For those of you following along, you know I’ve been experimenting trying to find a planner I like before the serious work begins. Well, I wanted to provide an update on Homeschool Skedtrack: what I liked and didn’t like and my conclusion.
I mentioned last week that I’d entered the first six weeks of summer phonics, and it was extremely enlightening: first, in how I want to handle this summer and phonics; second, in how I want to handle my planner.
- Design and Ease of Use: Skedtrack is great for recording assignments and grades. Once these things are entered, it automatically formats a number of reports (report cards, course descriptions, transcripts, etc.). I loved this about the program and that’s primarily why I tried so hard to make it work for us. Entering the assignments and other information is relatively easy, though obviously time consuming. For longer lesson planning, I hated it. The description boxes do not allow returns as a normal text box would. It looked disorganized and ugly. I emailed the designers and they said they had no intention of changing this because it didn’t work with other program formatting, which I can totally understand. It’s just not what this program is designed for. If you have one line assignments or items that can be separated with semi-colons or numbers, it’s okay.
- Daily Use: I had entered a few things for this year, just so I could get the feel of daily checking things off. This is where I ran into the most significant problems; it was a real learning experience. The way it’s supposed to work is that the day’s assignments show up, are checked off and saved, then approved. I saved a million times after every step and still, two days out of a week, something didn’t register right and my kids were counted absent. That meant a lot of work. I had to go back in to each assignment for each child and redo the completion date. A lot of wasted time here, in terms of production; but it was very valuable in determining how or if we use it long term.
- Printable plans: In addition to the reports, you can print off the day’s assignments or click on the calendar to choose a day of assignments to print off. However, there is no option to print off a week’s worth or a month’s worth of plans. I emailed the website about this as well. They reported that this was in the plans for future adjustments.
- Conclusion: After creating some plans, working through some daily activities, and talking with my wise and extremely organized husband, my conclusion is that it’s not going to work for us. I discussed options with him, including Planbook, an editable pdf, or a handwritten planner. His recommendation was the editable pdf planner. And I must say, I feel very comfortable with and excited about our conclusion. Now, to really get to work.