I’m not going to lie, I’m a pen & paper planning type of girl. Yet recently I had the opportunity to review My School Year (Homeschool Record Keeping) from MySchoolYear.com. I was intrigued by some of their features that looked to make planning even easier than my pen and paper methods.
So! Take a little tour with me through MySchoolYear.com. I will tell you about all the features and what I thought about them!
Will I change my pen & paper planning ways?
Planning with MySchoolYear.com
To be able to tour MySchoolYear.com properly I set out to create our July homeschool plans. We do homeschool through the summer and we have only recently begun our second term of the year, so the timing was perfect!
Once you create your account on MySchoolYear.com, the planning process is relatively easy.
- Create your students
This step is pretty straightforward. You would input the names of each of your homeschooled students, along with their grades. This helps you create a lesson plan and record for each individual student.
- Set up your school & terms
You can give your school a general name, like your family name. However, My School Year recommended to also include co-ops , music teachers and sports organizations as schools for the purposes of record keeping.
Creating your school terms and determining school days is very important. Several other features within the lesson planning module depend on correctly calculating how many days you plan to homeschool.
- Set up your classes
Once you have created your school & terms, setting up each individual class (or subject) is easy peasy! Just input the name of the class, such as, Bob Jones Math, and how many days you plan on doing that particular subject. A class can also be Susie’s piano lessons.
- Create lessons
Now we have arrived to the meat and potatoes of the planning process. This is where you will want to grab a cup of coffee or tea along with several quiet minutes and begin plugging in the lessons for each class (or subject). If that sounds scary, as it did for me at first, it isn’t as time consuming and tedious as it sounds. My School Year has created a lesson plan generator that works in two ways: Rapid Repeat and Quick Split.
Rapid Repeat creates a pre-selected number of lessons. For example, if I am starting at lesson 1 of our math book and there are a total of 165 lessons and I want to walk through each lesson at our own pace, I would use the Rapid Repeat as a check off system, so to speak. Rapid repeat is great for chores, practices and repetitive lessons.
Quick Split will divide the material into evenly distributed lessons. Using the same example as above, if I need to finish our math book by a certain date, Quick Split would divide those 165 lessons into however many lessons we would need to accomplish during our school days (already pre-determined) to be able to complete our math book by the designated complete date. This is also great for books to read.
- Print or view your lesson plans
Need to see your plans for the week. My School Year will automatically email them to your inbox at the start of each week, yet you can view and print your lesson plans anytime on the Homeroom screen.
- Grade the assignments
Lastly, assigning grades. Although I do not set grades quite yet, they do have an auto-grade feature that automatically takes all the students completed and graded assignments and calculates a class grade.
But wait…there’s more!
Aside from the Create-a-Plan features for lesson planning, the features I got really excited about were their….
- Attendance Log
- Reading Log
- Awards Log
- Events Log
- Extracurricular Activity Log
These are just way too cool! I have been long searching for an easy way to track reading, attendance, fields trips and more in ONE easy place.
For example, the reading log is awesome! Right now I’m just jotting down the name of the book my daughter completes on an Evernote file tab. In MySchoolYear.com you can record the author, price of the book, pages read, date completed, student notes (what did they think) and general book notes (as in what did mom think) If you are homeschooling younger siblings down the road, a detailed record of what books were enjoyed is a treasure to have.
I also really loved the layout of the attendance log. It’s set up as a monthly view and with an easy click you can record if you completed a full day, 1/2 day or were absent. You can record how many hours your schooled that day as well as write notes.
My overall thoughts…
So did MySchoolYear.com make the grade for me? Will I be switching from my pen and paper ways? The answer is two-fold. My School Year was missing one big component for me personally, the ability to view my lesson plans on a monthly spread, as well as an easy drag and drop feature. We homeschool year around for a reason, our days & weeks are seldom the same. This means that my lesson planning needs to be rather loose. Although, the rapid repeat feature is excellent it did not offer enough flexibility in our actual plans.
With that said, I absolutely LOVED the extra features with My School Year, such as, the reading log and attendance log. At a cost of only $40 a year it still makes it worthwhile investment to have all those records in one easy place. Having recently moved to a state that requires tracking not only attendance days but hours, this will be invaluable.
I also want to add one last thing, I have thoroughly appreciated all the informational emails I received and tutorial videos available. Using a new planning software can be a daunting task to some of us. My School Year strives to make this process as easy for you as possible. They also encourage you to call or email for help!
This was my experience, be sure to read more reviews over at The Schoolhouse Review Crew….