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Back to School 2018!

Make the end of summer as painless as possible with amazing apps, advice and more!

For some, (ahem: parents!) THIS is the most magical time of the year! That’s right, it’s back-to-school time, already!

Read on for great tips, apps and our favorite tech tools to get the most out of this school year:

Gear

Gone are the days when glue sticks and Lisa Frank pencil cases dominated the school supply list. These days, homework, research and even communicating with teachers depends on smartphones, laptops and tablets. The iPad 9.7 and iPad Pencil are easy to use and lightweight—which is great, since they’ll soon have a backpack stuffed with books to carry! The iPad mini is also a good choice, especially because it’s so, well … mini. When you need extra storage for all those papers and projects, check out the SanDisk Ultra Dual USB Drive 3.0 or SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive.

If you’re a parent concerned with limiting screen time for younger kids, experts believe that not all screen time is created equal: using iPads and computers for learning is not the same as zoning out on cartoons and social media. If you’re still concerned, plan to limit TV time during the school year. Replace it with outside play, family game night, and story time.

elementary students looking at tablet

Expert Tips Parenting Humor

Listen, we all want our kids to be successful in school. But, there’s another reason we’re so excited to see that gorgeous, yellow bus pull up to the stop—we’re exhausted! Don’t feel guilty about it!

Here are some of our favorite times the back-to-school emotions got real for parents on Twitter, courtesy of Scary Mommy:

“Parenting Tip: Kids will not appreciate pics of you popping champagne corks after you drop them back at school.”

“The only thing that brings more joy than the laughter of a child is when the school bus comes to take them away.”

“Sorry I gave you a high five when you said your kids went back to school today…I thought you were fake-crying to be funny. My fault.”

“Nothing makes you love school like your kids suddenly not having it for three months.”

Apps

Finding the best back-to-school apps is about more than just studying. Students are busier than ever, with after-school activities, standardized testing, music lessons … we’re tired just thinking about it. Apps can help students—from elementary to college—stay productive and healthy.

Check out this list of apps for time management, stress relief and, yes, help with studying!

Pomodoro Technique

What’s the Pomodoro Technique, you might ask? Read more here, but the short explanation is that it’s a method for optimizing study time, doing short bursts (25 minutes) of intense study, rewarded with break times. Here are a couple of apps to get your Pomodoro study sessions on!

Eggscellent for iOS—set up your study sessions within tasks, and get rewarded with a “hatched egg” each time you complete a study cycle. Get crackin’!

Pomodoro Timer Lite for Android—with a minimalist interface, it’s easy to concentrate!

Marinara Timer—this web-based timer has three simple settings: Pomodoro (25-minutes), Custom Timer (set your own) and Kitchen Timer (another flavor of set your own.) Just be careful that using this timed-study technique doesn’t make you too hungry for Italian.

Tip: If you’ve got a voice assistant in the house, just say “Hey Google,” (or Alexa, or Siri …) and instruct it to set a study timer. Easy!

Get your head in the game

Flash cards are out, and apps are in! These apps are great for quizzing yourself, flash-memorization, and making sure nothing falls between the cracks.

Google Calendar—lots of sites and apps strive to integrate seamlessly with Google Calendar. We use it as our go-to for scheduling. Plus, it plays well with Android and iOS.

Anki—for memorization. Kind of like note/flash cards, but digital.

RealCalc—scientific calculator on your Android.

Scientific Graphic Calculator—for iOS.

Todoist—from computer to smartphone to smart watches, this app keeps your to-do list up-to-date.

Grammarly—spellcheck outside of Microsoft Word, even works in social media posts. Never write an unpolished post on you’re your Facebook wall again!

Forest: Stay focused—this mobile game for Android and iOS rewards you for NOT using your phone! The longer you can resist picking up your device to check Facebook or play games, the larger your forest grows. It’s a nice incentive to put your phone down and tackle that sentence diagram!

Quizlet—to help you study better with flash cards, diagrams and more.

Calm Down!

Test, projects, flash quizzes … school is stressful. These apps can serve as your very own pocket meditation coach.

Breathe2Relax—takes you through mindful breathing and meditation to alleviate stress.

Calm—this popular app features short relaxation exercises, as well as calming sounds and imagery.

 

Eager beavers and feet-draggers alike can benefit from the right apps, gear and strategy this fall. Here’s wishing you all a happy back-to-school 2018!

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