Homeschooling Planner for Mac Users

Finally done! I’ve just finished a nine month work marathon fixing and beta-testing our homeschool planning software for Mac users. Now it is finally for sale on our brand new website! Boy if I had known how much work this was going to be ahead of time . . . Of course, that’s what I said about my book too. But now that the making part is done, it’s all worth it to have the finished product.

This planning software is something that has been brewing in my mind for years. When my kids were little, and before I became addicted to the computer, I was content to use homemade forms in 3-ring binders for my planning and record-keeping. It was a lot to lug around though. Seems like I always carried a canvas tote bag around with my binder and a few books so that I would be ready to take some notes or fill in my homeschool journal.

Later, when my boys were approaching high school age, I decided it was time to keep better records in anticipation of creating high school transcripts. So I purchased software for my Windows computer. But it took me a whole year to figure out I wasn’t using it correctly – there were so many customizable options that I didn’t know what I was supposed to do or which way would work best for me. It did the job, but it got me thinking how I would do it differently.

In the meantime, I had bought a Mac laptop to write my book and found that I really loved Mac! My Windows computer was on its last legs and I only kept it alive to use my homeschool software. Since my son Aengus was an avid (Windows) programmer, I asked if he could try to make me a homeschool database for my Mac. That boy loves a challenge, so he started from the beginning learning how to program for Mac.

That was about three years ago. He learned all about database design, Cocoa programming, and Core Data. I used my recent training in graphic design and information architecture, and homeschool experience, to sketch out designs and flow charts. We tried different things, re-arranging and adding features till we finally thought we had it all and offered it up to beta testers last Fall. But we ended up re-working everything again as we got feedback. What a process!

Now that it is finally done, I don’t have anyone left to homeschool 🙁

But I hope that others will find it helpful, and my son is hoping that his efforts will help pay for his college tuition! The application is called “OLLY” which stands for “Organized Life and Learning Yearbook.” He’s almost done with the iPhone version and has a good start on the iPad version. So if you use a Mac, or know someone who does, please visit www.ollyhomeschool.com and let us know what you think!

 

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6 Responses

  1. Pam says:

    Just downloaded the trial last night and started fiddling around with it. So far, so good. I am especially happy to hear about the other versions coming soon. I know this had to be so much work. Thank you!

  2. Kerlina says:

    Been on a hunt for this very thing. Will check it out and buy if it answers my quest.

  3. Janna Stariha says:

    God bless your endeavors. This is an answer to my prayers as I’m a dedicated MAC user. BTW, can anyone recommend curricula that works on MACS? I love AOP, but everything computer based is for a PC.

    As our children get older they are wanting to “school” more on the computer, which is ideal for someone soon to be homeschooling 7 children.

    • Jamie McMillin says:

      Hi Janna,
      Thank you! I can imagine that doing some school on the computer will be a big help with 7 children! There are some educational games for Macs (here’s a list of some of them: http://macgenius.co/top-mac-apps/education/paid/), but for curriculum, I think your best bet will be Internet based programs. There are an astonishing number of “online learning” companies starting up. I am currently researching as many of these as I can find because I plan to write an article comparing pros and cons of each for homeschooling families.
      I hope you will check back here in a couple of weeks when I have it finished.
      Best Wishes,
      Jamie