iPads for Homeschooling: A Pain or a Godsend?

When my grandparents went to school, they carried along a little slate (chalk board) to do their schoolwork as directed by their teachers.

When I went to school, we used textbooks that were owned by the school.

Today’s schoolkids have begun using iPads for doing schoolwork and reading textbooks. Advantages including saving the cost of print books and never being able to say they lost their homework.

I’m wondering how useful this would be for homeschooling. For one thing, homeschoolers aren’t usually the wealthiest people in the world, and iPads aren’t cheap (though we can expect the price to come down over time.) And if you buy one for each child, well, now you’re really talking a few bucks (the Duggars would need a home equity loan to pay for iPads for everyone!)

You’d also have to block out Facebook and Twitter and all the rest of the social media suspects, or no one would get any of their schoolwork done.

So what do you think? I’m removing the affordability factor by asking: if someone gave you $500 per child to buy iPads for homeschooling, would you do it? Do you think it would make homeschooling easier or harder?

18 thoughts on “iPads for Homeschooling: A Pain or a Godsend?

  1. I wouldn’t! My kids would destroy a iPad, or loose it!! I would love one for myself though. They have some great apps that would be wonderful for home school helps. My brother has one, and he can instantly download books, solar systems, or a ton of other things.. from anywhere he has internet connections.. :o)

  2. I have mixed feelings on this. I think it could help one of my kids, who struggles with organization.

    I am with Katie, though – I would love one for myself!

  3. What’s an iPad?
    Guess we’re not that technologically “with-it.”
    But with $500 per school child I could buy an incredible home computer (ours is about 8 years old) and yearly family passes to our state’s museum network and probably take some incredible field trips and…

  4. I wouldn’t get iPads for my kids if somebody gave me the money for it. Call me old-fashioned, but I think there’s something good about having a book that you can touch and flip back through easily. I think it’s less damaging to eyeballs to look at a book instead of at a screen. I think it’s less damaging to ears to hear soundwaves coming through the room’s air than soundwaves coming straight into the ear canal. I can’t explain it and I have no proof for it. But it’s one of those things (like breastfeeding or organic gardening in your own backyard) that scientists will figure out later (after we’re hooked on the techno-alternative) what harm is being done by the New And Improved Ways.

  5. Yes! I would buy them ipads… this year i bought the oldest child a netbook, and i’m v. disappointed with it – he can’t really do much, and certainly not what he needs it to do to be useful.

  6. Well, Katie, wouldn’t we all love one? As for the kids, I’d worry about the breakage factor, as well as the distraction factor.

    Margaret, how would you control the social aspects of that online availability? That’s what concerns me.

    Oh, my, Carol…..how have you avoided the hype? It’s a tablet-sized computer that you can surf on, read eBooks on, read email, etc. I don’t think they’ll remain $500 for long, though.

    Susan, I still prefer books, too, although I can’t complain about eBooks since we sell them 🙂 I can see that the iTouch is a real advance in using the Web, but I can’t figure out how to let kids enjoy the educational aspects of it without them getting sucked into the negative aspects of being online.

    Interesting, Mamazee…..what did you hope he would do with it to be useful? Just curious.

    Thanks, all, for stopping by and for the thought-provoking comments! 🙂

  7. With only one hesitation, I would absolutely buy iPads for all of them! My dh surprised me, no – totally floored me, by giving me an iPad for my bday this year. All of the features are mind-boggling. Where I have not been technically invested previously, I find myself consistently using the pad throughout the day.
    The one downside – okay, one and a half…no ability to print. And to me, while paperless is nice, I would want my kids to be able print here and there. (The “and a half” is no flash support. but that is not a deal breaker for me). I think my dream with the iPad is to be able to create calendars and lesson plans complete with links (!!) for each child which in turn could be synched across the board. Very cool and futuristic, but only futuristic b/c we would have to win a lottery to buy for everyone.

  8. Lucky you, Julia! What a nice gift 🙂

    If you did have iPads for all of your children, how would you keep them from surfing, doing FB, etc. instead of their assignments? Also, would having iPads for everyone where they can access lesson plans save that much time over just writing them out in a book, like we always did? I wonder…..

    Thanks for stopping by!

  9. Pingback: Carnival of Homeschooling | homegrownmommy.com

  10. I would buy one for the oldest 2 – but the little ones I can’t see spending the money!
    I have 2 that are running doing activities, rarely are they able to lug a bookbag. This would be nice as it is slim and very portable!
    Of course if my husband showed up with one for me – I too would be floored as Julia was! Just not in our budget!
    I am stressing about Computer Science come the new year!!! With 5 kids I have 3 computers (2 that work, 1 needs a new power cord… Cheap Fix) – and I am stressing that I need 3 more! Sooooo Mr. I will buy you an Ipad… How about 3 more laptops??? I’ll pass on the Ipads for now!

  11. Barbara,
    I just got an iPad for myself, and I love it! I have downloaded many educational apps for free and many for minimal cost that my daughter (12 with Down Syndrome) just loves! I think there is something to be said for having various modes of learning/teaching/practicing information. I agree that staring at either a computer screen or an iPad or similar technological device all day is not good. But it is a wonderful change from just the chalkboard or dry erase board or workbook, etc. In addition, many of the apps have some great abilities, like quickly categorizing the answers she got wrong, and generating just a review of those questions again. It can come with us wherever we go (I have 3 other children also), so that a quick review of math facts at the soccer field, or reading a few pages of a book while in the dentist’s office, etc. is a welcome “game” even though it is educational. It is very portable! As for making sure of not engaging in any inappropriate socializing online? No different from their computers at home – they don’t have facebook accounts, and never will, and they know the rules. The computers are in plain sight, and if I catch them going on any inappropriate sites, they lose computer privileges. Hasn’t happened though, because they don’t want to risk that and, so far, Praise the Lord, they listen to me. You can also set parental controls on any technological device, so it’s not really a problem. Hope this helps!

  12. I would most certainly do it! I wonder, though, does the iPad have a USB port? I am about to review a new product called the PG Key (as a member of the TOS Crew) and it has blocking capability built right in. It’s a “plug and play” USB drive that can be customized. That would solve the social networking issue, as well as many others.

  13. Holley, you’d need a money tree for 3 iPads….hope you find the computers you need at the right price.

    Wow, Karen, a lot of great information there. Thank you!

    Cara, I’m glad to hear that there are currently ways of blocking the social networking aspects of the Internet. It’s certainly needed.

    I am learning so much from all of you 🙂

  14. I have several posts on this topic, app reviews, and how I teach off my ipad at outsidetheboxhomeschooling.com. I hope these are helpful to you.

  15. Our homeschool charter gives us 1600.00 a year per kid and we just ordered an iPad for my 5th grader and will probly order one for my other child soon. I am stoked. We have a home iPad and have had it about 4 months now, it’s incredible. I’m excited to use it in schooling.

  16. Stefani, you are pretty fortunate to have that stipend! Hope the iPads work out well with homeschooling 🙂

  17. We are not doing our kids a favor by restricting their access to the world of technology so I am thinking that it would be a good idea to have my kids learn how to use an ipad and other tools. The problem is we have 10 kids so getting one per child is incredibly expensive. So we need to think about sharing. Not sure what you have in mind but if it was more affordable I think homeschoolers would benefit from the technology especially highschool age kids who are preparing for college. We need to investigate software solutions to help reduce the risk of the kids getting into trouble on the internet. not prevent them from accessing and learning from the technology.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *