Friday, July 5, 2013

homeschool helper app (a review & GIVEAWAY!)

 

The cute little logo birdie on the Homeschool Helper app has captured my eye for a while now. I geek out over adorable homeschool mommy helps.  I’ve only hesitated in purchasing it myself because until recently I’ve been a die-hard paper planner girl.  Crossing over to the digital side has been a slow process for me.  But that birdie?  Did you see it?  I mean, how could I continue to resist?!

 

 

Which explains why I was over the moon when I was given the opportunity to review Homeschool Helper on my iPad! 

 

 

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Homeschool Helper was developed by a homeschooling family.  They included all the must-haves because they know what the must-haves are for an organized homeschool!  Their passion for providing a fun, effective and affordable tool that will bless homeschooling families around the world is obvious.

 

One of my favorite tools (because I stink at reading directions thoroughly) is the video guides for every feature.  Located right on the home page you’ll find a little sticky note image with a prompt to tap if you need a video tutorial.  I love that you don’t have to always head back to home to use the helps though.  As you navigate the app, you’ll find a task bar running down the side of every page where you’ll see various tools to use.  Included is a question mark which takes you lickety split to the help center!  During my trial period I used these video helps A LOT!  There are also written instructions if you’re better at reading instructions than some of us…ahem…me.  

 

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Your account will allow you to add an UNLIMITED number of students (hooray, big families!) and track up to 14 subjects per student.

 

You can also track upcoming tasks and field trips which are displayed on each child’s home page.  SO SO SO handy!

 

Another thing that came in super handy is the option to batch entry lesson plans. 

 

So, say for instance, I want to add lesson plans to Math.  I would touch the Math tab at the top of the screen.  This would open the Math subject for me.  I would then click the note “taped” to the top of that page which reads “enter lessons”.  From that point I can choose to either enter lesson by lesson OR batch entry to make it easier.  I’m a fan of batch entry!  I also loved that with the lesson plans was the ability to leave notes. For example, I have my kids use an online Math Fact game for daily drills.  This is part of their overall Math task for the day.  So when I created their lessons I just included a note that they would have to do xyz daily and wah lah – there it is for them!  No leaving extra sticky note or verbal reminders anymore.

 

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You have the option of tracking grades by either weighted grades or pass/fail.   My kids are still young for weighted grading but it will come in handy soon!  Although there are preset examples you can changes the weights based on your personal preference for your family. 

 

Adding students and subjects is VERY easy.  But again, those little video tutorials are the bestest if you should get stuck anywhere.

 

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Attendance tracking is a simple finger touch. 

 

I’m looking forward to using this feature during our morning meetings next year.  We use our iPad during our daily morning meetings so I’ll always have my Homeschool Helper app with me.  Much easier than my old system of jotting on scratch paper and updating later.

 

Little things make smile too.  Having the half day attendance option was one of those simple things that the developers thought of here!  My kids do half days quite a bit as we run around to various specialists and therapy appointments for their special little brother.  Being able to track those half days easily is GREAT!

 

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I was a little worried about reports.  Even though I enjoy technology, I still have some “old school” in me and like to have hard copies in hand too.  But we have a first gen. iPad and I haven’t been successful at wirelessly connecting it to my printer.

 

No worries, though.

 

Because they thought of everything, the Homeschool Helper app allows you to create and email yourself reports to print! 

 

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When I can wrangle my iPad from the kids, you’ll find it parked on my dining room table where I’ve been working bit-by-bit on lesson plans for next year.  Maybe I should finally ditch my paper planner altogether, stop trying to wrangle the iPad away and gift myself that Kindle Fire I’ve been wanting forever?!  Homeschool mommies deserve a little teacher love too!

 

The Homeschool Helper app is available for more than just the iPad!  You can also use it on Android Tablets, Nooks and the Kindle Fire. 

 

And for those that are budget hawks like myself, I think you’ll agree that it’s a steal at just $4.99!  There are NO subscriptions, memberships, or recurring costs! Purchase once and enjoy, including all updates!

 

Click here to explore their website and download one for yourself or gift it to a homeschool mommy friend who deserves some love too!

 

 

And now the part you’ve all been waiting for – the GIVEAWAY!  One lucky duck will win the Homeschool Helper for their iPad!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

…danielle

 

***This is my little space to disclaim that I was given the Homeschool Helper app in exchange for my honest review shared on my blog.  All opinions expressed are my honest own.  I hope that you enjoyed and found my review at least a smidge helpful.***

9 comments:

  1. A friend was just telling me about how much she loves this app! So glad you like it as well.

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  2. My best planning trick is to take the number of lessons in the curriculum, and divide it by 36 to get the number of lessons needed to complete each week. You can do the same with read alouds. Count the total number of chapters in the books you plan to read and do the same dividing. This also helps me to see if I am planning too much or too little when it is broken down into weekly chunks.

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  3. Hmm... It seems that my comment didn't go through yet. Just to cover my bases, I'm commenting again.

    I don't know if I have a best tip. I'm just hoping to do my best this year since nothing will be preplanned for me. I'm also hoping to not get too caught up in the school work and everyday life and miss out on unplanned learning opportunities.

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    Replies
    1. I never did get your first comment! But this one came through. ;)

      ...d

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  4. Hmm... It seems that my comment didn't go through yet. Just to cover my bases, I'm commenting again.

    I don't know if I have a best tip. I'm just hoping to do my best this year since nothing will be preplanned for me. I'm also hoping to not get too caught up in the school work and everyday life and miss out on unplanned learning opportunities.

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  5. I've recently gotten an ipad and have looked at this planner a couple times now. I've also always been a serious paper planner and am somewhat hesitant. My daughter will be in 8th grade next year and works best when I give her a list to follow. I see that you can make one to print...I'm wondering if the student can just work on checking items completed right on the ipad? I know you have younger kids, but I'm also thinking that in a year I need to start keeping transcripts and wonder if this app would assist with that? Any idea?

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    1. Great question, Linda! I emailed the support team and this was the response:

      "Regarding transcripts - I guess this depends on their needs. I do know many folks are using Homeschool Helper and using the "report card" report for this type of information. However, I can not guarantee all their required data points would be on this report. The report card includes: each subject with grade, grading scale used, GPA, attendance days, and credit hours. As you know, we use Homeschool Helper ourselves, but we have not run into this need yet...due to the age of our kids."

      As far as line by line checking off subjects as completed...there is a complete box to check. It would be a little more tedious than a printed list only because she would have to open each subject and click complete. Probably once she got used to the routine it wouldn't feel so tedious though.

      I don't think I'll ever be able to fully give up the paper. It just helps me gather my thoughts. But for record keeping purposes I LOVE this app!

      ...danielle

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    2. Paul of Homeschool Tracker read your comment and added this: One feature folks may not be aware of is that when you are working with a student (aka open book), you can tap the "notebook" icon on the far left to open the "Lesson Viewer". This shows your lessons in a calendar view, and you can tap any day to see all lessons for a given day. You can updated them as "completed" directly from here...so you do not need to go to each subject to mark completed. This feature may not be obvious at first. I started writing a "tip of the day/week" on our Facebook for these types of features. I will add this to my "tips"

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