Thursday, September 3, 2009

Homeschool SkedTrack- A Review

I'd like to introduce you to my new best friend. . . . Homeschool Skedtrack!

For the past few years, I've been handling all my homeschool records with pen & paper. It was simple, yes, but tedious. Every Sunday night I seemed to find myself staying up until all hours, writing out assignments, planning activities, and starting off my school week tired and cranky. I knew there had to be a better way. . . . .

With the acquisition of a laptop (hooray!!!!!), I decided that Now was The Time to enter the digital age. My heart was set on Homeschool Tracker Plus - a great program, but alas! Out of my reach in terms of finances. (Plus, I just had a revulsion to buying a Windows OS just to run that one program - it felt - dirty. True confessions of a Mac lover, here.)

I wish I could remember how - maybe it was the Well-Trained Mind forum? - but somehow I stumbled upon Homeschool SkedTrack. Eureka! Therefore, I am happy to present. . . . .


The Top Ten Things I Love About HomeschoolSkedTrack





10. Video tutorials. The whole thing looked so - daunting - at first. But I spent an hour or so with the tutorials, and was impressed at how they walked me through setting up my school year. Below is a screen shot of some tutorials available.









9. No more Sunday night panic. Again, I've spent a bit of time entering assignments into each student's courses, so it's all right there! Here's a screen shot of what Emily would see on a given day:




8. It's free! Yes, believe it or not this is a totally free website. They have advertising, and do accept donations, but you can use the entire site for nothing. Nada. Gratis.

7. More consistency for me and my students. The kids have greater accountability, and I am more motivated to follow through with my plan since it's "on paper" so far in advance.


6. I can include activities, like ballet and Boy Scouts, just by adding them as a course. On the left is a list of Emily's activities - if you look closely (or enlarge it, or something!) - you can see that I have Ballet I scheduled as a "course". So every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday it pops up on her list to remind her that class is that day.



5. No more erasing or rewriting. If we don't get to a certain assignment that day, it automatically moves to the next school day. Beautiful!


4. Easy editing of activities. I can pop on the "Edit/Activities" screen, enter dates completed, project what dates the next activity would occur, and so on. I can even set a course so that I can edit or add the activity as we go. . . .like in science, if I'm not sure how far we'll get.



3. My older kids can log in and tick off the activities they've finished for the day. I still have "approve" them before they become final, but this gives them a measure of independence. I'm thrilled that Homeschool SkedTrack can be used for all my students - from Amy (K4) through Kathryn (11th grade).

2. An easy record of days attended, quick look at our school year, transcript capability, grading, weighted grades. . . .there is so much to this website, it's amazing.

1. It's free! (I know, I said that before. . . .but I think it should count twice, don't you?)

and, in the interest of full disclosure. . . .
The Two Things I Don't Like about HST
1. If my internet connection is "wonky", I have a really hard time getting pages to load.
2. Similarly, I can't work on my schedule or planning unless I have a good wifi connection. This isn't a big issue, since I mainly work on it at home or church, but still, it's a consideration.

Hope this gives my readers (all two of you) a good feel for Homeschool SkedTrack. Go check it out, and see if you don't have a New Best Friend!

11 comments:

Jen in Al said...

what an awesome review and find! i have bookmarked that sight and can't wait to take a closer look! thank for sharing! ((hugs))jen in al

Gina said...

That was really helpful. Thank you!
Gina

Jamie said...

Thank you for this review! I am bookmarking it to come back. I've just created my Skedtrack account (partly based on your review), so I know I'll need to re-read it!

Thanks!

Rachel said...

Researching skedtrack and found your review. AWESOME. I'll be signing up now. And coming back to your blog....:)

leasj said...

Glad I found your review. I've been looking for reviews from people who have been using Homeschool SkedTrack. Looks like I'll be trying it out. Thanks!

stacie said...

Just have to tell you. . . I stumbled on your review. Read your 10 reasons for loving HSkedtrack. I feel as if I could have written it. I, too, found Homeschool Skedtrack through another forum. I felt overwhelmed when I first looked at it. The video tutorials changed everything for me. I would watch a video and then setup that part of our account. Now, I am totally hooked (and so is my neighbor!) I LOVE it and don't know how I would keep track of everything without it. Thanks for your review. The more people that use it, the longer they'll be able to keep it going for free!

Carol Hanson said...

Hi there! I am going to be switching from EduTrack to HS Skedtrack and was delighted to find your post. We use Tapestry of Grace as well (LOVE IT!) and I was wondering how you have tracked TOG assignments in Skedtrack? What have you found to be the easiest way?

Heather said...

Hey Carol - thanks for your kind words. Basically, to schedule my TOG assignments I had a "rotation"; meeting on Day 1, vocab and reading Day 2, map Day 3 - something like that. I would go in and edit each day (sometimes!) with specific assignments, or help my child write in exactly what they should do. Still searching for a better way to figure that part out. . . .

choosetoarb said...

Hi Heather, A friend of mine introduced HST to me. I am interested in sharing my labors with others. I looked through the From World courses that some users had exported. I was able to use several. However, do you know of a way to ask any and all HSTers to export their courses so others can share. I just posted Saxon Algebra 1 second edition.

Heather said...

Other than the developer's website, I actually don't know of a way to encourage others to share. . . . .

kkbrink said...

I have a logistic question about HomeschoolSkedTrack. I have been using this tool for three two years. (It is amazing) and I am planning to start TOG in the fall, having never done it before. Since most things appear to be weekly, I am unsure how you make weekly tasks work on this tool which is so heavily daily, I think. Can you describe how you make it work with TOG? Thanks!