Homeschool Planning with HomeSchool Office #Review
HomeSchool Office by Lord Heritage is homeschool planning software with a relatively gentle learning curve. Features include lesson planning, grading, attendance tracking, a calendar, a variety of printable reports and transcripts, and even a to-do list.
Entirely online, HomeSchool Office is accessible anywhere there’s an internet connection, and the site seems fast and stable. If desired, students can each have their own login, allowing them to view assignments and mark items as completed.
Getting Started With HomeSchool Office
There’s a moderate amount of setup required before you get started with HomeSchool Office, including entering your student information, number of days per school year, and intended school days. As a relaxed homeschooler who hates adhering to a schedule, it’s a bit fiddly, but not too bad. (As in, “You really expect me to know what days we’ll be doing school six months from now?!? I don’t even know what days we’re doing school next week!”) So I did as I usually do, set it up to make all the weekdays “school days”, skipped the major holidays, and figured I’d fix it later if needed.
Discovered quite quickly that while there’s quite a bit of information asked for on the student page, very little of it is actually required. (I’m guessing that is more-useful in states where paperwork must be turned in to someone, which isn’t the case where I live. Chances are, I’ll go back and fill them in sooner or later, because I hate leaving empty boxes, but I was sure glad I didn’t really need to do all that just to get to what I consider the real meat of homeschool management software – the lesson planning and tracking!)
Adding Lessons To HomeSchool Office
This, too, was fairly simple to figure out. Find the student, add a class, start adding lessons… and this is where I ran in to what can really make or break homeschool planning software for me.
If I’m entering 150+ lessons of math, and need to name them all “Lesson 1”, “Lesson 2”, “Lesson 3”, etc… I get *really* frustrated if the only way to do that is to create each lesson individually, saving in between. I’m a homeschool mom, I’m wanting to use planning software to save myself time… not to sit and copy and paste for hours.
Other than that, entering lessons is simple.
Using The Lessons And Calendar
And with this task, I admit it, I had to resort to the lovely, accessible from every page while you’re logged in, support / help page. I could not make heads or tails of it on my own. Turned out I’d skipped a step or three because of my whole “don’t tie me down to a calendar and schedule” issue, and skipping those steps made it just. not. work. (This is where I recommend that instead of me trying to explain it, you try out HomeSchool Office yourself with their 30-day trial, as I mention below, and go through the help file yourself. It’ll make more sense than me trying to condense it, especially if you can see it in front of you and use it at the same time.)
The calendar, though, is wonderful! It almost makes me wish I *was* the type of person who could schedule everything down to half an hour blocks and actually manage life that way, because it makes it look oh-so-easy. I’d be tempted, except there’s this little matter of five other people in my house who just wouldn’t comply with that. Sometimes, I daydream of starting over, with little kids, and homeschooling from the very beginning, and being just- a-homeschool-mom during those years, instead of working full-time, and now part-time… simply so I could experience what that sort of homeschool is like. While it’s just wishful thinking on my part, if you DO have that sort of opportunity yourself, you might consider really utilizing a tool like this to its fullest.
As for me, with a houseful of teens, the color-coded calendar to track who is where and when – perfect! At least, it is when they remember to tell me. :) We’ve added a variety of things to our days – homeschool lessons, days at the virtual school, youth groups, fire department meetings, library days, pet sitting, etc. Having all the reminders is one place is quite helpful. (Mmm, here’s a thought. About the only way I can think to make it even more useful with teens would be to have it automatically text them reminders… though I’m sure they’d be NOT-thrilled with that!
Using HomeSchool Office Long Term
I really like the way the majority of the tools in HomeSchool Office work, with the exception of lesson planning. The lesson planning just isn’t practical, in my opinion, for entering large numbers of lessons, especially all at once. With seven or eight classes per child, and potentially 100-300 tasks per class per year, I could spend days just trying to get everything entered. I just don’t have that kind of spare time. Make lesson planning less painful, and I’ll be in love.
Lesson planning and grade tracking is my primary – and generally only – use of homeschool management software. I have no need for reports to turn in to people, we aren’t required to track attendance, and with 50+ library books coming in and out of the house each week, it’s futile attempting to track them all. Your priorities and needs may vary significantly from mine, and the only way to really see if HomeSchool Office will work for you is to see for yourself.
How Can You Get HomeSchool Office?
Access to HomeSchool Office is purchased by yearly subscription, but Lord Heritage offers a 30-day free trial for HomeSchool Office. It’s a perfect way to determine if HomeSchool Office with be a good fit for you and your homeschool.