Saturday, July 26, 2008

Using the Computer to Plan and Record

I use a software program called Edu-Track to record activities we have done, attendance (school days), books the kids have read, field trips we have taken. This program is incredibly powerful and this year I plan to figure out how to use the teacher journal section to write out my IHIPs for NY State (Individualized Home Instruction Plan) and to plan out my unit studies for the whole family.

This is the field where I record all the assignments my kids have done. When the day is done or throughout the day, I record what of the plans we actually accomplished. Some days we are overly ambitious and other days we get it all done and then some.

I'm getting more familiar with the unit study planner this year. I am putting together a few studies so this will be helpful in keeping my ideas together. You can record books and other resources you will use, objectives, supplies needed, and any curriculum you will use.

The student data section is a powerful tool. You can record books, movies, audios, software, games, testing, achievements, goals, chores, things borrowed or lent, expenses, supplies, and curriculum for EACH child in your family. I mainly use the book list and the field trips so far. I'll add videos, audios, and games this year. There is even a spot for health records.
It has the capability of making chore charts with icons for each child. You'll find this within the student data section. Again, you can print these out for each child each week and it has pictures!

You can record attendance for each student easily and mark what kind of day off it was. This is just helpful to keep general track if you aren't required to turn in days. In NY, we have to record hours.

You can record a repeating activity like co-op or music lessons that will show up in the lessons and activities section. This cuts down on the amount of data you need to manually put in. You can create certificates of achievement and transcripts that look very official. I can just see as your kids get older, this software will be super helpful in recording things for universities and future programs for the kids.

In addition to the PC version, there is a version for the Palm or other handhelds! If you knew me in real life, then you'd know that I'm a big fan of my Palm Z22!! I recently acquired the Palm version and I'm still getting to know it. The idea is that I can record what we did that day (data entry can be a stumbling block to using this software to its potential) while I'm in the doctor's office or at a game. It's much more manageable than a laptop when out and about and I can synch it with the PC and have it all show up in the Edu-Track on there. I'm most interested in recording books read and lessons complete using my Palm.

This is just a brief overview of the tools in the program. Make sure to check out Edu-Track for yourself and take note of the teacher planning journal and filebox plus other great sections I didn't highlight. This software is a great tool if you have to do any sort of reporting for your homeschool. If not, then it is super for some personal accountability.


Barb-Harmony Art Mom said...

Hi Heather,

I just edited my post to answer your question about the notebooking pages and my nature journal.

Hope it helps explain,
Barb-Harmony Art Mom

Heather said...

Barb you ROCK!! Thanks!

Your dh said...

"It's much more manageable than a laptop when out and about..."

So... you don't really need a laptop do you?

Heather said...

Let's not go that far honey!!

Alana - The Mommy said...

What a great review. Thanks for the information Heather. Super job! And yes, you really do need a laptop. Nothing like checking out the boards from your bed!