I am a list-maker by default. If something needs to get done, it isn’t getting anywhere near completion without a detailed list in front of me where I can see tangible progress! It is the same whether it’s chores, blog posts, groceries, projects for myself or the kids, and most importantly, our homeschool.
I’ve written before about the importance of using a schedule to keep yourself on track, and accountable to your daily lessons. Believe me when I tell you that if we don’t have a schedule, we are wasting most of our time either trying to figure out what is coming next (that goes for both the kids AND mom :D) and trying to rally everyone together for a group lesson or chore time. As much as I know it is important to keep us organized, focused and on track, I still struggle so much with the actual putting together of a schedule. Once we have the framework in place though, it’s literally a BREEZE and I feel like we save hours in our day!
Though I tend toward using pen and paper for making up our schedules, when I heard about the Homeschool Minder program, I knew it was some new territory I wanted to venture into. I’ve heard a lot about scheduling and record keeping software, and frankly, it all makes my head spin! But I went into this with no expectations, curious to see how all the different parts work together. Below is a breakdown of how we used the web-based program and what the benefits were.
How to Lesson Plan with Homeschool Minder
This is the heart and soul of the whole program. Homeschool Minder conveniently allows you to set up separate students with their subjects under “make your own” categories – so you’re not restricted to pre-made areas of study, and you can easily change/rename them. If you have more than one student using the same subject – for example, both my boys participate in our Apologia Swimming Creatures study – you can create the lesson once, and copy it from one student to the next! I love me a good copy and paste :0)
Any number of subjects can be added to your student, along with resources, activities (and chores!).
If you know what your daily schedule is going to look like, you can add a start and finish time to the subject. This is extremely helpful because when you print out the schedule, everything is already given a time slot and your child can work through the schedule, checking off things as they go.
You can be as detailed with the planning, or go as simple as you want. To each subject you can add a lesson. To each lesson you can add instructions, as well as assignments. Here is where you would also add which resources you are using – this is perfect for future years when your younger students are doing the same subject and you can’t remember which books you used!
Grading and Keeping Records with Homeschool Minder
If keeping track of grades is important to you, or you need to keep a record of them, then you will love the gradebook. When you add an assignment, you can determine how much the finished work is worth - either a certain number of points, or a pass/fail.
When the assignment is complete, simply add in the score. The fun part is how cool and professional the printed report looks!
I am a visual person, so I love seeing improvement. This got me excited because, even though we don’t necessarily need to use it now, I can get really accurate reports on progress and see where we would need to apply more review and teaching. Once we get into high school and needing to keep daily records and grades for a transcript, this is a feature I can see using a lot more.
Outside of the grading, you can generate over 16 different kinds of reports and save them as a .pdf for quick viewing or your own records. As I mentioned, you can set up each student separately. To the usual activities and subjects, you can also add standardized test scores, chores, volunteer work and reading lists. Bring on those dreaded high school transcripts, Homeschool Minder keeps it all in one place for you to quickly and easily get the report done!
Homeschool Minder Calendar Feature
The calendar view is really nice – you can choose whether you view a month or a week – individual students’ schedules, and what subjects or activities are scheduled on each day. If you want to keep it simple, you can just check off the day of school completed and not show anything else.
Miss a subject? Quickly and easily drag it to the next day or slot on the calendar.
Need to change the time you scheduled a subject for? Click on it in calendar view and change the time slot for that day. Everything is editable from the calendar, which makes it very easy to change things without having to go digging for them!
From the calendar you can also print a report of your activities – what field trips you have planned, how many days of school were completed, the assignments due, etc.
Accessing the Online Record Keeping Application
Homeschool Minder is a web-based planning program. This is great because you can access it anywhere. If your computer dies, you don’t have to worry about not being able to get in and make or change lesson plans – just jump on another computer! If you’re out of town and you forgot to add something to your students’ schedule, you can do it right where you are. Homeschool Minder is also working on the possibility of setting each child up with their own login so they can see their schedules online.
If you are interested, you can try Homeschool Minder with a FREE 30 DAY TRIAL. A tip for you – use the tutorials! This is a detailed-oriented program, so you need to learn at the start where things are to make the process go quickly after the setup.
If you want to sign up, it’s only $5.99 a month for an unlimited number of students!
And the first 50 people who sign up with this link will receive a 20% discount off their subscription.