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!