Are you a planner by nature? Do you love looking at a color-coded calendar that helps you keep track of all those appointments, co-ops, baseball practices and church activities? Do you enjoy handing your kids a printed schedule of their activities for the day including their chores? I admit, I am a “planner mom”. Its just in my nature. So, I was excited to give the HomeSchool Office program from Lord Heritage a try for this review. It’s an online program that allows homeschool moms to do all of that and more!
The program is based on the POWER strategy which stands for:
Once you log into your home page, these words work as tabs on the top of the screen, enabling you to move through each step. Once you set up your homeschool and student information, you move on to the planning. Here you set up your master schedule, subjects, goals and objectives, and even create a homeschool budget! You use the information you create here to choose and select activities in the other sections of the program.
In the Order you section you get to set up your calendar, but not just for homeschool activities. You can also add doctor’s appointments, group meetings, church activities and anything else you need. I really liked this portion of the program because each type of activity receives its own color. This made it very easy for me (as a visual person) to look at our calendar and know exactly what we had going on that week. You can choose to view the calendar on a monthly, weekly, or daily set up. Parents also have the ability to create custom lists like chore charts etc.
The Work section is where the daily schedules come into play. Students can access this part of the program to see their schedule for the day, or you can print out their schedule for them. I chose to print the schedules and put them in a binder for each child. This way they could just check things off as they went. At the end of the day, I compared what they did to the master list to confirm that all of their work was done. You can also access to-do lists and other lists here as well.
In the Evaluate section, parents enter grades based on the grading scale they choose. You can even adjust the weighting if you want. Now I know that many homeschool parents do not give grades at all, and that is fine. I think you could still use the other parts of this program and just skip the grading part. But for those of you who live in states where you do have to track attendance or keep information regarding grades for compliance, this part comes in particularly handy. You have a digital record of all of your assignments, student progress, and attendance at your fingertips!
Finally, the report section allows you to run reports based on your child’s performance. These are similar to the regular report cards they receive in school. For high school students, they offer the added benefit of generating a transcript, saving parents the headache of having to make one themselves.
In general, I found HomeSchool Office to be pretty helpful. While I found the interface a little confusing at first, once I figured out how everything worked it was pretty easy to navigate. They also have support for those who need it. I loved the calendar option and the grade reporting/transcripts. The program costs $79 per year, but that is for an entire family and offers free updates and as much support as necessary!