One of the most diffuclt aspects of homeschooling to many parents is organizing and scheduling homeschool work and activities. Our family recently got a chance to review a homeschool planning product that is perfect for this purpose from Lord Heritage called HomeSchool Office.
What is HomeSchool Office?
Lord Heritage HomeSchool Office is a complete homeschool planning program that is web-based. Its purpose is to help you to organize your home and school (including your budget, lessons, progress, time, and more). Students are able to access assignment information with their own username, and parents act as administrators and can input a huge variety of information beyond just lessons and grades.
It can be used and tracked from school year to school year. The tools can be used online, and information can be printed out for portfolios or other purposes as well. It is currently priced at $79 per year per family. A free 30 day trial is available.
They use the POWER strategy: Plan (goals, lessons, projects, budget), Order (schedule, lists, reminders), Work (student access, manage lists, follow lessons), Evaluate (track hours, attendance, maintain grading), and Report (create transcripts, customize reports). As you can tell, this program is pretty dynamic with a lot of things going on!
Using HomeSchool Office
Even though we have used this for a several weeks now, I feel like I just got to scratch the surface. I’m glad the membership is for a full year, because I’ll be able to continue to use this and learn even more when fall comes along and I input all of my students. For the purpose of this review, I set it up and used it with my 5 year old, who does a few programs on the kindergarten level. Here is a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes of HomeSchool Office.
Once your student or students are set up in the program, and you’ve established your school year dates, it’s time to set up subjects for them. There are several Subjects (categories) to choose from. You pick the school year, the student, the subject, the grade level, the required hours (which I am not required to do in Texas), the expected lessons (for example, our history has 160 throughout the school year), and the credit hours (hello, high school requirements!). You can also input which books and materials the student will need. This is where I like to put the websites used, curriculum pieces, etc. Goals/Objectives can also be put in here.
This process will need to be repeated for each subject and for each child. Trust me, this extra effort that may take a few nights to type out and coordinate will definitely be worth it long-term! Once you get things set up, you likely won’t have to tweak it much or at all throughout the year unless something major changes!
After you get the subjects in there, you go in and add in assignments. There are many choices and things to put in here, but it’s best to go ahead and get these set up right away so that you can get started using this scheduling tool!
A few features I appreciate in this software that I haven’t seen in others I’ve looked into is the ability to SHIFT a lesson to the next day, COMBINE a lesson to the next day (perfect for days we have an impromptu field trip – we can just add it to the next day’s work and call it good), or even SKIP a lesson. When a lesson is complete, just click “Complete Lesson” and you’re set!
We don’t usually track grades, and probably won’t do it regularly until middle school. However, to keep track of his progress, I just started entering in grades for Heath for a new reading curriculum, so I wanted to show you what that looked like in the program:
I really like that this can be entered in manually, like this, or it can be entered in based on assignments you had already scheduled on the calendar. I have since added the reading program to the regular list of assignments, so it’ll make this process even easier.
Another neat feature I liked was the Budget section. I know some states give an allowance to homeschoolers to purchase curriculums or toward extracurriculars. This would be a nice place to input that information. It’s also great for your own personal budget! This is the way to get those costs in writing. Keep track of curriculum costs, fees, memberships, extracurriculars, and more. You can get the big picture of how much things are costing per person, during which school year, and in which categories you are spending the money.
This is an excellent way to get organized. You can clearly map out the school year and watch the progress as the year goes on. I like the ability to use it to generate transcripts and other official type documents.
Our state doesn’t require portfolios or paperwork, but in the states that do, this gem could save you from a huge headache!
There is definitely a learning curve, but I think it is well worth it for the services this program provides. Lord Heritage HomeSchool Office has a great Support Center with tons of answers to technical questions. They also offer unlimited support.
If you’re looking for a way to keep track of everything homeschool related, check this out! Want to read more reviews? Click the banner below.