Speaking of, I just bought an app - it's iPad only right now, but the developers said they'd like to try and port it over to Android. It's Homeschool Helper....and it was only $4.99. It's.....limited to record-keeping only right now, but they say they've submitted an update that will allow lesson planning as well. I don't care - I use Planbook and LOVE it, but this? This tracks GRADES for me. And was EASY to set up.
I've tried a LOT of gradebooks......none of them were that user-friendly. Gradebook was simple, once I figured out how to enter the assignments, but I didn't like the interface. HomeSchool Tracker is Windoze only...I tried it, but HATED the way you have to input info. Ditto Olly - it's Mac-only, and I beta-tested it...but didn't buy it. Again, HATE the way you have to put in your stuff - you HAVE to do the full year at once, because then you have to drag-and-drop the lessons onto your student's grid...and I kept screwing up the days. HATE it - it isn't (to *me*) intuitive. Planbook *is*. (Planbook - also for Windoze!) is set up like a weekly planner. You first set up your subjects, and tell it what day/s you have them. You can set up times so that it puts them in "order"...then you type ON THE GRID what you plan on doing that day. Easy-peasy, prints nice, and you can set up custom boxes...I have 3 boxes set up: Classwork (both kids combined), Himself, and Herself. I can print a report of everything, I can print Classwork and 1 kid....it's GREAT. I just wish it had a way to track grades....
Enter Homeschool Helper. It took a bit to set up - right now, you can't reuse subjects - but in about 15 minutes I had both kids set up, and all the grades they've currently earned entered. I can see at a glance how well they are doing (he's doing OK...she's not. :sigh: I think I need to go back and "weight" classwork in Math, because they both get at least 80% correct (I make them re-do if they miss more than that)..but they test HORRIBLY. :sigh: We'll see.....(yes, I am keeping grades. Need to for Himself's transcript (should we be here, that is :wink:) Herself...not so much, but I want to be able to "prove" her graduation in 2.5 years. Just in case....plus, you never know when laws might be changed. This? Is a CYA type thing for me.)
Now.....I gotta talk about History. I know a LOT of Homeschool folk LOVE Story of the World.....I don't. I have...issues. However, for younger kids, those issues are minor (it doesn't matter, for young kids, if you change dates so that "the story flows better" (yes, that's a quote. No, I didn't make it up....:sigh:) For *older* students, however, I have a problem with present fiction as if it were as true as Biblical stories and archeological fact.)......but, fortunately for *me*, the books are a bit too young for my 2. :whew:
Anyway....we started Mystery of History III 3 weeks ago. I gotta tell you, I like it. I like it a LOT. It's....SOTW, but....more.......meaty. I went out and bought the first 2 volumes for me to read (why yes, I DO read History textbooks for fun, why do you ask?) and am impressed. The author did get a few things wrong in Vol 1 (the names of the Hebrew months are WRONG, but.....those are in a supplementary exercise, not the text.)....but, for the most part, it's good. And.....there's not too much evangelizing. Some (it IS a chrischun text, after all!), but they are easily "edited" out of the narrative (I am reading it aloud to the kids - that way, I KNOW they are getting it. And we discuss as we go.) It's written in small, living-history-type chunks, each lesson focusing on 1 historical character. We're enjoying it. Haven't done a lot of the extra exercises yet - but we will, as we settle into a routine. You have a pre-test before each weekly section (3 lessons), then you have either a quiz or exercise at the end. With a Review after every so many weeks. Pre-tests don't get graded, but the rest does. It's cool, because it gives the kids a "heads up" on what they'll be studying that week, and it makes them keep their eyes open. :heh: The Reviews are cumulative; they go back to the beginning of the book, it appears, to make sure the kids are *retaining* the info. Pretty cool!
We've started to get a daily routine down, which is good for Herself. I'm adding back in a "formal" writing program (Writing Strands - we'll start with #4 this year; last year I tried #3, and had a mutiny on my hands. It was kinda stupid.....#4 looks MUCH better. Himself NEEDS this; he has a mental block about writing, and BraveWriter isn't rigid enough for *him*.) We're also going to start a Critical Thinking course in a few weeks (I want to finish "Excavating English", first. We're almost done with it. :huzzah!:)
Oh! I found a site that lets you put in your location, and it pops up a list of letterboxes/geocaches in your general area. I think we're going to start visiting those soon....looks like fun! (Sounds like a fieldtrip to me! :lol:)
I'm still happy, overall, with Singapore's Discovering Mathematics. I'm remembering a lot of Algebra and Geometry I had forgotten....which is good for me. We'll see if I remember my Trig in the next 2 years.....:shudder: (Solving simultaneous linear equations is kicking Herself's butt right now. They're EASY equations.....but she has a problem with long-term retention of math stuffs. Not sure what I need to do about it.....so we're slowly working each problem in tandem. For the most part, anyway. :sigh:)
Apologia's still a hit in the Science department. Hebrew....:sigh: I have GOT to get back to Rosetta Stone; we've been slacking there. I stopped it to focus on *reading* Hebrew....but I'm not seeing a lot of retention *there*, either. We just finished "Sarah and David and You Read Hebrew, book 2"...and yet, NONE of us can remember all the letters. So...we're reviewing. And reviewing some more. :sigh: Latin...Minimus Secundus isn't as....interesting as Minimus was, but we're moving on thru it anyway. Then we get to start - :gasp!: - Wheelock's Latin. I'm...nervous about it, but I've found videos and mp3s to help......we'll see how we do. Probably take it Very Slowly.
Geography is moving along. Ch. 5 starts the actual, you know, GEOGRAPHY part, with the US and Canada. We're going to plan a meal from each country as we get to it, and maybe do an art project or something, too. Should be fun (we've just started Ch 4....:sigh:)
Oh! Check out the Homeschool Buyer's Co-op if you haven't already. They have a deal going right now on a CD for virtual dissection. I'll be picking that up on payday...Himself doesn't want to do a real one...but labs are necessary for Biology (next year). Virtual will work.....:huzzah - no smell!:
This is getting long...better sign off. :lol:
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