Are you looking for the best homeschooling tools? If you are looking forward to homeschooling your kid, that’s a very commendable decision. With one-to-one interaction, your kid can be very attentive and achieve a lot without having to spend as much time as one would usually spend at one’s school.
I won’t get to the advantages of homeschooling and I am sure you are already familiar with that. In this post, I am going to share my favorite homeschooling tools with you. This is going to be very useful for any homeschooling parents.
After doing some hours of research, I have listed nine tools that you may find useful for your homeschooling setup.
Now, let’s get to the tools.
Workflowy is a great outliner tool, characterized by nested lists to organize things better and analyze things deeply. Workflowy can be a great tool when it comes to creating a curriculum. Besides, the tool comes with Kanban, a browser extension to capture notes, tags, and several other useful features. Most importantly, you can use this tool for free.
Workflowy allows users to add unlimited files and images in-line. Besides, you can use tags to quickly filter. Further, you can turn lists to Kanban. As far as collaboration goes, it is seamless, backed by Workflowy’s excellent sharing options. On top of that, you can always backup your Workflowy nodes to your PC by simply exporting it in HTML format, and importing the HTML file to Workflowy is equally easy.
Workflowy is available on Web, Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS. Dynalist is a good Workflowy alternative. However, it’s not as feature-rich as Workflowy.
Printfriendly is another free tool and can be used for converting any webpage into a distraction-free PDF file. The online tool helps you get rid of all the unnecessary sections in a webpage and download it as a clean PDF file. To convert a webpage into a distraction-free PDF file, all you have to do is copy the webpage URL and paste it to the Printfriendly preview field.
Next, you will need to click on the Preview button and wait for the PDF file to populate. After that, you can remove the unwanted text or images by simply clicking on them. After you finish making the changes, you can click on the PDF button and wait for the Download button to appear. After it appears, click on it and download the PDF file. You may also like using the Printfriendly Firefox or Chrome extension.
Google Classroom is Google’s Learning Management System (LMS) and is a very powerful educational tool. You can use the tool for free. It’s exceptionally simple to create a class and you can create as many classes as you want. Besides, you can invite students using your class code, and invite teachers using their Gmail IDs.
Every class comes with Stream, Classwork, People, and Grades tabs. Stream is where you can talk to your class. Classwork is where you create topics, add Material (Study Material) to the topics, create Assignments and Questions for the students. Google Classroom is available on Android and iOS mobile platforms as well.
Google Classroom integrates well with Google Calendar and Google Drive. Every time you create a Google Class, a Google Drive folder and a Google Calendar will be automatically created with the same name. You can put that Google Drive folder into a folder and call it Homeschooling if you like.
Even if Google Calendar is integrated with Google Classroom, you will have to set your class timing by going to the Google Calendar app. Due date on Google Class Assignments can be added right from the Google Class app itself and it should reflect on your Google Calendar too.
You can also set customized notifications to send notifications to students ahead of the class. However, for one to receive the Google Calendar notifications, one must have the Google Calendar app installed on one’s device.
Even though Google Classroom addresses almost all the aspects of homeschooling well, I still feel that there has to be a good chat app in place. Having such an app will help your kid share one’s doubts easily with you anytime. It will be like homeschooling live chat support for your kid.
One good setup would be creating subject-based channels on Slack for chatting. For example, if your kid has some doubts about the last science class, one can send a message to the Science channel and you could clarify the doubt in that channel itself.
Learning can get better and faster by watching videos. Educational videos can help your kid have a better understanding of the topic. This is where YouTube comes into play and it’s free.
You can explain a topic first followed by playing a relevant video on the topic to your kid before the end of the session. This will certainly make your classes a lot more interesting for your kid.
There can be times when your internet isn’t working or maybe you have an internet ban at your place. At times like these, your kid may need to use a physical notebook to write one’s assignments. However, it’s also important to convert handwritten notes into digital notes since most of our homeschooling setup is digital.
You can do it using the Tesseract OCR app, which is available as an offline app on Windows, Linux, macOS, Android, and iOS. You can download the Android version from the FDroid store. Tesseract OCR is Google’s technology and Tesseract OCR works offline on all platforms. You can google Tesseract OCR for your preferred OS.
An online collaborative whiteboard can be exceptionally useful in homeschooling to illustrate various parts of a lesson. After trying out many whiteboards, I found a great whiteboard called Liveboard. Liveboard comes with drawing tools, text tool, and it also allows you to upload images.
Liveboard has a distraction-free in-built chat system for real-time collaboration. You can use the tool for free. What I liked the most about Liveboard is the fact that it’s pretty light and loads up pretty fast. Liveboard is available on the Web, Android, and iOS.
Openboard is a good opensource and offline alternative to Liveboard and can be very handy in conducting offline classes whenever you experience any internet connectivity issues. However, there is no sharing option in Openboard. One great way to use Openboard would be to connect your PC to your Smart TV using an HDMI cable and conduct your class using Openboard.
Using a mindmap alongside a whiteboard can help you elaborately illustrate many complex things in a very precise yet simple way. There are many good online mind-mapping tools to choose from. However, I found Mindmeister very intuitive and easy to use.
Besides, the tool also allows you to share your mindmaps with others and collaborate. You can add images, videos, and notes in your Mindmeister mindmaps. Importing and exporting mindmaps is also pretty simple.
Freeplane is an excellent opensource mind-mapping tool that can be used offline on a Desktop. The tool can be pretty handy for mind-mapping if ever you face internet issues and you get offline.
The Bottom Line
Homeschooling is a great concept and you can have an excellent setup using the right educational tools. However, you must also ensure that you don’t incorporate any unnecessary tools in the setup as this will only increase the burden of managing multiple tools. I always prefer to have a setup with the least number of tools.