Three Reasons Every Roadschooler Should Own a Chromebook

Three Reasons Every Roadschooler Should Own a Chromebook

3 Reasons Every Roadschooler Should Own a Chromebook

Who wouldn’t want to be a roadschooler? Learning not by reading or hearing about the world, but by experiencing it for yourself. Having new adventures daily. Creating memories to last a lifetime. It’s hard to think of very many downsides to the roadschooling lifestyle, except perhaps that space is at a minimum. Whether traveling by car, van, or RV, a roadschooler has to carefully consider what items are necessary, and what items can be left behind. That’s exactly why a Chromebook makes an incredibly smart choice for any roadschooling family.

Here are three reasons why every roadschooler should own a Chromebook:

  1. Chromebooks take up less room than the average textbook. And yet they hold the ability to access the information of all the textbooks in the entire world! The average chromebook is approximately the length and width of a standard piece of paper and is less than an inch thick. And yet, it includes a full-size keyboard! That means it could fit easily in a backseat cargo holder, an underseat bin, or even in a large glovebox!
  2. Chromebooks will last the better part of a day’s drive. On a single charge, most Chromebooks will stay powered for 5-7 hours, which means that your homeschool student could complete a couple online courses, write a blog post, play several online games, and edit dozens of trip-related pictures without ever having to plug back in.
  3. Each student can have a separate account on a single Chromebook.  One of the greatest features of Chromebooks is the ability to create multiple user accounts and easily switch back and forth between those accounts. When you do that, the bookmarks and profile settings of each distinct user are remembered, so it’s like having a separate computer for each child – – no need to pack multiple computers!

If you are a roadschooler, and are considering a Chromebook, definitely explore our Online Store to find the Chromebook that best fits your needs. Also, bookmark each of these amazing roadschooling resources:

 

Chromebooks for Special Needs Homeschool

Chromebooks for special needs homeschooling

So hopefully you are convinced that Chromebook is an excellent tool for homeschooling. But what if you are homeschooling a child with special needs? There are plenty of wonderful apps for special education.

  • Birdhouse for Autism helps you keep track of your child’s appointments, therapies, meltdowns, sleep and wake times and everything else related to raising a child on the spectrum.
  • Ameba is a sensory app that creates visual stimulation. Anyone who has lived with an Aspie or an Autistic knows why this is necessary.
  • Speech Therapy App helps you to encourage your child to speak by showing them a graphic and giving an audio cue.
  • What’s the Expression is a Chrome extension that teaches autistic kids to recognize facial expressions.
  • EARLYThree is another Chrome extension. This one is an Autism screening tool to help detect autism in the first 3 years.
  • Touch Autism has a variety of apps to help with very practical issues that spectrum kids deal with such as learning how to use proper manners, learning to take turns, and knowing how to behave around strangers.
  • The Zones of Regulation helps kids on the spectrum learn to regulate their own behavior.
  • Reading Friends gives help and motivation to kids who are struggling to learn how to read.

I hope these few apps and extensions will help you as you wrangle the day to day challenges of raising and teaching a special needs child. If you know of more apps that are not listed here, please feel free to contact us to share those. We may be able to compile them to make another future post.

Chromebook Parental Controls

Since your students will be spending so much time using their Chromebook computer, it behooves us to spend some time exploring the Chromebook parental controls.

Where Do You Find the Parental Controls?

You will find this feature which is called “Supervised Users” in your settings when you click on the “Manage other users” button.

Screenshot 2015-08-03 at 11.41.15 AM

Then you will simply click in the box for “enable supervised users”.

Screenshot 2015-08-03 at 11.47.27 AM

Once you set up a supervised user account, you are able to control where that user is allowed to go and what they are allowed to see while using that particular Chromebook.  

You can block specific websites or just restrict special ones. You can also review your user’s browsing history. Please keep in mind that all of this is still in Beta which means there may still be bugs to be worked out and hiccups along the way.

How Do You Set This Up?

You will click on the status area where your account picture is. Log out, then click on the three vertical dots which you will most likely find at the bottom of your screen. This will open up a dialog box which allows you to choose a name and password for your new Supervised User account. After this is done, you should receive an email confirming your new account and inviting you to manage the settings.

Peace of Mind

The peace of mind you will gain from taking the few minutes to set this up will be invaluable. It is all too easy to accidentally find inappropriate content on the internet. And there are some predators who purposely target children via the world wide web. One can never be too careful when children are using the internet.

 

Unschooling with Chromebooks

Unschooling with Chromebooks

Child-led learning is taking the world by storm. Even in the world of public education, buzzwords like “maker spaces,” “individualized education,” and “self-directed learning” are everywhere. Thanks to non-traditional thinkers like John Holt, homeschoolers have long been aware that sometimes learning only “sticks” when students learn as a result of their innate curiosities.

Technology-based learning is a natural way for this student-directed trend to take hold. So,

How Unschoolers Can Use Chromebooks

Today’s students are digital natives. When students want to know something, they “google” it. Computers are basically curiosity fulfillment in bits and bytes.

Chromebooks, designed specifically as internet-focused laptops, are ideal for seeking answers to questions, researching topics thoroughly, and quenching that need-to-know! Built without the distractions and complexity of traditional computers, a Chromebook can be an unschooler’s ultimate tool in their toolbox.

Find Out Which Chromebook Is Right For Your HomeschoolRecordkeeping for Unschoolers on a Chromebook

Unschoolers usually aren’t tied to a formal curriculum, which means they need a more creative way of tracking what they are learning. The Google Drive Chromebook App can be an absolute lifesaver for recordkeeping because it requires no paper, is completely customizable, and 100% free to use.

You might decide to create a separate spreadsheet for each student with categories for math, science, language arts, and more. Then, whatever your child is currently learning about can be added into the appropriate category. Or maybe you prefer to simply keep a blog-style document for each student that you update daily or weekly with their ongoing activities. For high school homeschoolers, you can even create a transcript using Google Drive that is able to be shared with potential colleges.

Top Chrome Apps for Unschooling

If your self-directed learner hasn’t already discovered these awesome Chrome applications, now is the time to introduce him or her to them:

  • Spelling City makes learning spelling
  • Dinosearch is a child-friendly search engine based on Google, but which blocks out any sites unsafe for younger kids
  • Planetarium is like getting your very own interactive telescope that lets you know what you’re viewing as you view it
  • Pixton is a tool that lets students write their own graphic cartoons where the only limits are one’s imagination
  • Fraction Wall is a fun and interactive way to visualize fractions, decimals, and percents

 

Organizing Your Homeschool Day on a Chromebook

While Chromebooks are wonderful for students, they are awesome for parents, as well. Since everything is synced in the cloud, any organization you do on your Chromebook is accessible on your tablet and phone as well. That is a huge deal for on-the-go homeschool parents, because saving the time of your daughter’s recital to your computer-based calendar means you may or may not remember the correct time if you don’t have access to that specific computer at the moment. A Chromebook puts an end to scheduling snafus like that.

Organizing Your Schedule

For keeping track of appointments, co-op classes, and homeschool p.e., there is simply no better tool than Google Calendar. My favorite features are:

  • the ability to send multiple reminders to yourself by email, computer pop-up, and phone notificationsGoogle Agenda View
  • being able to invite others to your events (want to make sure your son doesn’t schedule something for the same time as his dentist appointment? invite him to the dental appointment event and it will automatically add itself to his calendar when he accepts)
  • being able to view your day in “agenda” mode so you can see everything you have planned for the day at a glance
Organizing Your Lessons

Google Drive absolutely transformed the way our family homeschools. For one thing, we’ve likely saved a full year of college tuition thanks to cloud storage vs all that printer ink. Paperless storage is a modern miracle, I tell you! Some of the main ways we use Google Drive for homeschooling are:Homeschool Lesson Planner Template

  • Keeping daily lesson plans for each child (there are even free homeschool lesson plan templates for this, so you don’t have to create your own from scratch!)
  • Having students complete their writing assignments in Drive, and sharing them with a parent’s Drive account so you can immediately view and/or grade them
  • Keeping high school homeschool transcripts updated
  • Organizing research (links, book titles, magazine articles) for upcoming learning units and activities

Pick your homeschool chromebook

Why Chromebooks for Homeschoolers?

Why Chromebooks for Homeschoolers

Would you laugh if you heard someone say that every homeschooling family should own at least one Chromebook? Then prepare to giggle, because that’s exactly what I’m about to tell you. As one of the least expensive personal computers on the market, a Chromebook just makes sense for both homeschooling parents and students.

Here’s why.

Chromebooks Simplify Homeschooling

As someone who has homeschooled for 15 years now, I realize that one of the single most important goals I can create for myself is to simplify, simplify, simplify. Nothing will derail your motivation to home educate faster than trying to keep track of twenty different curricula, three different filing cabinets, and resources that are stored in twelve different areas of your home.

A Chromebook lets you manage it all in “the cloud” with free built in organizational tools like Google Drive, Google Calendar, and Google Photos. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I needed to print something and figure out where to store it. Google takes care of all that for me so I can focus on things I’d rather be doing.

Chromebooks Can Go Where You Go

If you are just beginning your homeschool journey, then you might want to sit down for this news: Homeschoolers are rarely at home.  With the growth of homeschooling has come the increase in educational and networking opportunities in local communities. Playgroups, co-ops, field trips, and local classes often fill many hours in a homeschooler’s week.

For that reason, homeschoolers may want to take at least part of their schooling along with them. Lightweight and mobile Chromebooks allow homeschoolers to connect to any available wi-fi or mobile network connection to finish up an online lesson or watch an educational video on drives, while waiting for siblings, or during a break at the park.

Chromebooks are Fun

With the ease of a tablet but the processing power of a computer, Chromebooks are the ideal choice for homeschoolers who prefer to blend fun and learning. Unlike iPads and Galaxy tablets, you don’t have to “hope” that your favorite online games, lessons, and videos will work on your device. Chromebooks are true computers that allow your kids to access any website – – even those with no dedicated mobile app.

Plus, you’ll find a ton of learning activities you may not have even been aware of in the Chrome store, like Vocabulary Spelling City, Storybird, PBS Kids Play, and much, much more. And if you choose a touchscreen Chromebook, your kids will feel like they are a part of the action in all of their favorite games.