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We’re all carrying smartphones around these days, but the real value of the devices lies in how efficiently we use them. We can spend our days playing Candy Crush (Fortnite for the younger set) and absently thumbing through social media. Or—better— we can choose to put the gadget to work in aiding us with the challenging business of being a parent or a student.

Here are seven apps we recently tried that could be time-savers and productivity aids for busy students and parents. This summer, why not use that wifi on the beach and try one? Let us know how it works for you.

Kids Eat Free

is exactly as it is titled: Plug in your location, and you’ll get a list of nearby restaurants with special deals for kids. We tried it near our Wilmington location and got a few surprises. For families on a budget, this app can help to plan some family-friendly dinners out.

Playground Buddy

is the app you need when everyone is just a little restless. From any location in the world, find nearby playgrounds where the kids can run! You can even sort by amenities. Got to have a merry-go-round? Or a restroom? Just use the features list to find the best location. We found a playground near our address that we didn’t know existed—visited, and sure enough, there was a sliding board!

Cosi Family Organizer

is a scheduling app that helps to coordinate across multiple family devices. You can keep a family calendar with reminders and agenda emails, access a daily agenda, manage a shared to-do list, and even share a grocery list. Cozi integrates with Alexa— so, just train your teen to say, “Alexa, add milk to my grocery list” when he drinks the last of it, and it’s added to the app’s list for whomever takes the next trip to the store.

The Homework App

is the app you need when everyone is just a little restless. From any location in the world, find nearby playgrounds where the kids can run! You can even sort by amenities. Got to have a merry-go-round? Or a restroom? Just use the features list to find the best location. We found a playground near our address that we didn’t know existed—visited, and sure enough, there was a sliding board!

Photomath

is the app that makes this blogger wish smartphones had been a thing back in the nineties. The app reads and solves mathematical problems instantly by using the camera of your mobile device. But it’s not a cheat app—it actually takes you through the problem step-by-step, and teaches you how to solve it. For parents, this is the solution for when your child asks for help with algebra you haven’t practiced since tenth grade!

Grammarly

is a game-changing app for anyone who needs to send emails, make social media posts, or use a keyboard in general— which is all of us in 2019, right? The basic service is free. It checks your writing as you type, looking for errors in grammar, spelling, style, and tone. Once you install it in Chrome, Grammarly will review your writing in everything from Gmail to LinkedIn to Facebook, Slack, Google Docs, and more. It made five suggestions for this post before it was published. Next time you need to send an email to your child’s teacher or tutor, try it— and then make sure your kids are using it, too.

Scholly

isn’t free— it’s a $2.99/month subscription— but it has so many neat features that it might just be worth it.  Scholly was founded by Drexel alumnus Christopher Gray, who learned while he was a student that about $100 million in scholarship money goes unclaimed each year. “You have students drowning in debt and scholarships that go unawarded. The system is broken,” he told Smithsonian magazine in 2016. Funded by Gray’s success on “Shark Tank,” the service started out as a customized scholarship search that will connect students with growing library of library of 20,000+ scholarship opportunities. But now Scholly also has a math system— similar to Photomath— that walks you through the process of how to solve a program. AND it touts an editor— similar to Grammarly— that promises to help students improve their writing. 

We’d love to know the tools that you use to help manage your busy family and learning schedule. Let us know in the comments.

At Back to Basics, our tutors specialize in building 1-on-1 learning relationships with every student. Whether you need help with time management, subject tutoring, test prep, or educational questions, we can help. Contact us today!

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