I’m a planner by nature; I enjoy it, but my time spent planning doesn’t always result in actually getting those plans accomplished. In my search for an online homeschool planner, I had the opportunity to review MySchoolYear.com‘s version of their My School Year (Homeschool Record Keeping) system. I’ve tried several online planners in the past, and I was most interested in checking out the extra features included like the transcript and class description options, but I can’t wait to tell you how well this turned out for us!
I’ve never found an online planner that did enough of the work for me to make it worth my while. I have 5 kids, usually with 4 different plans – but of course, some subjects are shared between even the bigger kids. I don’t have time to go in and enter every single lesson for every single subject. I just don’t. That’s why I was thrilled to find that My School Year has a function where you can just tell it how long your school year is, how many lessons each subject has, and – BOOM! It fills it all in for you! You can have it number the lessons, or not. You can add text before and after the lesson number.
I even figured out a way to get it to let me number odd-numbered lessons. For instance – some curricula have the same number lesson for a full week, and then they have 4 or 5 days’ worth of work. From what I understand, My School Year is currently working on making this a function of the site, but in the meantime all I did was create one plan for Mondays, and told it “Day 1” as the after text. Then I created a new plan for Tuesdays, with the same numbers, and this time it had “Day 2” as the after text. So each subject with weekly lessons has 5 plans created for it – but believe me, that’s a lot easier than having to create all 180!
It’s also easy to make them all scoot forward if you unexpectedly miss a day of school. Everything about creating the lessons was easy for me; this website just works intuitively the way I think. I do wish they included more tutorials and informational helps and FAQ’s on the website itself, though. They do send out some emails with tips that are really helpful, but I think more people would have success with this if the information was actually on the website. But for us, getting these lessons into the sytem was EASY and it allowed me to print off an assignment sheet for each of my kids. Those lists help my kids stay on task throughout the day, and not having to write it out saves ME time and headache. I’m thrilled to FINALLY have found something that lets me easily create those lists!
When I sat down to do the records function, I expected to need to enter every class for my high school student. I expected to then need to create a separate record for the class descriptions. I just assumed that every report on the list would need to be separate. I was so wrong!
Since I’d entered all the classes and lesson plans for all of Christian’s senior year, starting in May and going through next May, that information was already loaded into his transcript report. All I had to do was actually go back into the class itself to edit it – the same place I’d been when I first created the class – and enter a grade and a course description. If I’d put that in there when I first created the class, I wouldn’t have needed an extra step!
I did have to go in and manually enter all his classes from his first three years of high school. It was easy to just tell it what grade to give him, but I could also see where it would function if you were entering individual grades for lessons as you go along. It would calculate the final grade, and even weight it for you in any way you choose. It has markers for Core, Elective, AP, Honors, and Dual Credit. You just select which years you want to include and it generates a very nice printable sheet that has all of the information on it.
You create the course descriptions the same way. I’m still working on ours; all I entered in this first sitting was the curricula we used and I plan on including more detailed information than that. For the course descriptions, each year is on its own separate page, and I want the page to be FULL for my son. (I just think it looks better and like he accomplished more that way, and is my personal preference.)
Personally, I’ll probably also include the Table of Contents for the curricula we used in a portfolio when he applies to local colleges, even though I know that’s not necessary here. I just think it will portray a tendency to go above and beyond what is required and will reflect well on my son.
I love how it automatically tallies all of the credits, and even the GPA! I had wondered how to tally the courses that I just considered Pass/Fail into a reasonable GPA. Having a program that does all of that for me is such a relief! There were several options on the grading page; you could choose letter grades, number grades, pass/fail, and weighted. All of that is done when you create the class itself.
You’ll notice that it even tallies the hours spent; when I entered the courses for the 9th grade, I had told it that the P.E. class was an hour and a half long. Then I forgot to change it for everything else, so it tallied all of those classes like they were each an hour and a half and – voila! – it automatically calculated the hours spent to earn those credits. Neat!
The reports tab also has the ability to create report sheets for all of the following:
- Course Descriptions
- Extra Curricular
- Instructional Hours
- Lesson Plans (this is where I got my printed sheet, but they also send you an email each week!)
- Materials – Lesson Plan
- Materials – Reading Log/List
- Reading Log/List
- Report Card
- Standardized Test
There’s so much here that I can play with, and I plan on doing so! My next task is to go in and enter the reading lists for my high school student, but I’ll look forward to keeping up with that for all of my students from here out. SO MUCH easier than paper, and I’m thankful to have finally found a homeschool online planner that will let me easily keep track of all of that.