What does Apple’s new iBooks and iBooks Author mean for homeschool education?

Apple’s iBook event video:


What does this event mean for home schoolers? I suspect it means a lot, but we may not see the results in our midst for a year or two. In a nutshell:

  1. Textbook authors can now easily make their own beautiful digital textbooks for the iPad and sell them on the iTunes store. These textbooks are at most $14.99 USD and can be full multimedia.
  2. Schools can now follow the iTunes U (University) model and put full courses including notes, lectures, video lectures, and assignments online for free.

This surely opens the doors for full homeschool curricula to be defined and offered worldwide to any iPad user with minimal input required from the parent-teacher.

What do you think? Amazing? Exciting? Would you use a curriculum (e.g. SonLight or Apologia Science) if it was available on the iPad?


  1. Heath Courtney says:

    I think this is very exciting for homeschool families. The textbooks that are on the demonstration video are amazing, and the interactive features really add excitement to the world of learning. I also know that our kids need to get used to using technology in their work. They are going to have to use it for the rest of their lives, so starting early is best (imo). I can’t wait to see what they do about things like answer keys and teacher’s versions of the books. And, to answer your question, YES. If a specific curriculum was made available in iBooks, that would weigh heavily on our decision whether or not to use it. I’m not saying we would use it just because it’s available in iBooks, but that would be a big factor in our decision.

  2. I love the idea of interactive textbooks that can be updated easily. But I am wary of Apple not letting people sell their textbooks created with the App outside of Apple. And I’m also concerned about possible eye strain from looking at the iPad for extended periods of time.

    • Mmmm, I wonder if the eye strain thing is real, or a cultural myth propagated by our parents regarding watching TV from too close? I suspect the latter as I simply do not hear of eye strain in the context of computers these days. I would be more worried about OOS as I have had this in the past.

      Re the Apple Store, I think you have a valid complaint, however the same goes for Amazon, Kobo, Logos and so on. On the flip side, the text books are apparently to be cheap, only $14.99 USD max, which is simply amazing. If all the Apologia Science textbooks were available at that price, I would buy them all.

    • I think you will also find that one textbook that you buy from the app store can be used on multiple iPads if they share the same Apple ID (e.g. account name/email). I just hope they bring iBooks to the Mac and don’t stop at the iPad. Amazon support multiple platforms for their Kindle books.

    • Eye strain? From an iPad? Nah…! Besides, you can connect ya iPad to any modern tv (some via remote/wifi)…! Now THAT’S cool…! :-)

    • Concerning the eye strain…Most of the book apps have the option to increase the font size. My daughter actually thinks it is easier to read on the Kindle or the iPad.
      You can sell the “content” outside of Apple but the file created with the iBooks Author tool cannot be used to sell outside of Apples iBooks store.