This post, Taking Control of Your Day with The Ultimate Homeschool Planner, was made possible with a copy of The Ultimate Homeschool Planner – Blue Cover which we were sent to review from Apologia Educational Ministries. I am an affiliate with them, so links in the post may be affiliate links which may result in a small commission being issued for purchases made through them.
Do you ever feel like life is out of control? Or even just certain aspects of it? Maybe you worry that the kids are not doing enough learning in your homeschool. Whatever the case, keep on reading to see how you might gain back some control.
Even with some organizational systems in place, I find certain aspects of my day being challenging. While I track assignments and grades digitally for my boys, there are times when I have longed for a planner that is bound and can move with me wherever I am headed. My laptop isn’t as friendly for travel, especially if it is for homeschool functions. When I heard about the opportunity to review The Ultimate Homeschool Planner by Debra Bell and available through Apologia, I knew I needed this jumpstart to my approach to planning on my home.
What is The Ultimate Homeschool Planner?
There are tons of planners on the market. Some are predated and others are not. I never liked the predated ones as it locked you into their idea of a school year. The Ultimate Homeschool Planner is one with undated weekly pages (52 weeks like our year!).
Okay, I can hear the comments from the peanut gallery many miles away whispering “So what? There are plenty of other options out there which let you pick the dates. What makes this one different?”
Here’s the long list of inclusions with my own comments added:
Sturdy construction with convenient pockets and coated covers. This is huge as anything I’ve printed at home is more likely to be ruined when transported. The wide margins for recording prayers and answers to them is a wonderful thing as well.
Six years of calendars for long-term planning & One-Year Planning Grid for the year ahead as well as Two-page planning grid for each month.
For anyone that wants to map out both short and long term, this is a must have. Weekly page spreads allow you to organize by day or subject for up to 6 children. And if you have a high school student, there is a high school planning grid with a sample plan. Plus, there are Year-End Review pages for reflection and next year’s planning. There’s even a spot for special notes when there are scheduling exceptions which break the normal routine.
Student Goal Setter pages to identify academic and character goals for each child. I’ll admit that planning the academics is easy as I have to submit a learning plan for each child. However, I have neglected to determine character goals for each of the boys.
Family Priorities page to help you keep life in perspective. Oh, boy, THIS is a big need in my life. Ideally, it is something determined in concert with your spouse.
Additional pages of use to most homeschool families include Resource List pages to track resources, Reading List pages, and a field trip and outside activities log.
And, as this is Apologia standing behind a product, they bring in a focus on spiritual health as well. Scriptures for meditating on God’s faithfulness Exclusive Lord’s Day feature for making God’s Word a central part of your plan are included. There are also Memorable Moments and Evidences of Grace pages for recounting God’s activity in your life and home school.
THIS is what really called to me when the opportunity to review this planner came my way. God is a daily part of MY life, but I had gotten so bogged down in the nitty gritty of teaching main subjects to the boys that God had been ‘left out’ beyond bringing them to Mass on Sundays.
My Thoughts on The Ultimate Homeschool Planner
As I already shared, I do track grades digitally. It’s a database already set up to calculate grades based on whatever weighting I want to use for each course. For my older boys, this is definitely needed. For my kindergartener, it is more overkill as our charter school only asks for those more general grade levels (outstanding, good, satisfactory, needs improvement.) For his stuff, the planner is the perfect solution for me. I can either preplan what we’ll do OR I can use it to record what we did as we do it.
Initially, I thought it might be too ‘spacious’ a planner for me as when I expressed interest in the review I only had two of my three school aged boys at home. Since then, my 7th grader has joined us in homeschooling instead of attending the local middle school. So now my planner looks a little more full.
The spiritual component of the planner is what had me most excited and I am making a concerted effort to fully utilize this feature. I strive to attend daily Mass at least once per week, often with at least one boy in tow. However, that leaves 5 other days of the week needing me to consider not only my own spiritual journey, but that of my boys. Learning by example is key in this area and while our charter school does not track any religious based learning, I am using a few programs for Bible study with the boys.
Seeing how wonderful a tool this is for me, I am seriously looking at The Ultimate Homeschool Planner for Teens so my high school student can manage his own schedule and The Ultimate Homeschool Planner for Students for my 7th grader. Life might not always go the way you’d like, but you can still plan for what needs to be accomplish and adjust as needed. And that is an important skill for my boys to learn.
What methods do you use to manage your homeschool day?
Is the inclusion of the spiritual a crucial component of your homeschool planning?
Don’t just take my word for how we found this to be. Visit the Apologia: The Ultimate Homeschool Planner Review post on the Schoolhouse Review Crew website to see what other homeschooling parents thought about this and other self-paced courses.