When purchasing homeschool planning software you need to determine if it is suitable for your needs, easy to use, and cost effective. No two homeshoolers are alike; therefore, no homeschool software will suit every user. You may want to pay more for specific functions, or perhaps you just need bare bones grade recording. In addition, if the software is difficult to use, chances are, you will not use it.
- Determine the suitability of homeschool planning software by considering your needs according to your style of homeschooling.
- Decide what functions you currently use, or may use in the future, like lesson plans, grade recording, high school transcripts, or perhaps even a date book.
- Make a simple chart with each of your "needs" written in each row, and the different software packages you are considering in the columns. As you determine the features of each software package, add a checkmark in the appropriate box. By filling out this chart, it will become apparent to you, which programs best suit your needs.
- Check for automatic installation and upgrades which are imperative, especially for homeschooling parents. No one has a day or more to deal with the learning curve involved with using a new program.
- Check for help and search functions, which must be readily available.
- Grade calculation should be simple and automatic, as well as the ability to make necessary changes.
- Determine the process for creating a high school transcript or portfolio. Completing it should be as simple as answering questions and pressing a button.
- If possible, test the software before buying it. Many companies allow free trials or promise your money back if you are not satisfied with the program.
- Compare prices once you have determined your needs and the usability of these programs. When considering pricing, do not automatically choose the cheapest program.
- If there is a price discrepancy, find out why. Whenever possible, speak directly to the merchant and ask them about the features you miss out on should you purchase the cheaper software.
- Does the less expensive program allow automatic upgrades, or will you need to pay for new versions each year?
- Can you back up and restore your data?
- Can you share this software among family members?
- Will you need to purchase a separate license for each family member?
- Get a program with any features you think you may need in the future.
In summation, when buying homeschool-planning software, be sure to compare and contrast software features for needs, ease of use, and finally cost to ensure you have made the best choice for your money.