10 Apps and Programs for Learning to Read

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Learning to read is an important milestone for young children, and there are now many apps and programs available that can help make the process fun and engaging. Here are 10 apps and programs that can support your child’s reading journey:

  1. Homer” – Homer is an app that helps children learn and grow. Their program delivers playful learning across subjects building the skills kids need through lessons and activities they love. It covers reading, math, social and emotional learning, thinking skills, and creativity. They have a 30 day free trial so you can see if it’s a good fit for your student. I made a video demonstrating Homer if you’d like to check it out and see what it’s like!
  2. Reading.com” – An app based phonics program created by teaching.com. It provides easy step-by-step lessons that take 20 minutes per day. It’s designed for a parent and child to use together. It has 99 lessons total. It’s great for kids ages 4-7. And they have a 7 day free trial.
  3. All About Reading” – All about Reading is a complete reading program that teaches phonics, decoding, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension. It uses multi-sensory Orton-Gillingham instruction, and comes with scripted lessons that are easy to follow. They have quick 20 minute lessons. It’s great for all ages, including pre-readers, teens, and adults.
  4. Reading Eggs” – An app that teaches children how to read with fun, engaging games and activities. It uses songs, games, and rewards to motivate children to keep exploring and learning. It’s great for children ages 2-13. They have a 30 day free trial.
  5. Hooked on Phonics” – An app that teaches your child to read and also has a physical component that is mailed to you each month as part of your subscription. It includes games, animated music videos, and stickers and certificates to help motivate your child to succeed. Each lesson takes 20 minutes or less. Your subscription also includes Hooked on Math and Hooked on Spelling. Great for kids ages 3-8. You can try your first month for $1.
  6. ABCmouse” – This comprehensive learning app includes a variety of reading activities, including interactive stories and games, to help children build their reading skills. It’s suitable for children ages 2-8. They have a 30 day free trial.
  7. Logic of English” – Logic of English is a program that uses the Science of Reading to help students learn to read. They have print, downloadable, and online options available. Their programs include instruction for reading, writing, grammar, spelling, and handwriting. Great for ages 5-8+.
  8. Readability” – An app that lets kids read aloud and gives them real-time feedback from an interactive AI tutor. It builds vocabulary by focusing on age appropriate terms to help them learn the meaning and correct pronunciations. Great for grades K-6. They have a 30 day free trial.
  9. Vooks” – Think “video books.” A FREE online library of storybooks brought to life with animation, read-aloud narration, music and sounds, and read-along text. Connecting what they hear to the words they follow along with helps improve fluency, comprehension, and focus. Great for ages 2-8.
  10. Teach Your Monster to Read” – An online game that makes learning to read fun! The computer version is FREE, or they have a paid app so you can take it on the go. I made a video demonstrating Teach Your Monster to Read if you’d like to see what it’s like!

Overall, these apps and programs can be a great way to support your child’s reading journey and make learning to read fun and engaging. Just be sure to monitor your child’s app usage and choose age-appropriate apps to ensure that they’re getting the most out of their learning experience.

11 Awesome Educational Subscription Boxes for Kids and Teens

Subscription boxes can be a fun and convenient way to provide kids and teens with a regular supply of educational materials. Here are 11 options to consider:

  1. KiwiCo – They offer a variety of boxes for kids and teens of all ages, including boxes focused on science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEM/STEAM).
  2. Little Passports – They offer many different kinds of boxes for kids and teens focused on different themes and countries around the world.
  3. Wild Life Outdoor Adventure Boxes – This subscription box service offers kits that inspire outdoor play and exploration. They come with outdoor gear, games, and activities, and they’re great for ages 6-12+
  4. I’m The Chef Too – They offer baking kits that blend food, STEM, and art into educational fun!
  5. Mel Science – They offer hands-on, fun science experiment kits for kids and teens.
  6. Green Kid Crafts – They offer a variety of boxes for kids and teens focused on environmental science and sustainability. Each box contains 4-6 screen free, hands on crafts and experiments for kids ages 3-10+
  7. The Preschool Box – This subscription box service offers monthly preschool activities that encourage learning, reading, and creativity for kids ages 3-6.
  8. History Unboxed – They offer hands on history lessons from around the world delivered to your door.
  9. Reading Bug Box – They offer a box of reading books that are hand-picked and personalized for your child based on their age, reading level, and interests. Great for children of all ages.
  10. Tiny Values – These boxes help teach children ages 5-8 about values such as patience, confidence, kindness, resilience, and more. You can get 45% off of your first box in a 12 month subscription with code MINDFUL45!
  11. Generation Genius – They offer subscription boxes, as well as video lessons, for Math and Science for grades K-8 with fun, engaging, hands-on lessons students love!

Overall, these subscription boxes offer a range of educational options for kids and teens. Just be sure to consider your child’s interests and age when selecting a box to ensure that they’re getting the most out of their subscription.

Getting Started Homeschooling

If you’re thinking of getting started homeschooling, or you’ve already made the decision and you’re about to get started, you might be wondering what your first steps should be.

I’m glad you asked!

Here are some resources to help you get started!


  • Check out HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) to learn all about the homeschool laws in your state.
  • They are a homeschool advocacy organization that helps families learn all they need to get started homeschooling.
  • You can also sign up for a membership where you will have legal protection to help protect your right to homeschool, trained consultants who offer guidance for every stage of homeschooling, and a community of homeschool families
  • Here are their recommended resources for homeschooling students with special needs
  • Learn about the different homeschool styles and take a quiz to figure out your personal homeschool style

2. Homeschool Resource Spreadsheet

Homeschooling can seem overwhelming when you think you have to know it all and figure it all out on your own, but the good news is that you don’t!

There are SO MANY amazing homeschool resources out there to help families with their homeschooling journeys!

Because there are so many that it can be hard to keep track of them all and find what you need when you need it, I created a Homeschool Resource Spreadsheet with TONS of resources organized by category!

Categories include Math, Science, History & Geography, Language Arts/Reading, All-in-one curricula, educational apps, free resources, coding, foreign language, nature, high school, testing, and many more!

I recommend book marking it so you can come back to it when you’re looking for new resources for new needs that come up. Plus, I add to it ALL the time as I learn about new resources!

3. Homeschool Resource Demo Videos

Because there are so many amazing homeschool resources out there, it can be tricky to tell which ones are right for your family and your students. And who has time to try them all out to see what they’re like?!

Once again, I wanted to make that choice easier for you too!

I started a YouTube series of Homeschool Resource Demo videos to show you demonstrations of different homeschool resources so you can see what they’re like from the parent side and the student side, and see if they are what you’re looking for before you try them out yourself.

And I have a LONG list of resources I’m planning on making demo videos for, so subscribe to my YouTube channel to see all future resource videos!

4. Compare Homeschool Math Curricula

If you choose to follow pre-made curricula to teach your homeschool lessons, check out my Comparing Homeschool Math Curricula Spreadsheet to compare all of the different math curricula options side by side so you can choose the right one for you and your students.

There are lots of options available, all with different features to meet different family’s needs, and this spreadsheet will help you find the one that fits all of your needs.

And if math is the area you’re most nervous about and you feel like you would like some support from a math teacher to help teach it, check out my live online homeschool math classes for grades 3-8!

5. Join homeschool groups

One of the best things you can do when you’re homeschooling is connect with other homeschool families. And luckily there are so many homeschool groups that you can join to meet others! You can find local meet up groups through Facebook to find fun socialization opportunities for your students and get support from other homeschool parents. You can also join online homeschool forums and Facebook groups where parents can ask questions, give tips and advice, and support each other in their homeschool journeys! It can be very helpful to talk to others who are in the same boat as you, or have been doing it for a while and can share their experiences.

I hope this helps you with your first steps to get started homeschooling! If you have any other questions, please leave a comment below and I will get your questions answered!

Follow me on Instagram @mindfullmentor for daily homeschool resources, tips, and advice, and join my mailing list to get weekly emails highlighting helpful homeschool resources!

Math Games to Make Learning Math Fun!

Most people don’t think of math as something that can be fun. I know many people dread doing math. But there are tons of ways to show students that math really can be fun and interesting, and playing math games is an awesome way to do that!

Here are some fun math games you can play with your students, and some they can play on their own, to make learning math a more exciting experience for both of you!

War (the card game)

You’ve probably played the card game War before, right? The gist of it is that you and a partner each have a stack of cards and you each turn one over at the same time. Whoever has the higher card wins that round and takes both cards. If there’s a tie, you turn over another card face down and then one more face up. Whoever gets the highest card that time gets to take ALL of the cards from that round. You play until one player has all of the cards.

To turn this into a math game, you can either create or buy cards that have different kinds of numbers on them. I use them in my homeschool math classes to teach comparing fractions, positive and negative numbers, and anything else you can think of where you’re comparing numbers to each other.

You can make your own War cards with note cards and write whatever you’d like on them. Or, if you’d prefer to buy ones that are already made, check out these Addition and Subtraction War Cards, and these Multiplication war cards.


Battleship is another fun game that you probably played as a kid, that you can now play with YOUR kids to teach them how to graph points on the coordinate plane! Check out this game of Coordinate Plane Battleship that you can download for free on Teachers Pay Teachers, and have your student start practicing graphing points without even realizing they’re doing math!

The 24 Game

The 24 Game is one of my FAVORITE math games to play with my students! It practices addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division all together in a really fun game that you can play together as a family, or they can play on their own. Each card has 4 numbers on it and the goal is to figure out a way to make the number 24 using addition, subtraction, multiplication and division and using all 4 numbers on the card once. And there is often more than one way to do it, so it can be fun to see who can find the most ways on one card. There are different levels of difficulty too, so you can start out easy and then move up in difficulty as they practice and get better.

Fraction Dominoes

Fractions is a topic that I have seen many students struggle with over my 10 years as a math teacher. I have found, however, that having visual representations of fractions helps students have a stronger understanding of what they are and how they relate to each other. This Fraction Dominoes game gives students visual representations of fractions, while practicing using them in a fun game to play with family and friends!

Multiplication and Division Games

For students learning their times tables, there are some fun games they can play with family and friends to practice and master their skills. Zoom is a fun card game that practice multiplication facts, and Multiplication and Division BINGO is a fun option to play with a group to practice both at the same time

Prodigy Math

Prodigy Math is a fun, interactive FREE online game that students in grades 1-8 can use to practice their math skills. Students explore the fantasy world in the game, and learn important math skills along the way! Check out Prodigy Math today!

I hope this list of options helps you and your student(s) have fun learning math at home together this year!

Do you have any fun math games that you like to play that you can share with us?

Math Manipulatives and Supplies to Help Teach Math at Home

Teaching your student math at home can be so much fun!

It really is awesome to watch them learn and grow, and to see them demonstrate their thinking. One of the best ways to teach students new math concepts and have them physically show you their math skills is through manipulatives.

Manipulatives are physical objects that students can use to demonstrate and represent mathematical thinking. They provide an opportunity for them to model their problem solving process. There are SO many great manipulatives out there that can help your student learn math, especially if they are very hands on and benefit from visual representations. I have gathered some helpful manipulatives and math supplies that can be good to have around the house for teaching math.


These place value blocks are a great tool for teaching young students about place value. They can also be really helpful when teaching addition and subtraction as a visual way to represent what is happening. Especially when regrouping is involved, seeing where the borrowing comes from helps students conceptualize it and retain it.

Math cubes are very helpful for students to use to build physical models of the math they are learning. Whether they’re working on counting, addition and subtraction, multiplication and division, measurements, or trying to visually represent a situation in a word problem they’re working on, their thought process can be modeled easily with these blocks that snap together when needed.

Fraction tiles are an awesome way to help students visually understand fractions and how they are related to each other. Fractions are often difficult for many students, but having this physical representation of them can really help them make sense.

Number lines are a nice way for students to be able to visualize addition and subtraction, and having a dry erase number line is helpful so your student can practice quickly and easily.

These Multiplication Pop It Boards can be really helpful for visual and kinesthetic, hands-on learners learning their multiplication tables. They are also great for students with anxiety, ADHD, and any students who benefit from fidget toys and objects.

These foam two-color counters can come in handy for counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, they can be used as game pieces on game boards, and they come especially in handy when learning about positive and negative numbers (one color for each type of number).

Plastic pattern blocks can be really great for teaching basic geometry, patterns, shapes, sizes, colors, symmetry, fractions, measurements, shape attributes, and much more! Students will benefit from having the physical shape in front of them that they can observe and work with.

If you’re teaching your student(s) about money and don’t want to give them real money to learn with, having some play money around can be helpful. It can also be used when learning about addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. It often helps to relate those topics to real world applications.

These geometric solids are very helpful when teaching different geometric shapes and their attributes, and to help visualize surface area and volume. It’s helpful for students when they can see these shapes in 3D because it can be really tricky for some to picture them based on a 2D drawing.

School Supplies

A compass and protractor will come in handy when learning about basic geometry. Students will need these tools to be able to draw and measure angles, draw circles, and do geometric constructions in the middle and high school levels of geometry.

Having a whiteboard around is really helpful because it makes working out problems quick and easy, and students often like getting to draw on the board. It’s also helpful to find one like this with a graph on the back to help create accurate graphs when learning about the coordinate plane.

A scientific calculator is great for students to have around during elementary and middle school math. It’s good to have one with square root and exponent capabilities so when they get to those topics, they will already have a calculator that can help them do those kinds of calculations.

Once students start taking high school level math classes, a graphing calculator can be very helpful, especially if they plan on taking pre-calculus and calculus, or the SAT, ACT, or AP math exams.

Hopefully this list of math manipulatives and school supplies will help make teaching math easier and more fun for you and your student this school year! If there are any other things you think I should add to this list, leave me a comment and let me know!

7 Ways to Improve The Homeschool Math Struggle!

I was recently given the chance to write a guest blog post on Homeschool Compass outlining my 7 biggest tips for how to make teaching homeschool math easier, and I’m excited to share it with you!

I know that math is many people’s least favorite subject, and one that homeschool parents I’ve talked to tend to dread having to teach their students. In my 10 years of teaching, there are some things I have found that have made teaching and learning math easier, and I’m grateful to Homeschool Compass for giving me the opportunity to share it with homeschool parents everywhere! Click the button below to head over to their website and read my guest blog post with my 7 ways to improve the homeschool math struggle!

3 Tips for Keeping Up With Math Over The Summer

Many people take a break from school over the summer, and it is often very helpful to at least slow down the academics during this time of year to make time for resting, relaxing, and enjoying time together with family and friends.

But that doesn’t mean academics have to stop altogether! If you’re someone who is looking for some ways to help your student keep up with math over the summer to make the transition into next school year a little easier, I have some tips that can help!

**Some products and services linked below may contain affiliate links, which means that I may receive a commission for purchases that you make from these links. You will not pay more when buying through my links**

1) Use online programs to help your student get a little practice each day!

There are many online programs that students can use on their own to do some quick daily math practice. IXL is an awesome online program that allows students to practice math at all grade levels, and at their own pace. It personalizes practice for each student based on their progress. IXL learns what your student knows as they work, so it tailors the problems it gives them based on specifically what they need the most help with, and doesn’t keep making them practice what they’ve already mastered.  

It also gives parents a very detailed report of their student’s progress and a clear picture of what they have mastered and what they need more practice on.

You can have your student work on IXL practice for 15-30 minutes a day (or however long/often you’d like!) over the summer to help them stay on track and not forget everything they learned during the school year. You know what they say about “use it or lose it!”

It can also really be helpful for filling in gaps they may have in certain areas or topics to help make sure they’re prepared for the next school year! 

If students get stuck while working, there are helpful hints and detailed explanations that will help your student learn and fix their mistakes.

You can try a 7 day free trial to see if you like it, and you can cancel any time, so you could cancel it after summer is over or you can keep it as supplemental practice for them throughout the school year!

A free option is Khan Academy

It has lessons and practice available for Kindergarten through college math and it includes video lessons and some practice problems as well.

It isn’t as personalized as IXL, and it has fewer practice problems available, but it does provide help and hints if they get stuck, and includes pretty much any topic for every grade level.

Students could work through their grade level topics at their own pace throughout the summer. 

They also have some course options such as “get ready for 5th grade” that are meant for students to do to make sure they know what they need to know to be prepared for the next grade.

2) Use games as a way to help them practice over the summer while having fun!

There are several websites with math games that students can play throughout the summer (and all school year!) to keep math fresh in their minds, and have fun while doing it! Some of the website I’ve found to be really helpful for this are:

Prodigy Math

Adapted Mind


Some of them have free accounts, some have free trials, and some have paid accounts.

I have found that making math fun by adding in games can help students enjoy their math practice more and make it less of a struggle. It feels more like they’re just playing games and they happen to be learning math at the same time!

There are also many fun math games you can find on Amazon just by searching “Math Games” and you can have fun playing those together as a family throughout the summer.

Some of my favorite math card games are The 24 Game and Zoom! 

3) Sign up for weekly classes or tutoring sessions to keep math fresh in their minds!

If you’re looking for some live math support for your student, I teach in person and online homeschool math classes, and over the summer any public school students are welcome to join my classes too! I teach math in a way that’s laid back and fun, not scary and hard, to show students that math can be interesting and exciting and much easier than they think!

I also offer private online math tutoring over zoom as well if you have a student who would like more personalized one-on-one help with math, both over the summer and during the school year. 

If you’re interested in private math tutoring, you can email me at jessica@mindfullmentor.com for more details, or visit my website at www.mindfullmentor.com/private-tutoring.

About Me

I’m a former math teacher whose mission is to teach math in a mindful way that helps kids engage and have fun!

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Get In Touch

  • jessica@mindfullmentor.com
  • (925) 451-1716

In Person Class Location

South Greensboro, NC 27406