Friday, July 20, 2012

Using Weebly To Centralize Learning Links

Last summer, I wrote about organizing assignments with a blog. We like to follow different "tides" in our learning pattern and the blog became a little stifling when we felt unschoolish. From an assignment space, the blog morphed into another link-collecting space. Since I already have funschooling to park links, as well as the free, online bookmarking site Diigo to categorize links for online games, I ended up with long lists of unused links. Well-categorized, true, but still too much clutter!

Since late winter, I have been playing around with a different tool. I started compiling only the links kiddo uses most often, both for online classes and for fun, into a Weebly site. Of course, a blog will still work for this purpose. Weebly just makes it easier with its free, drag-and-drop widget-based interface. Most important, kiddo seems to prefer this to the blog. He just clicks on the site's icon (he bookmarked it on his browser's horizontal navigation bar) and now has visually clean, quick access to all his classes and preferred links.

How I created the site:
  1. I signed up for a free account at Weebly
  2. I personalized my chosen template with kiddo's photo instead of the standard stock photo. 
  3. One can include a website name. The standard domain name, unless upgraded, is
  4. I made pages for the main subject areas we like to learn.
  5. I added sub-pages to each page. Pages automatically turn into drop down menus when sub-pages are added. A sub-page can be an actual page on the site or a link to another site. So far, I haven't encountered a limit to the number of sub-pages allowed in the free account plan.
  6. Below kiddo's photo, I included an at-a-glance, simple schedule of subjects using the text/ paragraph widget. You may separate the paragraphs as I have done into multiple columns (I chose 5 for the 5 weekdays). This schedule provides structure on the days that he wants it, and may also be changed easily, just like how you would edit any text box. Where possible, I also added links in the text.
  7. Below Friday, I added a button to remind us to check out Coursera's offerings and sign up for any new ones that catch our eye.
We have been using this site for a few months now and we really like it.

Another benefit I see to this is that I can save every schedule in a separate page to keep a "record" of what he learned each year and how he learned it. It could be a convenient, quick-glance list vs. the longer blog records that require a few days' worth of writing, editing, and photo-compiling. After saving the record for the previous year, I can update the site with new links and schedule for the next year.


  1. Wow, that's so helpful and very timely. Can't wait to look into the options further, and your instructions will be great if I decide to use the same format. Thanks!!

    I have just started (last week) a Wordpress blog for DS8's maths and science online resources. He loves it so far. It's exciting to see what is possible these days!

  2. Thanks for the info. I have never heard of Weebly, but I am off to check it out.

  3. Wow...had no idea they had such a thing. Going to check it out!

  4. Hope it's useful to you ladies!

  5. Hi Suji,

    Just thinking of setting this up for my son, and wondered if you and Kiddo are still liking it?


  6. Hi Vanessa,

    Yes, it's become such an indispensable tool. Everything in one place, at one click, gotta love it. The only disadvantage so far is that I'm so tempted to add more links as we find them. :)


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