The following is a guest post, written by Lora Lynn Fanning of Vita Familiae.
The thought of filling a lesson plan book full of notes that I may or may not ever refer back to has always seemed to be a daunting and unexciting task.
But when the idea of using a shareable online calendar for lesson planning came to me, it seemed ideal for my computer-reliant personality and our family.
Here are some of the advantages I’ve found from using Google Calendar in our homeschool.
- Events are easy to set to repeat. This means that once I have our schedule for the year set, I put each subject or meeting into the calendar on repeat. I don’t have to continually add math, science, and spelling to a day. They’re already there, just waiting for me to fill in the specific details.
- I have a printable, savable archive of all of our lesson plans whenever I need them. When my life is already cluttered, I’m not likely to hold onto bunches of paper that I don’t need anymore. But should the need arise, it’s comforting to know that all of my lesson plans, both present and past, are available to me via Google’s super-servers.
- My husband can access our calendar from work and knows exactly what we’re doing every day. This is one of my favorite features. I like knowing that when my husband comes home from work, I don’t have to whisper, “Ask about their history project…” He knows what questions to ask and how to encourage the kids. (He also knows that if the calendar says “arts and crafts,” he’d be wise to come home with Haagen-Dazs in his bag for “teacher.”)
- I can access my library list from anywhere, especially from the library. I’m notorious for planning a trip to the library and then arriving without my list. When I do our lesson plans, I keep a task list in the sidebar for the library and for “supplies needed.” Using my iPhone (another techy-tool no Mama should be without), I can pull up those lists any time, at the craft store or at the library, and know what we need to have on hand for any given week. I can also set up alerts to remind me to put books on hold a few weeks in advance.
- Google Calendar makes everything neat, tidy, and color coordinated without me having to wrestle with an Excel spreadsheet. I tend to require sedation after a few rounds with a spreadsheet document, so Google makes it easy for me. I can have the “pretty” without losing my mind.
It took a bit of time to play around with Google Calendar and learn how to make it work for our schooling and for me. But the time spent was minimal and well worth it.
I can make changes, keep better records, and access my plans from any place with internet access. Best of all, I can include my husband in our daily activities, just by making them available for him to see.
And if I’m lucky, I might even score a pint of ice cream for my efforts!
How do you use technology to help your homeschool run more efficiently?