Jenna E. has been using Homeschool Tracker since 2007. In this Q&A we learn about Jenna's homeschooling journey and the multiple long-term benefits the experience brings.
Homeschooling strengthens the relationships between our kids, as they learn to get along and work together every day, all day.
1. Tell us about your Homeschool. How many children, what are their ages, and how long have you been doing it?
We have six children, ages eight months up to a rising seventh-grader. The other kids are preschool, kindergarten, second grade, and fifth grade. We have been homeschooling since our oldest was born. 🙂
2. What is your primary reason for homeschooling?
We homeschool for a variety of reasons. Homeschooling fits our transient military lifestyle very well. It allows us to better protect the health of one of our children who has medical needs.
Homeschooling strengthens the relationships between our kids, as they learn to get along and work together every day, all day. And most importantly, it allows us to impart unto our children our Christian worldview.
3. How long have you been using Homeschool Tracker?
I have been using Homeschool Tracker since 2007. I started with Homeschool Tracker Basic, but moved quickly over to Plus, once I saw the benefits. I very recently transitioned over to Homeschool Tracker Online. This coming school year (2015-2016) will be my first year using the online version. I’m excited to try it out!
The Homeschool Tracker learning curve can be steep, depending on how in-depth you want to use it. But once a user “gets it” and practices using it a bit, the program proves SO useful, and so helpful. I love the interface and look of the online version. I know I will appreciate accessing my account anywhere I have an internet connection.
I also look forward to my older kids being able to check their daily assignments online, and checking them off when done. My husband and I will then log on to Homeschool Tracker in the evening to see which subjects our kids completed that day. It is thus an important communication tool for our family.
4. Are you a planner? Or do you like to go off the cuff?
I’m a planner; I feel like having a slew of children sort of dictates it. If I can get the homeschool planning done for the week or the month, it frees me up to be more available to the kids. It gives us direction each week and each month, and I don’t live feeling like I’m missing something in my planning or that there’s always something “hanging over me” with their academics.
5. How do you prepare for the school year?
Quite honestly, I spend many, many hours on Homeschool Tracker during the month prior to the school year. I enter the year’s assignments into lesson plans for each of the kids. It takes a lot of time, but it is SO worth it to me to have it all organized and laid out. This method just fits our family.
But Homeschool Tracker Online doesn't necessarily need that much planning. In fact, its flexibility is something else I appreciate. Another family may use the program very differently, and just enter resources they have used as a way of remembering what they covered each year. They may not ever enter assignments ahead of time! So, it’s a program made to fit all family types.
6. Can you walk us through a typical week in your homeschool workflow?
On Sundays, I schedule all of my kids’ lesson plans to the agenda. In the past, while using Homeschool Tracker Plus, I’d print out an assignment sheet for each kid. It was our communication tool for that week. They’d cross off their assignments when complete, so my husband and I could glance over it at night and know what they’d accomplished. It also told all of us who had evening or weekend homework! Our kids’ homeschool days have literally been run by the assignment-sheet grids I’d produced using Homeschool Tracker Plus.
Now, with Homeschool Tracker Online, I will be doing this electronically, rather than printing out assignment grids. It’ll serve the same purpose, but save us some paper and printer toner! I also like having the ability to print out the Daily Task List if needed.
7. What has been your primary benefit of using Homeschool Tracker?
Organization! For me, I like to keep track of all the resources and assignments. Communication between parents and students is another huge benefit. And I appreciate saving time by reusing lesson plans - assignments or lesson plans can be entered once for an older child, and can be reused or reapplied for another child in the future.
Lastly, it helps me see the big picture. For example, If I plan out all my spelling lessons for the year, I can see where I’m going, at what pace, and where we can expect to be by the end of the school year.
8. Do you have anything else you wish to add?
Thank you, Homeschool Tracker! I’m so grateful for this integral organizational tool for our homeschool. Though I’ve had a lot of learning to do over the years, I’ve persevered, and I’m so glad I have. I’m seeing the long-term benefits of using this program!
If you're looking for a solid tool to help with your organization, record-keeping and lesson planning, why not give Homeschool Tracker a try? We've helped over 150,000 homeschooling families since 2002.
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