My 5 Favorite Free Audio and Video PC Apps for DIY Digital Homeschool

What happens when kids get a hold of a shiny new DVD or CD?  You’re lucky if it will ever play again.  My solution is not to put a hard copy in my kids hands at all. Digital copies don’t get scratched.  Scratched disks aren’t the only problem with DVDs, though.  A lot of devices are able to play video, yet don’t have a CD/DVD drive or only support specific formats.  Have you ever wanted to make your own audiobook for your homeschool?  You can put your own videos, audiobooks, and music on devices like netbooks, tablets, smartphones, some eReaders, some MP3 players, and even the limited function kiddie tablets like InnoTab, Nabi, and LeapPad.  Here are 5 apps to use if you want to make your own digital content for homeschool.

boy with an InnoTab tablet

Learning on the go with DIY educational content for an InnoTab tablet.

DVDfab

DVDfab

DVDfab will copy or burn almost any DVD.  You can make back-ups of those expensive discs!  If you are converting DVD to another format, you’ll first need to make a digital copy. If you are copying a disk with several videos, such as different lessons or episodes, choose the full disk feature to get all of them.  If you just want to copy the one feature video on the disk, choose main movie.  In order to make a digital copy, choose a target on your computer’s hard drive or an external hard drive.  If you will be converting the DVD to another video format, you will want to use this digital copy for the conversion.  There are DVDs that DVDfab is unable to copy, at least with the versions I am running.  (I am running an older version, 7, because updates seemed to have more limitations.)

DVDfab screenshot

DVDfab screenshot

Audacity

Audacity logo

Audacity is sort of the tool of the trade for editing audio, whether music or voice.  Installation is a bit tricky if you want the ability to save as MP3 (you may need to install the LAME MP3 encoder as well).  At least, it was the last time I downloaded it.  Recent updates may well have solved this problem.  Audacity also has a bit of a learning curve, but with the aid of tutorials like this video, I have been able to figure out how to record many of my own audiobooks, convert old cassette tapes, and I even managed to edit accompaniment music for my daughter’s voice recital.
Audacity screenshot

Audacity screenshot

Freemake Video Converter

Freemake Video Converter
Freemake Video Converter is software that converts video from one format to another quite easily.  It handles almost any format, has some editing abilities, will prepare video for various portable devices, and is even capable of burning.  If you have a device that will play video, and you have a way of loading files onto it, you most likely will be able to convert those video copies into a supported format and play on that device.
Freemake Video Converter screenshot

Freemake Video Converter screenshot

Freemake Video Downloader

Freemake Video Downloader

Freemake Video Downloader will download video from almost any site by pasting in the URL, including YouTube.  It couldn’t be any simpler.  This is a great tool for anyone wanting to play YouTube videos for homeschool when streaming directly from the site isn’t an option.
Freemake Video Downloader screenshot

Freemake Video Downloader screenshot

Freemake Audio Converter

Freemake Audio Converter

Freemake Audio Converter converts from one audio file format to another and can extract audio from video files.
Freemake Audio Converter screenshot

Freemake Audio Converter screenshot

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