Thursday, March 26, 2015

HomeSchool Office from Lord Heritage: A TOS Crew Review

HomeSchool Office Review
HomeSchool Office from Lord Heritage

This is a handy, online complete, home school lesson planning program.  You can plan and keep track of schedules, resources, lesson plans, and grades all in one integrated program. Annual subscription price - $79

I do love a good plan, don't you?  A course to track, a path to take, and way to look back at what we've accomplished.  I know after many years of homeschooling (and now with many students too!)  that  "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail" - Benjamin Franklin.  HomeSchool Office from Lord Heritage is an online planning tool for you to put POWER into your home school planning.

  • Plan (based on Jeremiah 29:11)  – schedule course goals, build a master schedule, setup lessons and even plan your budget. 
  • Order (based on 1 Corinthians 14:40)  – schedule lessons, integrate home & school activities, create lists & reminders 
  • Work (based on John 17:4)  – provide student access, print schedules, follow lessons, manages to-do lists 
  • Evaluate (based on Matthew 28:20) – track grades, attendance & hours spent 
  • Report (based on Romans 14:12) – create transcripts & crest reports for personal use and to meet state requirements 

The Bentz Test Laboratory is always looking for new tools that can make our journey easier.  HomeSchool Office looked like just the type of program we would like... 

First, you have to set up your TEAM - this is your students and  anyone that helps with your homeschooling effort.  If you have outside teachers or Coop members - this is your place to keep all that information handy. 

PLAN is the next section.  One thing I noticed right away is that there is a large volume of entry work to do in order to modify and customize this to your individual home school's needs.  I choose just to enter 4 students, because I really don't need to keep this type of detail (and set up effort) for every one of my 8 students.  Afterall,  I could spend more time creating a perfectly designed schedule than teaching them!

For each student, you must set up their Subjects (individually) - you must choose from a drop down menu of subjects which is not customizable (a major drawback).  After each subject is created, you create your Master School Year Plan of days teaching (glad I live in TX - where we are FREE to home school on our plan, and not someone else's!).  Then, you move into adding each subject onto each student's personal calendar.  

Okay, to be honest - this is where this program loses me.  4 students x 5 days per week x # of subjects becomes a daunting task to enter in item by item.  I could not find a way to enter this information over a range of dates, or even to just copy/paste.  This is a major drawback if you have multiple students (and I was only working with 1/2 of mine!)  They offer "help" - but, I really had a hard time learning to navigate around in this program.  

One useful feature I did discover wad the ability to "Push" or "Pull" assignments that you have created to different days.  Since our days rarely, if ever, go as scheduled - this is nice!

ORDER, WORK & EVALUATE - these sections allow you to print daily lists, see your progress and track grades & attendance.  Every section requires you to complete the required information in the section previous.  It doesn't appear that there is a way to modify this to just the information you really want or need, without wading through all the sections.  For instance, I do not make daily lists for my students - I prefer to give them a big picture look at what I need them to accomplish, and then let them take the responsibility to manage the order they want to complete assignments.  I could not find the path to creating that type of list.

REPORT - this section will allow you to print Progress Reports and Transcripts.  You can customize fields you want to include, but there are limited fields to choose from.

Overall, I love the "idea" of this program.  However, the amount of tedious entry and the lack of ability to customize to my individual needs makes it one that doesn't work well for us.  

I do think that faithful planning has been the biggest blessing in our home school journey!  Make sure you check out the free 30-day trial  to see if this program may be a good fit for your home school.

See what others members of the Crew thought here

HomeSchool Office Review

Crew Disclaimer

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