Planning and record keeping is one of the most talked about homeschooling subjects and one that I've explored quite a bit. I’m a busy mother of 6 children in ages ranging from 13 down to a baby, so planning and having some form of order is important to me! I've been looking at new options for keeping track of our lessons this year so I was really excited to have the opportunity to review HomeSchool Office from Lord Heritage. I received a 1 year subscription to this program.
What Is HomeSchool Office?
Lord Heritage HomeSchool Office is an online program that offers a wide variety of tools to help the homeschool family plan, organize and manage your homeschooling needs.
HomeSchool Office uses a philosophy of POWER. This stands for Plan, Order, Word, Evaluate and Report.
When you first login you need to fill out the information in the team section. This includes your school name, email address etc. Then their are tabs for school district, educators, students, resources and friends.
In the plan section this is where you set up your subjects, school year, master schedule and budget.
HomeSchool Office has just about every subject listed that I could think of.
In the order section you can schedule lessons, home activities and set up reminders. You can also add customized to do lists for any of your other needs. This could be chores or errands.
In the work section you can give access to your students, then they can log in to view their schedules and check off work as it's completed. It's easy to view or print of individual schedules here. This section looks identical to the order section.
In the evaluate section you can keep track of the lessons your children are doing and track attendance and hours. This is also where you enter grades for each lesson.
The Report section you can print transcripts and report cards. This is very helpful if you need to send in reports to your state or province!
What Did I Think?
When I first logged onto HomeSchool Office I was really confused about how to start using the program. I did read the help pages and in some cases it did help, however I still found the program confusing to use at first. Many of the sections in the team area don't really seem to apply to my needs as a homeschooler. I don't need to keep track of my school name and address and as for entering the teachers name, that is obviously me! However I can see these options could be more important if you have older children and needed to prepare high school transcripts.
One thing that I think could be improved is that there is no way to copy a task to each day. So for example if I'm setting up a chore schedule and I want to have wash the dishes listed every day I have to type in in for each day. It would save so much time if you could enter something once and then tell it to repeat it on the selected days and times.
One other problem I had was it took me a long time to figure out how to actually add lessons. It was easy to set up the master schedule but after that I was lost. I finally discovered when your in the plan section on the subjects tab you need to click on the little settings icon next to each subject. It looks like a paper sheet with a wrench on top of it. This opens the edit window for that subject. In this menu it gives you the option to add lessons. Except that the button doesn't say add lessons, just lessons.
Adding a lesson is very easy, you just fill in the lesson name, expected time (optional) and any lesson plan notes. You need to do this for each lesson for each subject. Since a lot of our work is shared as a family such as Bible study, I really wish there was a way to copy the lessons to multiple children. It would save so much time! Once you’ve created your master schedule the lessons automatically appear in the correct slot on the calendar in the order that you’ve created them. On the lesson page you can move lessons up and down the list to change the order easily.
What I do like about HomeSchool Office is that once you do figure out how it works, it is easy to add subjects, lessons and make reports. I really do like that you can set up each child with their own login. I think for older children this is great and lets them take more control over their schedule.
If you would like to try out HomeSchool Office to see if it's right for your family they have a FREE 30 day trial.
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