HomeSchool Office, a product of Lord Heritage, is a complete, online homeschool planning program that will help the user plan and keep track of schedules, resources, lesson plans, and grades all in one integrated program. The annual charge for HomeSchool Office is $79. This program is divided into six components, as described below. I will describe each component, then tell about my experience using each.
This is where you input the basic information about your homeschool such as address, school district, teacher name, and students.
This section just took a few minutes to set up.
This is the place to input the individual subjects for each student. Goals and objectives and grading scales may be included if desired. A school calendar, already set up, but easily customizable, is here for attendance-keeping.
I found the “help” section necessary for navigating through this section. I didn’t find it intuitive, but fortunately, there are a few articles in the Support section that walk the user through each task.
Courses must be chosen from a drop-down list and there is no option to customize. Although there is a large selection of courses, one of Emily’s courses from this year, sculpture, was not an option. I was forced to call it Art: Fine Arts or Art: Other. Her Personal Finance class was under Mathematics, which is not terribly accurate for the particular course she is taking, although some math is involved, of course. I would have appreciated the ability to add customized course names here. I already had course descriptions written for Emily’s courses, so I easily cut and pasted them into each course.
Setting up a weekly master schedule is necessary in order to lesson plan. I had to assign each subject to a time slot each day. This was rather tedious. There was no copy function to assign a subject over several days, so each had to be typed in separately. Each subject must be a course and must be listed only once a day to avoid double assignments. I tried inputting English in two slots, since Emily does her grammar assignment first in the morning, and does literature and writing later in the day. That resulted in two assignments of literature a day. Even if you don’t work on a time schedule, courses must be assigned an arbitrary time in order for lesson planning to work.
Individual assignments (lesson plans) are also inputted in this section. Within each subject, the user must input each daily lesson. Then the lessons will be automatically assigned in sequence, one per day. This was also a lengthy process.
This section seems to be the place to view or to print schedules on a monthly, weekly, or daily basis. Daily assignments are not visible in any view without clicking on the individual subject.
Within the work section, any individual assignment may be marked or unmarked as completed, or pushed forward to another date.
Grades are entered here. A variety of assignments can be graded and assigned a weight, enabling the user to create a final grade based on 60% tests, 20% labs, and 20% daily work, for example.
The grade weighting option is a great feature, enabling me to weight tests, daily work, and projects as different percentages of the final grade.
Attendance is automatically marked as present/full day based on the school calendar, but any day can be modified to mark the student as present/ half day or absent. I find it easier to mark absent days than full days, so I like the way this was set up.
I was most impressed by the report building task. It took merely seconds to check the boxes for which quarters and which topics I would like to include on my report. One more click and the report was generated. I could do anything from printing attendance records for a quarter to goals and objectives for the year to a full-year report including student personal data, goals and objectives, grades, and attendance. The finished reports looked quite professional. This is the area where all the hours spent tracking data is worth it!
Unfortunately, I was not able to make the Lord Heritage Record Keeping Program work for me. There are some nice features (automatic tracking of attendance, nice-looking reports, and the ability to weight grades), but the process of inputting lessons was too long and the choices were not customizable enough for me. The lack of an actual daily list of lesson plans made it difficult to use. For now, I’ll be sticking with my paper planner and Microsoft Word created reports.
This is a new program, so hopefully changes will be made in the coming months to make it more user-friendly.