What to Consider When Buying a Laptop for Your Child: The Best Models for Elementary, Middle and High School

An investment in a child’s education is still an investment — especially when pricey technology is on the line. When it comes to preparing a child for school with a new or new-to-them laptop, there is plenty for parents to consider. But with an Apple computer, that investment is more likely to pay off while keeping up with the ever-changing circumstances of school. 

However, the Apple price tag doesn’t need to be a barrier to setting your kids up for tech success. Just like an inspected used car, a renewed Mac gives a second life to a perfectly capable machine. They’ve been  checked, cleaned and data wiped and are ready for the next user at a fraction of the cost. A renewed Mac is the best solution for a kid’s laptop, especially as they get older and their homework assignments get more complicated. Keep reading to discover the best apple laptop for your child’s unique needs. 

Elementary School

Gone are the days of wondering “what age is a good age for a computer?” With the prevalence of technology in primary schools, more and more parents are on the hunt for laptops for their elementary-aged children. And for the more accident prone kiddos out there, Macs are a great fit. They’re durable, repairable and insurable. 

At an elementary level, students are using more basic software technology, but it’s still important that the software works. Between the toughness of Mac, the renowned security and the consistent updates provided seamlessly by Apple, these laptops are the best option. 

As Ashley Brooks of  Rasmussen College notes, elementary-aged children can utilize computers to interact with games that allow them to learn some basic coding, engage their imaginations and read from an early age. 

What to Buy

For your young student, a simple MacBook Air 11” or MaBook Air 13” would be the perfect tech companion. Both are lightweight so as to not weigh down their little backpacks, durable and compact enough to run simple programs without a problem. Alternatively, a few-year-old  12” MacBook with would also be an excellent choice. Newer MacBook models have a slightly higher program running capability than standard MacBook Air models (which could be good for a kiddo who loves to play computer games or is interested in using more complicated programs) but don't have a significant difference in weight.

Middle School

If a student needs to transfer their info to another computer once they get to middle or high school, Apple’s data-sharing abilities will come in handy to save the student (and parent) from the migration headache. All of those cute elementary stories? Transferred. Photos of the besties during recess? Transferred. An old school copy of “Minecraft”? Transferred. 

By middle school, if they haven’t started playing around with them already, some of Apple’s slightly more advanced software will start to pique their interest. Whether they’re using Keynote to wow their classmates, Facetime to keep in touch outside the classroom or iMovie to record their preteen antics, they’ll stick to their Mac like glue. Plus, the sleek design of their MacBook is sure to win the hearts of even the dodgiest tweenager.

And although at the middle school age a student is more likely to use social media constantly, a computer will still broaden their intellectual horizons. Or so Brian Puerling, technology coordinator and curriculum specialist at Catherine Cook School and author of the “Teaching in the Digital Age” series  told Brooks. 

Brooks goes on to say that children of this age are likely to engage with computer applications that encourage reading, creativity, musicality and developing their personal hobbies. With a Mac, many such applications come built-in with top-level antivirus security, seamless updates and Apple support. 

What to Buy

For your young tween or teen, a lightweight model like the MacBook Air 13” is an ideal solution. It still won’t weigh them down and the extra processing power of newer MacBook Air models them everything they’d need to store all the documents and projects they’ll be saving. But if your young student is interested in more technological pursuits a starter MacBook Pro might be the way to go. A newer 13” MacBook Pro has the extra capacity to run more advanced programming and provide an excellent tool for a budding computer whiz. 

High School

By high school, your student is using computers regularly. If they’ve been using them since a young age, they may even be more proficient than their parents or teachers. Now, they would be utilizing a Mac’s integrated email software to interact with teachers or bosses, using Calendar or Notes to keep track of their busy schedules and probably spending a lot of time streaming TV or movies. 

If they don’t have their own laptop yet, now is the perfect opportunity to invest in one. Macs are known for their long lifespans, and if luck is on their side, a Macbook on the newer side (think 2018 or 2019) could serve them through high school and college. Christopher Phin, regular contributor at  Macworld.com, wrote a retirement speech for his beloved Macbook, which served him from 2008 to 2015. Those computers are built to last. 

What to Buy

Young adult students will need a computer that best fits their advanced academic needs. A MacBook Pro provides that service in spades with the best hardware in the Apple product market. A 13” Pro with should provide everything they need to store everything they’ve gotten for school as well as run any advanced programs they might want to explore. Pros also still have the main set of ports which the MacBook Air does not have for the sake of space and weight. That way, your student can share their screen via HDMI cables, connect their phone and use external hard drives to their heart’s abandon. If running advanced programs or plugging in USB ports isn’t a concern, a 13” MacBook Air would also suit their needs.

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