I think I’ve mentioned before once or twice (or twenty times) that I’m an extremely left brained person who lives in a state of continual chaos. Left brained people don’t handle chaos all that well. So, I pick my battles. One of them is organization. I can’t control much of the topsy-turvy roller coaster I call life, but I can find ways to keep certain areas whipped into shape. I call them my Topsy-Techie Organizational Toolbox, and – – because I like you – – I’ve decided to share some of my favorite tools in the box today…
- LIBRARY ELF – This probably goes down as one of my all time faves in the toolbox. Because we are big users of the public library, we couldn’t do without this email library reminder service. By signing up with the free service, and entering each of your library cards into the database, Library Elf will take care of the rest. It reminds you of due dates and holds on any type of media in the library, by sending a personalized reminder to your email. You never have to deal with overdue fees again!
- I WANT SANDY – (Unfortunately, now offline as of 12/08) I am of the opinion that every homeschooling family needs a personal assistant. With all the comings and goings, scheduling conflicts, and appointments, we could use a little help. Introducing: Sandy – – your digital assistant. No matter how big or small the detail, you can let Sandy remind you of it, by sending you messages to your email, Blackberry, Palm, iphone, or cell phone. You talk to Sandy in natural language, and she “gets it”, and makes it really feel like you have an assistant backing you up.
- DONNA YOUNG NOTEBOOKING PAGES – There are quite a few good websites that catalog printable homeschool organizers. This just happens to be the one I go to most often. The resources are free and plenteous, including lesson planners, attendance & grade trackers, checklists, curriculum shopping lists, notebooking templates, and homeschool group printables. The forms can be printed and saved in several formats, including RTF, DOC, and PDF.
- EDU-TRACK HOME SCHOOL – If you are tired of all the paper trail, and especially if you are concerned with the environmental impact of all that paper, you might prefer to do a lot of your homeschool record keeping on the computer. Edu-Track is a homeschool record keeping and lesson planning software that helps you create lesson plans, track progress reports, keep a teacher’s journal, track hours and attendance, organize assignments, create transcripts, organize unit studies, and many other things. It isn’t a free program (it costs $59 for the PC version), but it can more than make up for the investment in time and paper-clutter savings.
- HOMESCHOOL SKEDTRACK – Homeschool has a few less bells and whistles than Edu-Track, but it accomplishes many of the same tasks for free – – and your information is kept online, so that you can access it from any computer.
- MEALS MATTER – This is a nutrititionally-focused online meal planner that helps you organize healthy meals for your family, and includes meal planning tools such as a meal-planner, cookbook, pantry list, and shopping list.
- CABLE IN THE CLASSROOM – As you guys well know, we recently chucked our satellite subscription. But before the DirecTV headed out the window, this was one of my favorite sites for finding and organizing upcoming educational programs. Cable in the Classroom is a cooperative effort from Cable Television stations to create educational programming that is good for classrooms. The resources at the website include a searchable index of upcoming educational shows by subject, and a monthly calendar of programming highlights. There are also links to online video content (for folks like me who have said bye-bye to cable)
I hope you will find something in my Topsy-Techie toolbox that will make your homeschool schedule a little less topsy-turvy, and a little more manageable! Have a great weekend!
Filed under: educational technology, family life, homeschool, technology, television | Tagged: cable, educational technology, homeschool record keeping, lesson planner, library, meal planner, notebooking, organizational tools, personal assistant |