Last week I told you about how I open a Google account for each of my children so they can file their typed papers and assignments in Google Drive. Now I want to tell you another way to collaborate with your students using Google.
I am currently homeschooling the five of my six children who have not yet graduated high school. The youngest is 11, so all of them are typing weekly papers and managing a myriad of assignments. Sometimes they need help simultaneously, and I’ve found that our homeschool day is most efficient if everyone has a flat work surface, plenty of space to stack books for each subject, and a computer for each 1-2 students.
I personally love when my kids are all within my line of sight so that I can make sure we are all on task and so that I’m accessible when they need assistance. Once we’ve done our “together subjects,” devotions, and read alouds each day, we go to our work spaces. Our home has an open floor plan with a long dining table, a smaller kitchen table, and a computer desk in the dining room, so we all have room to spread out. I usually also have a kid sprawled on a sofa with books spread on the coffee table. (When it’s afternoon clean-up time, we clear all the surfaces and stow our books in IKEA rolling carts or individual backpacks.)
The family computer is on the dining room desk, and I’ve bookmarked the sites they may freely use: CCConnected, Google Drive, RightNow Media, CNN10, Latin With Andy, Teaching Textbooks math curriculum, and several others that are appropriate for their areas of study.
One student is typically on that computer, one is on my desktop or laptop, I am on my other machine, and we have a student laptop if a fourth device is needed. Everyone can log into their Google Drives, and since Google uses live docs, I can follow their progress at every moment. We can collaborate and type notes to one another within a document. I can help with editing and formatting, and I can also copy and paste templates from older siblings’ Drives if a younger student is new to lab reports or a certain type of assignment.
It’s difficult to multitask and manage multiple grade levels of homeschoolers (especially now that my students are all in middle school and high school, which kind of messed with our “one-room schoolhouse” of elementary school years), but Google Drive has been a wonderful tool for this season of learning in our home.