Dec 15, 2020

How to Manage School, Sports, Homework, And Parent-Teacher Interviews. The top multitasking and productivity tools of 2020 for parents.

Modern students and parents are both busy and have many tasks to complete during the day. A child may have some extracurricular activities in addition to common subjects they have at school.

Considering this, it is the parents' task to create the most favorable conditions for their children for two reasons: first, it will help a child to succeed, and secondly, it will make parents' lives much more comfortable.

Years ago, people used notebooks and stickers on the fridge to keep track of their tasks every week. Thanks to technological progress, people no longer need packs of post-it notes to keep track of everything. This article seeks to find some essential software for students and parents to manage school, sports, homework, and parent-teacher interviews.

Manage school, sports, and homework

Even though these activities deal with school, they require separate planning schemes. It can be hard to keep track of all the basketball practices or dancing classes when you are a working parent who barely has time to get a haircut. There is no reason to panic, though. Below, there are several digital task managers that can help you:

Notion

This program has a free version and an optional subscription. Notion is reminiscent of a big multitasking notebook; the only difference is that you do not have to spend endless pages of your writing pad keeping track of everything. The digital workspace has already attracted the attention of students, teachers, parents, and employees in different companies. The reason for this is convenience!
Notion can be used for diverse tasks. You are free to do the following with this stunning platform:

  • make notes;
  • manage your tasks depending on their urgency level;
  • create and edit lists;
  • draft solutions and ideas;
  • organize your files;
  • create schedules.

What is more, you can save your time utilizing the templates available in Notion. Some of these include such samples as Reading Lists, Class Notes, and Grade Calculator. Every template is editable; therefore, if you want to customize it a little, go ahead! Considering a full integration between computers, smartphones, and tablets, Notion is likely to become a favorite instrument of the busy multitasker.

The most important thing about Notion for students and their parents is that they can share their tasks, lists, and other information. As you create a workspace inside the program, you can choose the people who will also be the members of the same space. Therefore, for the sake of convenience, you may want to have several workspaces: for parents, for tutors, and sports activities.

Flow

Flow proves to be one of the best productivity apps for students and is available for free. The Pomodoro principle is in the essence of the tool, which makes Flow an excellent addition to improving your time-management skills.

For those who are still not aware of the technique, Pomodoro is about a scheduled rest time interspersed throughout your workday. For example, say you have a writing assignment: you need to create an outline, find sources, and start working on the paper. You may get tired pretty quickly if you aim to complete everything at once. For that reason, the Pomodoro technique recommends periodic breaks every 15-20 minutes.

The Flow application informs you whenever it is time to take a break. Users can set the time frame for active working and resting. When it is time to have a break, the program enters a full-screen mode so that you cannot do anything even if you wanted to. What is more, there is an opportunity to block all the annoying notifications from the apps as you work with Flow.

Notability

This is another excellent tool; however, this option is not free of charge. The cost of a one-time payment accounts for only $8.99 though. If your family is using iPad Pro, Notability is something you are missing in your life. Making boring notes can be extremely frustrating. But this tool can cheer you up with such options as sketches, doodles, and images. 

Besides, Notability allows you to make handwritten lecture notes with embedded scans and PDFs! Furthermore, with this software, you have diverse exporting opportunities, which can be very helpful for students. Having a PDF format of the class material, you do not have to worry that you will miss out on something critical while noting something down. 

Whether you prefer an online PDF editor, free mobile editor, or a professional PDF editor for your desktop, you may be pleasantly surprised with Notability. It helps people save time and relieves frustration when all vital instruments are put in one particular piece of software. Sure, Notability is not a universal solution; however, it comes close.

Strides

The Strides program fits everyone, as it is a great tool to track your progress. Students can see how they are moving towards their goal, and parents can keep an eye on their child's success. Interestingly, the software offers some common and popular aims among users. You can find something for yourself in the Strides' library as well.

This application is about keeping your motivation and productivity on a proper level as you try to achieve a specific goal. The program has four built-in time-trackers that are completely easy to use. Besides, you can customize any of these the way you need. Stride organizes the user's daily routine so that a person can see a slow yet continuous progress every day.

Boost your effectiveness at home and school

The most urgent issues related to homework time include a person's inability to focus on the tasks, frustration from the monotonous work, and lack of practice. The three tools for students below can ease your child's pain and help to maintain productivity:

ColdTurkey

People get distracted by many things: noises in the street, a movie somebody's watching in the next room, and, of course, notifications from social media or emails. And if nobody is texting you, you may want to take a look if something has happened on Facebook, for instance. Unfortunately, five minutes on social media can easily turn into an hour, and you realize that you do not have that much time for your assignments. 

ColdTurkey is the program created specifically to block access to chosen websites. For example, if you know that you would like to visit BoredPanda or check the newsfeed on Instagram, include these on the list for ColdTurkey. So, what does the app do? In addition to blocking, the program sends you some motivational words so that you stay tuned whenever you want to check the prohibited websites.

Moreover, ColdTurkey provides your statistics of the time you wasted on this or that website or application. If you prefer to edit PDFs on iPhone Google Drive, you may give in to the desire to text someone, and it is in that moment ColdTurkey can save you. After you look at your statistics, it will be easier to set the priorities as you can analyze which websites take too much of your precious time.

Grammarly

Reading about all these helpful apps and software, you might have found it strange if there was no mention of Grammarly. Everyone knows what Grammarly is; however, not every person knows about all the features it offers. You can find some essential digital proofreading apps on the Internet; nonetheless, Grammarly is hard to beat, and you can make sure of it yourself, as there are both paid subscription plans and a free version.

An obvious thing you should know is that the platform is a powerful proofreading solution for teachers and students. The team of experts work intently to provide users with the top service. Note that the program has better integration with the Mac operating system and Google Docs already.  

You may have noticed that it can be difficult to revise your work. It does not matter if you are an attentive kid; you may miss out on some significant mistake by accident. Consider Grammarly as a tutor who lends you a helping hand in grammar, spelling, punctuation, and so on. Sure, students should not take the tool for granted, but learn from their own mistakes detected by smart Grammarly.

Zotero Reference Manager

Zotero Reference Manager is entirely free software that helps to organize and manage your reference list online. Many students already see the efficacy of this digital bibliographic manager; maybe it is your time now. Not everyone is fond of collecting all the sources, structuring them, and deciding on putting all the footnotes so that they correspond to a specific reference style.

Zotero program is the thing you need if sweating over the annotation page is not for you. The program works as a storage for your books, PDF files, notes, and helpful links. In other words, you can create your digital library. All the materials that you store in Zotero are the ones you are citing in your paper.

As a student writes his paper, the Reference Manager allows him to collect and generate all cited works in any style the professor wants - Chicago, APA, MLA, and others. However, that is not all! Not only does Zotero generate these citations, but it also creates a full and correct bibliography list for you.

Quizlet

Talking about helpful instruments, you cannot forget Quizlet - a solution for daily repetition of school or college material. The application is available in a free version. You might remember the flashcards your teacher showed in elementary school - it is a working method that proves its effectiveness, even though it may look like something exceedingly straightforward.

Nonetheless, the principle of memorization by cards is the essence of Quizlet, and you can see that it works after the first week of use. As it is a digital platform, students feel relieved that there is no need to scissor out all the cards themselves. Besides creating your personal custom-made learning cards, you can share these later with other students. 

In the program, the users can create their own cabinets for different subjects and sort the cards depending on the subject. The Quizlet library provides students with several study modes. If you install the program's app, you will be able to repeat the cards on the go. Students can edit PDF online using Chrome or use a mobile PDF editor to fix some cards as needed.

Parent-teacher interviews: a worthy tool to consider

Parents and teachers should comprise one team, and the only way to achieve this is to keep in touch often. However, people today are very busy, and the schedules of parent meetings might overlap with work, personal businesses, and so on. One of the ways to stay in contact with the parents of students is to communicate via video conferencing tools.

Online conferencing tools for college students prove to be useful for parent meetings as well. Zoom and Skype in the Classroom are among the most used study tools for college. Nevertheless, as this section of the article deals with parent-teacher meetings, it would be wise to focus on Zoom. The software became a real catch for all parties when online learning entered the scene in a big way in 2020.

Here is how a teacher can implement the Zoom platform for weekly parent-teacher interviews:

  • First and foremost, every teacher should schedule all the meetings to make it work. The booked time will be seen in the Google Calendar. The parents will receive the invitation to every meeting room and reply 'Yes,' 'No,' or 'Maybe.' 
  • If there is a need to instruct some parents on how to join the meeting room, the teacher should make sure to do this. The best way to do this is to ask students to demonstrate how it works; another way is to create a step-by-step online instruction. In fact, it would be better if students, their parents, and teachers carried out general meetings from time to time.

Not all the tools for college students allow users to demonstrate slides, share screens, and, of course, communicate in an online regime seeing all the participants. That is precisely what makes Zoom one of the best pieces of software for college. To sum up, these are the key advantage of the platform:

  • One of the top productivity websites for students to carry out online lessons in case of illness;
  • If you have a PDF file with some suggestions, members can use the online PDF editor Google to add their remarks as the meeting goes on. Both parties can try some good PDF editor online free or find a paid version of the top PDF editor programs;
  • Even if someone is missing from the Zoom conference, it would be much easier to plan a tete-a-tete interview for a person using Zoom.

This article includes only a small set of the multitasking and productivity tools for parents and students. Some tools aim at time-management organization, others to boost student's productivity at home. And as parent-teacher meetings have always been an offline thing, it would be great if you decide on trying out some video conferencing platforms.

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