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“Alexa, Can You Help with Homeschooling?”

by David Engle | Jul 18, 2019 | 3 min read

This post is not affiliated or sponsored by Amazon, all opinions are our own. 

OK, since there is no Alexa here to help at the moment, I will do my best to explain why voice-activated devices and apps like Amazon Echo and Alexa can make a huge impact on the world of home education.

If you don’t already own an Amazon device like Echo or Dot, I’ll give you a quick lowdown. Each device is essentially a very, very smart speaker. You sync Echo or Dot with your Amazon account and many more of your favorite apps and then…ask Alexa. She’ll play your favorite music, give you the latest news, tell you today’s weather forecast, turn on lights, answer questions, set alarms and timers, adjust your thermostat, lock doors, find movies, wash your dishes. OK, maybe not the last one, but her list of capabilities is pretty much endless. And all you have to do is ask. With that in mind, “Alexa, how can you help teach my kids at home?”

“I provide access to a vast array of media.” Say you want to show your kids a documentary on the Revolutionary War. All you need to do is: “Alexa, find a documentary on the Revolutionary War.” Boom. Done. Or maybe you’re teaching music history. “Alexa, play Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas Volume 1.” Cue the music. Maybe it’s story time. “Alexa, read The Ugly Duckling.” If you have a book in your Kindle or Audible library, Alexa will read it. You get the picture. Video, music, books, podcasts…you name it, Alexa can get it.

“I have lots of skills.” You sure do, Alexa. Literally, she has about 50,000 “skills” packed into that little device. What’s a “skill?” It’s basically an app that’s been designed for a specific purpose. For example, The History Channel has a “This Day in History” skill–ask Alexa what today’s fact is, and you can start your school day with a mini history lesson. There are so many cool options here. Alexa can play animal sounds, read geography facts, open educational games, read short stories for kids, and teach basic math. Would your little one like to call Elmo? Alexa can arrange that. Or maybe your student wants to flip some Krabby Patties at the Krusty Krab. There’s a SpongeBob skill game that gives kids that opportunity. Best part is, the skills library is literally growing every day with new games, quizzes, facts, and activities, so there’s always something new to educate and entertain.

“I offer convenience.” Homeschooling can be exhausting, so let Alexa help you out. Dragging on a Monday morning? “Alexa, start the coffee.” By the time you get to the kitchen, you’ve got a hot cup or pot ready to wake you up. If your kids are taking a test or are in another room for break time, you can have Alexa set a timer and also notify the kids in the other room (if there’s another device located there) that it’s time to get back to work. Maybe you like some ambient noise while you instruct. Just ask and you shall receive.

“I allow you to multitask.” Homeschooling one child is challenging enough. More than one? Yeah, you’ve got your hands full. Take advantage of Alexa to help you make the rounds. Teach one child a lesson while having another working on some exercises with Amazon Math. Conduct a class on American History while your younger student takes a National Geographic geography quiz with Alexa. Amazon’s voice assistant makes it so much easier to keep one child occupied (while learning, of course) as you instruct another.

“I offer so much to learn.” It’s true, she does. But you’re the teacher, not Alexa. She’s there to help, however, and she’s got plenty of resources to choose from. Why not take advantage? As a homeschooling parent, there’s only so much curriculum you can buy and materials you can use. Alexa helps bridge that gap by offering tons of interactive learning resources that serve as a perfect complement to your daily class schedule.

When you began your homeschooling adventure, you probably did not anticipate having a digital assistant helping you out each day. But Alexa is becoming more and more of a presence in homeschool classrooms because she offers so much in the way of convenience and resources. If you haven’t already, maybe it’s time to introduce Alexa to the family.

Do you use a voice assistant to help with your homeschooling? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

David Engle
Hello, and thanks for reading! I’m David Engle--dad, husband, sports fan, and writer/editor. As a father for the last 18 years (father of two for the last 14), I consider myself to be pretty well-versed in all things related to education, childhood, and parenting, and I'm thankful for the opportunity to share some insights and knowledge with fellow parents. I have been a professional writer and editor for a quarter of a century (it pains me to admit that) and have been writing in the educational space for a number of those years. I reside in southern New Jersey with my wife, two kids, two dogs, and three cats. Never a dull moment.
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