Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Apologia Educational Ministries - The Ultimate Homeschool Planner - Review

Homeschool planning made easy.

Homeschool planning has always been something I dreaded. I've spoke to many homeschool mothers that actually enjoy it, but I've never been one. I think it's because I've never found a system that really worked for me or that I really understood how to use. That is why I was so excited to recently have the chance to review The Ultimate Homeschool Planner from Apologia Educational Ministries.

The Ultimate Homeschool Planner is not your average planner. It is a 52- week homeschool planner designed to help you document God’s faithfulness and activity during your homeschool journey. The planner allows you to plan for up to six children. It is updated with different scripture verses and inspiring quotes throughout it. It is also available in three different colors. The planner I received is the blue edition. I love blue so I was pretty pleased with the appearance of it. 

The planner includes a wonderful user's guide that explains how to use the planning system. I spent about 30 minutes reading the whole guide. I had a better understanding on how to use the planner after reading the guide and was excited to start my planning adventure. The planner recommends five painless steps to guide you in the process of planning. 

1) A yearly planning retreat (This can take anywhere from 4-8 hours)
2) Monthly planning sessions (This takes about 2 hours)
3) Weekly planning breaks (This is only about 30 minutes)
4) Monday morning tutorials (This is about 20 minutes per child)
5) Friday afternoon weekly reviews (This step is only about 15 minutes per child)

The guide explained each process of planning and walked me through each process with step by step instructions. 

The planner is packed full of goodies and includes:

  • Sturdy construction with convenient pockets and coated covers. 
This was wonderful. I didn't have to worry about it falling apart on me. It was sturdy enough for me to haul it around with me.
  • Six years of calendars for long-term planning 
I liked having the six years of calendars. It was fun to add events that I knew we would be attending or having plans on those days so far advanced. 
  • One-Year Planning Grid for the year ahead 
I don't think I have ever planned one-year ahead before now and I have to admit, it was a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders. I so think I will have to tweak somethings, but for now I'm pretty content with our plan. 
  • Student Goal Setter pages to identify academic and character goals for each child 
This was a nice addition and really helped me identify goals my children and I wanted to achieve. 
  • Family Priorities page to help you keep life in perspective
Everyone could probably use a tool to keep life in perspective and this planner includes just that.
  • Resource List pages to track resources for up to six children
I loved having the resource list. I was able to add quite a few resources and I'm sure I will be adding more in the future.  
  • Two-page planning grid for each month 
Having the planning grid was much needed for the month to month planning. 
  • Special Notes for scheduling exceptions that break your routine 
This was a great addition and one that I'm not use to seeing in average planners. 
  • Wide margins to record prayers and answers to prayers 
One of my favorite parts! I'm use to writing down prayers, but had never really focused on writing answers. I loved this! It's always nice to see evidence of God working in your life and this was a nice way to document that.
  • Scriptures for meditating on God’s faithfulness 
The scriptures were wonderful and I really enjoyed being able to read them. 
  • Exclusive Lord’s Day feature for making God’s Word a central part of your plan
I loved that I could include a bible plan, battle plan, and prayers in this part. 
  • Maximum flexibility to organize for up to six children by day or subject 
It was nice to be able to use this planner to plan for my three children. 
  • Memorable Moments and Evidences of Grace pages for recounting God’s activity in your life and home school
This is a fun area of the planner. I enjoyed being able to record our finished projects and other fun things that happened during our weeks. 
  • Pages to record grades for up to six children and six subjects 
I'm never great at recording grades, but I did enjoy that this was included. 
  • Reading List pages for up to six children
Reading lists are always a plus and I did also enjoy that these pages were included. 
  • Field Trip and Outside Activities log
We love our field trips, so I was happy that the logs were included. 
  • High School Planning Grid with a sample plan
I liked this and loved that it included a sample plan.
  • Year-End Review pages for reflection and next year’s planning

Some of My Favorite Things

I absolutely loved that the planner had pockets. I'm kinda weird about stuff like that, but that was a huge plus to me. I don't like having papers just shoved in a planner, so having the pockets was really nice. I also loved how the planner had bible verses and quotes throughout the whole thing. It was always refreshing to read those and say to myself, "Hey, I needed to read that!" Most of all, I enjoyed being able to have a planner that seemed to work. One that I could wrap my head around and spend time in, without feeling overwhelmed or unaccomplished. It worked for me and that's what counts. I have used other planners in the past that seemed to be a waste of my time. Perhaps it was because I wasn't following through with the planning or perhaps it was because I wasn't actually sure how to correctly use the planner. I know that seems weird, but just because I write down some nifty ideas and plans doesn't mean I really know how to implement them. The Ultimate Homeschool Planner made sure through the user's guide that I knew how to use it and the step by step instructions were much needed to me. Some people may be planning queens, but I'm not one of those people and I need all the help I could get. What I found with this planner, was that it turned out to be insanely easy and actually fun to use. 

If you are looking for a homeschool planner than I highly recommend The Ultimate Homeschool Planner.

What does the The Ultimate Homeschool Planner cost?

Right now you can purchase this awesome planner for only $29.00. That's a wonderful price in my opinion. 

Click below to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew
Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal Review

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