Wednesday, March 25, 2015

HomeSchool Office from Lord Heritage (Schoolhouse Review Crew)

HomeSchool Office Review

I think it would be completely accurate to describe me as a Mom on a never-ending quest for organization.  With an active-duty husband, three homeschooled boys, an elderly dog, and two incredibly mischievous cats, my life resembles a bit of constant chaos.  So, the opportunity to review HomeSchool Office from Lord Heritage as a way to get our homeschool organized seemed like it was meant specifically for me.

When you log in to the site, you are given several options from which to choose.  I'll list them below and briefly describe their purpose.  

Team -- Under this heading, you set-up your homeschool with your information under the tab appropriately named Home School.  There were several additional tabs labeled School District, Educators, Students, Resources, and Friends.  Clearly, this tool is an option for educators outside of the homeschooling world.  After inputting our school name (required by our state) and address, I cruised over to the Students tab to add my two school-aged students.

Plan -- In this tab, you have the ability to build a master schedule, set up lessons, and schedule course goals.  There is also an option to arrange a homeschool budget.  Under the School Year Plan tab, you can quickly and easily select the days that will make up your school year.  This is a helpful feature for those who have to track attendance records as required by their state homeschooling laws.  This feature, in particular, was useful to me and easy to use.  The Master Schedule tab was a nice idea, but I had a difficult time getting my schedule set up correctly.  I found it hard to personalize this area for when we have outside activities.  

-- This tab shows you a calendar at-a-glance.  You can select the view you'd like to see whether it's a daily, weekly, or monthly plan.  This calendar is created from the previous tab, Plan, with your master schedule.  I liked the ability to quickly see several different calendars by just clicking on which calendar I wanted to see.  I typically like a weekly overview but a monthly picture is sometimes helpful.  

Work -- This tab provides access for your students.  They have the option to log in and view their calenders, as well.  There's also a to-do list feature on the right hand side of the screen.  They can also check off their completed work on this screen.  Viewing and printing individual schedules is also an option.  

Evaluate -- Under this tab, you can enter grades for each student as well as attendance.  We don't keep grades right now, though I'm sure that will be changing in just a short time for my oldest son.  The feature I really like here is the ability to track daily attendance as well as attendance by subject hour.  I have friends who homeschool in a state in which hours are recorded so I can see this feature being helpful to people who have to keep records of that sort.  

Report -- Under Report, you can create a variety of different reports using the Report Builder.  Attendance, progress per subject, student information, and starting/ending dates of quarters are some of the topics around which you can build a report.  You can also export the report to Microsoft Word and even build a transcript.

My Thoughts?

I really wanted to love this program.  I've been searching for awhile for a way to organize our homeschool electronically.  There were so many features I thought would be useful in the planning aspect of homeschool organization.  Unfortunately, despite my ability to utilize web-based programs with ease, I could not get the hang of this program.  The learning curve was quite a bit more than I had the ability (or patience) to overcome.  

HomeSchool Office Review

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