- Reviewed on Wednesday, August 28, 2013
- Grades Used: Pre-K to 12
- Dates used: 2009-2013
5 star lesson planner! Essential to my successful homeschooling! And it's free!
Things I love about it:
1 -It does automatic grading, with exceptional options for calculating those grades
2 - It offers automatic and detailed record-keeping of completed lessons and attendance
3 - It bumps uncompleted assignments to the next day so the calendar always shows the correct assignments (unlike all the public school lesson planning systems I've tried)
4 - It is both extremely detailed and flexible - the options it allows me to use to create classes, schedules, and lesson plans are amazing and seemingly limitless. I can do almost anything I want to with this program!
5 - It's very user-friendly for the kids to access and/or record their daily work, which is really the critical test in whether or not you'll keep using it.
6 - You can use it either to create formal lesson plans in advance so the kids can see their daily assignments, or to simply write in what they did that day as a way for record-keeping purposes (which is especially valuable for unschooling and flexible approaches). You can even use it both ways in case you have some formal subjects (like math) and some informal (like theme units).
7 - It's visually appealing. Well, not quite appealing, but very approachable and user-friendly. You can see what needs to be seen and it's all laid out logically and accessibly, especially in comparison to other planning systems I've tried.
8 - There's just so much possible with this system that i can't list it all, it's truly amazing.
For the cons:
1 -Because it bumps uncompleted assignments to the next day, it's hard to see when you're behind schedule. Everything appears as if it's "on time" because it shows up on today's schedule. However, you can choose to Predict Dates on the assignments and copy-and-paste it onto a document to keep for reference, or do the same kind of thing from the Calendar view by printing off each week's plans at the beginning of the year. But either way, you have to refer to the printed sheets during the year to see if you're on schedule or behind. That's not ideal, but it sure beats the alternative option of *not* bumping uncompleted assignments to the next day!
2 - Because it's so detail oriented, it can take seemingly forever to set up everything for a number of students. And there's a learning curve to figuring out where and how to use the planner. It seemed quite daunting to me at first, and not really worth the effort. But once I figured it out and started to actually use it on a daily basis I realized how very valuable it is!!
3 - You *have* to use it on a daily basis to record the work you're students have gotten done. If you come back to it once a week or so for record-keeping purposes, it gets quite complicated to get everything accurate and up-to-date. It's not designed to work that way. I've used it as a general guide without daily record keeping, but it's just not built to work well that way. It's less stressful in the long run to use it daily and strictly as is intended.
4 - It doesn't show family lessons. If you teach the same lessons to more than one child, the system will record it separately per child. You can't view a family page where the lessons all show up together. It also doesn't allow you to give suggested times to do the lessons. To achieve these goals I had to create a separate Google calendar so I could see in one glance what everyone was supposed to be doing at any given time, both their separate lessons and family lessons. I teach 5 children so it's more complicated for me than some, but this worked well for me.
5 - The ads are mildly distracting. But at least they are Google ads and I can set those to avoid displaying annoying or offensive ads. Also, it sure is preferable to having to pay a subscription!
I have homeschooled for 15 years, and my major downfall has been organization and record-keeping. Now I might not be able to meet all of my homeschooling goals, but at least what is done is recorded accurately. This is even more beneficial for the kids' sense of accomplishment than for my peace of mind. And now that I'm teaching 5 kids I think I simply *couldn't* school without a good lesson-planner to follow. And this one is hands-down my favorite!!
- Reviewed on Monday, March 11, 2013
- Grades Used: 3rd-7th
- Dates used: 2012-Present
After the horror of trying to run Edu-Track on a Mac with Parallels, Homeschool Skedtrack is a dream, not to mention free. During the summer, I entered most of my students' assignments. It is very easy to change assignments and keep track of hours. Since it is web-based, anyone with my log-in and password can acess it. Each student pulls up her page on her laptop and can see the assignments for the day. It is easy for the student or the teacher to mark how much time for each subject. If you don't get to a lesson, it is saved for the next day. I have never had any problems "losing" information. Highly recommeded!
- Reviewed on Tuesday, January 4, 2011
- Grades Used: 6th
- Dates used: 2011
I have not been using the program long but I do really like it so far. First of all it is free so it doesn't hurt anything to give it a try. I really couldn't bring myself to pay $50 for some of the other programs to find out that I really didn't like it. Anyway, since it is online I can use it from any computer anywhere and don't have to download another program onto my computer. Second I like how it keeps track of attendance and tells me how many days completed and still left to complete in the school year. It will also tell you if you are putting in enough hours to meet your states requirements. I have set mine up so that daily I can alter the hours we actually spent on each subject and I type in daily what lessons he completed. It does have a option to schedule assignments in advance so that you can print that out for your child. It just seems to be a good program that you can customize to fit your needs. It will calculate grades from what you have inputted into it and print report cards. It says it will do transcripts but I haven't looked into that much yet. Anyway I haven't seen much about this program out there in product comparisons so I thought I would leave a review in case someone was looking for a good program to try without spending money. It seems like it is a semi-undiscovered hidden jewel. I give it a thumbs up!
- Reviewed on Sunday, July 26, 2009
- Grades Used: 4 & 7
- Dates used: Less than two weeks
Love, love, love this program! Smooth to navigate, easy to edit and highly flexible. I wasted $50+ dollars on the Edu-track (see review under Edu-Track) and can't believe how much better this free program is. Reports are detailed. Copying assignments to another student is painless and easy. I LOVE that you do not have to enter dates, it intuitively gives the next lesson in the sequence. I LOVE THIS since whenever we unexpectedly skip a day or lesson, our entire lesson plan has to be re-figured and dates changed. Also, there are very comprehensive video tutorials make it nearly dummy-proof. I can't believe I did not discover this one years ago. Five stars aren't enough.