Wednesday, October 28, 2015

TOS Review for The Ultimate Homeschool Planner

Do you struggle with keeping your life and homeschooling organized? Do you feel frazzled and lost? Well, The Ultimate Homeschool Planner from Apologia Educational Ministries will help you get things back in order and on schedule.

Apologia Ultimate Homeschool Planner
For this review, I recieved The Ultimate Homeschool Planner with the orange cover. The planners
cost $29.00 and come in 3 choices for the cover.

The orange and blue planners allow you to plan for 48 weeks, while the white planner allows you to plan for 52 weeks. Each planner allows you to plan and set goals for up to 6 children. In addition to the The Ultimate Homeschool Planner (for moms), they offer planners for students and teens. You can even purchase the planners in bundles! Be sure to stop by and check out all they have to offer.

Apologia Ultimate Homeschool Planner
I've tried plenty of planners over the years. When I worked outside the home, I had the traditional leather planner to keep track of appointments and travel dates. Once I stopped working, planners didn't seem necessary. The first few years, I spent my time taking care of babies and planning the occasional play date. The wall calendar in the kitchen worked just fine. When we started homeschooling all that changed! Suddenly lesson planning, co-op classes, field trips, doctor's appointments, etc seemed to spin out of control. So to get back on track, I started searching for a planner. I've found a few I love...paper and online and I've found a few that I really didn't care for. I truly believe a planner is a very personal thing! What one mama likes, another mama may not.

All About The Ultimate Homeschool Planner

As I stated before, the planner comes in 3 cover choices. All three are beautiful! You just have to pick the color you like best. The Ultimate Homeschool Planner is a system designed by Debra Bell. Mrs. Bell is a seasoned homeschooling mom who knows what happens when life gets out of control. Chaos can bring down the whole house. 
"Order brings peace."
     ~St. Augustine

We all know planning won't eliminate chaos and the circus running around in your house, but it can help reduce it! And who doesn't want a little bit of peace?

The Ultimate Homeschool Planner is well laid out. Mrs. Bell explains how to use the planner and offers wonderful suggestions. I highly recommend reading the "How to Use" section before filling in your planner. The planner is broken into various sections. There are 14 sections in the planner in total.


The first section is the User Guide. The User Guide is broken into 4 sections. The goal of the user guide is to help you get the most out of your planner. By planning, you can make the most out of your school year. 
  •    Yearly Planning
  •    Monthly Planning
  •    Weekly Planning
  •    One Year Planning Grid

By setting your goals, you can fine tune the little details of your monthly and weekly plans. When you establish a yearly goal, you can see just how mush time you have. This is huge for me. I always tend to over schedule our lessons which in turn causes us to fall behind. I'm a little bit of an overachiever in that department. 

"There will always be more to do in homeschooling than you have time to do."
~ Debra Bell

The second section contains the Student Goal Setter, Pre-Planning Guide, the Family Priorities, and the Resource sections. This section is great for figuring out what your goals are for each child. This is a good time to ask what they liked about the previous year and what they would like to learn this year. It's always a good idea to get them involved. Children involved in the learning process are much more eager to learn. There are character goals and academic goals for each student. 
The resource section gives you a place to record all the books, dvds, etc you plan on using during the school year! I loved this section! I write my resources down in a notebook and without fail I lose it every year!
The next few sections are the meat of the planner. This is where you will plan your months and weeks out! There is a monthly planner section followed by a weekly planner section. 

I loved how you could fill in the month and the days on your own. Some planners I have tried in the past start in September and end in May. This works if you follow a "normal" school schedule, but if you're like me it didn't quite work. The Ultimate Homeschool Planner gives you 12 months (24 pages) for your monthly planning. 

For the weekly planning in the orange planner, you will be able to plan out 48 weeks out. Each weekly planning pages contains 4 pages. Each week starts out with a page to record a Bible Plan, a Battle Plan, Prayers, and an Outreach. Each week also begins with a beautiful quote to encourage you.
The second page is for you to record special achievements, special graces you have seen, and any memorable moments that happened that week. What a wonderful way to write down and remember all those special moments. The next two pages is where you can record lessons, classes, appointments that are happening during the week.

After the planning pages comes the record keeping pages. Here you will be able to record grades, reading lists, books lists, field trips, and extracurricular activities. This planner allows you too keep it all in one safe place.
The final section of the planner is filled with teaching tips. Here you will find ideas for motivating your children. Mrs. Bell has included tips on how to raise independent learners, ways to motivate the reluctant learner, and tips on how to figure out your child's learning style. 
She even include a high school planning guide with an example. This will come in handy as we get closer to starting high school in a few years. Boy, where has the time gone?

So what did I think.....
The planner is very thorough. I haven't found a planning section that Mrs. Bell has forgotten about. I personally liked this style of "old fashion" planners. I have tried online planners, have really liked a few, but I always end up back to my standard paper and pencil planning methods. I love how the planner is filled with inspirational quotes and I love how she includes the Christian faith in the planner. For me, I would still have to add a lot of the faith part to the planner. The paper planner I use right now is geared for Catholics, so I don't have to add all the feast days. This would be the only drawback to this planner. I could just add it myself, so the problem could easily be solved.
Overall I liked the planner, I loved the teaching tips and the how to use guide. I feel like these would be beneficial to new homeschooling families, as well as seasoned homeschooling families. A lot of good, solid advice! My only concern with the planner is the cover dosen't seem very thick or sturdy. I worry that it may not last (stay attached to the book) for the entire year. I guess only time will tell.

Be sure to read about Debra Bell and check out the books she has written to help homeschooling families!

The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling
The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Teens

Learn more about Apologia on social media.

Stop by and see what other homeschooling moms are saying about The Ultimate Homeschool Planner!

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