August 22, 2019

My School Year: An Online Homeschool Record Keeping Resource {Product Review}

My School Year Homeschool Record Keeping ~ A Review
For the last several weeks, I've been reviewing an Annual Membership Plan to My School Year Homeschool Record Keeping. Some of you may know from being readers of my blog for a while, that I am NOT a fan of digital planners, choosing to go with my handy-dandy paper planner and a pencil. BUT I will give new-to-me digital planners a try in hopes of maybe finding something that works the same way and with the same ease. Today I'm going to share with you the results of my review...did My School Year change my mind?

About the Product

My School Year Homeschool Record Keeping is designed for the busy homeschool parent. The program provides visual progress tracking with a "homeroom" (the whole term at a glance) as well as a
classes view (progress by subject). Lessons and plans can be re-used and copied to other students, and the program is 100% mobile friendly--allowing you to use all the features on any device with the internet. There are reminder emails for lessons and you can allow your child to have access to their daily/weekly lesson plans as well through their own log-in, or email report.

Unlike other online planners, My School Year is 100% ad-free, so you won't have the distractions while you are working on your lesson planning. Or your grading. Or your attendance logging. Or your transcript formulating. My School Year is designed to make your homeschooling"more organized, more efficient, and more focused." They also offer tons of online support from their team to answer all your usage questions.

My Thoughts on the Product

Plugging in our Music Appreciation Assignments
I’ll start by saying that this product is ideal for someone who has a very repetitive school routine. It is great for someone who has an entire lesson plan laid out with very similar assignments to be done each day. It is also useful for someone who needs a very detailed record-keeping system noting progress, scores, attendance, etc. It works well for someone who doesn’t want to be bothered with continuing to note assignments on a paper planner—especially if they have more than one student, or if you need the ability to quickly shift out assignments due to plans changing, without having to erase/cross out/rewrite. This product is ideal for more of the Type A organized homeschool parent. It is also ideal if your child needs to know or desires to know what their assignments are since you can set them up to log in or receive emails. You can set up how much access you want to grant--like if you want them to be able to note things as being completed, or logging their own attendance and such.
the calendar is color-coded to tell the students assignments apart.

The things I liked the most were the reading logs, attendance (the ability to tweak your term quickly), and the ability to see how much of a subject could be done if I limited the days we were going to work on it.
quickly note attendance days based on pre-determined schooldays

quickly see at a glance how many days/hours you've gotten for the term

Allows students to track the books/pages they've read

That is basically the only thing I liked about it.
I found the product to NOT be a good fit for me.

I like things that are quick and easy to set up and navigate. Even the process of simply setting up a schedule for assignments took me FOREVER. It didn’t increase my speed to use the Create-a-plan or rapid repeat either, as I still had to plug in everything one at a time and figure out HOW to make it work for me--as my students do NOT have very many assignments with identical work each day (which I felt like it was more designed for).

We use a different curriculum for every class AND I use a different curriculum for each student. The assignments vary day to day, thus a “rapid repeat” was fairly useless--even using the Create-A-Plan Advanced Techniques guide step by step did NOT help me go any faster.

Additionally, even though it is an option, I do not need the boys to have access to the assignments, nor do they have an email for me to send them copies of the assignments.

I didn’t like that I had to log on every day to mark things done, or to have to be so tied to the computer to do everything for a planner--though I do know I could use my phone as well, it wasn't something I did, nor would I choose to do that method. I could have done everything I did on My School Year in a fraction of the time using my own paper planner, a pencil, and an eraser. I do NOT lesson plan more than 1-2 weeks at a time, thus it’s not a big deal if I have to move something around. The wording for using the lesson scheduling on My School Year was confusing, even with the “cheat sheet” I could print off and reference. I know I'm jaded to my thoughts of anti-digital planners, but I really HAVE found ones that I like more than this one and the main reason is their ease of use.
Attempting to set up an assignment with varied activities
After trying it out for several weeks, I eventually just gave up using it. I could not make it any easier for myself. It’s just NOT an easy program to use and I consider myself a competent tech user. I feel like things were overly complicated. I don’t see how the format of the resource or the things that it can do really helps someone save time lesson planning. For me, I spent MORE time lesson planning with it, than using my paper-pencil routine. The only thing I really liked in the lesson planning aspect was how to quickly move things out--I picked what date I wanted to start the reschedule with, and when the new date needed to start, and the program moved everything else out for me. THAT was nice, even for a paper/pencil planner like me. But really only if you have A LOT planned out in advance.

And maybe that honestly is what it boils down to.
I don't think this kind of planner is really intended to someone who only plans 1-2 weeks at a time.

(who am I kidding, some weeks I plan daily! LOL)

I think this really is for someone who plans at least a semester in advance. I could see how once THAT is set up (and yes, it would still take a while to set up a semester's worth of work) it would be easier to do things. IF I was a semester planner or a yearly planner, this program very well may work better for me. Maybe if we used an all-in-one curriculum, or if my boys were in a more regulated curriculum that was more worksheet oriented or repetitive it would be a better tool.

But that is not us.
And this is a tool, I will happily leave to rust in the shed.

Want to Know More?

While I didn't find the Annual Membership Plan to My School Year Homeschool Record Keeping useful, I encourage you to read the review of other crew members! I'm sure there is someone else who DID enjoy the things this product offered and made it work well for them!
Annual Membership Homeschool Record Keeping  {My School Year Homeschool Record Keeping Reviews}

I'm afraid that My School Year ended up the way I figured it would---with me thankful for my beloved paper planner that I can access anytime anywhere because I can take it with me anywhere and don't need to worry about the internet or having a connection. Just a pen or pencil and I'm good to go. I know there are digital planner fans out there, and I hope that you can find what you need--and maybe My School Year will work for you!

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