If there was one thing I needed to improve in my homeschool, it would be organization and lesson planning.
They have graciously given myself and some other bloggers a complimentary subscription so that we can review it and tell you all about it!
I’m not going to lie, to no fault of the program, when I first got into the program it was a bit daunting. There is just so much to do to get organized!
When you log in for the first time, there are some “first steps” that need to be done. You need to add in all your students, what subjects/classes they are taking, and the master schedule.
Let me back up just a bit. At the top of the page is a row of tabs.
The first one is the Home tab. This is the first page you will come to when you log in. You can write your kids messages that will show up on this page when they log in.
When you click on Team, the tabs in the picture above will show up for you to enter in all the information for those things. I only filled out the Home School and Students tabs on this page. The other ones were unnecessary for me at this time.
The next tab is labeled Plan. Under this heading, 5 more tabs show up labeled Subjects, School Year Plan, Master Schedule, Projects, and Budget. Those first 3 are the most important to make this program successful.
For subjects, you just enter in all the subjects for each of your students. At minimum, you will enter the student, grade level and subject for each subject they are taking. You can also enter goals/objectives and books you are using, but those things are necessary for the program to be used successfully.
Once your subjects are entered, you can then enter lessons for each subject. When you do this, your child will see exactly what they are supposed to do for that subject when they log on for the day.
Next you go to School Year Plan and there is a calendar of the year. Now, make sure you don’t make the same mistake I did and not save that page!!
I had done everything I needed to do (so I thought) to use the program, but things were not showing up properly. It was very frustrating! So, I sent HomeSchool Office an email about it and told them what what happening. They were so nice and helpful. She immediately realized I had not saved my calendar for the year and let me know to do that. I clicked on save on that page and after that everything worked wonderfully! Moral of the story? Save your work! And if you have a problem, definitely email them for support. Their customer service is stellar!!
Okay, let’s keep going… The last thing you do under the Plan tab is to set up your Master Schedule. The master schedule is the schedule you want to keep on a daily basis. Math at 10 on Mondays, Language Arts at 11, Art on Wednesdays, and so on. You will not enter specific information here, just the subject and day and time. This sets up your yearly calendar with all the right information.
The next couple of tabs, Order and Work, look very similar when you open them up.
The Order screen is meant for parent/teacher use and the Work screen is for student use.
The Order screen is where you can enter in other activities besides school work. Think field trips, chores, and lists.
When a student logs in, they only have access to the Home and Work screens. The home screen will pop up first and then they can see any messages you have sent them. Then they will spend most of their time on the Work screen. That is where their plan for the day is located.
The last 2 tabs are called Evaluate and Report. In evaluate, you can enter grades and attendance. In Report, you can print off or download report cards and transcripts.
How did we use it? Did we like it??
We really only use it as a schedule for the day. I haven’t taken full advantage of entering in specific assignments. We have had a VERY relaxed home school until the last year or so. With that being said, just having a specific schedule each day is a step in the right direction. I do plan on using the daily lessons section more as we go along. I did enter in a few assignments just to see how it worked and I can already tell I will like it.
We did definitely like this program. My son (age 11), especially like it. He would log on each day and see what time he needed to do each thing. He even helped me stay on schedule a bit. I had our family Science time scheduled at 10. If it was close to 10 and I was still working with our 6 year old, he would politely remind me it was almost time for science.
I had no idea he would like having a schedule as much as he did. He is definitely more of a planner than I am! He gets that from his daddy!!
There is one thing that I did that I highly recommend if you have certain subjects you do as a family. Add another student and name that student “Family”. That way, when you are adding in your subjects, you can add those subjects you do together under the Family student name. THEN… when you are making your master schedule, you can schedule those subjects all together.
I took a screen shot of our schedule so you could understand what I mean:
Okay, each color represents a different student. The read, purple and pink are my individual children. The yellow is the student that I called “Family” and those are the subjects or things that everyone in the house does. I found this made things much more organized on our master schedule.
I highly recommend you check this program out. If you are not a scheduler (like me), then you can start small and then add in to the program as you go. Don’t let it overwhelm you.
Information at a glance:
What is it? Online homeschool planner/organizer called HomeSchool Office
For whom? Any family looking to be more organized in their homeschool endeavors!!
How much is it? $79/year (There is also a 30 day trial so you can see if you like it.)