It seems that the older EJ gets the more there is to keep track of with his homeschool lessons. Between scheduling his days and keeping track of what he has accomplished, there is a lot to keep sorted out. Realizing this, I happily accepted an Annual Membership Plan from My School Year Homeschool Record Keeping for our family to review.
I have to be honest I tend to be a person who likes a printed organizer but there are definite benefits to having an online version. The first is that EJ is working on his own or with another family member they can easily log in and see what I’ve assigned in his lesson plan. Much simpler than carrying a notebook where I listed his lessons back and forth.
So the first thing I did was poke around the program a bit to get familiar with it. While there are videos and helps in each section I find I’m the kind of person who needs to try things myself to understand how it works.
So the first thing I did was create our school by filling in a ready-made form. Then came the dates of the term before setting up our students. (I decided to enter EJ’s little brother even though he is a toddler just to see how it works for more than one students.
Setting up Our School Day
Since we travel a lot we don’t necessarily have a regular school day. With this program, I was able to set a schedule for lessons but then go back in and reschedule individual dates to make it fit our plans.
There are different options for calendar views; agenda, day, week, and month; so whichever you prefer it’s an easy click of a button to change. You can also save these as PDFs and print them out to put in your planning binder (great for when you want to make notes or don’t have internet access).
Setting up Subjects and Lessons
This is an area I had some challenges with. The program warns that a subject is not a lesson. I understand that but where I had some issue was in scheduling our lessons throughout the year. I found it a lot easier to simply assign a subject through the year than to create individual lessons.
Perhaps once EJ is older and needs to break things up for his transcript I would look into it more. For now, it is nice and easy to use the Basic Quick Split in the Create-a-plan area. This allows me to quickly and evenly spread the lessons over the school term. I can then go in and reschedule classes that might be more complex and need additional time. Then I simply have the program reschedule any following lessons to rebalance them as well.
One of the features I really like about My School Day planner is the Teacher’s Aid. This is easy to see and easy to use reminder and notice of things that may need attention. For instance, if you have a subject scheduled but no lessons yet, you will receive a notice that these need to be added. If you receive a notice that you feel doesn’t require action, you can simply delete it.
The green button to the left of the notice will take you directly to the spot that needs attention. The program also gives you kudos for being organized and on top of things.
Another helpful feature for our family are daily and weekly email updates. Since EJ is not always with me doing his schoolwork I can easily stay on top of what he has done and what he has upcoming thanks to the emails I receive. Whether I am working on my computer or just staying connected with my phone, I know just what I going on (as long as the assignments are updated each day).
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the homeroom section of this planner. This is the area where you will find an overview of your student’s activities for the year. This is where you will find the subjects, terms, readings, and attendance. A quick visual overview of what is going on in the school year.
Finally, we come to reports. There are a number of them, including; attendance, reading log/list, materials (lesson based), instructional hours, and attendance. Basically anything you may need to complete your end of the year reporting to your board.
I liked a lot about this online planner but still found it a bit poky to set up an exact lesson for the exact day by typing everything in. I still prefer making notes in my printed planner. That said, I will use My School Day to keep track of details that will allow me to create a year-end report for myself. I can see how this will be helpful in planning for next year. I will also use the create-a-plan to layout our subjects and lessons for the year. I can then transfer my written notes at the end of the week and keep everything up to date and in one place.
Would I recommend this program to other families? I think the value of this planner is definitely higher the older your child becomes and the more you require reports and transcripts for your hosting school board. Again, this could be in part due to my preference for handwritten planners in all areas of my life. So my response is yes if an online planner is a fit for your family.
There are several other families who have also used and reviewed the Annual Membership Plan from My School Year Homeschool Record Keeping and I encourage you to click the image below to see what they had to say about the program.