Lesson Planning Made Easy with Lessontrek {review}

 

Are you like me and write things on scraps of paper, only to lose them later when you need them? How about keeping several separate notebooks, binders, and even computer files so that all your thoughts and plans are scattered and stored in different places? I’ll confess to being guilty of that one, too.

I wanted to try something that could keep things organized and in one place with a system that I could use consistently. Lessontrek is a new online record-keeping software designed to make homeschool lesson planning and grading so much easier for parents.

 

LessonTrek

 

How It Works

Lessontrek offers monthly ($6) and yearly ($60) subscriptions.  The interface is straightforward and easy to use.  Setting up students is a quick process.  This is a screenshot of the student profile setup:

 

Lessontrek Student Profile screenshot

Features
  • Lesson tracker
  • Grade recording
  • Drag and drop lessons to another weekday
  • Copy/paste lessons across weeks
  • Copy/paste an entire week of lessons
  • Print weekly lesson plans
  • Secure information storage
  • Customer support
  • Ongoing improvements based on your feedback

As a new product, Lessontrek is being improved all the time.  New features are in the works, including transcripts, attendance tracking, gradebooks, and more.

Lessontrek also offers a free 14-day no risk trial so you can see how it works before committing to a subscription.

How I Used It

My girls are 12, 7, and 5.  We are relaxed homeschoolers, though our state is highly regulated.  We tend toward delight-directed, almost unschooling, literature-rich studies.  Record-keeping and lesson planning are necessities, but they aren’t easy for us.

Even though we don’t fit neatly into a homeschool method category, Lessontrek worked for us because it is so flexible.  You can plan ahead and create assignments for your kids, as well as assign grades for those lessons. This works well for my oldest daughter who is starting middle school studies this year.  I’m beginning to consider things like credit hours and transcripts for the future.  *gulp*

Or, you can use the system as a way to keep records of what you have actually completed rather than what you plan to complete.  I often write things down after the fact because my two youngest girls are still little and we don’t do everything in a formal way.  I still need to keep track of it for the school district and Lessontrek works well for this.

Like any tracking and grading system, whether paper or digital, consistency is the key. No system will work unless you make it work for you as part of your routine.  That’s where I’ve fallen apart in the past.  I like pen and paper systems, but I often end up spilling tea on them or accidentally tearing pages.  The storage issue is a problem, too.  I want to make digital work for me because it really is practical in the long run.

Some of the features I like best include copy/paste and drag and drop.  These are big time savers and make things a lot easier for me since I tend to move things around when our studies change due to delight-directed detours.

I used Lessontrek on my desktop PC running Windows 7 and a Firefox browser with no issues.  It also works with Chrome, Safari, and Internet 10+.

Save 50% off a yearly subscription

Lessontrek would like to offer ALL of our readers 50% off a 1 year subscription. This makes it very affordable for even tight budgets. Families can get a full year access to Lessontrek for just $30.  Just click the $60 yearly subscription choice and enter the code 2IOL50 in the Payment Info section.  Your credit card will be charged $30 for a full year and then renew for $60 each year thereafter.

If you’re looking for an easy-to-use digital homeschool lesson planning and tracking system that can be accessed from anywhere with any of your computers or devices, you should consider Lessontrek.

 

 

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post written on behalf of Lessontrek.  I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed here are my own.

 

Sara (25 Posts)

I'm a reader, writer, dreamer, wife, and homeschooling mom of 3 girls. We take a relaxed, eclectic, Charlotte Mason-leaning, Montessori-ish, literature-rich, delight-directed, almost unschooling-at-times approach to learning. Lots of unit studies, field trips, and lapbooks, too. I like to blog about our learning adventures (plus faith and encouragement) at Embracing Destiny.


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Homeschool Products from Nest Learning
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Homeschool Schedules to Fit Your Family

Winding Down or Gearing Up?

Academic years are ending. Most graders are closing out a year and winding down for summer. But not everyone homeschools via an academic school calendar. Many homeschoolers are abandoning the academic schedule concept altogether. Homeschool schedules are vastly different depending on the family. Some are choosing to school through summer, others begin their school year in January and transition with the calendar while others are choosing year round school, taking time off throughout the calendar.

Year Around Homeschool Schedule Options

This is the second summer that I will be homeschooling through the summer. I can’t say that it’s my ideal for a homeschool solution; however, I like the idea of taking time off as we go through the year. But what I found since last summer was that I wasn’t taking off much time at all. Oh, I had taken a day here and there, but nothing was really planned out. Then March rolled around this year and I felt burned out and May rolled in and I just wanted to crash.

That got me to thinking. Surely, I’m not the only one who has the dilemma of how to set a year long homeschool schedule. So I began doing what every good homeschool mom does, homeschool research.

Ideas for Homeschool Year Round Schedules

  • 9 weeks of school followed by 2 weeks off.
  • 4 weeks of school followed by 1 week off.
  • 12 weeks (3 months) of school followed by 4 weeks off (1 month).
  • Set your own schedule. Most state homeschool requirements give a minimum number of hours, that can translate into any number of days or weeks that best fits your family schedule.

So for me I’m looking at this and thinking, ‘Well I’m not sure my life fits any of these schedules.” I’m thinking the set your own schedule might be in my future. The problem with that is, I have to actually sit down and plan a schedule. This is not my strong suit. Especially in the middle of trying to school through summer. Maybe, just maybe I’ll be taking Davonne’s advice from Dear Homeschool Parents Whose Kids are Still in the Books.

The reality is every homeschooling family has different needs so the best schedule for your family is the one that works best for you {Tweet That}. I’m still in the process of figuring out which one that will be.

How about you? Do you school through an academic year, calendar year or year round? What works best for your family?

 

Renée (16 Posts)

Renée Brown is author at her personal blog, Great Peace Academy. She is a homeschooling mom to her one amazing son, Jonathan and has been the wife of her Beloved Michael for 21 years. On her blog you will find discussions about her work as a homeschooling mom, her family and her faith.


A Word From Our Sponsors

Homeschool Products from Nest Learning
***ART PROJECTS curriculum –ages 10+ -fulfills high school fine arts credit 10% off + FREE SHIPPING in U.S. Code: STL Offer expires September 30th http://www.seethelightshine.com***

What NOT to Forget…When Moving Your Home{school}

 

What NOT to Forget...When Moving Your Home{school} @hsbapost

We have exactly 12 more nights in our home of nine years before we make our next to last move for a while.  Then approximately nine months later we will make a move to what we think will be a mostly permanent home for us.  And by the grace of God, this is the most organized that I have been during a move.  EVER.

One thought is that I’ve had a little bit more notice on this move than I have in the past.  Perhaps it is also because I’m a little older, and know that moving our homeschool in addition to our regular life is a pretty big deal, and cannot be done haphazardly, or we will suffer for it later.

It could also be due to the fact that I am not working outside the home during this one.  I am blessed that my packing is not relegated to only weekends and evening, or vacation days that would be MUCH better spent getting acclimated to the new place.

Or maybe my OCD tendencies are just becoming a bit more refined these days, and this is my moment  to shine!

Either way, I’ll take it, and share with you all that I have learned during the preparation for this move. When we talked about homeschooling a move last month, I focused specifically on how to keep the learning going!  Today, I would like to focus a little more on the logistics of the move itself.  I hope it blesses you the next time you need it!

 

1.  Begin with your list of utilities and services to be disconnected and connected.

It is easy to overlook something when compiling this list.  Trust me.  I started on this last Monday, and our water service still has yet to make it on to the list.

The two places I looked to make sure I hit everything were the files I keep for paid bills and my online banking account.  Somehow water made it past this security checkpoint, so I wonder what else I might have missed if I had only used one method?

Another word to the wise on this one…get as much as you can in writing (email is just fine) from your provider confirming the actual disconnect date.  I have already had TWO services disconnected early because a customer service provider put in the wrong date or simply no date at all, making it seem as though I was ready to get it done now.  Luckily I had backup confirming my actual request.  If not,  I could have been hit with a lot of fees to continue service until the date I actually requested it to be terminated.

The services being connected are just as important.  Nothing would be less fun in a move than to arrive at your new residence with no power or running water.  To make sure you don’t miss anything, just match up services you are looking for to the services you had.  If your current one provides service in your new location, that makes it even easier! None of mine for this particular move are the same, but going down that list has helped make sure I will have everything we need when we get there.

And don’t forget to make the address change with the post office, which can now be conveniently done online!!!

 

2.   Make this as easy as possible on the moving team.

Most moving companies these days provide you a “by the hour” quote as opposed to a flat rate.  This means that the more organized you are = less time it will take them to get you moved = less out of pocket expense for you.

Do your best to label boxes clearly in terms of not only their contents, but their room destination in the new home.  I found these nifty little labels at The Container Store last week, and have purchased two sets of them.  My only complaint so far is that there are MANY more boxes than labels, because of the way the labels are evenly distributed throughout the rooms.  To remedy this situation, I’m going to use as many labels as I can, to get the movers used to the colors that go with each room, and then purchase plain stickers that match these colors and complete my boxes with those.

I also plan to print out a floor plan of our rental (f you don’t have access to this, you could try your hand at sketching it out) and label each room with it’s appropriate name (i.e. Bedroom #2 is Zoe’s Room…Bedroom #3 is the Study).  Then prior to the move I will hang a sign on each door with the name and corresponding sticker color.

And do your best to have as few loose items as possible.  We always move our computers, printers and monitors on our own, to prevent possible damage AND because packing  that stuff is just not any fun!

 

3.   If making a pit stop on the way to a permanent home, decide what you can live without during that time.

I have done a lot of culling in the last few weeks, knowing that we will have to keep many things in boxes during our stay in the rental.  These boxes are still labeled with their contents and the room they were packed FROM, but have a different destination once we get there.

First round was getting rid of things that we knew we were not going to use any longer.  This may sound simple, but many people become so rushed in their packing, that they make the decision to deal with it when they get to the next place.  Most of the time, it ends up adding to the cost of the move and never gets dealt with.  So I am trying to be as thorough as possible in this task,

Second round was dividing everything in to “must have for now” and “could live without for a while but do not want to get rid of” categories, and making sure my boxes are labeled as such.  It will be a blessing to cut down on the unpacking especially since I’m going to have to do it all over again in nine months or so.

 

4.   Avoid the high cost of special packing that can skyrocket your moving bill.

As an example….when the first movers came out to give us a quote, they offered the service of boxing up all of our pictures.  I thought that sounded like a pretty good idea myself.  Much easier than what I  was planning to do.

I shared this information with my husband, and he informed me that not only would it add to the time of the move, but that their picture boxes would be marked up triple the cost that they would be at a box store or local hardware store. So our decision would be to either transport them ourselves before the actual move, or have them already boxed up when the movers arrive.

Either way, we are keeping our costs down with this option.

 

5.   Preparation for your arrival will help cut down the stress.

If you elect to go with the “transport them yourself” option of any of the special packing items OR just anything in general, you could also  take this opportunity to make a trip to the grocery store for anything your family needs once they get there.  Stock the bathrooms with toilet paper, put paper towels in the kitchen….any pantry items you were running out of before you packed….and if the refrigerator is already there and hooked up, get those cold items in there and ready for your first meal.  This eliminates the need to make a fast food run, which we all know is the least healthy option.  You will be exhausted, and your body will need fuel, so let’s get the right stuff in it to rejuvenate you!

 

So there you have it!  My list of what NOT to forget when moving your home{school}!  I’ll be back next month to talk about settling in to a new location.  And I’ll be sure to let you know how this move goes!

Because here is a little secret…this may or may not be the first time I have EVER done these things when preparing for a move.

If you had to guess, which one would you pick?

 

Ellen Pool (4 Posts)

Ellen is a homeschool mom of one who blogs about homeschooling, faith, family and fitness at Grace Tells Another Story. She homeschool an "only", and they have a blast together!! Every day is "girls day"! She and her family live outside of Houston, Texas.


A Word From Our Sponsors

Homeschool Products from Nest Learning
***ART PROJECTS curriculum –ages 10+ -fulfills high school fine arts credit 10% off + FREE SHIPPING in U.S. Code: STL Offer expires September 30th http://www.seethelightshine.com***