Updated: Aug 11, 2021
The story of Freely Homeschool Planner App
The idea of Freely was deep down in my heart for some time before I actually acknowledged it. It was the hint of a solution to a problem that I was sure had already been addressed. Until I realised it hadn't. At least, not in a way that worked for our family.
The planners that I tried all felt too rigid, our family just didn't fit within their boxes. But I did want to create some sense of order. I was desperate to get all the thoughts, worries, ideas and lessons out of my head and into something that could allow me to really bring them to life!
So after about a year of trial and error and frustration using existing tools like Evernote and Trello, I managed to convince my husband, Aidan, to entertain the idea of building something ourselves.
I already had notebooks filled with designs that I was using to try and make other platforms work. I had long wish lists of what I wanted in a homeschool planner. But, firstly, I needed to know it wasn't just me that needed this. I already knew in my heart that it wouldn't be, but the doubt needed to be addressed if this were to become a potential business.
And so it began, we researched relentlessly. Aidan started investigating the best route to take for the tech side of things, to ensure we could build something fast, flexible and reliable. Whilst I analysed all the homeschool methods, organisation methods, planning styles and children's learning styles. I read books, emailed blog writers, joined homeschool groups and questioned anyone who would listen.
I discovered, to my dismay but also relief, it was not just me struggling. It seemed this wonderful homeschooling life that I was head over heels for had this whisper of a secret... everyone thinks they aren't doing enough and very few people had found a system that worked for them.
I wrote out every single frustration I had felt, or had heard, on a post it note and stuck it to our wall. Before I knew it there were no walls in our home free. I started to see a common need from other homeschoolers like me, ones who like to mix curriculum and follow interests. Homeschoolers that approach homeschooling as a life choice rather than just an education pathway.
Some common factors were:
Needing flexibility and a feeling of chipping away at the planned work, with the ability to leave room for the unplanned.
Ability to capture the moments easily so they can be presented in a way that is memorable and special.
Flexibility to organise curriculum in the most suitable way, making the curriculum work for us, not the other way around.
A way to find things efficiently for records and reporting.
Needing something that doesn't weigh us all down with check boxes or paper or red overdue flags.
Needing something that ENCOURAGES us to homeschool OUR way.
And so, after a year of deliberation, the addition of an incredible software developer and friend, Ian, who is now our co founder, many late nights, meetings, and LOTS of coffee... Freely was born.
From the moment I started working on Freely, I have never felt more determined and destined for anything, it just felt right, it felt like we were meant to do this. And now it's as if there's a piece of my heart out in the world. It's hope, and love, and a dream of helping other families like mine, who feel a bit overwhelmed in their journey because they don't fit in the neat little boxes on paper.
We have spent the last two years working hard on Freely. With an ever growing beta testing group from all over the world. We've made some wonderful friends in the process, who have been using Freely in their homeschools and contributed their time and energy into helping us build a product that suits all families. Homeschoolers see our vision and are joining us in revolutionising home education.
Freely is so much more than just a planner. It's freedom to prioritise what matters most, it captures the essence of your unique, crazy, messy, adventure seeking homeschool. Freely truly lets you homeschool your way.
Until next time,