As a blogger, I may be compensated in some way (either pay, product, or experience) for sharing the post below All opinions are my own. ~Heidi
OK, so I’m going to just expose myself here — I’m a bit OCD when it comes to planning. (And, I’m guessing that if you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you’ve probably already figured that out, huh?)
Whether I’m planning for our homeschool, an upcoming trip to Walt Disney World, or a blog post, I’m very particular about how and where I plan. I have found a personal planner that works for most things – but, when it comes to our homeschool, I’ve always created my own planning forms because I want them uber-personalized.
As co-creator of the Mosaic Reviews team, I have opportunity to see a lot of great products! Most recently, the team received The Ultimate Homeschool Planner by Debra Bell (a product of Apologia Press), along with the Teen and Student planners from the same product line.
And I have to confess . . . my expectations weren’t very high. I had seen these planners before. I had picked them up and held them. And I put them back down and walked away, thinking they weren’t really what I needed.
But, I was wrong. (Yes, I really was! Don’t tell my husband!)
Now that I’ve had these planners in my possession for several weeks and I’ve had a chance to really look them over, I’m really excited about them! And, while you won’t often find me posting reviews for Mosaic Reviews, I’m stepping out here because I feel like these planners need to be shared. . .
The Ultimate Daily Planner for Students
A great gift to start younger students on the road to academic independence! Students meet with Mom weekly to record their daily assignments and mark their progress. Helpful tips, extensive study aids and engaging trivia give this planner true kid appeal.
For the 2012-13 school year, I decided to put my 12-year-old daughter Gracie in charge of her own schedule. I thought it might help her to be more aware of her schedule and take ownership of it. We’ve been using a planner that is similar is size and style to this one. It has been a huge help for her – and for me! I write what she needs to accomplish and she gets to check it off as she completes each task.
I plan to use this planner with Gracie for her next school year (9th grade). Here are the things that I like about it:
- The cover – it’s colorful & fun, while being extremely durable (like a heavy-duty, waterproof plastic)
- The Study-Smart Student Toolkit – I think these pages will have huge appeal to Gracie!
- The weekly 2-page spreads – like this year, I’ll be able to write in her daily assignments, and she has a place to check as they are completed. I like that the left-hand page has a Bible verse at the top, while the right-hand one has a trivia question – I know these will appeal to Gracie also.
- The extra “goodies” in the back of the planner – Gracie is a big researcher (hmmm . . . wonder where she gets that from?!) and I know she’ll enjoy referring to these pages.
- The fact that it’s not dated! This is HUGE for me. I’m very adamant about not answering to someone else’s schedule, so I appreciate the flexibility that this planner offers.
The only thing I’m not entirely thrilled with is the monthly calendar format in the front. When the planner is open and laid flat, these calendar pages are back-to-back, and vertical, rather than horizontal. I’d prefer to have 2-page monthly spreads that you wouldn’t have to turn the planner to see when it is lying open.
The Ultimate Weekly Planner for Teens
Homeschool teens can track their progress and count down the credit hours to graduation with this outstanding planner. Includes helpful tips, SAT word builders, and extensive study aids to keep teens engaged and growing in responsibility.
I’m really excited about this planner and am planning to use this one for Gracie’s 10th, 11th, and 12th grade years. So, what’s so great about this planner?
- Like the Student planner, the cover and binding are awesome and durable
- Unlike the Student planner, the monthly pages are 2-page spreads! No need to turn this planner to see them and fill them out! The addition of the Mindworks information along the right-hand side is both interesting and visually appealing.
- The Weekly scheduling pages include little circle graphs that you fill in for each 15-minute increment of time spend on that subject (see image to right). If you live in a state where you are required to track time spent on each subject, this is an extremely valuable tool! Credits are usually tracked based on time spent also. Plus, it’s a great way for the student to see where they are spending the most time and maybe what is most interesting to them (in planning their future).
- And, again, I like the extra “goodies” in the back and the fact that the planner isn’t dated.
The Ultimate Homeschool Planner
Now here is where I get really excited!!!
Count your blessings while charting your family’s homeschool journey with this gorgeous day planner from best-selling author Debra Bell. The Ultimate Homeschool Planner will help you prayerfully prioritize your family’s lessons, assignments, and activities as well as academic and personal growth goals for each of your children. Includes teaching helps, record-keeping, and pages to document God’s faithfulness throughout the year.
Now available in two different cover styles to coordinate with the colors of your life.
This planner just makes me happy for so many different reasons. Let me see if I can list them . . .
- I like the size. It’s bigger than the Student and Teen planners. Its pages are a full 8 1/2 x 11″ in size.
- Again, I like the cover and the binding. Super durable and visually appealing. AND, the cover of this mama planner has pockets – inside both the front and back! (Gotta love pockets!)
- The monthly calendar are 2-page spreads, undated, and there is lots of room to write on them!
There are some interesting weekly pages that make this planner different from any other that I’ve seen:
- There’s a Lord’s Day page, where you can plan out your spiritual growth for the week to come – from Bible reading, to prayer requests, and outreach. While I never would have thought of this page if I were creating my own planner, I love that it is here. This is an area where I could use some improvement, and I’m hoping having these pages each week will inspire me!
- The page opposite that one each week is a place to record memorable moments, achievements, and evidences of grace.
Now, I have to admit that I’m not going to be using this planner as a HOMESCHOOL planner, and this is what makes me so excited . . . I’m going to use it as a LIFE planner – combining what I would normally put in my personal planner with our homeschool stuff (that I need to keep track of), while allowing Gracie ownership of her plans with the above-mentioned planners.
- So, I just adore these 2-page weekly spreads. They are big and full of lots of room to plan!
Because I already had my plans in place for our current school year and for my 2013 life-in-general planner, I am putting this planner back to use for 2014. But, I wanted to share my plans for using it; so I scanned a sheet, printed it, and filled it out so you can see how I intend to use it. This plan is for Monday – Wednesday of the current week:
As you can see, there is plenty of room for me to record what I need to be doing each day on my personal blog, both my business websites, my side job, our family routine and events, and extracurricular school activities.
I can think of only 2 things that would make this planner better for me:
- Instead of having all the monthly planning pages together in the front of the planner, I would spread them throughout – a monthly 2-page spread, followed by several of the weekly planning pages.
- Then, I would add divider tabs between each month, so it’s easier to find exactly where you are.
Otherwise, I find this planner to be “practically perfect in every way” and I’m looking forward to personalizing it for myself next year!
I’m sure you do! So, head on over to Apologia’s website and check out these planners and all the other great resources for mom!