We are certainly no strangers to technology. We love it and embrace it fully. But in this post, I want to point out how the Kindle in particular has been an excellent addition to our homeschool.
So let’s get into it.
As mentioned above, each of my three children own a Kindle Fire. We love it. I can’t believe we homeschooled without one for years. I have written another blog post about some of my favorite apps, but I have to mention some here as well.
My middle child sees himself as a bit of a polyglot and is currently learning Spanish and Italian on Duolingo a FREE app. My daughter sticks with Spanish.
There are other excellent games and apps for all grade levels, making the Kindle Fire great for homeschooling. It is also chock full of parental controls. For instance, it allows you to share only what you want with your children from your Kindle account. You can set times and schedules and add or remove features of the device itself. I have, for instance, disabled the camera on all the Kindle Fires because I find it annoying. I also find that the children do less with the games when they have the camera, so we have not used it.
If you have Prime, you know it’s worth it. My toddler accidentally signed us up for it, no joke! But we’ve been so happy with it that we kept it. Besides the free shipping option, there are various other perks associated with Prime membership you can include into your homeschool.
Here are a few:
Prime Music – You can save, like or dislike songs and poetry from various stations and stream them directly to your Kindle and / or phone.
Prime Video – Movies and documentaries – many of which are not available on Netflix are found here. I have found some excellent additions to our homeschool curricula here.
Audible Channels – If you like listening to audiobooks and podcasts, you will find a decent helping here of books, podcasts and other channels. You might discover a new favorite.
Prime Reading – Perhaps my favorite perk. I love borrowing books from Prime Reading. Currently, the limit is ten books at a time. I can share these with my children by allowing them access to them on their Fire tablets. Nothing beats being able to check out books – for free – without leaving the house.
… and others. Here’s the entire list of Prime benefits.
If Prime Reading doesn’t give you enough books to keep you happy, there’s Kindle Unlimited! Kindle Unlimited is an online library which lets you borrow even more books from a huge selection for $9.99 a month.
My current favorites out of my very limited look at all the Kindle Unlimited e-books (there are tons – there’s no way I’ve taken a thorough look) are the ones published by Charles River Editors. Their short books have been indispensable for giving me a quick insight into various periods and peoples of history.
While I have not delved into this, if you have a child who loves to be read to and reading aloud is not something you enjoy, Kindle Rapids might be for you. For $2.99 a month, you can have original stories read to your children. These tend to be short.
A better way I have found to use reading aloud is to add Audible narration to a Kindle book you already own. This avoids the subscription fee of Audible and still allows you to listen to the book and / or follow along in your Kindle. The variety in this case in much larger and you can add Audible narration for about $1.99 – $2.99 in most cases.
As I mentioned before, I do not own a Fire. Yet. Although I have been know to
swipe my children’s Kindle Fires borrow my children’s tablets to play games on them, I do love my Kindle Paperwhite.
I remember when the Kindle first came out. My husband bought me the huge one – with the keyboard at the bottom. It was great, but a tad heavy to hold and read. So I traded it in and bought a regular, smaller one. The only problem? It was dim and I didn’t like reading on it.
And then *insert angels singing* I discovered the Kindle Paperwhite. It has the perfect amount of backlight made with LED lights that do not strain your eyes. It is NOT like reading on a screen at all. Instead, it is like reading black letters on white paper – you know, like a real book. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
But I am nothing if not frugal. And if you’re going to spend $120 on a reader, you should know that it comes with a ton of free books. Here’s how you can get them:
Overdrive – This is just one of the apps available to your local libraries to be able to loan out books directly to your Kindle. Check with your specific library. Many are now offering a good selection of e-books you can download to your Kindle for a specific period for free.
Free books – The one advantage Kindle has over Nook (that other e-reader we will not mention every again!) is that there are many, many more open domain (read: FREE) e-books online.
Add all this to the variety mentioned above and you can pretty much create a homeschooling curriculum with just your Kindle!