The Best Homeschool App (you’re not using)

(Last Updated On: June 23, 2015)

I’ve used this app before for fun, but didn’t think to use it with my pre-k child until just last week. Whether you are homeschooling or supplementing your child’s education, this application has amazing benefits.

We’ve just barely made the decision to homeschool, so I am looking for as many easy homeschooling tricks as I can find. Part of our decision is that school doesn’t have to take all day, so cross-curricular lessons are especially beneficial. But I also want to create the most beneficial educational experience for her. And why I am so glad I found this app.

Because she loves Dora the Explorer and Diego and is enamored of Skippyjohn Jones, my five-year old has wanted to learn Spanish for a long time. My mother wrote her Master’s degree thesis about the benefits of elementary school Spanish, so I know teaching her a foreign language is beneficial for her creativity, reading, mental flexibility, English grammar skills, writing, and future language ability.

This magical app teaches reading skills, problem solving, grammar, listening skills and so much more. Heaven Not Harvard
graphic used by permission of Duolingo’s press dept.

However, yo no habla espaรฑol. I can get by to find a bathroom or order a limited meal, but that is about it. I took French in school, so how do I teach her Spanish?

Duolingo is a free app that uses some of the same principles as pricey Rosetta Stone – FREE!

Last week, I opened the app and started using it with my daughter. MAGICAL!! I can’t believe I didn’t do this sooner.

In order to use the app, she is challenged to read new words: man, woman, girl, boy, bread, water, which, speak, translate, sentence, etc. The application uses multiple learning styles to imprint new words, both Spanish and English. Duolingo has a variety of languages available, but we started with Spanish.

I have to explain articles (the, an, a), feminine and masculine nouns, and capital letters, and what is a sentence, but I’m amazed at how much she intuitively understands through using the app, which also makes the articles and the combinations repetitive so it becomes automatic to pair up the correct article and noun and in later lessons the proper conjugations of verbs and subjects.

She has learned some Spanish, not much, but what she really gets out of this app is a lot of English grammar and reading practice! Additionally, we’ve only used it together three or four times and she can almost operate it independently, which is amazing since she is just heading into kindergarten.

Parts of the Duolingo app are matching pairs of words together, matching English to pictures with Spanish captions, translating sentences with word groups as choices, translating into English/Spanish using the keypad, and speaking your target language.

Watching her play is such a joy. Today, she was spelling words in Spanish! She is just barely learning to spell in English. She is learning and doesn’t even know it! She volunteers for Spanish class!

And I’m not the only one who thinks this app is fantastic. It won best learning app in 2013, and in a recent independent study, professors found that when using Duolingo for 34 hours, students learn the equivalent of one university semester of language instruction.

If you’re like me, making the decision to homeschool or supplement your child’s education comes from wanting to give them the best advantages in life. Learning a foreign language at a young age is a proven method to give children skills that will set them up for educational success, wherever they call school.

 

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14 Replies to “The Best Homeschool App (you’re not using)”

  1. I love Duolingo for myself! What a great idea to use it for homeschool, too. My little guy is only 3, so he doesn’t read, yet, but he too loves Dora and Diego. I will definitely be adding this once he’s old enough. Thanks for sharing your experience with it. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Mine just turned five. But some of this could have been used when she was four. Some won’t really make sense until she is older too, but letting her try has helped me see how much she really can do when I don’t try to hold her back

  2. Thanks for sharing! I hadn’t heard of this app before at all. While I don’t actually homeschool my kids, I do make sure to teach them extra, and another language would be fantastic.

    Thank you again.

    Marissa

    Reading List

  3. Love that you’re homeschooling! I have a whole bunch of apps and tools too. Love that you’re teaching spanish! Even though I’m fully bilingual, I speak to my kids and raised them in English (it’s America, after all! English was my second language but I wasn’t born here.) We have the duolingo app, and then progressed to hooked on Spanish (by hooked on phonics), and because my husband wants to get fully involved he just invested in Rosetta Stone. We’re all practicing it. Let me know if you need any help ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Thanks for sharing about this app. I used to teach ESL, and something like this would be helpful to adult students if it teaches English grammar. Is this app for iPhone users only? Thanks.

    1. I don’t know what platforms are supported, but there is a link in the app. I think you can set it to teach English and set base language to the language of your student as well.

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