When you are on a budget, it is nice to know there are alternatives to some of the more expensive software applications! Many of these alternatives are not only free, but in some cases better than the original.
Here are our favorite homeschool-handy open source alternatives:
An every-bit-as-good alternative productivity software. Includes word processing, spreadsheet, database, and presentation and slideshow creator, among others. Obviously, using these applications will be among the skills our children will need to develop as they get older. In the meantime, they are great helps for Mom!
Fresh off the press — OneNote is now available free, not only for Windows 7 & 8, but also Mac, iPhone, and more! Nearly every member of our family uses OneNote to keep organized. With the number of projects I have going on at one time, the number of ideas floating around, and the number of books and other resources I am trying to keep track of, OneNote has become my brain. If your operating system isn’t supported by OneNote, or you don’t care to use it, some prefer Evernote as an open source alternative.
Scheduling. Gotta love it! To see how we use Lightning, you’ll want to read about our 2-Step Daily Schedule. The add-on is a bit clunky and it does seem to get slower as the years progress and the data adds up, but it is a free alternative to those who don’t care to purchase software or use Google Calendar.
Update: The calendar is now included with Thunderbird; no plugin needed.
In case you haven’t noticed we love books! And we particularly love finding old books that are in the public domain. Calibre lets you organize all of the eBooks you use, sync with your eReader, and convert between eBook formats. You can read our review here.
Scribus is our go-to for creating notebooking pages. It is very advanced desktop publishing software with a rather steep learning curve. The best way to get started is by either watching a few of the video tutorials available, or downloading a template to edit. Once you get the hang of it and save your basic pages as templates, it is very easy to use!
Paint.Net is a very intuitive image processing application, especially for those already familiar with some versions of Photoshop. It is easy to just install and go. For those wanting more advanced photo tools, Gimp may be a better choice.
Vector graphics, anyone?
Free Bible study application that has been around since 2000. Read our review.