It’s that time of year again people…time to choose curriculum!
When the curriculum hunt begins every year, I feel like a kid in a candy shop. Then I get frustrated by the deluge of information, and angry that no one is answering the questions I want answered. After that, I feel resigned to go with my first choices. But finally I have a breakthrough, I find what I want and feel ecstatic to begin the new year.
So the five stages of curriculum hunting are: excitement, frustration, anger, resignation, and confidence.
It’s inevitable to feel the frustration and anger, but I want to share all I’ve learned in order to lessen yours.
One of a homeschooler’s indispensable tools is a system to record assignments and grades. Now I know some people prefer recording their assignments on paper, and I’ve definitely used paper in emergencies, but I’ve always favored electronic systems.
Before finding Homeschool Planet, we had tried multiple recording software, but none of them suited our needs. There was Homeschool Tracker which had finicky settings for writing up and printing assignments. Then there were Olly and Homeschool Minder which we tried briefly, but gave up on shortly because they were too hard to initially set up.
In the end we found Homeschool Planet by the Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op. Joining the co-op is free and you can access deals on a lot of different curricula. (In truth though, we’ve never used the co-op for much else beside Homeschool Planet which I will explain presently.)
Homeschool Planet is an online homeschooling software, so you need internet to use it. My favorite things about it are the drag-and-drop functions, the simple graphics, and how easy it is to access all of the functions.
On some programs if you make a mistake, place something on an incorrect date, you have to rewrite everything you already wrote or deal with annoying rescheduling settings, two problems I’ve never encountered while using HP. Furthermore, you don’t have to go down a function rabbit-hole in order to fix one tiny detail.
The best part of HP though is that it’s really easy to just jump in and start entering lesson plans. The setup isn’t complicated, and the learning curve is short-lived.
At the beginning of the year we never have a concrete plan for how we’re going to do scheduling that year, so we usually enter in a few weeks and see how it goes. And when we end up changing things, its straightforward because the scheduling functions are really flexible. You can choose to schedule a class for a whole week, or specify individual days of the week. You can choose whether to schedule things for certain times in the day or not. You can choose to record class hours or just attendance. Truly the options are endless.
Furthermore, grading is really easy to set up and if you don’t use a grading system you can easily choose not to, which is something we have done in the past.
The last things I would like to touch on are resource lists, updates, pre-made lesson plans, and pricing. HP makes it really easy to add resources in your system. For books you simply type in the ISBN and the software does a search and fills in the missing fields.
Also the HP system is vigilant but unobtrusive about correcting glitches and bugs. They are attentive about fixing their programs defects (which in truth I’ve rarely encountered), but at the same time you don’t have obnoxious update alerts plaguing your every moment.
And if you really hate the whole lesson plan part of homeschooling, the co-op offers pre-made lesson plans for many, many curricula which you can buy at a reasonable price and have instantly in your system. I’ve never used this feature, but I can imagine it would be useful and, considering HP’s amazingness, of high quality.
And finally, pricing. The deciding factor. Of course such an superb program must be outrageously priced, right? Yep. For the outrageous price of $7 a month or $65 a year, this amazing homeschool software can be yours. (Sorry for the telemarketing moment, I couldn’t resist a bad joke. 😉 )
I recommend Homeschool Planet to everyone, so check it out HERE. If you’re not sure about whether or not you want to commit to it yet, you can get a 30 day free trial. Anything you enter into the program during the 30 days will stay there when you purchase the full version.
Have a great summer break everyone! 🙂