Alright, we’re right at the beginning of our series on using Evernote for Homeschooling, but rather than jump into lesson plans and record-keeping in Evernote, I want to show you how to use Evernote as your inspiration board.
Pinterest is the go-to site for keeping an inspiration board, and I’ve seen several people lately with posts on how to use Pinterest as your homeschool binder.
However, I don’t think that’s a great idea in the long-term. Pinterest is a fun public visual bookmark board, a way to see what other people want to share, but if you find information or resources you really want to have in five years or even two, you need it saved off the web. You need more than a link if you actually want to use a site in the future, because blogs disappear and sites go down and URLs change. I saved myself a note full of links I have loved for homeschool inspiration and now, 6 years later, less than half of those URLs still work. This weekend I found a service to check my Pinterest board links, and about 1/3 of the things I had saved now go to a valid URL. However, the blog articles I saved into Evernote, I still have.
So that’s what you should do. Anything you will actually want to reference in two or more years, save those articles or images or files into Evernote where you can pull them out of your own system and not rely on others keeping their websites up forever.
I still love Pinterest, and I save things there that I want to share or come back to in the near future. However, for serious saving, I save offline, and that is easy with Evernote.
There are several time-saving tricks I am going to show you in order to do this as fast as you can hit a Pin-It button. Instead of a pin-it button, you need an Evernote-it button, and they make one! It’s called the Webclipper.
How to install Evernote Webclipper
Go to the Webclipper download page and install the one for your favorite browser.
Once you have the little elephant in your browser bar, you’re ready to go. When you click on the elephant while visiting a page, you can save the entire page – sidebar and all, just the article – like a screenshot, or a simplified article – reducing the article to a black and white clean copy. Whatever you choose, once you hit save, that article is now saved offline in your Evernote, where you can search for it and find it whenever you need it, even if the site itself folds or the article you liked was changed, moved, or removed.
It’s a safe keeping-place, whereas a link only (which is all you’re saving in Pinterest), is liable to not work later down the road, for one reason or another.
Not only that, but because it can now be pulled up whenever you search in Evernote, those articles will also be searched, so you will come across that resource when you’re looking for something similar. Say you search “history” – you’ll come across not only your own notes for history materials, but also blog articles that might inspire you to take a certain approach or strategy as you use those materials you saved.
Smart Tips for Using Evernote Webclipper
When you want to save a blog post or forum thread or some other webpage, Evernote webclipper makes it easy. And you can adjust the settings to make it even smoother for you. First, click the gear at the bottom of the webclipper dialog box that pops up when you hit the elephant in your browser.
Now you can tell the webclipper your preferences for how you want your default saving to work. You can have it automatically give it a tag like “article” or “research,” you can send all webclippings to a certain notebook, or you can tell it to use “smart filing,” where it will make a guess on the right notebook for this clipped note based on the words it has compared to the words within notebooks you have. With smart filing, it will also learn from your use where you generally save things and get better and better at filing your articles correctly for you.
Here are my customized settings:
There’s even a shortcut key for the web clipper! With the shortcut key, you don’t have to go clicking that elephant button, you can simply hit ` (right above your tab button) and that dialog box will pop up for you. You can change that shortcut key if you want on that same options screen.
Evernote Webclipper is awesome
When you use this system to save your articles or research, it is available to you offline, it is available in the form you found it, it can be clipped in whole or in part, and it is searchable.
When you start shopping for history books, then, you can pull up Evernote and type history notebook:Homeschool Research and up pops everything you’ve saved about history in your homeschool research.
This short video will show you how simple it is to save a blog post straight into your Evernote with the webclipper.
Evernote is a great tool for homeschooling and research purposes, and the Evernote web clipper makes it even better. It’s just as easy as Pinterest, and your research is safer and more readily available for you when you need it.