During the past month, I’ve been trying out a new (to me) homeschool record-keeping program. MySchoolYear.com provides a system for online record keeping and planning for nearly every aspect of your homeschool. My School Year (Homeschool Record Keeping) costs $40 a year, which is a reasonable price for a subscription-based record keeping program. A subscription cover an unlimited number of students, which is great for large families.
My School Year manages and keeps records of many aspects of your homeschool:
- Lesson plans
- Materials used
- Book lists
To get started with My School Year, you need to enter basic information, student names, address, school name, dates for the current school term, etc. This will be used when creating transcripts. Then subjects and classes are added for each student. At this point, you will be ready to start creating lesson plans.
Individual lessons can be created by choosing the class and entering the information for each lesson. A couple of short cut options are also available. “Quick split” can take a resources with a specified number of pages and divide equally it among a specified number of days. For example, if you want your child to read a 346 page book over two weeks, the program will schedule an equal number of pages to be read each day. Rapid repeat allows you to schedule items with the same resource and different lesson numbers for a period of time (Saxon Math, lesson 1; Saxon Math, lesson 2; and so on). This is fairly limited, though, since the numbers need to be sequential. If your curriculum is divided into “Week 1, Days 1-5,” for example the only way to handle that is by scheduling one week at a time, or all the “day 1’s,” and so on. The feature still saved me some time over entering each subject individually.
Additional lesson planning features include the ability to reschedule lessons for a later date or to copy lesson plans for use with another child.
Each lesson can be marked as complete and grades entered. The program keeps track of progress.
Here is an assignment sheet created from the lesson plans. It was quick to print out and I liked the check-off boxes for each assignment.
I found the entering of lessons to be rather slow and tedious. I felt that it would have been quicker to do on paper. It is nice that the program keeps track of attendance and grade averages, though.
In addition to lesson planning, there are more report features. My School Year can create keep track of book lists, materials used, grades, extracurricular activities, awards, and so on. It can also create a transcript based on your student’s classes and grades. Reports can be as specific or as general as you desire.
As books are entered into the reading logs, you have the options to include reading level, page count, price, author and other notes about the book. A report can be printed at any time for the book list or any other list.
The “Teacher’s Aid” tab offers warnings and suggestions for action. You can see below that I have a warning that my term is ending and that I need to set up a new term, and suggestions that I add awards, reading lists, or events attended to my records.
Overall, My School Year wasn’t a good fit for me. It took me quite a while to figure out some of the features. Although there is a “need help” button on every page that gives tips for using that feature, the way it worked wasn’t intuitive to me and I found it to be time consuming. After I accidentally entered Emily’s book list into materials/book list, I never could figure out how to transfer it onto her reading list for this term. Nor could I even view the list other than creating a pdf report of it. (It probably can be done, but I couldn’t figure it out.)
I really liked the reports that I printed out. The lesson plans are attractive and have check-off boxes. They were helpful to give to Emily each day with her assignments and it was just as easy to print off a week’s assignments at one time. Likewise, the book list report was attractive and ideal for including in a portfolio.
The program has a lot of features, more than some other record keeping programs that I’ve used, but just wasn’t easy enough for me to enjoy using.
My School Year has made several improvements to the program just in the short time that I’ve been a member, so the company obviously has a commitment to improving their product to meet the needs of their customers. If you want to try out My School Year to see if it is right for your family, a free one-month trial subscription is available.