Thursday, January 21, 2016

App Schooling? Eight Great Apps that the Tinkels Love!

I'm going to tell you the truth. I had never thought about writing a blog post about our favorite learning apps for our phones and tablets until The TOS Review Crew invited all who wanted to write a post about learning apps for a blog round-up that they are doing. I don't know why I never thought about it, though, because we love app schooling! It may not be our major way of learning, but it is one of our favorite ways of learning.

Apps are perfect for on the go schooling and for downtimes during our regular learning. Since we use learning apps as a resource and not for our regular curriculum, I always try to choose ones that are geared to what the kids are interested in at the time. We are very delight directed learners anyway so this is a perfect fit. Here are the recent favorites of my two youngest along with a couple that I am enjoying as well.

Our middle child, Joshua, has been fascinated with geography for quite a few years now and, for several reasons, fell in love with Russian. One day a friend of ours was visiting. She and her husband had been missionaries in the Ukraine and were both fluent in Russian. As we were sitting in the yard chatting, Joshua came running out and began speaking to Karen in Russian. He didn't say a lot, it was only a word or phrase, but it was clearly Russian and Karen understood it clearly. We were all shocked! He ran back inside and came out a few minutes later with another phrase. After questioning him, we found that he was looking up Russian phrases on his tablet, remembering them, and then coming out to try them on Karen. So, a search for Russian language apps began. There really aren't that many Russian language apps that a kid can use but we did find a couple.


Russian Language (Bravolol) - The first is called Russian Language by Bravolol. I have to admit that I have never really used this app, but Joshua has and has learned a lot from it. It has common Russian words divided into different categories such as Eating, Emergency, Greetings, Shopping, etc. You can listen to the word as many times as you want and it also encourages you to record your own voice to compare.

Learn Russian  (babel yak) - This one is a bit more advanced than the Russian Language app from Bravolol. Learn Russian has actual lessons. They can be either audio or video lessons though I'm not quite sure what the difference is. I haven't talked to Joshua about this one much but I know he has used it and likes it. He is now s-l-o-w-l-y working his way through an online college Russian class so he hasn't used this one in a while.

I mentioned above that Joshua also loves geography. So a search was begun for a couple of good geography apps. Unlike the Russian apps which are few and far between, there are a ton of Geography apps. We have tried out quite a few and these are our favorites.

World Geography (Tsegai Corp) - Gives you information on almost anything you can think of about any country. Joshua was even fascinated that you can listen to the national anthems of each country using this app. He has sat for hours playing with this one. This one is great.

Geography Master Quiz (Primestar) - Is an app that quizzes you on different aspects about a country. You can take a quiz on flags, capitals, identifying a country and more. Joshua's favorite is the flags. He is a whiz at that and can identify almost any flag from around the world.


Jacob, on the other hand, loves animals and I didn't want him to be left out so I waded through the dozens, if not hundreds, of animal apps that can be found for android phones. Here are some of the ones that he really likes.

Animal World (Absologix) - Animal World is a really neat app that divides the animals into categories and then, in each category, shows the name and picture. That is perfect for Joshua since he can't read very well. Once you click on the picture it gives a brief description of the animal and then gives you a short audio clip of what the animal sounds like. When no one is around he loves to listen to the animal sounds. When I am around I also read the brief description to him.

Animals (Squalala Team) - Also divides the animals into categories. After you click on the category, though, it gives the name of a particular animal, then shows three pictures and you are to choose the right one. We aren't talking about showing three totally unrelated animals like a lion, monkey and elephant, though. With this game it shows three different types of monkeys and wants you to pick a specific type. It might show you an orangutan, chimpanzee and a howler monkey and want you to pick which one is the orangutan. It's very challenging.

Not to be outdone, Big Daddy (me) had to download a couple of apps for himself. I really try not to play frivolous games, although I do have a couple downloaded onto my phone. Instead, I try to choose games that may be fun but also stretch my mind. Here are two of my favorites.

Duolingo (Duolingo) - I took Spanish in high school and loved it. Unfortunately, since I didn't use it a lot, I forgot much of it. A couple of years ago I found Duolingo. It is a fantastic app where you can chose between several different languages. I begins with very basic words and then, as you go along, progresses you to more complex phrases and sentences. This isn't a one or two weeks and you are done kind of thing, either. It may take a couple of years for you to completely learn each language depending on how quickly you work your way through. Each lesson is about 20 questions. They will introduce a category of words such as foods. At first they may just show you a few pictures, say the word, and then have you choose the correct picture. Then, though, they progress to you having to right the word or translate the word both individually and in sentences. This is no simple elementary course, this can be difficult. I have learned a lot.

Word Chums  (PeopleFun) - Okay, I know this really isn't an educational app, however, it does stretch your brain. Word Chums is a lot like the game scrabble so in a way it is educational. You have to know how to spell, and you learn a lot of complex words in the process. I have played in online Word Chum tournaments and am currently in a Word Chums league.

Well, there you have it! Our eight favorite learning apps for android. There are a lot of other TOS Review Crew members that also shared there favorite learning apps. To find out all of their choices click on the banner below. Happy homeschooling!

Our favourite Apps for Homeschooling iOS and Android


  1. Thank you for sharing these. We use a bird app that we love, going to check out the Animal World for sure.

  2. These look great! I really like the looks of Animal World. Thanks!