Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Homeschooling with Google Drive

Name any homeschool record-keeping software and chances are high that I've either subscribed or given it a whirl through the free trial option. I'm sad to say that despite all the choices, nothing comes close to the kind of functionality and interface I am searching for. So far, the tool that comes closest is Homeschool Tracker Plus but after pulling out my download from cold storage (yet again), and spending hours playing with it, I decided that there HAS to be something simpler than HST's soaring learning curve.

I've been using Excel a lot for keeping track of important links and to have a rough and ready plan in hand for kiddo's learning adventures. Excel is very powerful and I love that I can customize the sheets to look the way I want them to. But my laptop has been showing signs of wanting to crash lately so I decided to check out Drive after procrastinating for the longest time.

One of the things I have really been wanting to do after reading this blogpost (thanks Jill!) is to start an online creative writing journal with kiddo using Google Drive. He has been wanting to collaborate on a story with me and Drive's sharing capabilities look very tempting for this purpose.

So today, out of the blue, I decided to try Drive. I wanted to start simple, i.e. come up with a reading/ learning list for kiddo. I figured out that if I create a form and place its link strategically on my son's Firefox toolbar (Firefox has a nice drag and drop toolbar linking capability!), he can update his reading list himself! All he has to do is after reading a book or watching an educational documentary, hit the link's icon on the toolbar, fill in the pre-formatted fields I designed and Google Drive will automatically save the results in a spreadsheet. Nifty right?

I've tried to include screenshots of what I mean.

A close up view of a section of the form in case you want to see details (the fields chosen are reflected in the spreadsheet columns).


And the spreadsheet that Drive automatically creates for you. We only started using it today so there's only one entry in his spreadsheet so far:
I made a number of mistakes on the form and spreadsheet before finally finding the format I liked. Now that I have a good handle of how Drive works, I am excited to start using it for writing too.

While the mood is ripe, I might also be tempted to design a form for his daily record-keeping! :)

7 comments:

  1. This is a wonderful idea! I need to look into this because I want the kids to keep a record of what they read.

    Thanks for the shout-out in your post!

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  2. I've been using google drive for a long time for my books (writing) and storing recipes, etc. I am not good at all at anything like spreadsheets, though, and haven't even tried that.

    I want to know how you got the beautiful blue pattern on yours though! It looks great.

    I love the idea of collaborative stories, too. I'm going to suggest that to my kiddos. :)

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  3. Hi Alicia! The forms come with templates! I chose a blue template. For the spreadsheet, I am manually highlighting and coloring the rows to make it easy to tell the rows apart. :)

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  4. Hmm, I haven't even heard of Google Drive! I'll go check it out (because I need something else to play with lol)

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  5. Thanks Suji, Like you I have tried numerous record keeping systems and failed at finding something workable. I've just set this up and think it looks really promising. My husband also had a business aplication for this...so thanks from him too :)

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  6. Hi Suji, thanks so much for this post! I've just set it up for my 3 and think it might just be the solution to my issues around recordkeeping. My husband had a business application for this also so thanks from him too :) Darnia

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  7. You are very welcome Darnia!

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