Google Classroom is a service provided by Google to help teachers manage students in a classroom setting. The service is available to individual educators for free.
While usable for homeschooling families, Google Classroom is designed for teachers who work in a traditional classroom setting. Teachers, students, and parents/guardians interact with each other via separate accounts.
Teachers have the ability to create a variety of materials for students, including: assignments, quizzes, questions, and class studying material. Each type of content can be delivered to students immediately or scheduled for a future date.
Google Classroom teachers can grade assignments and define detailed rubrics to describe how students will be graded.
Because Google Classroom is for the traditional classroom setting, the service lacks tools for managing a student’s full academic record. Most classroom teachers will not have the same students year after year, so it’s unsurprising that Google Classroom does not provide a multi-year perspective of individual students.
Compare to School Desk
School Desk is designed with homeschool families in mind. Homeschool educators instruct their children each year, so School Desk records each student’s academic record and keeps student history. The history is used for reports that help homeschool families comply with governmental reporting requirements.
Google Classroom expects all content to be scheduled individually. School Desk’s automatic schedule building handles the dates for you. School Desk educators can focus on the content of their classes and let School Desk handle the scheduling.
Since homeschool educators handle all classes for their students, School Desk’s user interface provides quick access to all the different courses and subjects that educators teach. This holisitic approach brings the focus down to the smaller number of students that homeschool families have. Google Classroom scales better for larger classes that are typical to US schools (24 - 26 students 1), but most homeschool families don’t need that level of scale.
Google Classroom includes tools that are good for large classrooms, but offer little benefit to the average homeschooling family. The communication tools like announcements, private chat, and discussion boards are unlikely to be effective when your student lives under your roof.
We think Google Classroom is an excellent tool that helps educators who deal with the challenges of large classes. If you’re looking for a tool that offers a more personalized experience and is designed for families, then check out School Desk!
Want to try School Desk to compare for yourself? You can for free! Start your 60 day free trial!