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If you don’t use Chrome as your web browser, you should definitely check it out. It’s a fan favorite for a reason. It’s clean, user-friendly interface makes it easy to use. It’s fully integrated with your Google account, so once you sign in on any device, you have access to all of your bookmarks, saved data, and more! However, the thing that I love the most about Google Chrome is its HUGE library of extensions. There are extensions to help you with so many different things. There are even extensions to help with writing projects and learning to write better in general. I've rounded up this list of the best Google Chrome extensions to use for homeschool writing.
Whether your child is writing an email or composing a message to update friends and family on social media about what’s going on in their lives, Grammarly is the perfect tool to help them make sure their message is clear, free of mistakes, and has the impact they are going for.
Grammarly is like the amped up version of Word’s spell check and, unlike spell check, it can be used anywhere that you write on the web. Not only does it check for grammar errors, it also checks for contextual accuracy, to ensure you’re not using correctly spelled words in the wrong context (so say goodbye to all of those there/they’re/their or to/too/two mix-ups!).
Not only will Grammarly alert your kids when they make an error, you will also receive a weekly email with in-depth insight and performance stats to show you how your child’s writing skills are progressing and where you could focus on improvement.
If you want to kick things into overdrive, you can always upgrade your Grammarly account to the Premium level, which includes even more features. I recommend the Premium level if your kids are doing research papers because Grammarly will detect plagiarism, offer citation suggestions, and even make suggestions for different writing styles.
If you have a child who is an aspiring author, a great way for them to develop their writing skills is on Storybird. Not only will they be able to read a ton of exciting works-in-progress, they can actually collaborate on writing them! They can also meet and be inspired by writers from all over the world. Of course, as always, I recommend you teach your children about internet safety. However, when used wisely, this could be a fabulous resource for them.
This is a great tool for kids who struggle with writing. Using a word prediction tool, it will suggest possible word choices as your child is typing. In addition to helping your child with word choice, it will also spell check for them as they type. Another great tool is the text-to-speech feature. Your children can use this feature while proofreading. Reading what you write out loud can be a great way to catch mistakes. However, our brains often fill in words that we missed or automatically correct words that are used incorrectly. The text-to-speech feature helps to negate those issues by reading aloud for your child. This app can be used perfectly with Google Docs which is becoming the Word processor of choice for many people since it is free and your work will never be lost just because your computer crashed. As long as you can log into your Google account, you will have access to your work.
Do your kids struggle with blank page syndrome while writing? It happens to the best of us. We sit down in front of out computer (or with pen and paper if you like to do things the “old school” way) and…nothing. Mind mapping can be a great way to overcome writer’s block by using the powers of brainstorming and free association. Whether your child is planning an essay, writing a story, or planning a presentation, MindMeister is a tool that can help them get started. This digital graphic organizer helps kids to connect their thoughts and ideas, whether they are using one of the handy templates or going it solo.
Do your kids get distracted easily? I don’t blame them! When you’re trying to do research online, it’s so easy to get distracted by things – even when you’re on the right page. Mercury Reader helps to eliminate ads and other distractions (like popups). And, unlike other extensions like AdBlock, Mercury Reader also allows you to adjust things like typeface, text size, and dark/light themes so that your child can focus on just the text AND read it easily. It also has a cool feature that enables your kids to send articles they are reading to their Kindle device.
A big part of writing academic papers (especially research papers) is knowing not only WHEN to give proper credit, but HOW to give proper credit. Even as a college student, learning the various citation methods can be confusing. That’s where Cite This For Me comes in handy. Your kids can use it to create complete and accurate citations in APA, MLA 8, Chicago, and Harvard reference styles with one click. You can even create an online bibliography for later reference.
Must-Have Tech for Homeschooling
How about you? What do you think are the best Chrome extensions to help your homeschoolers with writing projects? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.
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