Thursday, April 11, 2013

Apologia's The Ultimate Homeschool Planner (& Weekly Planner for Teens) - Review

I have used several homeschool planners. I have used free ones you piece together yourself, dated ones you buy, undated ones you buy that are pre-printed, undated HUGE planners you print pages as you need, etc. I always felt something was lacking. 

I will start out with my review for "The Ultimate Homeschool Planner".

First off, who doesn't love pockets? This planner has pockets in the front and back for that stuff that you need to store. We keep our flashcards in there. 

And comes one of the VERY BEST parts of this planner. Debra Bell (the author of these planners) is a seasoned homeschooling Mom. She and her husband home-educated their four children from grades K-12. (Click here to learn more about her.) She put that knowledge to use building this planner, and she also guides you through how to utilize the planner to get the most out of it. It has fully detailed instructions as well as the reasoning behind those things. 

Things such as: 
Planning Retreats
Planning Sessions
Planning Breaks
Monday Morning Tutorials
Friday Afternoon Breaks

See a full table of contents here.

Here you see my planning grid, in progress. I would have NEVER thought to put my year on a grid like this. It has enabled me to see ALL goings on, without flipping around and trying to cross reference. 

Here, we have a list of goals for each of my children.
This includes character goals and academic goals.

Following this, there is a page to list family priorities.
This is excellent for being able to figure out what fits into your homeschool, 
and what is best to phase out or say "no" to. 

Then there are several pages to list homeschooling resources, 
followed by monthly calendars for the year (undated, so you are not limited in start/finish times). 

Since we homeschool year-round, undated is absolutely necessary for us. 

Next, we have the weekly planner pages.

The rows vertical and horizontal are blank so you can utilize it how it works best for you.
I use it for ONE child, so I use subjects across the top,
and days of the weeks down the side. Then I just check it off as it is done. 

On the right side, there is space for:

Along with those there is an inspirational quote.

Weekly, you are encouraged through "The Ultimate Homeschool Planner" to have a weekly planning break.
In this time, you reflect, plan, pray, and formulate your "battle plan" for the upcoming week. 
For me, this is has been super beneficial. Purposefully reflecting weekly on forward momentum and evidence of character growth certainly helps in moments of Momma doubt and homeschool burnout. 

In the back of the planner there are pages for recording grades, reading lists, & filed trips.

She also has some tips in the back that are excellent tools for even an experienced homeschooling parent. 

There is a year end review and a page for notes. 

This planner most definitely has helped our homeschool. Not just in planning, but in improving and adapting. We can continually prioritize, assess goals, and form an evolving plan to give us the best success at educating our children at home in a godly manner (while being well organized).

We will be using this planner permanently now. 
It has two different choices for the cover, both beautiful and appealing. 

This was a bit more of a challenge since my teens are no longer home-educated fully.
My oldest son and my daughter attend a local school full-time, 
and my next to oldest is studying for his GED. 

My oldest uses a school issued planner, so I gave it to my daughter to use.

She used it for a few weeks and really found it didn't help her much, except for listing under the days of the week what tasks/tests she had that were special. 

So, I passed it onto my son who now uses it to plan out his studying in his GED guide.

He enjoys it for that purpose, but it really doesn't utilize the planner to its full potential.

This planner is really well suited and thought out for a high-school student who is tracking progress for their high school diploma and/or transcripts. 

It has:
An "About me" section
Schedule Logging
Calenders (Undated)
SAT words weekly
Planning pages with days of the week and subjects
(Time spent on subject tracking)
Think pad space (notes?)
Doodle Space
It also has neat quotes on the side...
The Periodic Table of Elements
and many other useful charts and conversions.
It has maps too...

(My kids really liked the info in the back, even though they didn't use the planner fully)

They also LOVED the design. Said it was "cool".
There is a lot of space for notes too.

The stickers in the back are awesome too...

We all believe this planner would be excellent for a homeschooling teen. 

You can order "The Ultimate Homeschool Planner for Teens" here for $19.00

You can order "The Ultimate Homeschool Planner" here or here for $28.00
(Links to ordering for each cover style)

You can see other reviews of this and other products by clicking on the disclaimer above. 


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