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Top 10 Free (or Mostly) Homeschool Productivity Apps

There are tons of tech tools on the internet for homeschoolers. Apps that you can use to help your child learn, apps that help you handle your finances, apps that help you save money or keep track of homemaking must-do’s.

Sometimes, however, apps are just one more thing to keep up or one more thing to check on. And in the process, it just adds stress to your life. Who needs that?

The apps below are low-stress tools that you can use to help increase your productivity.

Many of them run in the background and work their little tails off with none of your own added time or effort required. Others are there at your beck and call when you need them. I have them listed in terms of accessibility. There are some for use on your computer, others that are smart phone tools, and yet others that are accessible in both locations: the best of all!

They are mostly free (except when there are paid upgrades), but any version is oh-so-worth it. Take a look for yourself and see what I mean.

Computer Apps

1) Grammarly – This is free, but has an upgraded paid version. I have it installed on my browser, and it helps me with spelling and word usage. It fixes my emails, articles, letters, etc. and even helps the kids with their reports for school. LOVE this app. Simple to install and use, and works in the background.

2) Google Docs – When you work and/or homeschool out-and-about, or work in teams, Docs streamlines both your energy and product. This works for your high school or co-op students, allowing them to maintain a copy of their work and share it with the teacher for instant feedback. Moms can also share reports, schedules or other info with the family, their boss, or the moms who rotate in the nursery at church.

3) Calculator – Yes, you want this on your computer if you’re doing ANY math functions. And don’t ask me, moms, “Will I use this in the real world?” You know the answer.

4) Dropbox – Sharing family photos? Need a place to store photos for your blog? How ‘bout large documents or research your student is working on? Dropbox takes the strain off your hard drive and once again easily allows you to share…if you want to, that is.

5) RescueTime – This is a system that monitors your behavior, analyzes it from instructions you’ve defined, and then returns a weekly report about where you spend your time and how productive you’ve been. While the tool in and of itself does not increase your productivity, you will learn where your own black holes are, and how to manage wasted time. But be prepared to learn things about yourself you won’t enjoy learning.

Phone Apps

6) Notepad – This is probably the app I use most on my phone. It has enabled me to get rid of paper-and-pen while I’m away from home, which I inevitably lose anyway, and remember those pesky little important thoughts and urgent items for my to-do list that come up when it’s most inconvenient.

7) LastPass – (In order to use this on both phone and computer, they charge a reasonable fee to upgrade.) Raise your hand if you’ve had to reset your password because you’ve forgotten it…once again. Honestly, for one site that I’m on a good bit, I’ve reset my password to “StopForgetting!” This app takes care of that pesky little event, and keeps your codes encrypted and secure… Ahhhh…

Apps for Both

8) Google calendar – The ability to set up multiple calendars is my most favorite feature of Google calendar. That, and the ability to push to your phone. I have 3 calendars that I use all the time: one is for the family, one is for my blog, and the other is personal. I’m considering adding one for each of the kids as they grow older and start to drive, but that’s still undecided. Whether on my desktop or phone, I can arrange which ones to look at, or include all of them at once, and instantly spot conflicts and/or situations I need to work out. And with the family one, my husband can no longer complain I didn’t tell him about something. Wink-wink.

9) Homeschool Planet – As a homeschool planner, I really appreciate Homeschool Planet’s flexibility, and its mobile access. Additionally, it integrates with my Google calendar, so I can see when an event may conflict with an assignment and make adjustments ahead of time. You can read more thoughts on this product in the review I wrote here.

10) Pomotodo – Years ago a good friend of mine read the book “The Pomodoro Technique” and just gushed about how it changed her life. With all that she does and manages to accomplish, her life certainly bears the fruit of that sentiment. The book describes a low-tech, sensible, yet creative approach to productivity. So can you imagine how excited I was to see an app to help me put those principles into play? You might want to start by reading the easy-to-digest book before putting the app to use, but it’s not a must.

Whew! Think that’s enough? What apps do you use already? Which ones will you be taking for a test drive? Get ready to be more productive!

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About Pat Fenner

Attempting for many years to nail Jello to the wall, Pat Fenner has been managing to keep up with her brood of 5, celebrate her 20th year of homeschooling, maintain some sort of domestic order, and blog at Breakthrough Homeschooling. Someday she'll have time to pursue hobbies such as reading, gardening and cooking more than spaghetti, but until then, she'll just keep on homeschooling and encouraging others to do the same. Join her there, and sign up to get inspiration and resources to creatively parent teens and homeschool through high school.

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