In my opinion, Apologia Educational Ministries provide the best science curriculum so of course, I shouldn’t be surprised that their planner is top-notch too!! For this review, I received The Ultimate Homeschool Planner – Yellow Cover.
About the Product
The Ultimate Homeschool Planner comes in three cover selections – yellow, orange and blue. It is spiral-bound which I love because that means not only does it fold flat and stay, but you can fold it over on itself (so it’s half-size) without bending the pages/spine. It is currently available for $29. You can download a sample from the website. This planner was designed by Debra Bell. If you have been homeschooling for as long as I have, you will recognize this veteran’s name!! I’ve had the pleasure of hearing speak at conferences and she sure knows her stuff!
First, I will urge you to click on the graphic at the bottom of this post to read what other reviewers have to say about this planner. It is FULL of information and I’m sure I will leave some of it out.
The planner focuses on three aspects:
- Count your blessings
- Encourage independence
- Record your progress
This planner is intended to be used by the homeschool teacher. There are student planners available if you have students that are at the level to have them transfer their own assignments to a planner for more independence. As I go through the review, you will see how you include the students in reviewing and planning.
I love that this planner is not dated. At the very beginning, there are multiple calendars (all the way through year 2023!!!) so you can copy the correct dates as you plan. You can download the Table of Contents and be amazed at what all is included. Thankfully, it starts off with a user’s guide. I am a planner by nature. And a list maker. But even I can get overwhelmed if things are laid out for me. Since this planner really encourages planning sessions, I needed the “how-to’s” that is provided.
For instance, you begin with a yearly planning retreat. Sigh. Even though I would love for that to mean I’m in a oceanfront room by myself, even the author states that she does her planning in a library. You will also have monthly and weekly planning sessions. This is a great way to stay on the right track. Monday Morning Tutorials and Friday Afternoon Reviews are a great way to get the students involved in making sure they know what is expected of them and make them accountable.
There are yearly planning grid, monthly planning pages and weekly planning pages. The yearly one obviously shows the entire year and I use it mark our school schedule, marking off the days I know we will take off the school day. The monthly planning page I use to enter everything else for the month that I need to schedule, this is NOT for academics but everything else. That way I can quickly look to see if there will be any conflicts when I make the weekly schedule. I list sports, 4H and field trips.
The weekly planning pages is where you write down all of the assignments. I love that the grid is laid out and you can use it however beats suits your needs. I ended up writing the days across the top. There’s six columns so I combined Saturday and Sunday in one. We normally do not do any schoolwork on the weekend but you never know what will happen and I remain flexible. For the rows, I listed both of my sons for the individual work, then a row for what we do together and the remaining are for me. I made little check boxes so we can mark off once an assignment is completed.
So what makes this planner different? There’s so much more besides the planning pages. There are plenty of pages for setting goals, prayers, a way to track hospitality and outreach and even a journal area to include memorable moments and evidences of God’s grace!! I could see this planner being a keepsake to read, not just to see assignment checklists!
If you keep grades, there’s a place for that too. And reading lists. And activities.
And if all of the above is not enough, hold on, I’m not yet finished. There’s teaching tips!! And may I remind you the author knows what she’s talking about! And if you are close to the last stretch, there’s a high school planning section.
I would highly recommend this planner. With most planners, there always seems to be something missing. I can’t think of anything that’s missing here. There’s even a flap on the front and back inside covers to hold documents, flyers, etc. With the open grids, you can use this planner regardless of your teaching style. It’s highly flexible.