Friday, 27 March 2015

HomeSchool Office - TOS Review

I was asked to review HomeSchool Office which was created by Lord Heritage, It is a complete, online homeschool management program that allows you to organise, arrange contacts, plan schedules, create assignment calendars, track resources, manage lesson plans, budget, record attendance and grades all in one integrated program that also produces reports. 

When the log in details arrived my first task was to enter all the relevant details in the team section - these included address, school district, students, additional teachers etc. It only took a few minuets to enter the information.

The concept behind HomeSchool Office is to giver the POWER back to you. The planner contains six sections based around this acronym.

P is for Plan. This is where you create your master schedule - you enter subjects for each student (I really liked that the kids are given a colour, so schedules are colour-coded), In addition you assign times for each subject and you can also can also assign how long you expect an individual assignment to take. This section contains a customisable school calender which is really useful for recording number of school days and making note of your yearly schedule (dates you want to school, free dates, trips etc,). You can also plan projects for the year (including a materials list) and my favourite section - Budgeting, to help me plan and keep my school spending on track. 

O is for Order. Here you can create a to-do list, integrate your personal calendar with you school calendar and create reminders. It is where you view or print schedules (can be daily, monthly or weekly).Allows you to view your Calendar in a monthly, weekly, or daily format, and to create daily and weekly "To Do" lists as well as schedule events, reminders, etc

W is for Work.
This is the section you children will mostly use - you and your child can view their calendar, follow daily lessons and manage to-do lists. Within this section, individual assignment's can be marked as complete, or pushed forward to another date (which moves all the other assignments forward as well) if more time is needed to understand the subject. Alternatively they can pull assignments forward and do them earlier than planned if they've grasped a subject quickly..

E is for Evaluate. Here you can keep track of attendance (full attendance, 1/2 day, absent etc.), track hours per subject and grade each subject. I like that assignments can be assigned a weight (so 30% assignment, 30% lab, 40% exam etc.)

R is for Report.
This does what it says on the tin. You can generate reports and transcripts. It takes minuets to mark the boxes for subjects and term I want on the report.

I did feel the program offered more than I needed - probably because I'm in an area where the Education Officers involvement is almost non-existent, so I don't need to create reports or attendance records - However for those who do live in more stringent areas I can see this being a real benefit as well as very helpful for those with larger numbers of children to organise (did I say how much I loved the colour-coded chart for each student?)

I loved that I could plan projects, create materials lists and manage my budget - I found these ideas to be a great plus to my homeschool management .I think this is an amazing program to help both parents and kids keep on track - I saw the benefit from the kids knowing which assignments they needed to do in advance and plan their workload.

I did find that I needed to refer to the “help” section when filling in the 'Plan' and the articles here were very helpful and good at talking me through the task.

HomeSchool Office is available for $79 for the year. They even have a 30 day free trial so you can see how it works for your family and how it could benefit your homeschool planning.

You can see what my crew mates thought over at the TOS Blog

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