Posted in Homeschooling

Reinventing the Wheel

As those have been reading for a while know, I have been using Lessontrek Online Planner for the last 2 years. Unfortunately this solution hasn’t been working so well this school year. They haven’t added any new features and the Gradebook is still in Beta status. Customer service, while friendly, isn’t very good at fixing things in a timely manner and they haven’t made any of the improvements that they said are in the works for over 18 months so I am tired of waiting and have decided to do something else for next year.

Things weren’t so bad when I was using pen and paper but I want something better than the $0.18 notebook that I used to have. Printed homeschool planners tend to have more bells and whistles than I need so I decided to find a printable planner that I can just print the pages I want and ignore the rest.

Google has a huge amount of printable planners available, both free and paid from the very fancy to the very simple with the ability to mix and match as needed. With so many choices you think that I would have been able to create just what I wanted, right?… wrong!

Most forms were too fancy, or had the wrong layout, or had too many fields, others had a perfect layout but they ruined it by adding “Bible” as a subject or printing a bible quote in the footer, the rest were limited to 30 or 36 weeks of instruction when I homeschool year round, or I would find one that would work but it’s in landscape mode and I want it in portrait mode… After seeing how many hours I was wasting in this process I decided that it would be faster to just create my own, and it was.

Planner Cover
The only page that I got “fancy” for was the cover and still tried to keep it simple

I created my first form in 10 minutes and an entire planner in just a couple of hours. As a career accountant, I value functionality over aesthetics so it’s very fast for me to design a table that while it may look boring to most, it gets the job done. I don’t care about fancy fonts and colorful clip art so I don’t waste time on that. In the end I have been creating a complete planner that I can then upload to a printer’s website to have printed and bound.

My planner is very different from any other planner that I see online. I shouldn’t even call it a planner as it’s really a tracker. I¬†will use it to track what has been done on a weekly basis. That is how I have been using Lessontrek and it’s how I would like to continue.

So far I have created:
– Year calendar with holidays
– Attendance Tracker
– Weekly Assignment Log
– Homeschool Resource Log
– Reading Log
– Field Trip Log

I could send this to the printer and be happy but I am toying with the idea of also creating a Grade Tracker. While I don’t use tests and teach to mastery, I do grade assignments to have an idea of strengths and weaknesses for lesson planning. My son has no idea that he is graded, this is only for my personal purposes but I have gotten used to doing it.

I have not found a suitable printable for that so it looks like I will be designing my own as well.

Once everything is finalized I am toying with the idea of making the PDF forms available for free download to my subscribers if there is enough interest.