Homeschooling with Google Docs

Homeschooling with Google Docs


Episode 4: Homeschooling with Google Docs

 
If you are new to Google Drive be sure to listen to episodes 2 (Homeschooling with Google Drive) and 3 (Homeschooling with Google Sheets) which will give some context to what is covered in this episode – Homeschooling with Google Docs.

Google Docs is a spreadsheet program and I love using it.

One reason I love it, is that it is good to use when I am collaborating with others on something. You might be wanting to collaborate with other homeschool moms, or you might be working on something with your children. I have planned trips together with my kids using Google Docs.

If you work together on a Google Doc you know that everyone is accessing the same version. Once you share the document with others, you don’t have to email the latest file to each other. You automatically have the latest one!

My favorite way to use Google Docs in our homeschool was to get my children to use it for their essays and other assignments.

There are a number of benefits to getting your children to use Google Docs:

  • Children need to learn how to use a word processor as this is what they will use in college and the workplace
  • Google Docs is easy to learn to use
  • All work is saved automatically
  • It is easy to go back to previous versions
  • If your children don’t have great handwriting, this is much easier to read than a handwritten paper!
  • You can make comments right in the document which your children can read and then make changes

How to learn to use Google Docs


Google Docs is easy enough to learn just by clicking around the menu options.

However, if you would like your children to have more formal training, our show sponsor, FundaFunda Academy, offers a 2-semester Computer Applications online class (worth a full high school credit) and also a 4 module Google Drive Unit Study. The latter includes a module on Google Docs.

Some favorite features of Google Docs


Under ‘File’

  • You can choose to save the document in a variety of formats including docx (WordPress) and pdf

Under ‘Edit’

  • find and replace makes it easy to change a word or phrase used repeatedly in a document

Under ‘Insert’

  • you can insert images / tables / charts (but graphic heavy presentations are easy to do in Google Slides)
  • headers / footers for each page

Under ‘Format’

  • you can create columns

Under ‘Tools’

  • Voice to Text
  • spelling checker
  • word count

Under ‘Add-ons’

  • Easy Bib – creates citations automatically once you input info about your source
  • You can also add many others including a thesaurus, a rhyme finder and one that provides the text of Bible verses

 
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Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook.

Homeschooling with Google Docs

Homeschooling with Google Sheets

Homeschooling with google sheets


Episode 3: Homeschooling with Google Sheets

Google Sheets is one of the Google Drive apps and if you aren’t familiar with all the benefits of those apps, listen to my previous episode. In this episode, you will learn some of the applications for Google sheets in your homeschool.

Google Sheets is more limited than many spreadsheet programs – which is actually a good thing if you or your children are just starting to use them. Google Sheets is nice and easy to learn to use.

Learning to use Google Sheets

This podcast is sponsored by FundaFunda Academy and they have a web-based unit study on all the Google drive apps which includes a module on Google Sheets. It is aimed at 6th – 12th grade, but parents can learn alongside their children!

You can also use the “Help” in Google Sheets or find videos on Youtube to show you what to do.

So, I will leave you to learn the basics on your own, and in this episode, I am just going to give you ideas on how you can use Google Sheets in your homeschool.

A fun way to start out: Battleships

To start with, you can practice using Google sheets by playing a game of Battleships against your child (or get 2 of your children to play against each other). Each will need a computer. You can follow the instructions here:

Spreadsheets are essentially rows and columns and are really great to use for

  1. Lists: spelling lists, sign up sheets etc
  2. Tables: create weekly schedules with daily activities / chores
  3. Calculating totals: as you add / change value, totals are magically adjusted. Use it for
    • Tracking community service hours for your children
    • Budgeting for you and your children
    • Trip planning
    • Homeschool curriculum purchasing planning / Christmas shopping planning
    • Rewards system/payment for chores etc

Other things to know about Google Sheets

 

  • In Google sheets, one can use formulas and functions. This can be helpful for students to be familiar with before they learn to program
  • Click on Explore at the bottom right corner of a page in Google Sheets, highlight some cells containing data, and you will be provided with statistics and also graphs!
  • All the information collected from Google Forms is stored in Google Sheets making it easy to manipulate

If you found this useful, please subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts.

 


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Watch the trailer here!


Homeschooling with Google Sheets

Homeschooling with Google Drive

Homeschooling with google drive


Episode 2: Homeschooling with Google Drive

In this episode, you will learn what Google Drive is, why you should be using it and how to use it in your homeschool.

What is Google Drive?

 
Google Drive is essentially an online filing system. In addition, it is integrated with a number of apps which makes it even more powerful. You do need a Google account to use it. You can find it at drive.google.com

Why use Google Drive?

  1. You get 15GB free storage to use across Google Drive, Photos and Gmail
  2. You can sync it to your other devices
  3. It provides an way to transfer large files between people. When my online students create videos that are too big to submit in the Learning Management System we use, I tell them to upload to Google Drive and then share the link
  4. It is easy to share files. Just click on the share button and either use enter an email to share with a specific person or provide them with the link. The latter method is useful if you want to share something with a large number of people
  5. Storing files on Google Drive frees up space on your hard drive
  6. All the Google Drive apps include an autosave feature which means you can’t lose you work if you forget to save
  7. The Google Drive apps make collaboration between people easy. It is very easy to work together on a document. My high school children and I would share documents we kept updated with their activities and achievements so either of us could update it.
  8. The Google Drive apps allow you to recover earlier versions of your documents. Just to the right of “help” at the top of the screen, you will see “All changes stored in drive” or “last edit made on …”. Just click on that and in the righthand side of your screen you will see all your versions and you can choose the one you want to revert to.
  9. Changing the content of a shared document or file means that everyone with access to the file automatically has the latest version
  10. It is in the cloud so you can access it anywhere you have internet. You don’t need your own device. You can log in on anyone’s computer to access your files.

What are the Google Drive Apps?

How to organize your files in Google Drive

 
Just as with a physical filing system, you can create folders. And then you can create folders within folders. You could have one folder for “School”. Under that folder, you could have a folder for each child. And in each child’s folder, you could have folders for each subject.

Once you have high schoolers you can add a college folder which has more sub-folders for information about colleges, one for scholarships, one for the documents needed to submit to the applications. You just need to find a solution that works for you.

You can have top-level folders for all the major areas in your life you will use this for. For instance, I have one for my online classes, one for vacations and one for Science Olympiad (which I coach).

How to save your files in Google Drive

 
Once you have your folders created, you can either use the integrated Google Apps to create documents in the folders, or you can upload files from your hard drive.

Of course, if you realize you want to move a document to a different folder, it is very easy to do that!

If you use Gmail, you can save attachments directly from your email. At the end of the email, look for the Google drive icon. Click on that icon instead of downloading the file to your hard drive.

There is a Chrome extension called Save to Google Drive that makes it really easy to save files while browsing the web. You may want to download a document from a website you visit or a class you or your children are taking.

Open the file in your browser. Then click on the Chrome extension and the file will be automatically downloaded into the folder you designate. You designate this folder when you set up the extension and then everything will go to the same folder. (Call it ‘Downloads’ for instance). You just need to remember to go to that folder and move the document to the correct destination.

If you have never used Chrome extensions before, here is a video to explain what they are and how to add them to Chrome.

Online tutorials on Google Drive

If you would like your children to learn to use Google Drive, take a look at FundaFunda Academy’s web-based unit study which also covers how to use Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides and Google Forms. In fact, you can learn along with your children!

If you found this useful, please subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts.

Homeschooling with Google Drive