Now that we’re a few weeks into the school year, you and your kids are probably coming to terms with the homework load. There’s no app to help your kids carry their books, but there are apps that can help you and your child keep track of all those homework assignments. There are even a few that can lend a hand when your kids need help with math formulas you’ve long forgotten.
iPhone, Android, iPad, Windows 8, Web, Kindle; Free
MyHomework lets you track homework assignments and classes. When you add an assignment or test you can indicate the class, due date (time optional), and priority level (color-coded as low, medium or high). You can set up reminder alerts, which are saved to your calendar. You can then see your homework assignments by your calendar or in a queue by class, priority or type.
Another function allows you to add classes, either by time or by period, so it’s helpful for middle school, high school and college students.
Teachers can sign up to use the app to send students announcements, and hand out syllabi, reading lists and other materials to students who also have the app.
My GradeBook: Student Grades (Also called My Grades and Homework)
iPhone, iPad, Android; $0.99
Maybe you want to track your child’s grades as well? My GradeBook focuses on tracking grades as well as homework assignments. It’s a bit friendlier toward grade-school students.
Start by adding courses, indicating the instructor, term, units or credits, grade style (points-based or weighted) and grade scale. Once you’ve added all your classes, you can add assignments by clicking first on the class, then on the notepad icon. You can assign a due date and time plus notes. Mark the assignment as “submitted” once it’s completed.
When it’s graded, simply add the points earned out of the total and My GradeBook will calculate the overall class grade based on all graded assignments. Then it calculates overall GPA. My GradeBook also syncs to DropBox to backup your data.
Other options to consider for tracking homework include:
So far so good. Now about that math homework? A few apps can help your middle and high school students when your own memory of algebra fails.
iPhone, iPad, Android; free
Gone are the days when you could only graph on a clunky Texas Instrument calculator. This app is a graphing, scientific, matrix and statistics calculator. Not only is there an app, you can also use it online.
iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle, Nook; $2.99
This app solves equations. Just plug in the problem.
Is this too much homework help? Creator Conrad Wolfram answers that question in his TEDx talk. Basically, it depends on how you’re using it — and how important it is to your child’s teacher that they learn to calculate by hand.
The app can be used to walk students through problems so they more clearly understand equations and the steps needed to solve them. It’s probably more helpful to students in advanced math courses than for 6th graders.
What about when homework includes studying for a test?
iPhone, Android; free
One helpful tool is StudyBlue. This app allows you to create your own flashcards and use flashcards used by classmates and friends. It optimizes study by tracking which cards have been mastered so students can focus just on what they still need to learn. Cards can be text, images or audio.
And you’re set! Now if only there were an app to make homework more fun.
Being able to pull up all my kids’ chores on my phone has been a blessing and a curse. The convenience of assigning chores and special projects through a smartphone app as they pop into my head (as opposed to when I find a full load of laundry shoved underneath my daughter’s bed) can’t be matched.
I can also easily track earned — and more important, paid-out — allowance. (My son will seize on any doubt in my eyes that I’ve already doled out his money and demand immediate compensation.) The only drawback is how eager my children are to complete their chores. Yes, seriously.
Because my kids don’t yet have their own smartphones, they’re constantly asking for mine. They can’t resist the colorful, kid-friendly interface of ChoreMonster and its mini-games. The app lets them see tangible, real-time rewards. When their tasks are done well in advance, and they keep asking for extra chores, my finances can get tight quickly. (Sorry, sweetie, you’re going have to wait until Mommy’s direct deposit clears so she can pay you for all that extra doggie-doody duty and junk-drawer organizing.)
If your kids have their own phones or iPods, or you’re willing to hand yours over for the sake of a clean house and less chaos, here are a dozen apps for getting kids organized and on-track at home and in school.
Studying and staying on task
StudyBlue This innovative app allows college and high-school students to build their own crowd-sourced study guides and flashcards. Teachers and students register their classes, then begin creating and sharing flashcards and notes. Flashcards can incorporate text, audio and image files for more interactive learning. Online notes and flashcards can be organized into study guides for tests. StudyBlue is available on iOS and Android devices and is compatible with Evernote. Basic plans are free; upgraded versions are $7 to $9 per month. studyblue.com.
Biblionasium Book lovers and reluctant readers ages 6 to 13 can keep up with class reading or read for fun. Biblionasium incorporates social media by allowing kids to share book reviews and recommendations and talk about books. Teachers and parents can track assigned reading and search for age-appropriate titles based on a child’s interests and genre preferences. Kids can win awards and certificates for completed reading logs. This site is free. biblionasium.com.
SelfControl This simple-yet-effective app for Mac OS X helps kids — or even adults — stay on task while working online. Parents can block access to to any website added to a blacklist for a predetermined amount of time. Even if kids try to delete the app or restart the computer, access will not be restored until the timer is up. selfcontrolapp.com.
Getting things cleaned up
ChoreMonster Aimed at making chores fun for kids, this mobile and web app offers a point-based system that rewards kids for (parent-approved) completed tasks. Kids can purchase real-life rewards that parents have decided on, such as extra video-game time, a trip to their favorite amusement park, money and more. Parents and kids have separate log-ins, so chores can be checked anywhere, anytime. ChoreMonster is free. choremonster.com.
OurHome This app offers another points-based format but with a small and important twist. OurHome is set up like a mini social network within your home. A private communications hub keeps kids and parents connected with messaging and notifications. Stay up to date on what chore you’ve assigned, how many points each chore is worth and what rewards are available. This free app is available on iTunes and Google Play. ourhomeapp.com.
MyJobChart This chore app emphasizes financial responsibility and the value of hard work through its points and rewards system. Kids earn points that are funded by real money from parents, which can be saved in an account opened with the site or through your bank. Not only can kids watch their balances grow, they can choose how to spend it through MyJobChart’s online Amazon kids store or donate points to a charity of their choice. MyJobChart, developed by a Phoenix company, is free and available on iOS and Android devices. myjobchart.com.
Chore Pad The very user-friendly interface allows parents to access each child’s chart with a quick tap of his or her card on the app, showing the child’s progress for the week. Kids can pick the theme of their chart, and parents can log in and track chore progress, see star tallies (this app uses stars as its chore currency instead of points) and revise rewards. Chore Pad also lets parents issue modifiers to increase or decrease star values when a child does either exceptional work or an unsatisfactory job. Chore Pad is available on iOS devices and is $4.99, but there’s a free “light” version. nannek.com.
Getting organized in class
Evernote This app lets kids organize “notes” — photos, voice memos, formatted text, web pages — into customizable “notebooks.” Each note is searchable and can be edited, tagged, commented on and more. Notebooks can be exported or easily organized into projects and presentations. Notes can be synchronized across all your kids’ devices. This app is available on iOS, Android, Windows Phone and more. Basic plans are free with a 60 MB limit of new uploads per month; upgraded plans range from $24.99 to $49.99 per year for more memory and features. evernote.com.
MyHomework This multifunctional app allows students to track assignments, projects and tests. It keeps class schedules and alerts kids when assignments are due. Your child’s school may already be a participant in myHomework’s Teachers.io app, where instuctors can upload files, due dates and announcements. The free myHomework app is available on Apple and Android devices, Chromebooks, Windows and Mac. The premium version is $4.99 per year. myhomeworkapp.com.
InClass If your child’s class allows tablets, this app can record audio notes, video lectures and store snapshots of the day’s lessons. InClass also tackles class notes and educational file-sharing for peer-to-peer learning with its StudyRoom feature. The free app is compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod. Add-ons, such as a drawing tool or no advertising, are 99 cents. inclass.com.
Complete Class Organizer Geared toward classroom success, this app combines lecture recording and note-taking with grade calculation and detailed class schedules. Complete Class Organizer also features Google Doc and Dropbox synchronization, and it has a built-in web browser with access to popular reference sites Google and Wikipedia. Best of all, the app’s recording/note-sync function lets students tap any word in their notes and it will play back exactly what the teacher was saying at the time. This app is available on iOS and is $4.99 at completeclassorganizer.com.
Remind It’s all about communication with this notification-focused app, which has the potential to eliminate the need for paper handouts and emails. Teachers can set up a class group to relay important information, homework deadlines, changes in agendas or just words of encouragement with scheduled or spontaneous communication. They can also update and chat directly with parents about assignments via text, video or voice recordings. Conversation history cannot be deleted, and teachers can see which students have read sent messages. Because the system is app-based, there is no sharing of phone numbers. Remind is free and available for both iOS and Android operating systems. remind.com.Tags: applications, apps, Biblionasium, Chore Pad, ChoreMonster, Complete Class Organizer, Evernote, family calendar, family schedules, homework, InClass, MyHomework, MyJobChart, organization, OurHome, parenting, Raising Arizona Kids, Remind, school, SelfControl, StudyBlue, technology
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Staff writer Dani Horn is the mother of Victoria (11) and Remy (7).