Word processing on the cloud has taken away some of the woes of previous generations. It wasn't too many years ago that people were using type-writers and white out to edit papers. Thankfully, there are some amazing options out there, and they don't break the bank. My personal favorite is Google Docs. The best part is that it is FREE to use and offers so many fantastic benefits I really believe everyone should utilize Google Docs in their homeschool.
I was not compensated in any way for this post. I really love Google Docs, and we love the resource in our homeschool. All opinions are my own as always!
1. Auto Save
Do you remember the days when you were working so hard on a paper only for your computer to crash or freeze and you lost ALL of your work? Seriously, that doesn't happen when you're working with Google Docs. With the auto save feature, not only does it keep your saved, but it also saves previous versions of something you're working on. This means that if you decided a paragraph just didn't fit in your paper and deleted it only to realize a couple of days later that you really did want to utilize that information, you can access previous versions of the document to copy and paste info back into your current document.
This is an amazing time saver for any student. With auto save, you're not having to worry about saving all the time, and you don't waste precious time trying to recover or recreate lost material. Auto save is a life saver.
2. Easy to Access from Anywhere
One of my favorite features of working with Google Docs is that it is stored on the cloud and not on your hard drive. This means a couple of amazing things:
- You can access it from anywhere by logging in to your Google account
- If your computer gets destroyed, you don't lose all of your documents
I love that I can log in on my phone and have the same access to all of my documents that I have on my laptop. This gives me the freedom to work while I'm out even if I don't have my computer with me.
3. Great for Interaction
My kids are turning their papers in to me digitally now. This is a wonderful way to work with them as an editor. Previously, when my son would print a draft for me to edit, I'd meticulously scour his paper for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. He'd take it and "fix" the errors, and then return his next draft to me for editing. Inevitably, I'd find a section that he forgot to fix, and I'd be re-editing the same area. That was super frustrating.
With the comments feature of Google Docs, I can leave a comment every time he has a missing or extra comma. In the notes I can explain what's needed. When he gets the paper back, he has to go through and "resolve" every comment I make. This helps him not forget to correct any sections, and it also lets me know that he's seen the error.
In conjunction with the auto save feature, I can see what changes he's made by viewing the version history. In each saved version, it shows the changes made. This is an excellent feature for interacting with an editor!
4. Collaborate Across Platforms
I'm an PC girl. Everything about me says I should love a Mac (except for the price tag and the fact that I can't make them work for me as easily as I can an PC). It is so frustrating when I'm trying to share documents with people who have a Mac because they have different word processing software. Even if you convert to a form that both parties can view, there are inevitably quirks in the formatting as it attempts to work together.
Google Docs works exactly the same regardless of what operating system you're working with. This means that I can edit my niece's senior thesis that she wrote on her Mac even though I just have a PC.
5. Watch the Progress
Coolest feature is being able to watch your student work. While it might sound a bit creepy, the benefits of being able to check in on the status of a paper that's due is really a fantastic feature. You can see if they're just getting started or if they are almost finished.
The sheer fact that you're able to make progress in writing is a huge success that should be celebrated. I love that Google Docs really help remove some of the frustrating formatting that you might find in other free word processing software. Writing time should be spent writing, not wrestling with technology!
Do you use Google Docs in your homeschool?