This post is an update first written November 9. 2018.
This used to be me after the first few weeks of school: surrounded by stacks of paper, a calculator, a calendar, my planner, usually a pen that won’t write, and a giant cup of coffee. Frustrated and confused, I could win the award for the most lousy homeschool record keeper.
This is me now: completed papers neatly paper clipped together, my computer, feeling confident and happy, and still having a giant cup of coffee close by. I can’t take the award for being the best homeschool record keeper though. Homeschoolminder deserves that honorary title!
When my daughter entered highschool, I knew I needed to keep better homeschool record keeping than I have in the past. I searched over the summer for a computer program that was user friendly, customizable, and would meet my needs. I dabbled in the past with other online programs to do this, but found they were busy and somewhat glitchy at times. Frustrated, I went back to my trusty pencil and paper.
I am not an affiliate for this company, and this review is for the purpose of sharing information about a product we have used for several years.
What is Homeschoolminder?
In my search of finding something different, I came across Homeschoolminder. They offer a free 30 day trial with no commitment or credit card needed, so I decided to give it a try. What made the first impression was the clean look of the program itself. It is beautifully organized without needless customization tools such as backgrounds and widgets. Basic and professional. Plain and simple.
Homeschoolminder is so easy to set up for multiple students. General set up settings include courses, attendance, book list, events, assignment categories, grading scales, weighting, and skill assessment scales. After set up is where the magic really happens.
I’ll begin with the calendar. It keeps up with everything! Attendance, assignments, personal appointments, field trips, even chores! Everything is also color coded, which is useful in distinguishing what’s what a glance. I love the drag and drop feature of the calendar. No need to go into several screens and change dates, or cut and paste. Simply drag and drop. Field trip cancelled? Didn’t quite get to the scheduled history assignment because you were having so much fun with science? Need to move afternoon subjects over, because it’s already been a long day, and you need a time out? It happens, believe me. Just drag and drop. That’s all you need to do!
You don’t need a calculator when using Homeschoolminder’s gradebook. You put in the grade, they do the rest. Weights are calculated based on the category the assignment falls under. For instance, I chose my son’s geography to carry a 40% weight for projects and tests and 20% for homework. Every grade is automatically weighted and averaged every time you enter a new one.
I have not used the lesson planning feature, because I can’t give up my old fashioned pencil to paper planner. I’m positive it’s fantastic, but I like pretty planners, colorful ink pens, and stickers. After assignments/instructions have been entered, they can be printed or students can login to access the calendar, assignments, and view grades. You can even customize the time subjects are to be worked on. We typically “do the next thing” without a daily time attachment, although some may benefit with time blocks. As of the writing of this review, and digging into the program more, I am going to have my two kids use this. Who knows, I may even lose the pencil and paper after all these years!
I’m saving the best for last: the reports! Oh my goodness, do I love the reports! There are nearly 20 reports you can download in PDF format, then print, save, or email. The reports include attendance, lesson plans, report cards, reading list, and transcripts – that’s right, no need to fret over transcripts! There are also reports for field trip summaries, community service activities and hours, and so much more. You can even generate new reports. I made one a couple years back to log our hikes. On top of that, the printed reports are beautiful and professional.
Homeschool record keeping can be enjoyable!
Homeschoolminder is clean, easy to use, and has made the dreaded task of record keeping actually enjoyable for me! I instantly feel more organized and techie just by using it. The cost is very reasonable: $4.99/month, or $39.99/year. With both, you get unlimited students, unlimited assignments and lesson plans, and every report.
I can say with confidence that I have been much more organized since I have been using Homeschoolminder. If homeschool record keeping is overtaking your life, I recommend trying their free 30 day trial, and see what you think. It really is the only record keeping system you will ever need.