It's been a while since I posted anything for Teaching Tool Tuesday - mostly because I've been so engrossed in using everything that I've forgotten to write about them. But as I was putting some schoolwork into our binder this week, I realized that I've gotten really lax about recording daily notes into it - mostly because I've been inputting directly to Homeschool Tracker.
With this being our first year on record, I thought it might be time to move beyond recording our activities the old-fashioned way. But the first few software programs I tried left me discouraged. I'd actually started building an Excel spreadsheet when I reminded myself that one of my personal goals this year was to start finding and utilizing existing resources (rather than spending ridiculous amounts of time creating them myself just so I could have things exactly my way).
So, on round two of software trials, I stumbled upon Homeschool Tracker and downloaded the free version. Other than a few little quirks (with a "quirk" just being something that I would do differently), I've been really pleased with the program. Here are a few of the things that work for me:
- There are, of course, capabilities to create lesson plans for multiple children. Even though I'm only tracking Noah's school work at this time, I like knowing I'll be able to use it to plan for Ava in the future.
- When creating an "assignment", you can designate the subject, type of activity (classroom time, computer time, co-op, special class, field trip, etc.) and any resources used. Populating these categories initially takes a bit of work, but it makes inputting the day's assignments really easy! For example, when I create an assignment for Critical Thinking, my resource options include Mind Benders and Dr. DooRiddles, the two resources we've used this year to day (with the option to add a new resource any time).
- Once an assignment is set up, you can indicate the amount of time spent on it, mark it complete and make any additional notes.
- Reports! I'm a sucker for reports since I love to analyze information every which way. Most often, I look at the Time Spent report, which shows me by any selected time period how much time we're spending on each subject (as well as total time spent for that time period).
Of course, the software offers many more features, but these are the ones that are making it work for me - at least for now. To be honest, I haven't looked at the additional features that the Plus version includes because the free version is working well for us right now (and hey, it's free!) In any case, it's definitely been a great addition to our "classroom" and is helping me feel more efficient and organized!