Our feature this week is written by Tamara Mount, co-founder of MontessoriTech, Montessori elementary teacher, and mother of two boys ages 7 and 9. This mom-teacher-app-developer talks about incorporating the iPad into your summer learning program, which topics work best, and how to set focused time aside for completing the tasks.
Summer is a wonderful time for experiencing new activities at summer camp, playing outdoors, reading new books, and often having extra quality family time. While these are all very important, it can also be critical for many children to keep up the academic skills they have gained during the year by practicing them over the summer. If they don’t do some math or reading, they may lose some of the knowledge and skills they have worked so hard to gain over the school year.
Many parents have children use workbooks that aim to review and maintain basic information learned at each grade level. Since children gravitate so wonderfully to the iPad and iPhone, and there are so many apps out there, why not add some apps to your family’s summer learning objectives? Curriculum ideas for the elementary years include:
- Math facts
- Math problems, including operations (+, – , x , /, fractions, measurements, etc.)
- Reading book apps, including ones that help early readers with decoding
- Reading activities such as sentence building, questions, word puzzles, and games
(Editor’s Note: Ideally, you can run this list by your child’s teacher to pinpoint academic goals in preparation for the following year. To find apps, try browsing through the MWA App Catalog by educational category to see which developers are producing content for that subject area. For example, here are the categories of apps that come up when searching for “Math”.
Once you’ve wishlisted a few apps, read the iTunes description and reviews to see if it targets your needs, and what the overall reception has been from other users. Check out the developer website in case they have a YouTube demo video, or contact information, so you can ask questions about the app. The independent software developers enjoy hearing from customers.)
One strategy for working educational apps into the daily summer routine would be to set-up two screens of apps for children to use, one screen of apps with direct educational value, including the types of apps listed above, and another set with indirect value, maybe ones that are more game-like. There are many game apps that teach important skills such as logic and problem solving. Your family could have a daily routine of using the first screen (“educational”) ones for 1/2 hour before using the other screen for 1/2 hour.
Then after the hour of screen time on the iPad, go outside and play in a stream!