It has been a week since my last post; this lapse is due almost entirely to my fiddling around with Homeschool Tracker Plus.
I figured that it was time to actually get my records in shape in the off chance that I am ever required to show a portfolio. Now, I need to admit that I am terrible with keeping track of data. In skydiving and scuba diving, where you log your jumps and dives, I don’t (after the first few).
I first tried out the paper method, which started off very well because I love to plan. However, I do not love keeping lists of books that we have read or keeping track of books that I have bought to use later. Basically, if I added anything to my plan, then that addition was not recorded. In addition, if we did not stick to the plan (we moved faster or slower), then our schedule was severely off after just a few weeks.
Next, I tried Skedtrack. This is a free site that can be a valuable resource…for someone else. For some reason, my brain just does not think the same way as this program is designed. It is definitely worth a try though if you are looking for a scheduling program.
Finally, I found Homeschool Tracker and I began by using the basic (free) edition. While it was more in line with the way that I think, I certainly did not feel a strong attachment to it. Several months passed and I kept reading on The Well Trained Mind boards that the Plus edition was so radically different from the basic edition that they are almost like two separate programs. So, I finally gave in and put up $5 for the 30-day trial version. After a few days I upgraded to the full program (another $45 which includes lifetime updates) and I have not looked back.
Like many new software programs, there was a bit of a learning curve in the beginning. I began by watching the training videos and deciding which type of planning personality I have. I tend to schedule out most of our work based on the days of the week (reading, math, and handwriting are M-F, spelling is T and Th, etc). Inputting all of our resources and all of the other particulars has certainly taken quite some time; it certainly would have been better if I had a weekend to myself to figure this all out, but that is a luxury that I do not have. After this portion though, the program takes over and schedules everything based on how much you want to cover and in what time frame. It appears to be very simple to bump things back if needed and I love how easy it is to keep track of all of my materials (curriculum junkie here).
I am currently mulling over whether or not to have a series of posts that better explain this process and a few of the things that I like about this program.
Happy Friday everyone!