Back To School Apps: Tutoring For All Ages

Now’s a good time to feed your mind. These innovative study aids can help you reinforce the lessons you’re taking in school and refresh your memory from the classes you’ve already mastered.

Kindergarten & Primary Students

Learn With Homer


Free/$1.99 Lessons

Homer is the name of a pigeon and he stars in this storybook that records the voices of kids as they learn the basics of reading. With step-by-step lessons it focuses on individual letters, the sounds they represent, and how they are used in different ways to create words.


There are animated faces to emphasize the way the mouth and lips form words and after recording themselves doing the lessons, kids can listen to themselves to see if they’ve gotten it right.

Visual puzzles help associate letters and sounds with real-world objects, while a narrated library of stories, poems, and educational books help kids practice their skills across different forms of print and learn the pleasure of reading.


There are many apps that aim to teach reading, but Learn With Homer does a better job in offering an interactive approach that really communicates the mechanics of reading aloud.

Elementary & High School Students



Free/$1.99 Subscription

If you’ve ever hung out with a friend and had the conversation suddenly become about Amelia Earhart or how fireworks are made, BrainPOP is like that. It’s a series of animated cartoons starring Tim and his robot buddy Moby that casually touches upon the most important and interesting aspects of a given subject.


There’s a new clip every day and a library of 750 clips that cover the familiar school subjects of math, science, art, music, history, health, engineering, and general topics that deal with coping with school pressures.

There’s a sense of humour and ease that makes the clips easy to watch. If you’re finding a class in school too distracting or complicated, BrainPOP can be used to approach the topic again, but by taking it back to the basics.


The daily clip is free along with a small selection of trial videos. From there a $1.99 monthly subscription is need to access the rest, but it’s certainly worth it as a study tool.

High School & University Students

Khan Academy



When Salman Khan started using YouTube and a basic drawing app to tutor his cousins over the internet he had no idea that the resulting clips would go viral. That his lessons can be paused and rewound, coupled with his own engaging style as a teacher, has made his videos popular amongst educators and students around the world. Thanks to partnerships with Google and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation he’s managed to produce more than 4,200 interactive lessons and make them all available for free.


You’ll find lessons covering many of the trickier school subjects including math, science, economics, astronomy, chemistry, medicine, and physics. They come with transcripts and through an online account can keep track of your progress.

There will always be distracted days in school, when your thoughts may drift elsewhere or your attention may be hi-jacked by others. Even teachers can lose their way in lessons that have perhaps become a little too routine. The Kahn Academy lessons are an easy way to rewind the day and start the lesson again so you can get through the homework without the added stress.

BONUS FREEBIES for iPhone and Android




Handy online storage system to transfer files from place to place and share them with others by sending a web link. Includes support for many other handy apps including VLC Player (iPhone/Android) which can use DropBox to send media files of any type to your phone and play them.

Google Drive



Another online storage service, for documents, videos, and pictures, but thanks to Google Docs can also be used to create, edit, and share documents too.



Create, manage, and share to-do lists across all of your devices and with friends and fellow students too. Uncomplicated design and with reminders, makes it easy to remember too. Dictionary & Thesaurus



No internet access needed for this reference which includes audio pronunciations, word origins, and tending lists.

MyScript Calculator



This handwriting calculator converts your drawn symbols and numbers into digital text. Just jot away on the screen and use gestures to undo/redo mistakes.

POETRY from the Poetry Foundation



A large collection of classic and contemporary works by many of the greats icnluding T.S. Eliot, Emily Dickinson, and Pablo Naruda. Shake to discover a poem by mood or do a search for memorable lines.

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