When I brought home the first generation iPad, I admit that I actually knew very little about its capabilities. But as a co-founder of a tech site being bombarded day after day with new iPad apps, I knew that I needed to take the plunge for work’s sake. (Ahem.)

Since owning for about six months now, I can honestly say that it’s become a regular part of my family’s daily existence, as much as our television and my laptop.

If you’re where I was last fall, wondering whether an iPad is right for your family, here are 3 reasons that might convince you to take the plunge.Kristen

Education

As a homeschooling mom, I use the iPad almost every day as part of our lesson plans, but regardless of your schooling choices, the educational value of the iPad is pretty outstanding. In fact, many schools are starting to provide them for teachers, and perhaps, very soon, we’d imagine students too.

We use educational apps for French lessons, math drills and almost every subject in between, and we’ve probably only tapped into a small portion of the endless possibilities. I like that you don’t have to buy any sort of software that goes on a computer because I’m nowhere near ready to let my kids on my laptop. And I love that there are applications with a wide age range; my two year old can play a memory game and then pass the iPad to my six year old so she can play her math bingo.

Organization

iPad calendar app

If you thought that the iPad was just for fun, then think again. You’ll find no shortage of organization and productivity apps that actually help make life easier. Whether you’re running an office or a household, or in my case, a bit of both, the iPad can really streamline what you’re already doing and free up some much needed time.

You can do everything from organize your family’s budget to keeping everyone’s busy schedule straight, all while syncing up to other devices (smartphones, laptops) in the house so it doesn’t feel like yet another thing, but rather like you’ve got your checkbook ledger, date book, and to-do list all in one place.

Entertainment

I love the iPad games almost as much as my kids do, but since getting the iPad, I’ve actually been reading more and enjoying my own downtime–rare as it might be. I’ve organized all my favorite blogs using RSS5000, which allows me to flip through them when I’m waiting at my daughter’s violin lesson or at ballet, and I’ve downloaded a few must-read books using the Kindle app.

You can also get magazines and newspapers, along with crossword puzzles, brain teasers, and more just for you, with access to all of them right from your iPad. It’s like a mobile mom entertainment mecca.

You can purchase the iPad 2 at Apple.com or visit your local Apple store, Target, or Best Buy. And once you bring it home, here are 3 tips to help get you started with your new iPad. Trust us, you’ll want to read it.

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