I do seem to spend a lot of my time planning out our schooling and am always looking for ways to be more efficient.
So when I was given the opportunity to review the Ultimate Homeschool Planner -Yellow Cover from Apologia Educational Ministries I was eager to see how it would work.
What It Is:
This truly is a planner.
The first 16 pages of the planner show you how to use it, and have examples of the different ways you can use this. There is a two page spread where you can see the entire year at a glance. Then there are a couple of pages where you can list each student's character and academic goals. A page to list family priorities is next; this is a very good way to cause you to step back and evaluate where the family is headed.
There are pages to list all resources, and then the calendar starts.
All the dates are blank so you can begin this calendar any time and in any year you wish. There is also plenty of margin space for notes. There is a years' worth of months here.
Then come the bulk of the planner, the weekly plans. This is a four page spread that repeats itself for 52 weeks. One the first two pages is the your goals page. There is a place to write prayers for the week, your battle plan, and to even record momentous occasions or accomplishments.
The third and fourth pages is where you can see your week at a glance, and plan out each day and write what each member of your family does. There is space to schedule six people. And this page spread is blank in the margins, so you can decide what format to use.
At the end of this section are grade pages, where you can conveniently keep records for up to six students. There is a place to record book and field trip lists and a place to list outside activities.
Then there are short guides for helping certain learners and how they can best be helped by this planner; there is a lot of great information and ideas about independent and reluctant learners. Finally there is a schedule for high school students that are on a state university track, and a place to review your entire year.
How We Used This And What I Thought:
I sat down on a quiet afternoon and began filling in the broader parts of this planner. I liked how the overview of the year forced me to look at where I was going. What did I want to see my kids learn this year? What areas of their lives did we need to work on? After some thinking time I began to move into the weekly plans. For the sake of time, I only filled in the months of October and November. I was not wasting any space in this planner because like I already said, the months are all blank.
The first week I used the first page to write assignments for my younger ones. I ran into a bit of trouble because in each box (day), there are only 5 lines. I doubled up for a bit, but this did make my writing size much smaller.
Also, the grid is six by six, so if you have more than six subjects, you'll have to squeeze in. Bookworm has seven, so what I did we put her schedule on the second side; not by day but by subject.
She actually works better this way; many weeks she will work in time blocks and complete two or three assignments in one subject in a sitting.
I really liked the following page in the weekly section, that asked you to write down the week's memorable moments and also to remember evidences of grace. So many times we go through our weeks and forget all of the tiny moments and blessings that we have.
The 12 months of overview comes first in the book followed by the weekly plans; when I planned out November I did wish that the monthly overview immediately preceded the first week. That way I wouldn't be turning through pages so much. I fixed this by putting sticky tabs on each month so I could quickly turn back for reference.
So did I like this planner?. It was harder for me to fit all of our schooling things into the weekly planner, but after some playing around, I did get a system that worked going. But what I really liked was the emphasis on goals, planning out subjects, and remembering occasions. So many times, we as homeschooling moms are right in the thick of the forest of homeschooling, and are looking at the trees up close. This planner forces you to step back and look at the forest. To see where you are going in the long run, and where you have been.
Other members of The Crew reviewed this; check out what they thought by clicking below.