Thursday, September 18, 2014

Review: My Student Logbook

Sometimes a good homeschool day isn’t about fun (but messy) science experiments or seeing my son’s face light up when he finally “gets it” in math.  Sometimes the good comes solely from things running smoothly, everything being in its place when we look for it, and no arguments over what has to be accomplished before school’s done.  Today’s review product from My Student Logbook seems to be able to accomplish two of those three things.  While we’re still on our own to make sure everything gets returned to their places, we’ve been very pleased with the Planet-themed planner we’ve been using for school (and other tasks).  Don’t like space?  You can see all the cover choices for the Daily Student Logbook on their website.

The spiral bound book we received has a clear protective cover on the front and a heavy duty black plastic cover on the back. We chose the dated school-year version (7/28/14-8/2/15), but you can also select a Jan-Dec dated version or one without dates at all.  Behind the log pages are additional forms for lists most homeschoolers keep: All About Me, Prayers, Books Read, Field Trips & Activities, and Test Records.  There’s a bright blue page separating the two sections, making it easier to find those forms.

The front of the book has Set-up Instructions, a How-To Create High School Transcripts Using the Logbook guide,  and several Master Checklist pages.  If you use up all the Master pages, you have permission to make more copies.  The trick is to fill out a Master Checklist once and then use it over and over each week in the dated logbook section.  It’s not complicated to do, but rather than try to come up with my own explanation, I’m going to defer to the video instructions they provide on their website.

I have shared in previous posts how frustrated I used to get trying to teach my son.  At some point in every lesson he would ask me “What comes next” or “How much more do we have to do?”  For a long time I took these questions as a sign that he was bored with the subject, or me.  The more it happened, the more I took it personally until I’d snap at him to just focus on the present.  Then I learned from a Celebrate Calm workshop at my local homeschool expo that my son was just expressing his anxiety of not knowing what the day was going to hold for him.  If he could just see a list of what I had planned, he’d calm down and focus on each lesson in turn.  This Student Logbook is perfect!  At the start of our school year we wrote in each subject we’d be using—Bible, math, reading, writing, grammar, science, history, piano, and art.  He doesn’t really care about the specific assignment in each class (which I keep in my own planner). 

The beginning of each week he can decide which day we’ll do art and highlight that block in the logbook. Every day he can decide which order to do each subject (although I insist Bible be first). He seldom varies, but at least the choice is there.  And there’s no concern that we’ll miss something in the shuffle, because if it doesn’t have a checkmark it hasn’t been done yet.

There are more lines than we could possibly use for school alone so I’ve included his chores.  By lifting the Master List flap I can add notes for specific items like Fritz’s once-a-week chores or the book he should use for reading time.  There were still more blank lines and my son is reaching puberty so I added some grooming and hygiene habits we’re trying to instill (like using deodorant).  I have to admit, that hasn’t worked as well as I’d hoped because we keep the logbook in our basement schoolroom and the deodorant is upstairs and should have been put on long before school starts. Maybe we need a mini version of the logbook for the bathroom.

My Student Logbook can be used by any child who can read (mom can do the writing if necessary) although the vendor recommends it for 2nd Grade and up.  The printed version retails for $15 and a downloadable PDF version (which comes predated) is $10 for single use/$20 for family use.

Now you remember at the beginning of this post I said the Student Logbook could help me with two out of the three things—It finally dawned on me to make the last line of our school day “Return all books and supplies to their proper place!”


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