I have been, or can be if you click on a link and make a purchase, compensated via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value for writing this post. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.
This post about online tracking and more with Homeschool Planet was made possible with a subscription to the service from Homeschool Buyers Co-op for review as part of the Homeschool Review Crew. Affiliate links are present (which may earn us SmartPoints) at no cost to you.
There are many facets to being a homeschool parent.
You have to plan lessons for the kids (unless you purchase a curriculum with it all laid out.)
You need to teach the lessons to your child. Or, for older kids, you might be acting more as a mentor.
You grade the work and go over any issues that arise.
And, you track everything that is done.
How you plan and track everything can influence how much time you have for everything else.
About Homeschool Planet
Homeschool Planet is an online subscription planner for homeschool families. It was launched a few years ago by Homeschool Buyers Co-op with the unique needs of its members in mind.
The Homeschool Buyers Co-op has been around since 2005 and serves nearly 200,000 homeschool families. They are known for their group buys of curriculum and other resources. Those buys offer the material at a discount and sometimes reward the purchaser with SmartPoints. The SmartPoints are then used to purchase select curriculum.
Membership is required to access it all. However, there is no charge to be a member!
I was fortunate to give the initial platform a test hop. You can read my previous review for my thoughts then.
Key Features of Homeschool Planet
When you log into the platform, you are taken to your dashboard. Everything is accessed through here.
There are several homeschool specific features included.
Ability to create lesson plans or a specific course. For courses previously created, you can elect to make a copy or create a lesson plan.
Within the course, you can specify when to assign the work (days and times), how to do the grading (includes weighting), and attach specific resources. When adding a resource, there is the ability to look books up by the ISBN for quicker filling of the details.
Grades are entered either through the specific course or by using the Grading Assistant. It will automatically mark the completion date as the date assigned. So, you need to change the assigned date first if needed.
The Rescheduling Assistant makes it easy to do a batch adjustment of work assigned when needed. When you log into Homeschool Planet for the first time each day, you will be presented with that screen for immediate attention to past due work.
Grade Reports show you not only the current grade for a class but the breakdown of work. So for our math classes, we see homework, quizzes, and tests as the 3 components. Possible components are assigned by the teacher when setting up each course’s grading profile.
Finally, high school students can have their anticipated graduation date set. This is used to generate their transcript.
See Homeschool Planet in Action
NEW Lesson Plans for Purchase
A recently launched feature for Homeschool Planet is the ability to purchase lesson plans.
Anyone who has created lesson plans from scratch and then entered them into a planner knows how time-consuming the process is. These plans have been created so you can “plug and chug” through the work on your schedule.
Once you have purchased the lesson plan, you just wait up to 15 minutes before reentering Homeschool Planet to find it ready to use. You can find them in the main module through the drop down menu.
Once the lesson plan is in your account, you can apply the lesson plan to your calendar. During the application process, you select whether to apply the entire lesson plan or certain lessons. At this time, you pick a start date as well.
On the calendar view, you will see the details for each lesson. This includes materials needed in addition to which activities you do.
At the moment, there is a limited number of lesson plans available. I suspect there will be several more added during the upcoming year.
For anyone who starts a subscription to Homeschool Planet in June 2017, you will receive ONE lesson plan for free! You can get the first 30 days FREE, too.
My Thoughts on Using Homeschool Planet
Even though navigation through the software has not changed much since I reviewed it in 2015, I needed time to reacquaint myself with the functionality. This is far more than just entering an assignment and assigning it a date.
Thankfully, Homeschool Planet has a tutorial page with the most common FAQ addressed through video format. This will save you time learning the software.
However, once the learning curve is over things go rather smoothly. My one wish is that there was an easy way to migrate all the lesson plans created in a different format. For now, I may be copying and pasting into the program.
For those that like to physically check things off on paper, you can print out assignment lists or calendars. So long as you remember to enter the grades as they are given, then you can cut down on paper in your house with everything living digitally.
I also like the daily digest which is emailed to me. I can see everything at a glance!
Supplemental Features I Adore
One of the biggest benefits I am seeing to Homeschool Planet is the ability to manage more than just your homeschool activities.
The Share In and Share Out feature allows you to connect with any Internet calendar that supports the iCalendar format (including Google and iCal.) I see great potential to not only link everyone in the family together for scheduling but cutting down on the number of places you track things.
Different list options help you keep up with things to do in your home, books to read, and even what you need at the store. Plus, you can send the list to a particular family member through email or text.
And, I truly adore finding a new quote or Scripture verse each day.
2 Big Benefits for Homeschool Families
Beyond the actual features, I see 2 big benefits for homeschool families. The platform is online and accessible wherever you have an internet connection. Also, you can give access to your students to not only see assignments but mark when they are completed. For the exceptionally responsible student, there is the option to let them enter grades, too.
The digital software I have used for a decade is a single user on a single computer. It was a one time purchase and the developer no longer supports that version. Even with the time invested in creating lesson plans in it, I have felt the limiting factor of needing to have it all on my laptop. This was a real issue when my laptop needed repairs and I had no access.
Homeschool Planet is a powerful internet based software program that helps homeschool families plan and track their students’ activities.
While there is a recurring cost for the annual subscription, the features and ease of access on most any device make it a wonderful option.
What is your preferred way to track progress in our homeschool?
Have you tried Homeschool Planet yet?
Don’t just take my word for how we found this to be. Visit Homeschool Buyers Co-op Reviews on the Homeschool Review Crew website to see what other homeschooling parents thought about this book.