Saturday, July 23, 2011

Planning and Organizing~ What I've Been Up To

 This past week has been all about planning and tweaking and then organizing. It can be exhausting.. but I am really making headway.

I started a new facebook group called Homeschool Necessities (Organizing and Record Keeping) I thought it was needed since there isn't too much sharing out there on this topic.  We talk about more than just how to do it, we might share programs we use or strategies we found helpful to keep us on track and organized.

*noted update: recently the group has changed to "all things homeschool" be sure and check it out, its alot of hs parents chatting and sharing all kinds of great ideas and information - that still includes getting and keeping us organized. One NEW item is a new section ( docs) for members reviews about specific programs they have used. *

It is a closed group but you can subscribe to join if you would like. I am not looking for this group to have huge numbers of people but to be able to be a place to stop and chat and ask questions and share information that might be helpful when it comes to organizing and record keeping inside our home schools. We have 16 members so far and it is going very well! We have had some great conversations on here.

 Planning for the new year;
Over the past couple of weeks I have continued and added the final touches to our planning for our new year. We ramp back to studies (fingers crossed in August) because we may be traveling a bit in the Fall so we are giving ourselves and early start to our new year.

This past week I have been busy outlining all the subjects and programs my boys will be working. I had laid it out as a chart and divided our year into three  semesters,  the first time I have done this since we started homeschooling six years ago. I really felt this was a good time to narrow down our goals and objectives with the boys getting much older now.

I made some minor changes in some areas and bigger changes in others. While all the time, taking into consideration their likes/dislikes and individual needs and strengths.( believe me when I tell you they play a pretty active roll in what and how they will work and I am very happy about this, they seem to be willing to take charge more of their own learning- tends to make my decisions on things pretty straight forward)  I am pretty happy about what I have planned for them so far.

In an effort to help myself be more organized and track their goals, tasks, grades and information I decided to purchase the Homeschool Tracker Plus. I have not looked at it too much since I only had downloaded it the other evening. I compared this to Homeschool Shed track which is a free program and decided I would give Homeschool Shedtrack a try first since it was more "wallet friendly".  I was very disappointed. I registered all my information and then when I went sign in it kept given me a validation error, even after I had confirmed my registration via an email message from them.

For  a few days I continued to try to login and it kept failing and I had even decided to email their support and still have never had a reply.  It was a waste of time. I suppose being a free program I might have been expecting too much. I am just glad that I found out earlier rather than later. I needed a program that I could count on - HS Shedtrack really wasn't that program for me, even though I hear so many great things about those who use it. Unfortunately it just didn't work out that way for me. And I will not look again at the program due to the lack of support.
HS Tracker Website

So I ended up looking at HS Tracker Basic (free download) but it really didn't do what I was looking for it to do, I needed more~  (here is a comparison of the two editions) and then joined their facebook page and learned a bit more. My responses from them were prompt, straight forward and courteous.. I was a happy HS mama! I joined the forum to see how active and helpful their support team was, learned about their new online chat they have for questions and I decided to go ahead and get the program. There are also many hs tracker lesson plan sharing groups also that are for HS Tracker Users. I am not ready to get into those at this point ~

Lots more to share later on~  happy organizing!


Sravani said...

Hi There
I enjoyed this post...As it happens, I am also looking into lot of organizing for my high school kid, who will be applying to full time univ in a couple of yrs. I am wondering if you found something to help with high school yrs organizing portfolio, transcripts, applications etc ....? Thanks much for this post...

Learners at Home said...

Sravani~ glad you enjoyed it. Your right where I am now with my new highschool learner. Right now I am using something my teens daily assignment blog. ( One I created specifically for him to have all his assignments and resources there and in one place) he then will jot down his time/hours in his daily log I saw and picked up from NARHS. I liked it alot and they have templates in there to help more with grading and goals and curriculum outlines. here is the link: you can download the pdf and look at page 61 and 62 in it to get an idea. Also throughout the handbook it gives you great suggestions. I probably should blog about this actually, lol I forgot! If you go to their store you can find the book there also I found some books to help me as well and I will make a note and post back about those also. I will list everything I am going to be using.. :)

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