Homeschooling: It's not what we do, it's how we live.

Review… and a Complaint

This is something that’s been bugging me for a few days, so I thought that if I posted about it, maybe it won’t bother me anymore.

If you don’t know this already, then consider this a PSA. There are some bloggers out there who make money off of reviewing things. I guess that’s fine, as long as the reader knows *immediately* that the recommendation is because the reviewer is an affiliate and that it’s not only the awesomeness of the product that is prompting the praise.

I’m not one of those people (at least not yet). If I talk about some product or service that I love, then it’s because of that – I have it or use it and I think that you might like it, too. If it improved my life in some way, then I’ll write about it or recommend it or suggest you try it for yourself. If you have something better, then I want to hear about that, too – but don’t bribe me to recommend your product.

Oh, I forgot to mention; I’m also cheap, so whatever I recommend either has to be free, inexpensive or so freakin’ awesome that it’s worth the cost. You’ll notice that when I recommend things, esp. books, I link to Amazon.com because you can get used versions super cheap.

That said, a few days ago, I got a comment on one of my posts that recommended Homeschool Tracker.  If you’ve been following my blog, then you’ll know that I only found it a few weeks ago and have been singing its praises every since. It’s made record keeping for the kids super easy, and lets me see at a glance what we need to finish for the day, or what I have and have not graded. I can keep track of reading logs, attendance, subjects, grades, resources – you name it, it probably does it.

The email I got was from the creator(?) of a program called Homeschool Day Book and said something to the effect of, “Hey I know you love that, but check THIS out. We’ll even let you have one free if you review it on your blog!”

o_O

So I checked it out. And was singularly unimpressed. And annoyed that I got spammed.

Homeschool Tracker is, first and foremost, FREE. Did I mention that it’s free? And also, you don’t have to pay anything  to use it. Homeschool Day Book offers a free…. TRIAL. And then, you have to pay to use it!  Consider that Strike One.

Homeschool Tracker offers multi-function goodness. I can track attendance, assignments (completed and still due), set assignments due to a future date, reschedule them, copy one assignment to multiple children, copy an assignment to multiple dates (and auto-increment the lessons so I don’t have to edit to add “page 1”, “page 2”, “page 3” to every lesson after I enter it), track time spent on a subject, track time spent on each thing (like daily work vs. field trips vs. in class discussion), and most importantly, track GRADES – and run reports on any and all of that – and more – all in the free version! The paid version must come with candy because there’s nothing else I need in a record-keeping program for homeschooling.

The Plus version (paid version) of HS Tracker is the same price – $50.00, but it does SO much more, including creating high school transcripts.

Homeschool Day Book, from the info available on their website does not offer the ability to track grades at all. If they do, then they don’t mention it on their site. You can track time spent on a subject, but not individual assignments and grades.  Since that was the main feature that I was looking for, consider that Strike Two.

Strike Three is that they only commented on my blog in order to spam their (clearly inferior) product. Why would I pay for a program that does less than the free program that I am currently using? Bad spammer. No cookie for you.

However, I am nothing if not eager to please, so here’s my completely unbiased and non-compensated review:

If you want a multi-functional homeschool record keeping system that lets you track all of the pertinent information you might need to evaluate progress, then Homeschool Tracker is a product that is worth checking out. It’s free, versatile and super easy to install and set up. I use it; I love it and I highly recommend it.

Warmly,

~h

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