As a parent and educator, the words “back to school” both scare me and get me all excited on how I can help my kids succeed (in my case, they’re ages 5, 4 and 4, but I teach college students so I’m always thinking of them too). I’ll start with my favorite back-to-school app and then supply my other favorites, in no particular order of preference.
1. Kahn Academy
This is an organization on a mission. They’re a not-for-profit with the goal of changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education for anyone anywhere. All of the site’s resources are available to anyone. It doesn’t matter if you are a student, teacher, home-schooler, principal, adult returning to the classroom after 20 years, or a friendly alien just trying to get a leg up in earthly biology. Khan Academy’s materials and resources are available to you completely free of charge. Start browsing their offerings: The Khan Academy
2. Amazon Student
Instead of scouring the bookstore shelves for your child’s textbooks, let Amazon Student do all the work. Grab your list of must-have books and use this app to scan barcodes and buy your semester’s textbooks with just a few taps. When you’re done, you’ll have a shopping cart ready to go on Amazon where you can buy your books at a bargain. My tip as a college professor, look for the digital version–it’ll be cheaper, lighter, and still easy to highlight and cite. Don’t take it from me, take it from my cousin who posted this on Facebook today: “spent 700 dollars on books and broke my backpack carrying them home… gotta love college :-)” You can download Amazon Student here.
The dog-ate-my-homework excuse won’t fly thanks to this app. iHomework allows you or your high schooler to manage assignments, due dates, course schedules and even helps organize reading assignments and extra-curricular activities. You can juggle everything that school throws your way with this multitasking assistant. Get iHomework.
4. Grades 2
Report cards only come once a semester, but Grades 2 allows you (and your kid) to keep track of test scores, homework results, and even upcoming finals. The trusty app also helps calculate GPA and figure out what grades your teen needs to gain or maintain a certain GPA.Here’s a link to Grades 2.
We’ve talked about this one before! Between back-to-school supply shopping and your tween’s new wardrobe, spending can get a little out of control this time of year. Stay on budget with the Mint.com app for your mobile device. Manage all of your accounts, set up a spending and savings plan, and even get alerts when you’ve gone off plan. Click here to learn more about Mint.com and download the app.
If you’re an old-school mom living in a new-school, high-tech world, scribbling down a quick “note to self” is an easy way to manage to-dos. Now with Penultimate, your iPad can replace that random piece of paper or the back of an old receipt. It gives you the fast gratification of writing on paper with the digital ease of being able to send it to your hubby or the kids. Get Penultimate.
7. Food on the Table
Planning dinner, keeping grocery bills in check and cooking meals your whole family will enjoy can be a challenge once busy school-year schedules kick in. Food on the Table helps you plan quick, kid-friendly meals around the sales at your local grocery stores and your family’s food preferences. This app also made a previous blog I wrote regarding top productivity apps. Download Food on the Table.
Don’t waste time searching the Penny Saver or weekly coupon books. Download RetailMeNot to discover discounts right from your phone—on school supplies, clothing, electronics and anything else you might need to prepare your kids for school. The RetailMeNot coupons app can be found here.
Organizing field trips, PTA meetings, and classroom activities has never been so easy. With VolunteerSpot, coordinating volunteers is as simple as picking up your smartphone. Mobile sign-up sheets, calendars, messaging and automatic reminders make e-mail chains and nonstop phone calls a thing of the past. Download VolunteerSpot.
10. BONUS! Looking for more? Looking for specific apps based on age groups? Here, let me help:
Do you have any favorite learning or back-to-school apps? If so, tell us about them in the comments.