I found a tool last year during work that has saved my sanity when it comes to homeschooling…Asana.com. This web-based, free tool serves as the hub for our homeschool lives teaching four different grade levels.
Essentially this is a project management tool that I use for work, but we found a way to modify it’s use a bit and it serves as our school calendar and to do list. Each child has assignments list there with due date, some of them like keyboarding practice and on-going studies are re-occuring. From there we can communicative via notes, add attachments and mark things as complete. I LOVE it!
My favorite features of Asana are:
- Super easy interface – In addition to seeing my personal tasks as well as those of the kids, I can sort them by specific projects, due dates and responsible party. And adding a new task is as easy as clicking on a plus sign. (Did I mention that there’s an app for it as well!)
- Reoccurring tasks (optional) – I LOVE, LOVE this feature! I can set a student to be reminded every day or two to practice their keyboarding, practice their JAVA or work on a more complicated project. This way they are able to mark things as done so I can see what they are working on, and then based on the settings, they can be reminded to revisit it.
- Attachments – have you ever printed worksheets for your students and then had to print them again and again because they lose them or the dog eats them. I love that I can attach worksheets to individual tasks and then the student can print it wherever they are and when they are ready to work on it. No more “I can’t work on that because I don’t have it with me when we are traveling.” Or “Mom, I have to wait on you to print it again.” I’m telling you, this tool is sanity saving.
- Projects – I can limit access to items based on project assignment or give everyone access to everything. This has come in helpful for everyone.
- Personal lists – KISS (keep is simple stupid) is a standard I like to live by. It is SO nice to be able to log in, land on my personal to do list, which pulls any task assigned to me from any project and then sort them by date. This automatically helps me and the kids prioritize their work and helps significantly with time management.
Some additional features that we don’t use so much but are nice to have:
- Permissions – you control who sees the tasks, who gets emailed about tasks and so much more.
- Subtasks – Complicated tasks can be broken down by sub-tasks with individual assignments, due dates, etc. For some of my students, these bit sized chunks are exactly what they need to stay on task.
- Tags – you can use keyword tags to create special filters and views when looking for tasks assigned to certain subjects. I find this really helpful when I’m looking to review all school work for the week by subject.
I especially love that at any time, any place they can log on via a computer, their ipad or even a phone to look at their to do list, sorting by due date and get to work. The other thing I like is that they can add notes, questions, etc specifically to the task which will be emailed to me so when I am not available due to work or just busy, they don’t have to wait to ask, they just drop it in. It’s time stamped so that there is no mistaking 1) that they are getting started and/or 2) they are waiting for me for any reason.
If you are seeking a way to keep your homeschool classroom and students on track, I definitely recommend you try out Asana!
(Note: A couple of others you might be interested in checking out especially if you teach homeschool classes at all are: Edmodo and Haiku. I have used both these programs as well when managing classroom type settings.)