I am so not an organized person. I was once upon a time. And I would still love to be one of those people, but as it stands right now I just am not. And so, when I had the chance to review The Ultimate Homeschool Planner ~Yellow Cover, a planning system designed by Debra Bell, and published by Apologia Educational Ministries, These are also available in orange and blue.
I admit it, I was very wary. I was not sure I wanted to set myself up one more time, to fail, in being an organized momma. But I did it anyway and I received this 48 week planner (one of three planner choices available from Apologia) for homeschool. And if you are easily overwhelmed, as I am as of late, this comes with a very helpful and informative guide to help you get started on planning and using this planner.
The Ultimate Homeschool Planner is designed for 52 weeks of a school year. We home school year round. I guess its why I am somewhat afraid of planners? (is that crazy or what?) But do know that this is a very fun, colorful planner and it is full of examples on how to fill your planner out too. I definitely needed those! There are even pages to help you as you plan whether weekly, monthly or yearly! Does anyone really plan for the whole year? I applaud all of you mommas who are so excellent with your plans!
Some of my favorite things about this planner are:
- PlannerSuper Sturdy Planner
- Pockets and coated cover (I spill things a lot; too many things are coffee stained around here lately)
- Goal Pages
- Family Priorities Page
- Scriptures (only request: KJV please)
- Evidences of Grace (what a great way to cultivate gratitude and testimonials of His goodness)
- Page for Hospitality/Outreach, Memorable Moments, Prayers, Battle Plan (as homeschool mommas don’t we all need lots of this stuff?)
The main part of this planner contains planning pages for forty-eight weeks. These pages are not pre-dated. Since we homeschool year round (this is my excuse anyway) I never really figure out a best way, yet, for our family. I do really like how there are specific places to write your priorities (individually and as a family), and there is so much room on the pages (this is good for up to 6 children) to jot down notes and resources, as much as you like. This really is a wonderful resource for us mommas; for those with older kids this can be used along with The Ultimate Daily Planner for Students (recommended for 4th-8th grade) and The Ultimate Weekly Planner for Teens (for 7th-12th graders).
I also really loved how there were pages within like Twenty Power Tools of Learning from the Study Smart Student Toolkit. There was also a handy page to help you to Identify your Child’s Learning Style, along with helpful hints for teaching. Lots of good stuff to encourage and inspire you along the way! Something else I really need lately. 🙂 This was probably another one of my favorite things! I love to be reminded of the many ways there are to learn. And its a important reminder for me too that my kids are all so very different in so many ways. Home education really works when we make it work for them by working with them.
There are also pages for recording grades and reading lists and keeping track of activities. I actually used this myself for recording library books that we took out as well as books that we have yet to read but would like to. There is also an area for the Year in Review which I think I like and want to try to incorporate into our family. Since my oldest is a very reluctant learner, we tend to encourage him to go where the wind blows him. So while there are things he is required to do (reading, writing, math) there are also things he seeks to learn on his own – Chinese, Spanish, French, whittling, archery, drawing/cartooning, guitar/piano – which I would like to be able to manage a bit more. If nothing else to gauge his learning and/or mastery in things.
I admit, the format of this was very overwhelming to me. The design of a school year “at a a glance” calendars which range from 2015-16 through 2022-2023…thats a lot of planning. I cannot even think beyond next week lately. But I love that there is so much room to work within this; it is so very flexible. The possibilities are endless! You can really do a ton with it. For me, right now, I need more structure. I really do. I think as my kids are older and there is more independent work that they are able to do, something like this would really be phenomenal. Or if I ever get myself to a place where I can commit to spending a day yeah week or a weekend each month, really planning out what we are going to do.
I really do recommend this to anyone who is looking for a solid planner to use. If you are one of those folks who loves paper and pen (as am I) and really wants something you can wok with, I think this is wonderful. It has great potential and one of these days I really do want to try using this again, with the student planner as well. Debra Bell did not only create a lovely planner but one that I think covers everything you could want or imagine having in a planner.
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