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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Lord Heritage - Review

Lord Heritage is a company that has put together a product called HomeSchool Office that I got to try out.

The mission statement for Lord Heritage says, "To preserve and teach God's Truth in education by following His commandments in instruction so that,

"All thy children shall be taught of the Lord;
and great shall be the peace of thy children."
Isaiah 54:13

The HomeSchool Office product is an on-line planning/organizing tool that is designed specifically with homeschooling in mind.
Its premise is wonderful and based on what they call the POWER strategy.

P - Plan
O - Order
W - Work
E - Evaluate
R - Report

Sounds good, but what does that actually mean?  Well, for Planning - that would cover  setting up your lessons and your schedules.  Order would be where you create your lists and reminders (I used this the most!) and the place that you can integrate both sides of your life - school and home.  Work is where you can print schedules and the students can follow their lessons.  Evaluate is where you can keep track of stuff like attendance (if you need to keep track of that where you live), time and grades. Report is the area where you can keep all the transcripts and reports that you may need to meet your local state requirements for homeschooling.  

(Think I could have anymore tabs open on my desktop?!?)
If the idea of the POWER strategy  isn't enough awesomeness for you, each letter also has a Bible verse(that I have paraphrased below) attached to its premise also.

P - Jeremiah 29:11 (This is "my" verse that my parents sent me off to college withFor I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future )
O - Corinthians 14:40 (But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way)
W - John 17:4 (I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do)
E - Matthew 28:20 (...and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.)
R - Romans 14:12 (So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God)

I know.  Sounds awesome and inspiring, doesn't it?

I was so excited about trying this system out.  So excited.

But, I neglected to take into account a few things.  First that I am, at heart, still a paper and pencil kind of gal.  Second, that in order to successfully use this fantastic system, it was going to take some time/effort to get things set up and entered on-line successfully.  The third thing that I failed to take into consideration was that my thyroid surgery was going to kick my butt so badly.

The first thing to do it to get your Team set up.  That is basically getting all your kids/students information put into the system.  This also where you can also put in the "type" of grade you will be giving your students.  For example, grade letter, percentage, or descriptive.  We do percentages around here that we translate into a letter grade....except in Kindergarten where we do our own description and star system.   Inputting all these details on your kids,  will  enable you to see all their different things that they have to can even be color coded on the calendar.

This screen is from the Plan portion.  Notice there are tabs for Subjects, School Year Plan, Master Schedule, Projects and Budget.   LOTS of detail can go in here.  Here is where the time and thyroid surgery issue reared its ugly head.  :(  I just didn't have it in me to enter everything we had going on into this system.  I just didn't.

One of the best things I saw about HomeSchool Office is that you can do (and keep) everything in one place.  You can have each member of your family's schedule there.  You can do all your lesson planning and reminders to yourself about what needs to be reported or turned in for credit.  If I had decided to homeschool all through high school, this would have been a fabulous product to keep track of everything so I could have created their transcripts and not have to rely on my memory of what we had done in years past.

Unfortunately, taking into consideration the 3 things I listed above that I hadn't thought about (love of paper and pencil, time to input our lives/schedule, and my thyroid surgery) HomeSchool Office ended up not being a good fit for me....right now.  And, I just thought of a 4th reason.  Rainman.  Rainman is way less technologically savvy than I am (he still has a flip phone...and is happy about it!).  Rainman is also the one that creates our lesson plans and yearly schedule....on paper.  I just follow and implement them.  I think if he would have had the chance to try this out back in July/August when we were setting up our school year, it would have had a better likelihood of succeeding.  I think.

With that being said, I really do think it is a fantastic premise and there were pieces of it, that even with all my reasons, including my post surgery stupor/brain fog, that came in handy.  My most frequently used portion of this program was the"To Do Lists",  "Reminder" and "Family Messages" features.  That was were I did actually type in things for myself and the kids so I wouldn't forget.  I guess it was sort of a step up from my usual  paper and pencil To Do list...but, it did work.  It showed up on the front page whenever I logged into Lord Heritage.  The other part of this that I almost came to love (and, again....if I would have been able to enter more of our actual lives into) was the calendar section - where you can see as much or as little as you want....and each thing is color coded.

I think if you were already someone who relied on an on-line app or calendar program, you will absolutely be in love with HomeSchool Office, because it has everything you need to run both a smooth home and school.  Everything.

I also think that if you are homeschooling in the high school years, this is something you absolutely need for keeping track of everything to make sure you are complying with laws and creating a great, usable transcript. But, for me to go from my hard copy, paper/pencil versions of everything we do, it was too big of a leap for my first foray into organizing and planning with the help of technology.  Make sense?

HomeSchool Office is web based and can be accessed from any device that has a browser, for me, I just used it on my computer.....plain and simple.

Go take a look and see what other TOS Reviewers thought.

You can try HomeSchool Office free  for 30 days, or go ahead and take the jump for $79/year.