I’ve been experimenting with a lesson planning app on my iPod over the last several weeks, and I must say that I really have loved it. The app iplanlessons was designed by a homeschool family for the iPod or iPad.
At first, I was a little skeptical, simply because I’ve tried a few different computer-based lesson planning options that were not a fit for us. But I definitely saw the advantage of having my lessons on the same device from which much of our schooling was taking place. So, I gave it a try.
The website has several tutorial videos available which were extremely helpful, and really, entering the lessons was a breeze. It did take a little time to set things up and become familiar with how lessons could be entered. But once I got the hang of it, I was able to plan 10 weeks worth of lessons for 3 subjects (one student) in one afternoon.
After entering the students and creating the classes that you need, you may begin entering assignments. The subjects are chosen from a pre-set list, which is not the most convenient method but was ultimately not an issue. Within subjects, you may create your own categories. For instance, I chose the preset subject of Language Arts and created the category “Phonics.” Though you can take the time to enter your resources as well, I did not (it’s just not necessary for me right now).
Other features include recording objectives, standards, journal thoughts, and actual assignments. You can rank priority of lessons, and set status of lessons (pending, partial, done). You can also set the lesson to copy to two or more consecutive days and then change specifics for each of those repeated days.
I read reviews that said using the iPod app was more difficult to use than the iPad app. Of course, I don’t own an iPad to compare. But I had no difficulty entering the lessons or accessing them later.
One aspect of computer-based lesson planning that really did not work for me is that I had to check off an assignment each day; if I forgot, it threw off all my lesson plans by rolling over incomplete lessons. What at first sounded like a great feature, turned out to be a nightmare. It became one more thing to do in a day, and I didn’t always get to it. My lessons were soon a mess.
With this app, the incompleted lessons remain on the day that they were assigned. Tap on that calendar day, tap on the button “not done,” and any incomplete lessons will show up. This way, I can see which lessons we need to go back and do without my other lessons being affected. Also, there is a feature to email a report or a day of lessons/assignments that a student needs to see; you can email a reminder to yourself or directly to the student.
On a daily basis, accessing the lessons is very easy. The lessons can sync to nearly any calendar, though I ran mine entirely within the app itself. The calendar within the app showed me each assigned lesson with each subject showing up as a different color. And once again, because I was using my iPod for educational songs, maps, and apps, my lesson plans were easy to access.
Reports for Lessons
The reports available from the lessons are not as detailed as many other computer-based planners. There is no place to record grades, for instance. Thus, the “reports” that are generated are simply your lesson plans on paper: by subject, by day, by week, etc.
However, as simplistic as this is, it was helpful for me. Because I have a workbox system in place for my kids, I was concerned about it being inconvenient to find what items would need to go in their pockets. But with the reports, I was able to create what I needed and email it to myself. From my email, I printed it off and placed the lesson plans in my notebook. From this page, I could quickly scan and see, at a glance, what needed to go in each pocket.
Though not as all-incompassing as many computer-based lesson planning systems, iPlanLessons was also not as complicated to set up or to use. And, for me, it was much more convenient than a paper planner (which is what I’d resorted to previously). There are a number of features that I haven’t really used mostly because, at the level my kids are at, it just wasn’t necessary.
If you are looking for a convenient paper-less planner, check this one out. It’s available on the app store for $9.99, or you can watch the videos and read more about the app at iHomeEducator.com.
I am NOT an affiliate and earn nothing from this review. It’s simply an app I’ve enjoyed using, and I wanted to pass the news on to you.