Monday, October 26, 2015

Crew Review: The Ultimate Homeschool Planner from Apologia

Apologia Ultimate Homeschool Planner

Earlier this year, I was at the Homeschool Conference. I held The Ultimate Homeschool Planner from Apologia Educational Ministries in my hands and thought about buying it. But, it was wrapped in plastic and I couldn't really see what it was like. I picked it up several different times, but in the end, I left it at the conference. With that in mind, you KNOW I was excited to be part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew's review of The Ultimate Homeschool Planner. I didn't know what color was going to arrive, but I received the yellow cover, which would have been my preferred color, anyway.
Apologia Ultimate Homeschool Planner

I'm going to walk you through The Ultimate Homeschool Planner exactly the way I explored it - from front to back. Debra Bell has included a lot of nice features in this planner. The very first thing I noticed was that the cover is plastic and has a pocket inside the front and back cover! Do you know how many planners I've created pockets in for myself with manila file folders and packing tape? And in recent years I've often used a plastic pocket folder with 3 prongs to create my own planner.

The Ultimate Homeschool Planner is a full-size planner, 8.5 x 11 inches and it's spiral bound. It easily opens flat when writing, and it is sturdy. The front of the planner contians 2 years on a page mini-calendars from July 2015 - June 2023. Next you'll find your information sheet where you can put your name and address and then a ten page user's guide. Just in case you aren't sure how to use sections of the planner, it's all spelled out for you. I probably would have liked the information sheet in front so it could easily be seen if someone found my planner-brain laying somewhere.

The planner starts off with some school-planning sheets. The first one was the one-year planning grid. It's just a 2 page spread with tiny little boxes. This is primarily for planning your days on and off of school. You really can't put subject materials into those spaces. You can schedule field trips, holidays, and planning sessions, though. There is then a 2-page spread that allows you to set academic and character goals for up to 6 students. The Family Priority list can get you started thinking about why your family homeschools and what activities matter most to you. This section ends with several pages for you to record important resources (curriculum you will be using, websites, materials you want to research.)

The next section is the Monthly Planner section. In this section, you have 2-page spreads for each month. They are undated, so you will need to write in the month and dates. This actually allows you to use it as a January - December planner, a July - June planner, and use it for any year you'd like.  Each page also has a Bible verse on it. I do wish these were possibly scattered through the weekly planner pages, but it works to have it at the front. I just resort to my time-tested method of marking the current month with a paper clip (which also lets me put Doctor appointment cards on the correct month).

After the Monthly Planner section, you come to the largest portion of the planner - the Weekly Planner pages. Each week actually has 4 pages. The first page includes a short quote or Bible verse, a place to mark your Bible reading plan, your prayers, your outreach and hospitality goals. The second page allows you to journal about any special moments (memorable moments or evidences of God's grace) from that week. The last two pages for the week are a 2-page spread where you can schedule weekly lessons for 6 subjects and 6 days of the week. There is a small block for notes, supplies needed, and any appointments you need to remember. These pages also have an encouraging or challenging quote to inspire you each week. Again, I had to resort to the paper clip to help me find the correct weekly pages, but I love that it encorporates journaling, Bible study time, school planning and appointment reminders all together.

The Ultimate Homeschool Planner concludes with pages to record monthly grades, reading lists, field trips and outside activities for up to 6 students. There is really only ONE thing I can think of that would improve this plannertabs that marked the different sections: the school planning section, the monthly calendars, the weekly planner sections, and the final grade record sheets. Those could probably be added on your own, if you thought they'd be helpful to you. Otherwise, colored paper clips along the top edge work, too.

The Ultimate Homeschool Planner manages to be everything a homeschool Mom would need for a planner without being overly bulky. It's just under an inch thick, which is just a bit thicker than my most recent planner (which doesn't even include school planning options). I really do think I just found the perfect homeschool planner for me!
You can purchase The Ultimate Homeschool Planner from Apologia for $29.00. Don't forget to follow Apologia on social media so you won't miss out on any sales!

Happy planning!
April E.

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