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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

Want Your Kid to Get Better at Math or Discover New Words?

By Tanni Haas

Want to get kids motivated to learn? Turn to technology. Here are five free educational apps for students in elementary, middle, or high school. Available at: Apple App Store; Google Play. If there’s one thing all kids need for their schoolwork, it’s a dictionary. Gone are the days of the paperbound tome. If you want kids to learn the joy of looking up new words, download With more than two million definitions and synonyms, it’s the largest dictionary app in English. Its helpful features include voice search and audio pronunciations. The former allows users to look up a word even if they don’t know the correct spelling of it, while the latter teaches users how to properly pronounce words.

Duolingo Available at: Apple App Store; Google Play. Most schools across the country require students to learn a language other than English. Duolingo, which offers lessons in more than 35 major languages, is a great supplement to the foreign language instruction your kids receive at school. The lessons are divided into bit-sized modules that help students practice specific skills. Students can assess how much they’ve learned as they go along or when they’ve completed a module.

The Homework App Available at: Apple App Store. Homework! The thing kids dread the most after a long day at school. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The award-winning Homework App makes it easy for them to stay on top of all of their tasks. They can view their assignments by day, month, and year; color code different subjects; take photos of assignments and break them down into many sub-tasks; and set reminders so they don’t end up submitting their assignments late.

Moment—Screen Time Tracker Available at: Apple App Store; Google Play. (Note: The name of the app in the Apple App Store is Moment—Screen Time Control.) One of kids’ biggest distractions, especially when they’re doing homework, is the constant buzzing of their phones. Moment—Screen Time Tracker helps them withstand the temptation to constantly check their devices by tracking how much time they spend on their phones every day. More importantly, it sets daily limits on their screen time, using reminders to alert them when they’re getting close to the amount. Kids can also see how many times they’re picking up their phones and which apps they use the most. The answers can be very revealing!

Photomath Available at: Apple App Store; Google Play. Some students find math easy, others very difficult. They’d all find Photomath a great study tool. All they need to do is take a picture of a math problem with their phones, and the app will automatically show step-by-step instructions on how to solve the problem. The app has a built-in calculator and can even understand hand-written math problems. Obviously, they should try to solve the problems themselves first and then check their answers against the app. 

Tanni Haas is a communications professor.