For the past 3 years I’ve been homeschooling my kids. One of these days I’m going to blog the what, why and how of our homeschooling, but today I just want to share a resource that I put together to help other homeschoolers who use the same charter we do – MyTechHigh. MyTechHigh has been the most amazing resource for our family. They function as a provider through a charter school that helps facilitate home education. The best part is they are very hands off – I’m required to provide course descriptions for my sons’ academic curriculum for the year, turn in weekly learning logs (2 sentences per subject of what they did that week), and either have my boys take the state tests or opt them out. In exchange I can be reimbursed for their educational materials and classes between $600-1900 each year so long as I get my expenses approved and turn in my receipts on schedule. What a deal! They also provide additional academic resources, meet ups, events and field trips that we can take advantage of during the year. It has been an amazing resource for our family.
The trickiest part in all of this is managing the receipts for reimbursement for my sons’ classes. I’m given a certain budget for each class based on meeting certain criteria – $150 for custom built classes, $300 for 3rd party classes, math/english/science can be combined if they’re all custom built, but other expenses have to stay in their category, some expenses can only be reimbursed through the tech allowance, certain classes take money away from the allowance etc. It gets to be kind of confusing to keep track of how much I’ve spent on each boy and each class. So I came up with a Google Spreadsheet solution that makes the whole process nice and neat that I wanted to share with my fellow MyTechHigh parents in hopes that it will help make other people’s lives easier too 🙂
I’ll include below a step-by-step tutorial on how to use the spreadsheet, but if you want to go rogue and figure it out on your own you can open it up here. Of course it’s probably also a good idea to open it up for yourself so you can follow along with my tutorial too 🙂 So to start off you’re going to want to make a copy of my spreadsheet for yourself – you can’t edit mine, that would kinda ruin it for everyone else 😉 To do this you go to File->Make a copy…
After you do that a box will pop up asking for a name for this document. At first I was going to try to make this easy to use the same spreadsheet for multiple children, but it was complicated enough as it was. You will need to make a separate copy for each MyTechHigh student you want to use this for – so name your spreadsheet accordingly!
Once you click OK your copy will pop up and you’re ready to begin filling it out. I’ve tried to lock as many of the ranges that you shouldn’t be changing as possible so you don’t accidentally mess up something that you won’t be able to fix. You will want to start by filling out the Student’s name and then checking whether they are a returning student and if they’re a kindergartner. Don’t worry about the Reimbursement Sheet inputs for now, we’ll talk about those later.
You’ll notice as you enter in the fields that the numbers at the bottom will start to populate with your technology allowance. This will also help generate some of the fields that will make sure you choose the right course types. You’re now ready to start filling in your schedule. For each period select which type of course your student has (Custom, 3rd Party, MTH Direct) and you can enter in your course description. To the right of the course description I have a character counter too, just to help you when you’re writing your descriptions to make sure they’re the right length. The course description isn’t necessary, but I like having it there so that as I’m looking at my expenses I can remember what I have in my course description to make sure that I’m submitting things that are going to fit within those parameters. You can also just put vague notes as far as your curriculum there for your own reference. It’s completely up to you, you can even leave it blank, it has just helped me in the past to remember what I’m actually planning to do.
When you select the course type you’ll notice that more numbers start to appear. In the column labeled “MTH Funds” you will see your maximum allowance for that period based on the course type you selected. The total tells you the maximum allowance based on the courses you have. Make sure you select whether you’re doing Science or History so that the information gets filled in properly as well. Here’s what my son’s would look like with his schedule for this year –
The next part is the spending totals. You don’t need to worry about changing anything there. This section will update as you enter in your expenses and will tell you how much you have left to spend in each category. The next section is where you will enter your actual expenses. As you purchase items during the year enter a description of the item or items on your receipt, the total and then select the period description. Don’t put an X mark next to the items until after you’ve submitted the receipt to MyTechHigh for reimbursement, you’ll see why in a minute. Here’s what my son’s looked like for this year when I put in all of his expenses –
You might have noticed that even though I was over for his custom core and way over for his Tech class (we split that with his brother and submitted the same thing for both and asked for half the reimbursement for each boy) the total at the bottom of spending total is 0 – that’s because if you submit for too much they will only reimburse you for what you have allowance for. Also, if you were over in some categories but had extra in others it would only calculate the extra in the others since you can’t borrow from different periods to make up for deficits in others. You’ll also notice that I split his Let’s Play Music class tuition into two line items so that I could be reimbursed for $300 as his custom built elective and $180 from his technology allowance. I would recommend as you input expenses on these sheets that you take pictures or save copies of your receipts in a single folder on your computer, phone or Google Drive so that you can easily find them when you’re ready to submit.
In and of itself I feel like this is a super handy way to keep track of what you’ve spent for each period and know what you have left to spend, but I decided to take it a step further. This spreadsheet will also generate for you a cover sheet for submitting your expenses. This makes it really easy for the folks at MyTechHigh to quickly review and approve your submission, as well as making it easy for you to know that you have all of the right receipts to submit! If you go back to the top of the page and click on the box next to “Reimbursement Sheet to Generate” you’ll be given a dropdown box of all of the submission categories that you have. Pick whichever one you would like to create a cover sheet for. You can then enter any special notes that you might have about this period that they will need to know at MyTechHigh (for example, when I submitted my sons’ tech class this year I made a note on their cover sheet – “Please reimburse half of the total cost to each student.” – however usually I don’t put any additional notes. Then you will want to open up the sheet called “Reimbursement Cover Sheet” by clicking on the link at the bottom of the page.
This will open a completed reimbursement cover sheet for you which will include the student’s name, which course the submission is for, a list of all of the items and their costs, and the total amount you are requesting to be reimbursed. You don’t need to do anything with this sheet except save it as a PDF, or copy the data into Word – whatever you want to do in order to submit it. If you make multiple submissions you can have items previously submitted removed by placing an “x” next to the items that have been reimbursed on the expenses list on the first sheet. When I go to submit I will save my cover sheet as a PDF and then use Adobe Acrobat Pro to combine that cover sheet with the uploaded receipts that match it so that I have a single pdf file to submit for each period. You can do essentially the same thing by selecting all the text in the cover sheet spreadsheet and copying it into a Word document (or Google Docs or whatever your word processing software of choice is) and inputting your receipts on subsequent pages before saving as a PDF. Here’s a sample of what that cover sheet would look like –
And that’s it! Hopefully this helps you to better keep track of your MyTechHigh expenses and budget in the coming years! I started thinking I’d just make a few quick modifications to what I had previously so that it would be useful for other people. Instead it ended up taking me about 2 full days to get all of the pieces working, but I’m really happy with the result. If you notice anything that I’ve missed please comment below so that I can get it fixed! I think there might be some other things that I would need to take into consideration for high schoolers, but I don’t know what those are because my oldest is in 3rd grade. If you want to use this for a high schooler and want to walk me through the variations I’d be happy to work in those variables. If it is really useful to you consider making a donation to my site, or making a purchase through one of my affiliate links to help me keep this site going. Happy Homeschooling 🙂
Here’s a link to the spreadsheet again, just so you don’t have to hunt through the article to find it – MyTechHigh Reimbursement Tracker.
Side note: Everything above is my 1st grader’s actual schedule and reimbursements for this past year. Feel free to use the descriptions and purchase list for inspiration for your own child’s schedule. I’m planning on posting reviews of some of the things that we’ve loved in the future but I’ll put in a plug for the one thing that we’ve REALLY loved this year which is our Kiwi Crate – it’s been SO much fun for all of my kids and they’ve learned a ton from them. I thought I was going to like the Kiwi Crate but it’s been so much better than I’d expected. If you use my referral link you get $10 off of your subscription 🙂