This article is written for the parent who finds themselves nervous and overwhelmed about the upcoming online school year. While the main focus will be mainly on free the digital tools, I'll touch base on why online school seems to leave many of us shaking in our boots. Also, your institution’s Learning Management System (LMS), whether it be Desire2LearnCanvasMoodleBlackboard, or another platform, will be an invaluable resource for you.

Why is online school so nervewracking for parents?

Part of what feels psychologically distressing to many of us in transitioning to online is the sense of not being in control. If you can’t physically distance yourself from the chaos of your home life, then you may not feel in control and are left with a nagging sense of constant disarray. How could anyone manage to get decent grades with a toddler tugging at your shirt, or while having to nurse through a midterm? But you can do this! With the right communication channels open, a working organizational structure in place, and the support system to assist with parenting during your classes, you will thrive.

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Google tools

The Google suite of tools (Google Sheets, Forms, Docs, Drive, Slides, Groups, Hangouts, etc.) are all free, reliable and easy to use. The fact that they are all cloud-based and do not depend on any files on your personal computer make them ideal for reliability, sharing and virtual collaboration. They let you create live documents and that multiple people can edit and comment on them at the same time.


If you're a student, chances are that your University will be using Zoom for presenting lectures. Zoom helps universities and schools improve student outcomes with secure video communication services for hybrid classrooms, office hours, administrative meetings, and more.


Quizlet your new best friend! Another tool for creating quizzes, flashcards and the like, but another great resource nonetheless. Quizlet is used for learning of all ages, not just university, but it’s suitable for just about anyone. It could also be a really useful tool for trainee teachers to use with their classes.


Writing doesn’t come naturally to all of us, but it’s a necessary part of studying at uni. Grammarly can give you a little helping hand and will check your punctuation and grammar to ensure it reads well. It's integrated plagiarism checker instantly catches plagiarism from over 16 billion websites and ProQuest's proprietary databases.

Khan Academy

Created by experts, Khan Academy’s library of trusted practice and lessons including the sciences, humanities, and even test prep for the MCAT, LSAT, and more. It offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower you to study at your own pace outside of the classroom. Did we mention that it's completely free!?

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