Your family has a voice-controlled home assistant, but you’re tired of asking silly questions like “How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?” If you haven’t explored the technology’s ability to help with more useful things—like supporting your child’s education—it’s time you did.
Schools are now employing virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant to support creative learning environments. Frontier Business reports that applying app-based technology in this way helps students better engage with subject matter, “especially with learning modules that gamify the experience to increase productivity.”
Ready to see how your digital assistant’s apps can make learning fun and successful? Check out some of the following ways to enhance the learning experience for your whole family.
Vocabulary is a major educational building block. Google Assistant’s Mr. Vocab uses categories of words to help older kids stretch their verbal skills, and it can bookmark challenging words to come back to later. Google also has English King, which adds interesting factoids to its grammar and vocabulary exercises.
If Alexa is more your style, children can benefit from the Spelling Bee skill (skill is Alexa’s term for apps). The skill reads words aloud and gamifies the spelling process, encouraging the player to challenge themselves.
Want your child to learn another language? Both Amazon and Google assistants have you covered there. Alexa has the Daily Dose skill available to teach 34 languages using words of the day and audio lessons. Google Assistant’s Busuu features a dozen language courses and lets users take level tests to earn McGraw-Hill level certificates.
 Adding it All Up
When your kids are ready to tackle math skills, Alexa offers several options. The Queen’s Mathematician game is geared to kids aged six to eight, and it requires players to answer math questions and solve word problems to break spells that elves are using to keep the Tree Queen captive.
Alexa also has Math Mania or 1-2-3 Math skills, which offer options at multiple difficulty levels and use word problems and number sequences as teaching exercises.
 Building All-Around Knowledge
For more well-rounded learning, Google Assistant has a bunch of apps where you and your children can learn about the American Revolution, military history, or wonders of the world. And Alexa has similar skills, including This Day in History.
Apple is still a bit behind other smart speaker devices, but even their Siri assistant has a stake in this game. Kids can ask any questions they might have about their homework—the date a certain event happened or a definition of a science term—for a fast and easy clarification.
 Setting Kids up for Success
The various digital assistants can also streamline your child’s bedtime and wake-up routines so they’re fresh and ready for a day of learning at school. Let your home assistant read original short stories or play soothing music to ease them to sleep. Alexa even has the Tooth Fairy skill to take some of the pain out of negotiating with the kids to brush their teeth.
Amazon has also packaged all aspects of the morning routine into the Out the Door skill. When using this app, kids earn special superpowers to beat a creature by completing such tasks as packing their backpack or eating breakfast.
With Google Assistant, you can set up a routine so that when you say “get ready for school,” it will trigger an energetic song to get the kids moving. If your house is set up with the Internet of Things, even your coffee maker can get involved in the action.
 Reinforcing Good Behavior
In case you’re worried that ordering the home assistant around might lead to your kids becoming snappy or demanding to the humans in their lives, the technology has a fix for that too.
Both Google and Amazon have added functionality that prompts your child to say the magic “please” word when they give a command. By responding to polite phrasing, the apps offer the kind of positive reinforcement that reaps dividends in the real world.
In fact, there’s no end to the things your home assistant can do to make life easier for you and your family as you all get into the back-to-school mindset. Want more tips and hacks? Check out the Digitized HouseConnected Home page to see just how much you can do with smart gadgets and digital assistants. And let us know though our social channels how you’ve used Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri to help create a more study-friendly environment at home!
Elaine Thompson is a digital journalist in Salt Lake City. She has written for a variety of online publications with a focus on business sustainability and tech. When she's not writing, Elaine loves climbing and hiking in the beautiful Uintahs. You can follow her on twitter @EThompOfficial.