The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews
|With so many products available we often need a little help in making our curriculum choices. The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine family understands because we are in the same boat! Do you need more information on a product before you buy? With over 5,500 products listed in 52 easy-to-use categories, much of the information you need to know is only a click away! Let our reviewer-families help yours.||
Do you want to get the word out about your product or service to the homeschool community? Email Tess Hamre and share a little about what you´d like showcased, and we can help with that!
My School Year Review by Destiny MawsonR Wallace Consulting, LLC
1141 N. Loop 1604 E. Suite 105, PMB 300
San Antonio, TX 78232
Whether you have one child or many, finding the right tool to plan your school year is a valuable asset. The right planner will streamline your efforts and help your school year to flow with ease. MySchoolYear.com aims to be this planner.
MySchoolYear.com is a membership-based online planner that can be used for multiple students. Designed with homeschool families in mind, it features many elements that allow you to tailor it to your specific situation. While the planning tools themselves are not always intuitive, the site has many helpful videos and “cheat sheets” to help you be successful and get the most out of your membership.
Once you have entered your student’s information, such as grade level and classes, you can begin to personalize it for each child by assigning times, lessons, and even chores and extracurricular activities. When assigning lessons, I found it helpful to be able to replicate lesson plans across students without having to re-enter the information for each child. For subjects, such as history that may be done as a family, this was most beneficial. Another time-saving feature was the Create-A-Plan, which allows you to choose between a Quick Split, which divides material into evenly distributed lessons, and the Rapid Repeat, which allows you to create a pre-selected number of lessons. Each of these includes an advanced option that allows for further customization. The video tutorial and the downloadable guide were both necessary and beneficial to learning how to use these features.
MySchoolYear.com also understands that flexibility is one of the benefits of homeschooling and a successful planner needs to be just as flexible. For those moments when life does not go according to plan you can easily reschedule lessons for a future date. This feature is a wonderful time saver that allows you the freedom to plan long term without having to fret about contingencies.
Of course, the main purpose of every planner is to create a greater level of organization than previously achieved. MySchoolYear.com provides options to help both you and your student to stay on track. You can choose whether to have a schedule emailed directly to your student, as well as whether to allow them to check off subjects as done or edit lessons. While my oldest three children all received their schedules via email, only my oldest was given permission to mark her assignments as done as she completed them. As a high school student most of her work is independent and this let us both be on the same page for what she was currently working on. For my younger students, I would print off their weekly schedules. My son especially liked this as he could use it as a check list to know just how much he had to complete. This feature helped all of us to better stay on task and have a realistic view of how much work was required to be done every day.
There are many other tools, such as the Planbook, Calendar, Teacher’s Aid, and Reports, which also help to keep you organized and on track. Depending on your personal style and your state’s requirements, some of these may be used more than others. I used the Planbook and Calendar daily. These were the tools that allowed me to edit, grade, and mark lessons as done and have a visual of what our week looked like, as well as printing out schedules for my kids. The Teacher’s Aid is meant to remind you of things to do, such as assigning class times or entering lessons and awards. I mostly found myself ignoring these, going in only to get rid of the bubble that showed the number of hints I had. I could see, however, if you were new to homeschooling or were required to turn in a portfolio that this feature would be quite helpful in making sure things were not accidentally forgotten. The Reports tool allows you to generate reports for about anything you might need to include in a portfolio, such as attendance, awards and events, lesson plans, course descriptions, transcripts, report cards, materials, extracurricular activities, standardized tests, etc. This tool is going to be most beneficial to those whose states have stricter homeschooling laws that require some form of reporting. We happen to live in a state that does not require any reporting, however, I still found this tool useful for my own tracking. My oldest daughter is in high school, and while I am not required to report to the state, once she begins applying to colleges, I will need to supply some of this information. Therefore, having a principal placeto enter and keep the information and being able to easily generate it later is especially useful.
MySchoolYear.com was my first exposure to an online homeschool planner. I felt it addressed and improved the frustration I have had in the past with using a hard copy. The ability to generate semester long lesson plans within a few minutes and the option to reschedule or edit them later with little effort not only saves valuable time, but also helps to keep us on track. As a mom, my time is valuable. As a homeschool mom with a large family, organization is necessary for our lives to run smoothly. For these reasons, MySchoolYear.com was a good fit for me and our family. If you are looking for an online planner to address your homeschool needs, and you are willing to put in a little effort up front to learning how their tools work, then MySchoolYear.com may be a good fit for your family too.
Destiny Mawson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, February 2019