Homeschooling - Organization and Apps

My wife and I have been researching the concept of homeschooling during the quarantine. We have talked to several families who have homeschooled, in addition to several youth who were homeschooled and now attend college. I want to prep myself…and what better way than a good old fashioned app recommendation!!

What apps would you recommend!! I am the power user in the family in terms of technology. So far, I thought about Omnifocus and Trello…any other suggestions?

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Are you interested in teaching technology to your kids, or are you interested in using technology to manage your home curriculum? Or both?


Looking to do both options.

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How old are the kids?

This recent thread in Automators has some ideas for time tracking.

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I’ve wanted to answer this definitively but it’s simply too broad a question! The answer depends on the age of your children, their personalities and needs, teaching styles of the parents, pedagogical method, how present you are able to be, etc.

Generally, when you’re starting out helping children organize, I think you should see how far you can get with simple task lists (either handwritten, printed out or in a text file) until you can discover your needs.

Kanban can work well for older elementary and up, but I don’t know if I’d necessarily use Trello first. They would probably really like to move sticky notes on a wall or whiteboard. Tactility provides benefits to children.

It’s also generally better to avoid burdening them with knowledge of their upcoming work in a central location. So either show them everything they have to do today at once, or show them their future work in a narrow context. For example, put today’s math assignment on the list for today, and if they want to work ahead in math, help them understand how the math book works and what you expect of their worksheets/answer sheets/math essays, so they can just go through the book on their own without being reminded of any other subject while doing that.

When the children are old enough that their coursework begins to be more syllabus-oriented, and/or they start taking external courses, they of course need to start burdening themselves with knowledge of the future. :slight_smile: I’d still recommend teaching them to lay out assignments in a paper calendar or maybe a digital calendar before showing them OmniFocus, because they should still be able to work sequentially/soonest due on assignments for the most part.

Just a few initial thoughts that assume some typical needs. It’s an interesting subject to me so I hope to hear more about your plans and challenges.

I just realized I may have not been clear in my post. :man_facepalming: :sweat_smile:

My children are in K-2 range.

My first step is mainly to help my wife and I manage the homeschooling. (Curriculums, Assignments, schedules, etc). Because both of us have opposite work schedules, we want to divide the homeschooling through the day (as an experiment - we also need to see if the kids like multiple breaks or if they want straight sessions)

I am trying to imagine what (app, doc, filesystem) would be central enough for us to pull up each child’s schedule, assignments, activity, etc for the entire school year. Would need assignment tracking, reports, etc.

Then after that, I would probably go old-school since they are in the K-2 range and do the sticky notes as you suggested (or color coding) on a whiteboard. Agreed tactility for children is a big benefit.

These past few months when we did distant learning, I would open my laptop for my children, sign them into their school account. Their teacher had everything setup in Google Classroom. Since we are doing home-schooling, I have the opportunity to reduce the screen-time again.

I was homeschooled most of the time until high school. We used the Calvert School curriculum. My mom and I would do all the entire year assignments in one big burst of about a month from basically dawn to dusk and then I was free to explore other things for most of the year. We both learned that we had to space out the mailing in of the items for review and grading or the grading folks didn’t believe I had done them. I have no memory of the formal schooling but lots of the things I learned after when I got to choose what I studied.When I was interested in Peru I learned about the clothing, designed a string based language for sending messages, raised, butchered and ate guinea pigs and more. I got to help map caves when I was interested in spelunking, worked with my mom on archeological digs, learned how to drink coffee boiled and sweet with mares milk when I was interested in Beduin tribes and helped collect native mint plants and prepare them for the Botanical Garden collection. I saw home schooling as a way to really focus on what was interesting.


Same here! Calvert until 8th grade. My parents graded the tests though, or had us do the grading for them to review. We also substituted a different math curriculum.

I don’t know if you’ve checked in on Calvert recently but it was bought out and has become a somewhat unpleasant and inflexible set of online courses.

My colleague Joanna Eitel at The Sweet Setup wrote a pretty great article on this not too long ago:

My wife (who does not identify as a “tech nerd”) actually likes Basecamp, and it’s free for personal use. I think that’s a pretty great place to start for collaborative stuff.

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