Tuesday, September 16, 2014

My Student Logbook (Schoolhouse Crew Review)

My Student Logbook review

One of my goals as I homeschool my middle and high school age students is to allow them the responsibility of managing their time and keeping track of their schoolwork. One of the accompanying challenges is finding a system for making that happen. We recently were given the opportunity to review My Student Logbook and see how it worked for record-keeping in our homeschool. These student logbooks are available with several options, all of which can be seen at their store page: My Student Logbook.
My Student Logbook Review
My Student Logbook was created by a busy homeschool mom, in response to her own need for a simple system of keeping track of the schoolwork for the four young children she was homeschooling at the time. She took a simple notebook idea and developed it so that each of her children could have one, and it took up very little of her own valuable time to get it ready for them. Then, as she realized that other homeschoolers could benefit from this simple organizational system, she created the logbooks for friends and local homeschoolers, and now they are available for purchase as well.

The premise is very simple - and at the same time, brilliant. The notebook is designed with daily columns (dated or undated) for checking off when items are completed; and a fold-over list of the items on the to-do list, which means that the same list can be used over and over again! This saves Mom a lot of time and trouble because the list of subjects to work on or chores to complete only has to be filled out one time and can be used for multiple weeks - or months - if needed. 
My Student Logbook Review
The printed and spiral-bound My Student Logbook comes with a choice of nine different cover designs, and can be purchased in two different dating options - school year from August 2014-July 2015 or the 2015 calendar year - or undated. A pdf version is also available.

We started off by choosing our format - Kennady chose the Freedom cover design, undated, for this review. And I kid you not, before that first My Student Logbook had been in our house a week, I purchased one for Landon, and he chose the Vintage Map cover design, also undated. That it took us only a few days to decide that we needed to buy this product should be an indication of how useful we found it to be!

My Student Logbook review  My Student Logbook review

How did we use it? My Student Logbook can be personalized with name and year on the front cover, and with the All About Me pages in the back. Kennady was all about this when she found it.

My Student Logbook review

There are also pages in the back to record books read (Kennady made sure to start listing her reading right away), field trips, Scripture passages memorized, test scores, and more.

There are instructions in the front of the logbook about setting it up, as well as information about using it for keeping track of high school level courses for credit. The My Student Logbook website also has a tutorial video to walk you through setting it up. It really is very simple and straightforward. We chose undated books, so we put the dates in the boxes at the top. With the undated books, you have the option of recording school days or days of the week starting with Sunday or Monday, or whatever works for you. We dated Sunday to Saturday.  There are separate pages that are to be torn or cut out of the book, and these form the fold-over task lists on the left side of the page. By folding the task list over, when this week is over, we'll just turn to the next page and fold the task list over it. I'm probably not explaining it very well - the video on the website does it more effectively!
My Student Logbook review
My Student Logbook review
Obviously, this isn't suited for detailed assignment lists that have different page numbers or instructions for each day's lesson, but for checking off that the daily assignments have been done. I chose to list some chores and other things that are supposed to be done daily, or that are good habits we're needing to encourage. For the school portion, I listed the subjects the kids are working on. In the first small box to the right of the task or subject, I noted how often I expected it done. The chore at the top of Kennady's page seen above is to care for her pet, and I noted that it needed to be done every day. Further down, in the school section, I noted that expected her to work on Geography five days, Math 4 days, and so on. She is to check off the chores to show that they are complete, and jot down the time she spends on her schoolwork. 
My Student Logbook review
My Student Logbook review
My Student Logbook review
Landon's is set up basically the same way. By having him record the time he spends at Civil Air Patrol, and at Phys.Ed. activities, we will have a dated log of the credit hours spent on those activities. Keeping track of the hours spent on Algebra or on the assigned reading isn't directly related to the credits he'll be earning, but it gives a summary of how he is spending his time. If he is falling behind in a subject, we should be able to tell if he is putting in enough time, or if one subject is becoming more time-intensive than we'd anticipated.
My Student Logbook review
I rather expected that Kennady would carry her logbook around with her schoolbooks (she keeps most of her books in her room, and for most subjects she brings them down to the dining room to work), but she prefers to leave the logbook open on the desk in her room, and update it a couple times during the day. As long as she keeps it up to date, it doesn't really matter! I refer to the logbook when I record her grades in the tracking program I use, so I get the dates and time spent correct. It only took us about the first week of school to get this system figured out, and it is working great!

What we liked best:
  • so flexible and adaptable! This can be used by very young students that are ready to start practicing independence in their schoolwork; and can be used by high school students who need records of their attendance and time spent on subjects in order to prepare their transcripts.
  • practical and simple to use.
  • gives the student responsibility to keep their own records - as much or as little as they are capable of. Little ones need only to checkmark the boxes, while older ones can be responsible for keeping track of their time spent, scores, and more.
  • at the end of the year, the logbook can become a kind of yearbook, summarizing how the school year was spent, along with books read, goals met, and highlights of the year.
What I need to mention:
  • we found a little bit of an adjustment time was necessary, as I reminded the kids to check things off in their logbooks, just like any new habit that needs to be established. Really though, it is so simple and takes so little time, that both kids quickly made their logbooks part of their school routine.
  • it really cannot take the place of the detailed assignment instructions that some students need, so do keep that in mind.
Our bottom line: My Student Logbook may win this year's prize for best homeschool product I didn't know we needed! At first glance, I had thought, "oh this would have been great when my kids were younger, but they're too old for this now." Well, it turns out my kids are definitely not too old! This simple-to-use student planner is efficient, adaptable, and easy-to-use; and I'm so glad I purchased one in addition to the one we were generously given for the review. It makes record-keeping so simple, and makes it easy for kids to take responsibility for getting things done and keeping track of it all.
My Student Logbook Review
Would you like to put this tool for success to work in your homeschool? Here's what you need to know:
Visit the website: http://MyStudentLogbook.com
See the video and set-up instructions on the website, and information about using it for high school record-keeping on the High-School Transcripts page.

Pricing: My Student Logbook is available in nine different cover styles, dated or undated, for $15 each. The pdf version can be downloaded as a single copy license for $10, or as a family use license for $20. Visit the My Student Logbook store page for all the details.

Recommended Ages: Grade 2 and up

You can follow My Student Logbook on Facebook, or on YouTube.

Visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog for more information and to read other reviews!
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Stefanie said...

Omg! Mackenzie needs this. She is driving me batty with saying stuff is done but it isn't. And having lost her assignment sheet.

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