In case you haven’t heard, we started a second Instagram account: The Traveling Academy. We wanted to provide expats with an Instagram feed focused on TCK education. Whether you do homeschool, local public school, international school, boarding school, or private school… we hope to gather a community of expat parents seeking to provide their TCKs with the best education possible.

Over at The Traveling Academy, you can expect to find product recommendations, sneak peeks into homeschooling curriculums, ideas of how to get your kids involved in extracurricular activities, guest posters sharing about their experiences with enrolling their children into public/private/boarding/international school, as well as the occasional direct link to a helpful schooling post here on the blog.

In celebration of our new account already hitting the triple digits with followers, we’re doing a small giveaway! This giveaway is only for our Instagram followers. If you aren’t on Instagram, we’re sorry about that…But hey, it’s free to sign up! 

Here’s some ways you can enter for a chance to win a $20 iTunes gift card:

  1. Follow @TheTravelingAcademy on Instagram (mandatory) = 1 entry
  2. Follow @TakingRouteBlog on Instagram = 1 entry
  3. Tag a friend (or friends) in the comments section of our giveaway photo on @TheTravelingAcademy. Try to think of people who might benefit from the content of our feed. = 1 entry per each friend tagged (please tag one friend per comment)
  4. Share a photo of YOUR traveling academy by using #thetravelingacademy (you can add the hashtag to an old photo or upload a new one) = 1 entry per photo

The giveaway will close on Sunday at 11:59 p.m. (U.S. CST). We will randomly select a winner and announce who it is on The Traveling Academy account. So open up your Instagram app and start earning some entries!

In the meantime, we’ve done our research and asked around for some educational app recommendations (in case you’re looking for some ways to spend a $20 gift card…) Below you’ll find all the educational apps that made the cut and have been deemed “APPSolutely Worth It!” We’ve divided them up so you can skim the list and find the ones that meet you and your child where you currently are in your “TCK schooling journey”. 

The apps are divided into the following categories:

  • Early Childhood – Elementary
  • Middle – High School
  • Special Learning Needs
  • For the Parents
  • For the Language Learners
  • Additional Websites

For each app, we’ve included a snippet of the app’s description from its creator. If we have any additional comments, we’ve included those remarks in italics. Whether the apps cost you a pretty penny or nothing at all, they’ve all received great reviews from professionals we know personally. We hope you can benefit from this list! At the very least, pin it now for future reference 🙂

"Apps"olutely Worth It: Educational Apps that Made the Cut | TakingRoute.net

Early Childhood – Elementary

Reading Rainbow Skybrary (free to download and has in-app purchases: USD 9.99/month, $29.99/6 months, $49.99/1 year)

“Hosted by LeVar Burton, the Reading Rainbow Skybrary Family App includes an unlimited library of books and video field trips to ignite and foster your child’s love of reading.”

Each child gets a backpack and can load books from the different islands of subjects. Toddlers to older kids love this app.

Build and Play 3D (USD 2.99)

“A great app that will test and develop your young child’s visual and memory skills in a very fun way. The app receives 5 Stars and EAS Recommended Status.”

Tozzle (USD 2.99)

“Looking for something entertaining but also educational for your kid? Then Tozzle is the perfect App for you! This puzzle app is built for children from age 2 – 99. Choose from more than 40 different puzzle pictures, all including funny sound effects.”

My toddlers up to my 9-year-old love this app.

Starfall ABCs (free)

“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 (USD 2.99)

“Children around the world have learned to read with Zac the Rat — and your child will too! 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.”

This app practically taught one of my kids to read. The stories are very engaging and the songs are catchy enough for phonics retention.

Spelling City (free)

“VocabularySpellingCity is a fun way to learn spelling and vocabulary words by playing engaging games using any word list. The most popular activities are Spelling TestMe, HangMouse, and our vocabulary and phonics games.”

The parent can go in on the website and enter in the word lists for the week. You can even test on this site.

Duck, Duck, Moose apps (prices vary based on which app you purchase)

“Duck Duck Moose apps encourage kids to explore and learn in a safe and fun environment. We work with educators and do lots of play-testing with kids to ensure our apps are frustration free for little fingers and full of whimsy and wonder for all to enjoy.”

Crazy Times Tables (USD 2.99)

“Crazy Times Tables mixes the fun, games and photo features that kids love, with best practice teaching methods and a personalised boost from technology! Crazy times tables is perfect for children age 5-10 to support them to develop fluency in their times tables.”

Counting Caterpillar (USD 1.99)

“Curriculum based counting practice covers counting in ones to 100, and skip counting in intervals of 2, 5, and 10. The hard level offers a review of these counting techniques in a random selection to challenge comprehension and memory skills.”

Little Writer (USD 0.99)

“Little Writer is a tracing app that’s done just right. Little Writer is super fun and so easy to use that your kids will think letter tracing is a game vs. a boring chore.”

 

Middle-High School

Stack the States (USD 2.99)

“As you learn state capitals, shapes, geographic locations, flags and more, you can actually touch, move and drop the animated states anywhere on the screen. Carefully build a stack of states that reaches the checkered line to win each level.”

Stack the Countries (USD 2.99)

“As you learn country capitals, landmarks, geographic locations and more, you can actually touch, move and drop the animated countries anywhere on the screen. Carefully build a stack of countries that reaches the checkered line to win each level.”

Sushi Monster (free)

“Strengthen reasoning strategies for whole number addition and multiplication by helping monsters make a target sum or product. Earn points with each correct answer… but watch out for distractions! To be successful, plan ahead and strategically select numbers from the sushi counter.”

Who doesn’t love sushi! This app is fun, even for me.

30/30—Task Manager App (free)

“You set up a list of tasks, and a length of time for each of them. When you start the timer, it will tell you when to move on to the next task.”

Perfect for those perfectionist students who need a little accentive and excuse to quit. (And maybe good for a homeschool mom who can get lost in her Instagram feed.)

Quizlet (free)

“Create your own flashcards or choose from millions created by other Quizlet users on thousands of subjects. Feel confident with these powerful interactive learning tools.”

Notability (free)

“Students, teachers, and business professionals use Notability daily to take notes, sketch ideas, annotate PDFs, mark-up photos, record lectures, provide audio feedback and more. It is uniquely designed for each device to provide the best note taking experience at school, at home, and at work. And with iCloud, your notes are always up to date.”

 

Special Learning Needs

Autism

Speech and Language Warm-Ups (USD 3.99)

My jaw can be a hungry cow. Watch and you can see… Your students will love the cute illustrations and enjoy imitating the adorable animations in this fun and engaging app. Speech & Language Warm-Ups targets following directions, breath support, production of individual sounds, and lip, tongue, and jaw movements.”

“WH” Questions at Home (USD 3.99)

“This colorful, educational social skills app has 56 illustrated picture cards (plus audio of each card text). Select the cards you want students to see and have them ask and answer questions about all aspects of home life. The prompts include WH questions like, “Who are your neighbors?”and “Where do you keep your clothes?”

What Would You Do At Home If… (USD 3.99)

“Select the cards you want students to see and have them work on solving problems and practicing good social skills as they discuss situations in and around the home. The prompts include questions like, “What would you do if … you accidentally knocked over your chocolate milk?” and, “What would you do if … you were doing homework in the family room, and your sister turned on the TV?”

Comprehension:

Learn with Homer (free 30-day trial, then USD 7.99/month or 79.99/year)

” Easy-to-use, nurturing, supportive and fun. 1,000+ phonics lessons, 200+ stories in our award-winning library of eBooks, 200+ science and history lessons to build advanced knowledge, art and music activities to foster creativity, 150+ printable worksheets, learning games and activities for when screen time is over, and 60 First Readers – your child’s first books they can read on their own.”

I was informed by a special education teacher that this app is helpful for kids who have speech production issues and organization of language issues.

Fluency:

I Like Books (USD 1.99)

“The “I Like” children’s picture books are a magical way to enjoy stories with your child. Not only are the stories and pictures fun… they also help your child learn about the world they live in. It is a fantastic learning experience for kids ages 0 to 6.”

Articulate It! (USD 39.99)

“Articulate it! is a unique multi-player application created specifically to help children improve their speech sound production. Designed by a certified speech-language pathologist, Articulate it! contains over 1000 images selected for working on English consonant sounds at the word, phrase and sentence level. It also includes 72 stunning scenes targeting story level.”

Minimal Pairs Academy (USD 19.99)

“The Minimal Pairs Academy (MPA) is a state of the art evidence-based minimal pairs app for speech-language pathologists and parents of children with phonologic sound disorders. Use Minimal Pairs Academy to help your student or child develop listening and discrimination skills and have fun practicing producing target words at the word and phrase level.”

Articulation Scenes (USD 29.99)

“Based on scenes, Articulation Scenes provides numerous opportunities for children to pronounce their sounds more clearly. All activities were beautifully designed around the theme of cinema and movies for a fun and interesting learning activity.”

Articulation Station (free to download but has in-app purchases)

“It is a comprehensive articulation program offering practice at the word, sentence and story levels in 22 sounds in the English language.”

I’m still trying to decide which articulation app to purchase for my son before we begin his first year of homeschool, but I’ve heard on numerous occasions that this is “the best app for speech.” I was also told this by my son’s SLP in the States. Upon my initial research of the app, I do appreciate the fact that I can select which sounds I’d like to purchase, which means a much lower price tag in comparison to other apps.

ChatterKid by Duck, Duck, Moose (free)

“Chatterpix Kids can make anything talk — pets, friends, doodles, and more.  Simply take any photo, draw a line to make a mouth, and record your voice.”

I think this is a really funny and entertaining way to encourage speech. It also serves as a creative way to motivate kids to do some articulation practice.

Sentence Structure:

Mobile Education Store Speech Therapy App bundle (USD 74.99 – apps are also available to purchase separately. Prices range from USD 3.99-19.99 per app)

“Considered the gold standard by educators, therapists and parents worldwide. Winners of 60 awards from prestigoius publications such as Common Sense Media, IEAR, Technology in Education and Teachers with Apps, “The Builder Series” of speech therapy apps engage the visual, audio and tactile senses, helping children learn faster and retain what they learn with more ease.”

Auditory Processing:

Splingo’s Language Universe (USD 2.99)

“Your child will practice their listening and language skills by interacting with the images and animations on the screen to follow Splingo the alien’s spoken instructions. As a reward, they will love helping Splingo build a space ship and complete the tasks in order to get him home.”

Hear Coach (free)

“Individuals with hearing loss tend to have increased difficulty understanding speech in noise and as a result experience communication breakdowns. Tasks like the ones in this game have been shown to help improve listening ability in noise.”

For the Parents

SeeSaw—The Learning Journal (free)

“Easily capture student learning in any form. Students can use photos, videos, drawings, text notes, links or PDFs to show what they know and store evidence in their digital portfolio.”

I was introduced to this app by a fellow homeschooling mom. Even though this app’s original purpose was for a classroom of students to submit work to a teacher, it can easily be used by a homeschooling parent to keep documentation of their children’s work. This is a much less cluttered way than holding onto all the papers. Plus, as the description says, you can upload work in a variety of formats. Since it’s unlikely that you have more than 10 children, you can use this app for FREE!

Screen Time (Free for the Basic package and 14-day free trial for Premium package. After that it’s USD 3.99/month or $39.99/year) 

“Easily set time limits for your children’s devices right from your phone or any browser. Set bedtime and school time restrictions for specific apps. Use your phone or tablet to pause your child’s device or give Bonus time. Create fun check lists of things you would like children to do or learn and motivate them with rewards.”

Chore Pad (USD 4.99)

“Let your kids take an active role in maintaining their home, show them what they can earn along the way, and watch them shine. Built for kids of all ages and families of all sizes! Get started now – those dishes aren’t going to clean themselves!”

Virtual Field Trips (prices range from free-USD 13.99)

Experience famous museums, majestic national parks, cultural institutions, historic sites, and more without leaving your home. This inspiring selection of apps and iTunes U collections brings some of our most celebrated destinations right to your fingertips.”

JellyTelly (USD 4.99/month or 39.99/12 months)

“Instantly stream hundreds of hours of Christian shows and movies your kids will love – from anywhere in the world. JellyTelly provides shows where God is real and His Word is true.”

For the Language Learners

DuoLingo (free)

“Duolingo is Apple’s iPhone App of the Year! Learn Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Irish, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, and English. Totally fun. Totally free.”

Additional Websites

Graphite.org – great resource for apps and websites by grade level and subject area

Enchanted Learning – some material is free but a $20 yearlong subscription will get you access to all pages of K-12th grade level activities, crafts, printables, etc. (over 35,000 pages of resources).

SheppardSoftware.com – math, geography, science, health, language arts, and other topics are covered for all grade levels. You can take quizzes and play interactive games to test your knowledge on different subjects.

 

Whew! That was a lot of great apps! If you have any recommendations for any of the categories we listed above, PLEASE leave a comment. We only had so much time to do our research so we’re counting on YOU to speak up if you know of some top notch educational apps we didn’t include in our list…. #expatshelpingexpats