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I am considering getting the CM planner for the 2012-13 year, but am unsure yet mostly due to the cost. Many of you seem to use it and really like it, but does anyone use something different that they find effective but more cost efficient? Like maybe using one of the Microsoft Office programs. I have access to most Microsoft Office programs, but I haven’t used all of them, so I’m sure there would be a learning curve. Does anyone else have a different method of tracking? I haven’t found a printable paper planner I’m completely happy with, and making my own is definately a lot of work. Keeping it current is even more difficult as life disrupts or lessons take longer than anticipated. I end up winging it too much and accomplishing very little, though if I don’t have a well kept blueprint for everything in front of me.
I see there is a free month trial for the planner, but I am hesitant to put all the work into setting it up for only a month. Is it a lot of work? Really time consuming?
Thanks for your help!Wings2flyParticipant
I can email you the excel sheet I use, if you want to try it. I was looking at the planner, too. But from what I can tell from it, you still have to have another planning system for your year and long-term goals. Someone please correct me if I am wrong on that. Many users have posted that they want to see what is scheduled ahead of time like next week or next month or next year, but the organizer won’t let you as it is perpetual based on what was finished today. Then you look to see what is for tomorrow. I have considered trying it, too, but the fact of still having to plan has held me back, plus the cost. I am sure it is a great program, but we have a tight budget. I love the fact that once it is done, you have a great record report to print out to see all that was accomplished for the week, month, or year. Did you watch the videos about the organizer? It might help you make a decision. http://simplycharlottemason.com/planning/cm-organizer/tour/
I LOVE the organizer. Worth the money and time.
As you know, you have to decide when and how to do your subjects and I do this by listing it on a master list (created a table in word). Under each day is family and individual names. I use this to balance out our days when scheduling it. Then you imput all info in the organizer.
I have also found an alternative to this process:
1. I have laminated a copy of the schedule I created for each of us and placed it in front of a binder.
2. I added dividers for each subject and made a copy of the table of contents for each book I plan to use for the term, year, (however you do it).
3. Every day I refer to my master list of subjects to be done, and since I am using the Modules, it tells me which of my books I am using that day (if not a module you have some other type of guide to keep you going). Also, some things are self explainatory – the next chapter in the literature, the next poem in poetry, the next lesson in the math book, the next lesson in the science quide, etc) Since I was researching and planning the year, I am relatively clear on what we will be doing in each subject – leaving leeway for the interests of kids and additional material I always seem to find and add to my subjects (like DVD’s and projects)
4. As we complete the lessons for my subject list that day, I simply jot down the date (1/12/12) next to the chapter title or lesson on the pages I copied. I can also make a quick note of any additional activities done that day in conjection with the lesson (ex: DVD – Explr Grt Pyrmd to have a more complete list.
There is no erasing, no messed up calendar, no pages to print and check off… I made each child a weekly check-off list that they can write the weeks dates at the top. They then have a list of their personal subjects – reading, math, spelling, music practice, etc. I can print one page a week for each child instead of daily and can tell at a glance where I might need to bolster their schedules.
It helps us to be independent as well. =) I am less likely to be distracted by the computer early in the am. However. I have used the Organizer and love it too.Sara B.Participant
sheraz, what a great idea! I don’t use the CMO, I have all the books written down in the order I plan to use them under each subject. But all those notes…. Duh! Write the chapters out that we plan to read! LOL Never thought of that. Thanks for the awesome idea!
Great ideas! Any one else have some great advice/tips?
Sara B – I seriously make a xerox copy of the table of contents, mark out what I am not doing (if any) and just add the brief note and date. I am not even writing out the chapters. I am too lazy. =)chocodogParticipant
Great ideas! 🙂Sara B.Participant
Haha, yes, that would be even easier! I am that lazy, too, oftentimes! LOL
I said lazy, but prefer to refer to it as “picking my priorities” – along with the stack of paper plates in the kitchen cupboards. We just moved, and I really did make a home for paper plates- across the way from my glass ones. I hate doing dishes as much as I hate needless handwriting large pieces of info. LOL
Just picking my priorities…MonicaParticipant
It’s strange – I tend to be very Type-A but I never did really like any of the organizers I tried out.
My kids each have a master schedule that they use every week. It lists the subjects that they will work on each day. For example, one of today’s subjects was “History Read Aloud”. We just pick up the book where we left off. We read a few pages, narrate, and move along. Same thing with all of our other subjects – pick up where we left off.
I do keep a master list (in Excel) of history books that corresponds with what we are studying. I use that to pick up new books at the library.
I don’t worry about finishing a specific text or program by the end of the school year. We work diligently every day, and we’ll get as far as we’ll get. (So far this year we are doing quite well staying on track, actually!)SueinMNParticipant
This is my fifth year to use the Online Organizer. I have homeschooled since 1984 and this is the single best investment that I have used for my school. I mean other than basic necessities and Bibles. I even have myself on it. I schedule my work days and now that I’m in college I put my assignments on there too. I wish it had been there for all the other years that I homeschooled. This organizer is the first one that ever worked for me. I LOVE IT!
Thanks, ladies. I can see how it would be helpful, and likely well worth the investment. I’ve signed up for the trial. My initial thoughts are that it is frustrating. I haven’t got all the info yet — I have to add most of our resources. I think until I get a full weeks worth of material in there it’s not going to give me a good picture of what it can do. I kind of wish I had waited until Aprl for the free trial because we will be away for March Break part of the time, so there is a good week and a half I’m losing. Maybe I’ll get enough of a taste for it to consider using it for the fall, though. We’ll see…
In the meantime, I’m still looking for other (cheaper) alternatives.
I have to add most of our resources.
We are in final testing on a feature that makes it so users of the CM Organizer can share resources they’ve entered with everyone else. That should ease the pain of having to enter every resource we haven’t already entered.
I kind of wish I had waited until Aprl for the free trial because we will be away for March Break part of the time, so there is a good week and a half I’m losing.
Let us know if you need more time later. We would be happy to extend your trial.suzukimomParticipant
I definitely recommend the SCM Organizer for ease of use. Yes it can take a bit to get setup if using resources that aren’t in it (which as Doug mentioned, will be much better soon…) – but well worth it.
However – there are a couple of free alternatives out there. I tried one of these two, and found it very frustrating (especially when we didn’t do what was scheduled – or I didn’t keep right up to date on entering what was done…)
HS Tracker (homeschool tracker) – there is a free version and a paid version… I only tried the free version. this is a program that you download to your computer. You need to enter all your resources by hand in the free version – I think that there is a way for plans/programs to be shared with the paid version – for instance I think you can get the AO schedules to download and automatically schedule it….
SchedTrack – this is free and is an online program. I only had a quick look at this as I heard about it after using the SCM Organizer – and I won’t give that up!my3boysParticipant
When I first tried the Organizer I didn’t wait until a “good time” and I think the SCM team extended my time as well (very gracious, btw). The first couple of weeks were “trial and error” on my part, sometimes forgetting about it, usually not understanding what I was supposed to do, etc. But then, by the third week or so (maybe 2nd time around) I was hooked and realized that I wasn’t using what I had used in the past. The Organizer may not end up being for everyone, but if you’re looking for something that will keep you sane in the “organizational/record keeping” department, the Organizer may be for you. Just try to give it time to make sense as to how it will work for your life before making a concrete decision.
I guess I’m just trying to say that I could’ve dumped it before I truly understood its beauty and would be struggling right now with record keeping.
Just my .02.
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