SmartDraw: Homeschool Edition Review
SmartDraw is an incredible program that will allow you to create handouts, quizzes, presentations and more. Your children will be able to create sophisticated looking projects, posters, reports and more -- with very little help (if any) from you.
Don't let the name fool you. "Smart" is a total understatement. I'm not certain exactly what expected from the homeschool version of a business program that allows you to create your own charts, calendars, schedules, graphs, timelines, report cards and other forms — but what I found is truly amazing and much more than I could have ever dreamed to have found all in one program. The creators really thought of everything and put it at your fingertips in an easy to maneuver format.
SmartDraw took about ten minutes to download and another two or three minutes to install. After the installation process, I was good to go. (Be sure to have a copy of your receipt handy, you will need the serial number.)
I played around with the "Calendars" section first. After just a couple of minutes I had figured out how to select a colorful template, add a new entry, add holidays (one-click), then I saved and printed my new calendar. While SmartDraw comes complete with a help file, the program was so simple to use, I never found the need to open it.
When I first learned about SmartDraw, my first thought is that since we are unschoolers, and keep very few records, I would never have a need for a program that creates charts, forms and school records. I couldn't have been more wrong. I absolutely love the "Forms" section. If I only ever used the forms in the "Household" section, it would be well worth the cost. Of course over the years I've found many uses for this handy program.
In the space of about five minutes SmartDraw allowed me to create a personal "Daily Food Group Log," a "Daily Nutrition Log," and a "Weekly Exercise Log." We've been working with our son on the relationship between diet, nutrition, and exercise and these forms are perfect for our purposes. Using the forms I printed off, my son will be able to keep track of the nutritional values of the food he's eating, monitor his exercise accomplishments, and see the progress he's making. The forms would have literally taken me hours to create on my own.
Having these forms at my fingertips will help me to be more organized, better manage our time, and allow us to spend more family time together. My mind is racing at all the possibilities.
If you ask me, this program is one that no family should be without — homeschoolers especially. The funny part is that if I had known about SmartDraw years ago, I could have saved myself a fortune. Our family has over the years purchased several family tree making programs, a landscaping program, billing programs and even one that creates floor plans. SmartDraw does all this and so much more.
While exploring the "Family Trees" section, I was impressed to note that when adding pictures it wasn't necessary to play around with the image, or resize it to fit. This program is so smart and intuitive that it automatically resized the image for my purposes. That's pretty impressive.
SmartDraw includes fully customizable charts and forms including...
- School forms — permission slips, homework record, attendance sheets, reading log, certificates, history timelines, math worksheets - even complicated ones including astronomy charts and diagrams.
- Sports rosters and score cards — baseball, football, golf, soccer, and stats.
- Medical forms — allergy log, dental records, medical history, release forms and waivers, insurance claims.
- Small business forms — proposals, estimates, bids, invoices, statements, expense reports, income statements, etc.
- Employment forms ‐ including applications, evaluations, time records, and vacation planners.
SmartDraw includes plenty of templates that can be customized as well as blank forms that allow you to create unique charts and graphs from scratch.
The list is so long and the uses so varied that it would take a great deal of time to list them all. This is a program that you will use time and time again. The more you use SmartDraw, the more it will inspire you to find ever more uses for it.
Reviewed By Annette M. Hall,
Updated: May 15, 2010