I’m a big fan of paper and pen. Actually I’ll go further to say paper and pencil. I can easily erase pencil and make changes as needed because a pen is just too permanent for me.
In the beginning
When I first started homeschooling (over 18 years ago!) I made all my lesson plans on paper. I liked it because I could touch it and see it readily. However, I didn’t like that if I wanted to keep track of our homeschool years then I had to keep track of the paper and hope it didn’t get lost or ruined.
I then ventured out a bit and started using Word documents and Excel spreadsheets. I learned I didn’t have to rewrite everything over again for a new child or spend time writing out the same type of lesson over and over again each week. This was nice! I could copy and print and save on my computer! I then learned what happens when things don’t get saved properly or “when computers go bad” (whatever the word is) and then my awesome plans and notes are gone!
Then Murphy visited
Fortunately my husband is pretty computer savvy and could help me retrieve some items at times. This would be time consuming and sometimes frustrating because I always didn’t label things properly or put it in the right folder? drive? place? You know what I mean? Good because I don’t!
If I was going to use a computer program then it had to be easy to use. It had to allow me to print out lesson plans so I could touch them. It had to give me flexibility to enter the information I wanted and leave blank the stuff that was not important to me. It had to give me options of using dates or no dates. It had to give me access whether or not my computer made an upgrade or was not available for use. I had to have support so that I could call or email and get answers.
Enter My School Year Record Keeping
Thankfully My School Year (Homeschool Record Keeping) gives me all that and more. Some people think that you have to fill in every box on the site or use every feature. You don’t! You can use as much or as little tracking as you need. As homeschoolers we are as varied as they come when it involves education. Our record keeping and planning is just as varied.
Moving Beyond Pencil & Paper
I’m happy to say that I have moved beyond the paper and pencil because it is a better fit for me now. I can print to still get the paper in my hands and not have to worry about where I set it down! I am comfortable knowing that I don’t have to rely on “those important papers” always being available because my important items are in a cloud environment. If my desktop goes down, then I have my laptop, or my phone, or a friend’s computer where I can still get my homeschool records. I also like that I don’t have to store all the paper records and wonder if I should put them in a fire box.
I’ve learned that even though I still like paper and pencil, society expects me to have professional looking documents for their prospective employers or students. I can give my children an edge because we just aren’t fooling around with this homeschool lifestyle but actually are producing well-educated children with qualified record keeping to support us!
Permanency and Predictability
Even for those that want to keep on using paper and pen or pencil, I say go for it!
My School Year is meant to complement pen/paper by giving all your work permanency and predictability. No matter where you are or what kind of device you use, you have immediate access to your records. You don’t even have to use the lessons, as you can just track class grades. I also found that tracking awards and extra-curricular activities was extremely important in applying for and obtaining scholarships. We have also seen legal cases where having this information helped to ward off lawsuits and keep ex-spouses at bay.
A small investment in record keeping, pays HUGE dividends later on – in both receiving and not spending money. All your information is just a click away and nothing slips through the cracks.