Monday, April 8, 2013

The Ultimate Homeschool Planner - Review

I believe I’ve mentioned my addiction to planning, haven’t I?  Yes, I’m sure I have on more than one occasion.  Just imagine my giddy delight when I received a package  from Apologia containing The Ultimate Homeschool Planner ($28) and the Ultimate Daily Planner for Students ($19).  There may have been an angelic choir singing as I shredded the bubble wrap envelope.  Now, not only do I get to plan, I get go pass my obsession on to my child!  (Insert evil laughter here.)

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One of my favorite things about this planner is the two page, one year planning grid.  This allows me to fill in the dates for the upcoming school year (July through June), and then fill in recurring things like co-op and Activity Day.   I can then fill in scheduled vacation/holidays and get a clear view of what days I have open.   I can go back and add field trips and other info as they become known.  I really like being able to see the entire year laid out in front of me on two pages!

If you’d like to take a look at some sample pages, click here.  Here is what my planner looks like so far with the co-op and Activity Day dates filled in for the upcoming year.  A helpful hint here, write in pencil just in case you get off track.  Don’t ask me how I came to this conclusion, ahem.

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The planner contains an area for resource lists per student, for up to 6 students; a monthly planner for life activities (doctors, vacations etc.), a weekly planner (Bible Plan, Battle Plan, Prayers, Hospitality/Outreach); a place to capture the weeks memorable moments, and evidences of grace.   All of the items already mentioned are before you even get to the weekly lesson plan area!  After the lesson plan area, there is a location for grades, reading lists, and field trips (each for up to 6 students).

The Ultimate Daily Planner for Students it equally impressive.  There are monthly calendars for the student to keep track of their time commitments, weekly assignment pages (with a Bible verse and history trivia) a place for grades, reading list, and an activity log.  There are also helpful resources like a U.S. and World Timeline, world maps, conversion charts and lots more!

I’ve been working on creating independence with the girls by giving them a checklist each week for their daily independent studies.  By using the Ultimate Homeschool Planner in conjunction with the Ultimate Daily Planner for Students, I’m able to give Olivia much more ownership in her studies.  We can sit down at the beginning of the week and she writes down her own assignments for the week.   At the end  of the week we can review her assignments and can discuss where she is for the week.  I also like that her daily assignment pages have a specific place already printed for “Quiet Time”, which in our house translates into reading her Bible on her own and spending time in prayer.  To view sample pages from the student and teen planner, click here.

In order to be completely transparent, I haven’t had Olivia start using her planner yet, so I can’t show you any grand photos of how well it’s working for her.  The reason being is that I’m using both the Ultimate Planner and the Student Planner as I prepare for our next schooling year, which begins in mid to late May.  At that time we’ll be moving to a year round schedule.  These two products are really making this change in schedule much smoother for me.   There will be another post covering these changes several months into our new journey.

Pros:
Heavy duty covered front and rear cover.
Inside pockets (storage is my friend).
Four year calendar (July-June) inside.
One year planning grid (LOVE THIS).
This Weeks Memorable Moments/Achievements
Instructions (yes, really!!).

Cons:
The only thing I don’t really care for is the fact that the planner is spiral bound.  I much prefer 3 whole punch so that I can move things around and add other things as I go.  Although, I do really like that with the spiral binding I can flip the planner open and fold it over to only one page instead of having it open to the full spread.  So it’s a love/hate con at best.

In addition to the two planners that I received, and  the Ultimate Weekly Planner for Teens, Apologia also offers products in elementary science, junior and senior high science, history and language arts, and worldview training.

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