LifeTopix App Review
Mom’s Rating: 5/5
Kids’ Rating: NA
Recommended Grades/Ages: High School, Mom and Dad
Skills Developed: Planning, Scheduling, Time Management, Shopping, Finances
Available On/Price: Universal (iPhone/iPod/iPad) – $2.99
Reviewed on: iPad
Imagine an app that would let you plan your school schedule, keep track of health care appointments, write hand-written notes, add photos, make to-do lists, track your weight and exercise progress, make shopping lists, keep track of bill payments and more? Could a single app do all of these things? Well, LifeTopix can.
This powerful app includes 12 main topics: Tasks + Projects, Shopping, Events, Travel + Places, People + Services, Health + Activity, Finances, Home + Assets, Education, Notes + Files, Media, and Bookmarks. Not only can these modules be used individually, but they can also be linked together contextually.
LifeTopix automatically populates itself with the existing information on your device – your calendar and already existing events will be scheduled into the app for you to get you up and running quickly. The app does come pre-loaded with some sample categories, products, and details so you can see how it works, but for the most part you’ll be entering your own data.
Once you load up your appointments, events, and reminders in the app, your device will alert you as they come up. The app also integrates and syncs with a wide variety of outside programs for those of you who would like to access Evernote, Dropbox, online docs, Toodledo, or Asana within LifeTopix. You can even launch iOS apps, relevant web pages, and HTML5 apps from inside of the app. Mac users can download the free desktop app here and use it to type in large amounts of text that will sync to the mobile device.
So, with so much going on in this organizational app, I’ve chosen to focus in on a few of the features that are most helpful for homeschooling moms. I don’t really use Evernote or Asana myself, nor am I into the project-management features that the app includes. Really, there’s so much here and the app is so flexible it can be used for such a wide range of tasks and lifestyles. Does it work for homeschooling moms? Yes, without a doubt, let’s focus on that and how it can work for you.
The Home screen of the app shows your agenda, it’s a chronologically ordered to-do list that gives you a snap shot of what’s coming up. It shows to-do lists, alerts, your scheduled appointments for today, tomorrow, and the next 7 days. The My Topics screen shows all of the topics listed above and gives you easy one-screen access to entering data into all of your modules.
To-do lists can be managed in a number of ways – you could make checklists (these will show up on your home screen), shopping lists, or add single tasks. Tasks can be added to your Hot List that is a separate screen to see vital to-dos on. Alternately, there is an Inbox option where you can make yourself soon and someday entries to accomplish. You can even make yourself a handwritten note if you prefer the stylus to screen experience over keyboard entry or audio notes if you prefer to dictate to your iDevice.
The My Calendar screen is an attractive digital day-planner style calendar that loads with your schedule and can be viewed by day, week, month, or year. It easily lets you flip between dates, and you can tap on any event, appointment, or scheduled item to modify it from the calendar.
The Health + Activity topic lets you enter your exercise activities, as well as enter your logs – you can measure and keep track of almost everything in her – activity, nutrition, health stats, mediations, and more. My favorite thing here is that you can actually get charts of your blood sugar, body fat, blood pressure, weight, and anything else you’d like to track. Just add in your info, the units of measurement, and watch it do the graphing for you in plot points, line, or bars.
The Shopping Lists features can be used not only to create multiple shopping lists with multiple due dates, but it also lets you keep track of coupons, and with a bit of fiddling you can even use it to compare prices between products. You can add sellers and categories, set up gift purchasing lists, and lists things you’d like to sell as well.
The Finances topic comes with its own Expenses and payments calendar, lets you set up bank accounts and banks, lets you make financial notes, keep track of assets, donations, other payments, and bank accounts. This is all manual – you input transactions coming into and out of your bank, but it really helps to have everything in one place (I’ve previously kept this in a notebook – easy to misplace, lose pages from etc.).
There are more topics, but I’d like to focus in on the Education topic. This is where you can lay out your homeschooling schedule. First, open the settings within the app. Go to My Settings, and under Repeat Schdules choose Max Occurences to be 150. This is what will let you set up repeating daily school subjects.
Now, in the education topic add a new category called Homeschooling. Under that category, create a subject, Math with Child #1 for example. Once created you can add dated assignments, or repeating subjects. I’d like to focus on repeating subjects. When you add a new item under that subject choose appointment.
Go to the full view, describe your event and expand it until you reach the repeat schedule options. This is where you can set up the days of the week for a weekly repeating schedule you’d like to do Math on – every day? Set first occurrence to the date and time you’d like to start. Then put repeat to 1 weeks, then choose Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday under days of the week. Set End Date to the end of your semester (150 repeats is currently the maximum), and you’re done. Math has just been scheduled! It will appear on your home screen and on your calendar, your device will remind you when it’s time to teach! Adjust however you’d like. Have subjects you do twice a week? Three times a week? Once a week? No problem, it’s all easy to schedule.
This is for you mom – it’s not very visual and requires good reading skills, your child might need a simple visual schedule, but this will keep you sorted. It can also be used by a high schooler or college age student to keep classes and assignments straight.
There are multiple view options and ways to input data, you can change the order of items in the main navigational list, you can edit the categories within each topic, setup email or cloud backups, and set a wide range of preferences including color schemes, passwords, and customize other features.
The app includes extensive help and support options that can be accessed within the app in various places, and because it’s so big and lends itself well to a wide variety of planning and organizing needs, you’ll likely need to use that help to customize the app to suit your needs.
Ratings Note: This app is a planner for older teens or parents, so I haven’t asked my children for a rating.
Other Notes: This app doesn’t include any advertising or in-app purchases. It does include web links, email links, and social media integration (as well as other external app integration).
What We Liked:
LifeTopix is like the ultimate mommy binder that has all of your essentials in it – school schedules, shopping lists, appointments, bill payments, hand-written notes, to-dos etc. Only you don’t need a HUGE binder, you just need your device. You don’t need to flip through sections, chug the thing around (lose it in my case and forget to use it).
I also MUST point out that it does an excellent job of adding repeated appointments. Life Topix does the best job I’ve seen of scheduling repeating, simple subjects. If you teach the same subjects day in and day out, and don’t want to do a separate class or lesson plan every day – this is a great choice.
Go ahead and schedule reading every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (or any other combination of days) at 10 a.m. for one of your children over an entire semester and hit go – done. This is one area where a lot of planning apps DESIGNED for homeschoolers don’t perform well. Of course, if you do want to add individual tasks for each of your children for special projects you can go ahead and do that too – there’s a variety of ways you can approach it depending on your preferences.
I also really like the attractive, day-planner style calendar – you can see at a glance what is happening as well as adding and modifying the schedule right from the calendar. Expensive paper day planners be gone!
The ability to add content to the app from your Mac is also a great plus – I personally know moms who’ve looked for desktop integration in their planning apps just so they don’t have to peck away on the iPad keyboard for SO long.
Above all in addition to the extensive help that you can access within the app, LightArrow, the creators of LifeTopix are incredibly responsive. I’ve been in contact with them about a few questions I had and suggestions for improvement. Not only did they respond to me quickly, but they also implemented some of my feedback into their latest release. How much more can you ask for?
What We Didn’t Like:
With an app this comprehensive that functions so smoothly it’s hard to find much to dislike. There IS a learning curve, but the support is excellent – ask if you need help. The only things I can think of that could be added to make the app even more ultimate are a meal planner that integrates with the shopping list and an in-app address book that would populate reminders for birthdays automatically if birthdates are included and that moms could look up addresses and phone numbers in to do the old fashioned stuff like writing snail mail thank you notes etc.
LifeTopix is not only the most comprehensive planning and organizational life management app that I’ve ever seen, but it also does the best job of scheduling simple repeating school subjects for homeschooling moms. Say good-bye to your mommy binder – this app also keeps track of appointments, to-do lists, shopping lists, your finances, tracks your weight, and a whole lot more. Comprehensive? That might be an understatement.
Have you downloaded this app? Let us know what you and your children thought – leave a comment!