Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Ultimate Homeschool Planner from Apologia Educational Ministries : A TOS Crew Review

Apologia Ultimate Homeschool Planner

Apologia Ultimate Homeschool Planner

The Ultimate Homeschool Planner    from Apologia Educational Ministries 

Let me start with a "before" and "after" picture of my planning process...  As you can see, I could not wait for the The Ultimate Homeschool Planner    from Apologia Educational Ministries to arrive!  

This planner is designed by Debra Bell - one of my go-to, homeschool experts!  She's been down our path, and survived to tell about it, as well as encourage us who are still plodding on.  

This planner is not only beautiful, and sturdy (laminated cover with pockets too) - but, it's functional as well.  I have such a "non-standard" life that the average "standard" style planner never, ever works for me.  This Planner is just the opposite - it seems like it was designed especially for me and my crazy schedule!

Here's a some of the planning features included:

  • Six years of calendars for long-term planning 
  • One-Year Planning Grid for the year ahead
  • Student Goal Setter pages to identify academic and character goals for each child 
  • Family Priorities page to help you keep life in perspective 
  • Resource List pages to track resources for up to six children 
  • Two-page planning grid for each month 
  • Special Notes for scheduling exceptions that break your routine 
  • Wide margins to record prayers and answers to prayers Scriptures for meditating on God’s faithfulness 
  • Exclusive Lord’s Day feature for making God’s Word a central part of your plan 
  • Maximum flexibility to organize for up to six children by day or subject 
  • Memorable Moments and Evidences of Grace pages for recounting God’s activity in your life and home school 
  • Pages to record grades for up to six children and six subjects 
  • Reading List pages for up to six children 
  • Field Trip and Outside Activities log
  • Year-End Review pages for reflection and next year’s planning

Debra Bell starts with a "user guide" that will encourage you that planning is an essential element in your day.  She recommends a "painless" 5 step process, and gives details (with pictures!) on how to implement a new plan that works for you:

  • A yearly planning retreat
  • Monthly planning sessions
  • Weekly planning breaks
  • Monday morning tutorials
  • Friday afternoon weekly reviews

She caught my attention right away with "Prioritize for Sanity" - this was pure gold for me.  We have been very busy... ballet, soccer, violin, piano, basketball, serving, church, Coop, small groups....on and on and on.  But, I hadn't taken the time to prioritize any of it, and sanity was far from a word used to describe my world!

I think that my favorite feature of this planner is that I am the one that gets to customize it.  Blank monthly and weekly planner pages allow me to fill them in the way that I need to.  I don't have any guilt not following the pre-printed pages. 

The 2 page Monthly pages are first, followed by the Weekly planner pages:

This is the perfect layout for me. The weekly planning pages begin with an inspirational quote, Bible plan, Battle Plan - with "fighter verse", Prayers, Hospitality/Outreach - I can start each week focused on what is truly the most important thing... God's plans for me and my family!

The Weekly planner two-page spread has space for 6 people's weekly schedules.  Or, since it's blank - you can customize it to meet your needs.

 Since there are 10 of us to plan for in my family, I decided that organizing by activity type was better for us than person by person, so that's how I filled this section in.

I used the 6 rows with a row for boys activities, one for girls activities, another for church activities, coop activities, a row for medical/dental/etc appointments and of course - a row just for mom/dad activities.

The 6 columns gave me a column for every day of the week, except the Lord's Day - another gentle reminder to put God first!   The ample margin space for notes, supplies and appointments became my grocery and to do list area.

A blank page to record the week's memorable moments, achievements, and evidences of Grace gives me the opportunities to look back with gratitude on our week.  How many times I have said..."I should write that down so we remember"  This is the perfect spot to capture all those funny things your family says at dinnertime :-)

What a blessing to have a planner that reminds me of what is truly important.

My "Orange" planner (and the "Blue" one) have 48 weekly planning sections.  The "Yellow" design has 52 weeks.

 Sections for recording grades & scores for up to 6 students are included as well.  I didn't dive into this, but it's a great place to keep track of those ACT, SAT scores for your high schoolers.

Speaking of high schoolers, or those who are soon to be in high school - you will love the " High School Planning Grid with a sample plan" pages.  You can easily create a plan for your 8th-12th graders to cover the basic subjects as well as electives, tests and summer activities.  And, it'll all be in ONE place!

Six blank Reading lists and Field Trip logs offer a place to record those important activities.  For those larger than average families, you could use each as a semester, group list.  At least that's how I plan to do it.

The teaching tips in the back are worth the price of this affordable planner alone!
  • Checklists for Raising an Independent Learner
  • Motivating the Reluctant Learner
  • Learning & Thinking Skills
  • Power Tools of Learning

And finally,  a section for you to record your "Year in Review".  This is the perfect place to reflect on your goals and praise God for the progress and answered prayers.

This will become a treasured keepsake of your year, and I know it is a resource I will not be doing without!

Check out the other designs available:
Apologia Ultimate Homeschool PlannerApologia Ultimate Homeschool Planner

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