Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Planning with Edu-Track


Like most homeschoolers I try to make every buck count when I'm buying curriculum.  I borrow from the library, I buy used books, I got our chalkboard for free!  Today's Blog Hop subject is lesson planning and if I had to choose the one item that keeps our homeschool going it would be the record keeping software I paid full price for (and still consider a bargain).   I purchased Edu-Track when I learned we would be moving from Indiana to Missouri and I'd be switching from checking off days on a calendar to tracking hours, specifically:  1000 total hours with at least 600 in core subjects,  of which 400 hours must take place at the regular home school location.  Edu-Track was developed by a Missourian so  all this core/non-core gobbledy-gook is built into the software and all I have to do is check a box here and there.

I like to start off my school year having as much scheduling done as possible.  I've learned from experience if it ain't written down, it ain't happenin'.  This is especially true with non-daily subjects.  Once I realized we'd gone two weeks without cracking open the spelling book when it wasn't returned to it's proper place.

I may have to tweak dates as the year progresses but I know my 1000 hours (or at least the 600 core hours) are accounted for up front.  Edu-Track has a great recurring activity feature that makes data input easy.  If I know we're going to start each week watching the next lesson of Math-U-See  I fill in the Repeating Activity Screen as follows.

Just like that I have 30 core hours scheduled.  I can repeat this step for Worksheets B-D on Tuesdays-Thursdays and schedule a test for Fridays.  One hundred fifty hours of math input in less than 5 minutes.  For other subjects, like science, I may put in a generic activity like "Read pp ____ in Astronomy" to set up the repeating activity and go in to manually enter the specific page numbers later.
The Skip holidays box keeps anything from being scheduled on the weeks we take off for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I start by entering my core subjects: math, science, social studies, and language arts.  While the state doesn't consider Bible as core, I do, so that's added too.  Then I can add scheduled sports activites like karate and Upwards basketball. 

This year we are participating in a co-op on Thursdays.  Four hours of classes there means I don't want to schedule any non-daily subjects on those days.  The same is true when I learn about field trip opportunities.  The software allows me to bump individual and groups of activities forward and backward with just a few clicks of the mouse. 
At the beginning of each week I print out a schedule by subject. 

The paper leaves plenty of room for me to "edit."  If a crisis occurs and we don't our social studies done on Wednesday, I just draw an arrow to Thursday.  If someone calls to let us know about a great exhibit at the Science Center, I can write in the details of the field trip.  When the week is complete, I'll make any necessary changes to our Edu-Track records and print out an updated and accurate copy to keep in our record book
Of course, there are probably as many ways to plan your school day as there are homeschoolers so you'll want to visit several others blogs to see what others do.

1 comment:

Stefanie said...

Very similar to my homeschool tracker that I love. Technology is awesome!

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