I've tried many different ways to keep our homeschooling plan on track through the years, and I've finally found one that is both simple to utilize and easy to implement. The My School Year (Homeschool Record Keeping) program by MySchoolYear.com is an online organizational tool that is helping me to become a more efficient homeschooling mama as I work on planning and maintaining our focus for the new school year. For review purposes, we received an Annual Membership and I am putting mine to good use with Reading Lists, Extracurricular Activity trackers, Field Trip and Event planners, and Class and Lesson Plan schedulers.
There are lots of ways to use My School Year from attendance tracking and class scheduling to recording grades and even creating high school transcripts. The website is colorful, direct, and easy-to-use and interfaces well on my iPhone. It's a great way to keep everything all together in one place and allows easy access for me to find out the total number of hours both of my children spend in volunteer service, on educational field trips, and out in the workforce. Although I keep a color-coded calendar of who is supposed to be where when, the My School Year program offers a simple way for me to actually track cumulative hours spent studying, reading, and doing life and makes it easy to transfer those hours directly onto their transcript through reports. I am not required to track the hours spent in "class" or the number of days spent in formal learning, but I do like to see the big picture of how we spend our time serving in our community and learning about the world around us.
You can see how this works on the Extracurricular Activities report for my son that is pictured below:
My School Year gives me the open-ended option for ongoing activities.
Another of my favorite uses of My School Year is the Reading List. Of course, each child in a family is different and what works for one or two may not work for all. I am finding this to be especially true as we enter the home stretch of high school with my last two children. For my older girls, I was able to prepare lists of books to read and things to accomplish and they methodically worked through those lists. They were self-motivators who aimed to please. For my younger two children, this does not work. The technological distractions found in their rooms make it difficult for them to simply "work through a list." I have found that although they need and want lists of assignments, they also need tools to hold them accountable to fulfilling the items on their lists. My School Year offers both. I can make a Reading List AND my children can be held accountable to read the books on the list. I like that I can set up the My School Year Reading List in such a way that they know what is expected and they have to report what they accomplish.
Check out the required reading that I've put together for part of my daughter's 10th grade year. This is a list of books that I want her to read for a Marriage and Family class. I have chosen eleven books so far, but I have the freedom to edit and add more as we go through the web interface. To create a Reading List, you add the title and author of the books to be read and assign it to your child. What I find most impressive here is that my daughter will have the chance to log the amount of time she spends reading and the number of pages she reads at a time. This will make a great record for us both to be able to check her work against the time she spends in her room. What a win for accountability.
And you'll want to make sure to visit the Crew blog and read some of the other reviews to see how each family used My School Year. With so many different features, you're sure to find one or two or ten that you just can't live without.