This is the beginning of a series of posts addressing how I am setting up Homeschool Tracker Plus for our scheduling needs. For those that may not have heard about this program, it is a beast! If you need (or think you need) a scheduling program or a lesson planning program, then this may be what you are looking for. In my last post I talked briefly about paper planning, Skedtrak, HST basic, and HST+.
After downloading the plus version of HST, there are a few things that you want to do at the very beginning BEFORE entering your lesson plans or scheduling assignments for your children.
1. Click on the Maintenance tab and then click on the School Info tab just below. Fill in as much information as you want regarding your school name and contact info. Decide which days of the week will be the days that you will be doing school. Make sure that you click the save button.
2. Click on the Tools menu in the menu bar found at the very top and then click on School Year Calculator. Enter in your information for when your new school year starts and if you have a minimum number of school days required by law. If you are starting in the middle of a school year then modify as best as you can. After clicking the next button you can enter in any dates that you know you will be taking off for holidays and vacations. Tip: If you want to enter more than one day (eg. you are taking a 7 day vacation) then click on the first vacation day on the calendar and then drag your mouse to the last day so that the entire time frame is highlighted. You can then decide if you would like to break your school year up into terms and then save all of the information that you have just entered.
3. Click on the Tools menu in the menu bar and then click on Options. When the Options menu has opened click on the Assignments tab. Although there are many things that you can customize I think that it is easier to decide what you want/don’t want after you has used the program a bit. However, you should first decide if you want to record grades for your student (and how to calculate those grades) and if you need to keep track of how much time is spent on an assignment. If you don’t need these options, like me, simply uncheck the boxes and press save.
Well, that is the first bit of data entry for this program. I would encourage you to think about your goals for the year and what subject titles you would like to have in your planner (eg. history, language arts, math, art, etc). After thinking of general subject titles you can then have multiple course titles below. For example, under Language Arts I can make course titles for Reading, Vocabulary, Spelling, etc.
Personally, I made the mistake of not coming up with goals for the year before trying to plan out our lessons. I became excited with this program and grabbed all of the resources that we are currently using and blindly came up with a plan. Because of this oversight I think I was simply trying to schedule too much for my dd instead of spreading things out over a longer period of time. So, I am starting over, and this time I have truly thought about what I would like to accomplish with my dd for the remainder of the year.