Doodle Maths

Roadschooling Maths

​#1  – Doodle Maths

Catherine writes “As a Key Stage 2 & 3 school maths teacher I’ve been very impressed with Doodle Maths on a number of levels. Firstly, and probably most importantly, the app is well designed and fun for the children to use.” Each user has to complete 7-10 questions at a time depending on their National Curriculum levelled ‘Doodle Maths Age’. As an incentive, if they get enough questions correct they can collect Doodle Stars which allow them to buy items for their virtual pet. There are additional fun maths games for them to enjoy and add extra stars for their pets. Catherine adds “What I like most as a teacher is that the questions are a mixture of different topics, so they have to fully understand each topic rather than learning a method by rote.”

The app monitors their progress introducing ‘Added Extras’. This explanation includes 15 questions on a topic they have regularly been making mistakes on. There are also ‘New This Week’ add-ins, again an explanation and 10 questions on a new topic once a different topic has been fully understood. The explanations given are clear and easily understood. Catherine adds “We’ve opted to go through them with our girls, but they are generally self explanatory with the option for the children to read the information themselves or have it read to them.”

​For those that love to quantify progress,  there is a parents’ online monitoring site where topic understanding can be checked and it shows the progress each child has made via their individual dashboard. This includes how well they have been understood and what level they are working at. In addition to all this, it works perfectly offline and syncs when back online, which is crucial for a journey around Europe as internet access can be sporadic. It is also worth noting that they also do a very good times table app too!


LIFEINOURVAN’s VERDICT – Although costly, it’s an investment that has given us peace of mind and a clarity about topics understood or where extra work needs to take place. Plus both girls happily use it daily without any pressure so you can’t ask more than that can you…?

Educational Apps Spelling Slams

Roadschooling Literacy

​#2  – Spelling Slam

Catherine writes “This has been a more recent addition to our Educational App range, having spent a long time trying to find a good app to help our girls improve their spelling” There are many apps available, but very few are for Key Stage 2 and have such a large range of words and work offline. With access necessary daily to the app, it has to work without internet.

Spelling Slam has 30 levels of spelling ranging from the easy to the very challenging words. On each level there is a basket ball game to learn the words, where the children have to choose which ‘hoop to shoot’ depending on which version of a word they think is the correct one.

Once they are confident on the words they are then able go onto the tests. There are three levels of these. On the first level all the letters are given and you need to put them in the correct order. This system works well and gives both girls a clear structure to work through

​The second level indicates how many letters are needed but are now typed onto a ‘qwerty style’ keyboard. On the third and final level you just hear the word, with no additional clues. At the end of each test you get a list of the words you have spelt incorrectly with the correction. For each test completed you achieve stars which can be used to buy different monsters. Again incentivised learning has proved successful.


LIFEINOURVAN’s VERDICT – In a highly competitive market, there are plenty of apps that are good to look at but lack a simple structure behind the cosmetic facade. This app just works! Nothing more, nothing less… it just makes spelling simple & fun!

Educational App Duolingo

Roadschooling Languages

#3  – Duolingo

When we set off on our journey we felt that it was important for our children to be able, or at the very least be prepared, to communicate with people in their own language. In order to be outward thinking European citizens, we’d need them to work across a minimum of 2 (if not 3) languages…

But that’s hard to do, languages are a gift and they can take years to learn. However  learning languages with Duolingo has proved fun with its easy to use learning infrastructure. It takes you through your chosen language gradually, teaching you basic words and phrases that have helped make our interactions with different nationalities easier.

Catherine writes “We’ve found Duolingo brilliant for teaching both the girls and ourselves new languages, in fact we have met many people of all ages across Europe using Duolingo to help improve their language skills.” So this one is definitely one for the adults and kids alike…. nice simple graphic interfaces work well with the chance to hear, speak, write and understand new languages. There are plenty of languages to choose from via the ‘easy to understand’ menu

LIFEINOURVAN’s VERDICT – Languages are so vital to understanding a countries culture and people… there’s nothing better than feeling a part of a new country and Duolingo makes this easy, fun and engaging for the whole family to learn together. If we’re honest, we’re not sure where we’d have been without it at times!

Educational App Word Chums

Roadschooling English

#4  – Word Chums

Richard adds “This app was introduced to us by the girls grandparents. It’s a Scrabble type game which is great for teaching our girls new words and making them use known spelling patterns to form words“. Other than the obvious educational value of the game it also has a chat function which the girls have enjoyed using to keep in touch with friends and family when we are away.

So can a game really be an educational app? Does it lose it’s educational value when you call it a ‘game’? For us, we think not, in fact we think it can be a great incentive to beat your peers (they play their similar aged cousins) or even get one over the older generation every once in a while

The easy to see ‘Leaderboard’ keeps a running commentary on the player with the highest ranked word, who hasn’t played for a while (useful for prompting a little extra spelling practice!) & some funny graphics… The girls love adding new words, trying to strategically move across the board to get L3 (letter bonuses) or W4 (word bonuses)

LIFEINOURVAN’s VERDICT – Sometimes overlooked as more popular games like ‘Trivial Pursuit’ or ‘Monopoly’ took centre stage, Scrabble (or in this case Word Chums) is a brilliant way of keeping spellings ticking over but in a fun, informative way that also allows interaction between online players (NB we never allow the girls to play anyone we don’t know the username for….)

EDUCATIONAL APPS SIMPLE CIRCUITS

Roadschooling Science

#5  – Simple Circuits

Science has been a really fun subject for our girls to enjoy learning in the van across the past year ” adds Catherine. We’ve tried to make it simple and fun to learn whilst also taking every opportunity to see Science museums from places like Germany, Norway or Portugal.

Simple Circuits is a fun app that our girls have enjoyed experimenting with together. It has taught them the basics of electrical circuits and helped them discover what happens when variables within the circuit, e.g. voltage, are altered. This easy to understand but useful app has become more than just a virtual interest. With both girls moving forwards as a result of the app, to try and make their own small electrical circuits when back in the UK – like the Dynamo Torch

Although this app does not feature the levels of detail that some of the above apps do, it more than makes up for it in its simple but methodical user experience. We’ve added to the Science learning with magazines like ‘Whizz Pop Bang‘ which add another creative side to our approach to learning Science in the van

LIFEINOURVAN’s VERDICT – Science is such an easy subject for kids to love, it’s hard to pinpoint just one app that covers it all.. so rather than attempt the impossible, why not settle for a really in depth understanding of one aspect? Our girls have now grown in confidence knowing they’ve grasped a concept and look forward to challenging themselves on others..

INTERESTED IN SEEING WHAT THIS LOOKS LIKE FOR EACH SUBJECT?

RoadSchooling

Click here to find more details ‘subject specific’ pages for History, English, Languages, Art&Design, Maths, Geography, Religious Education, Science & Physical Education. Each learning opportunity has a detailed blog with links. Alongside some resources for each subject that we’ve discovered enroute

About The Author

Richard

Ever wanted to pack your bags, just jump in a motorhome and go off and explore Europe as a family? Well, that’s exactly what my family has done since September 2015. Visiting 35 European countries, travelling over 54,000 miles and grabbing over 450 family experiences on the way… enjoying Bobsleigh in Norway, Climbing into Mt Etna in Sicily or Kayaking the River Dordogne.

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