Printing from a Chromebook

Printing from a Chromebook

What can I say?

We homeschoolers like printables. It doesn’t seem to matter how many lovely things we can do online – – there are still those occasions when we want to be able to hit that “PRINT” button, and get something tangible for our efforts!

I’ve often heard people express concern over transitioning to a Chromebook because of a worry over whether they will be able to print from a Cloud-based device. Well, worry no more! I’m going to guide you through printing from a Chromebook in this post AND share with you some of my absolute favorite sites for free printables perfect for homeschooling!

Printing from Cloud Printers

More and more printers recently manufactured are designed to be capable of “printing from the cloud.” You can find a full list of cloud-ready printers on Google.com. With these printers, you don’t have to have a PC to print from your Chromebook. All you simply need to do is:

  1. In your Chrome browser settings menu  , scroll down and choose “Advanced Settings”   Menu Icon
  2. Scroll down to “Google Cloud Print” and choose “Manage”
  3. Google Cloud Print will then scan your network for cloud-ready printers, and will ask you to register your device under “New Devices” (Note: if you have previously registered your printer in Google Cloud Print, this step won’t be necessary)
  4. Once you’ve registered your printer, print out a confirmation page
  5. You may now print successfully from your Chromebook
C4H TIP: To print the current webpage you are on use: CTRL+ P

 

Printing from Home or Network Printers

Even if you don’t own a cloud-ready printer, you can still successfully print anything to your printer connected to a desktop or laptop or a printer connected to your home network. It simply requires a few more set-up steps.

  1. In your computer that is already wired to your printer, or is connected wirelessly to your printer, open up your Chrome browser. (If you don’t have Chrome already installed on that computer, you’ll need to do that now)
  2. Make sure to login to your Chrome browser on the connected computer with the same login you use on your Chromebook
  3. Click on the Menu button in your Chrome browser and choose “Advanced settings” Menu Icon
  4. Scroll down to “Google Cloud Print” and choose “Manage”
  5. Click on “Add Printers” and Google Cloud Print will search for any connected or network printers you have attached to that computer
  6. Select the printer that needs to be added and click on “Add Printer”
  7. You should see a confirmation screen letting you know you’re printer is ready to be used with Google Cloud Print
  8. You may now print successfully from your Chromebook

Now for the really fun part…let’s talk about FREE PRINTABLES

Top Sites for Free Printables for Homeschoolers

 

Symbaloo for Homeschool

Symbaloo for Homeschool

The apps and extensions I most appreciate in my homeschool are those which help keep me organized. And one of the most incredibly useful programs I’ve discovered in the past few years is the free tool Symbaloo.

The idea behind Symbaloo is to help organize and easily access the sites and programs we use most frequently. AND, as an even bigger bonus, we can then share our Symbaloo “webmixes” with others – – which comes in amazingly handy when homeschooling 1 or more students.

Get started with Symbaloo

If Symbaloo is brand new to you, I recommend watching their introduction video.

Then, it’s as easy as setting up your account and starting your very first webmix. For more tutorials on Symbaloo specifics, explore their YouTube Channel.

Top three ways I find myself using Symbaloo for homeschooling

  1. To Get Answers Quickly

screenshot-www.symbaloo.com 2015-08-25 13-41-37No matter what we’re studying, and no matter what curriculum we’re using to study it, my kids are always going to
have questions that aren’t answered in the text. So to prepare for that, I’ve created some Symbaloo webmixes to make it easy to follow our curiosities about everything from when Legos were invented to where Beatrix Potter was born. For example, my “reference tools” webmix is full of kid-friendly sites where we can get quick answers to questions that pop up as we’re going through a lesson. (By the way, Legos were invented in 1932 and Beatrix Potter was born in Kensington, London!)

2. For Unit Studies

One of my favorite parts of homeschooling is when we do unit studies. Instead of folloscreenshot-www.symbaloo.com 2015-08-25 13-51-17wing a defined curriculum, we are able to take a given subject or theme and explore it until every one of our curiosities about it is exhausted. We do several of these each year to “spice up” our homeschool experience, and usually my children will vote for the subjects they want to cover. I’ve created Symbaloo webmixes for each of these units, including ones for nocturnal animals, computer coding, World War 2, and the rainforest. Spending just a little time getting those webmixes set up saved me hours of frustration as we studied each unit in detail. Plus, because Symbaloo makes it so easy to share webmixes, my kids can explore all the resources I’ve collected on their own time as well! 

3. For Safe Surfing

screenshot-www.symbaloo.com 2015-08-25 13-41-37Young kids are excited to learn on the web, but my youngsters aren’t allowed to just surf freely without boundaries. Symbaloo takes care of that. By creating webmixes of sites and games that I know are free of adware, commercial messaging, and phishing, they are able to access fun and educational internet content without accidentally landing on a site that is inappropriate for them.

Top Symbaloo Webmixes for Homeschool

One of the most exciting things about Symbaloo is that if you don’t have time to create your own webmixes, it’s unlikely you need to. You can let others do that work for you by searching through thousands of publicly shared webmixes by keyword in the Symbaloo Gallery. Some of my absolute favorite homeschool webmixes are:

 Symbaloo on Chrome

screenshot-www.time4writing.com 2015-08-25 14-54-28As if it weren’t easy enough to use Symbaloo, let’s take it one step further and talk about using Symbaloo on a Chromebook. The Symbaloo Bookmarker extension, available in the Chrome web store, allows you to add sites to your webmixes right from where you are.

Simply click on the extension icon in your toolbar, and you will receive a pop-up dialogue for choosing exactly how to label the tile and which webmix to add it to. Genius!

 

Creating a Simple Form in Google Drive

In our last post we featured an infographic showing all the different ways that you can use Google Drive in your homeschool. Some of you may have looked at that infographic and thought, “That sounds great, but I’m not that computer savvy myself.” So I thought I could spend a couple of posts on tutorials for how to do some of these things we suggested.

So for this post we will learn how to make a simple form using Google Forms. Your very first step is opening the form maker in Google Drive. You will click on the red button that says, “NEW”.Untitled design

You will not immediately see the forms option until you click on the “More” option. Once you do, Google Forms will be the top option. After you click on that, you will see a page that looks something like this:

Screenshot 2015-08-21 at 3.13.30 PM

Choose your form settings in the first set of options at the top of the page. I have already given this the name, “Simple Form”. Now we need to decide what questions we are going to ask and what type of questions to use.

Screenshot 2015-08-21 at 3.28.19 PM

Here I have entered my question and chose multiple choice for the question type. Keep adding as many questions as you need.

Screenshot 2015-08-21 at 3.31.18 PM

When you are finished adding items, you will click on the “View Live Form” button at the top of the page.

Screenshot 2015-08-21 at 3.45.12 PM

As you can see, you also have the options to change the theme, where you can select from several pre-set themes, or view the responses to your form from the people you have shared it with. I hope this very simplified tutorial has given you the confidence to try making a few Google Forms for yourself to enhance your Chromebook for homeschool use.

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