It's the time of year that we homeschoolers start thinking of next year. I know, I know, we aren't even done with this year yet but that's what we do! We are constantly on the lookout for things that make learning easier for our kids. And life easier for us!
The Ultimate Homeschool Planners by Debra Bell are just the ticket. I have raved about these before but I get to do it again. Homeschool Mosaics is proud to review The Ultimate Homeschool Planner for Moms, The Ultimate Weekly Planner for Teens, and The Ultimate Daily Planner for Students.
If you have never heard of these planners then I have the pleasure of introducing them to you. I have been using this planner like crazy and I adore it. I carry it with me all the time and am constantly checking it, writing in it, and checking off assignments.
I am seriously in love with the Mom's Planner. I can not recommend it highly enough. There are so many aspects to it that are fantastic that I won't be able to cover them all; but trust me, it is awesome!
I am going to try and tell you as much as I can without being too long-winded. (I could talk about them a long time!)
First of all, the cover is a soft cover that is bendable but durable. There is a pocket on both the front and back covers to keep important papers and it is spiral bound so it opens fully and easily. It is a big planner so there is plenty of room to write in. The first few pages are informational-like filling in the name of your school, students, etc. The next is a letter from Debra Bell & Zan Tyler and a Table of Contents.
But right after that is the User's Guide and let me say this, DO NOT SKIP THIS SECTION. It is super important and will really help if you read it. There are helpful tips for using these planners, scheduling, planning, and ways to keep from getting frazzled. There are handy pictures with descriptions to teach you how to use the planner. Let me say again, DO NOT SKIP THESE PAGES. Read them and then re-read them. I underlined, highlighted, and made notes in the margins on these pages.
After you have devoured the wisdom of the User's Guide you can move on to filling in your planner! Woohoo! Okay, to me this is fun but I'm strange like that. ;-)
Here is a bullet point list of the pages for quick reference:
*Year at a Glance-Love this bc the WHOLE year is on two pages
*Student Goal Setter-great to compare at the end of the year
*Family Priorities-a fantastic way to get the kids involved
*Resource Lists for each student-easy way to keep it all together
*Monthly Calendars for the entire Year-the month on two pages with room to write
*Weekly Planner Pages-these include Bible Plan, Battle Plan, Prayers, and places to record the weeks Memorable Moments, and Evidences of Grace. Right after that is the Weekly Planner where you record assignments for each child. I love, love, love these pages. I love showing the girls how God is working each week. I also love the space to record assignments.
*Records Pages for grades-I don't use these but they are handy I'm sure!
*Reading List pages-If you have a literature rich curriculum these are handy
*Activities Log-also handy to keep track of extras for transcripts
*Articles on Learning, Learning Styles, and Teaching Tips-articles full of wisdom and encouragement
*High School Planning Guide-this is invaluable. This alone is worth it for me. High School Planning with an example to guide you. Awesome!
That's a lot, right? But that can't even begin to encompass this planner. This Planner is blank, meaning that you fill in the days/dates so that you can use it whenever your year begins and ends. You are not stuck with a Jan to Jan calendar if you school June to July. It is completely adaptable to your school calendar. Yes, it is a little work to fill it all in but it is well worth it.
Now, I do love this planner but I did make a little modification to mine. I put sticky tabs on the pages so I knew where each section was at a glance. That makes it just about perfect! If you want to buy your own head over HERE. This planner is $28 and worth every penny. Oh, and don't forget to check out the new cover design!
The next planners are the Student Planners. The Weekly Planner is for high schoolers and the Daily Planner is for younger students.
Each one is completely filled with planning pages, month-at-a-glance, how to's, Activity Log, and way to many more to list here. These planners are so crazy full of stuff you just won't believe it.
The Student Planners are smaller so they will fit easily into backpacks. Which is nice BUT for our curriculum my high schooler doesn't have enough room to write in all of her literature assignments. For that reason we wish the High School planner were larger. We still love it, though.
The Student Planners have the same kind of cover as the Mom's Planner so they are durable and you don't have to be afraid of messing up the covers. You know, when they shove them in the bottom of their backpacks and cram the rest of their books on top of it!
The Student planners have something my 11yo squealed over...stickers! In the back are stickers they can use to put throughout their planners to represent appointments, practices, etc. Now, I would squeal over them too if mine had them. I might just have to 'borrow' some from the kids!
Now one of the reasons you need to be sure and read the User's Guide is because these planners are designed to work together and teach your students to become independent learners. Both planners work together to teach the student to plan their work but then helps the mom keep them accountable for their work. I can't tell you how many times this system of checking off the assignment in each book has reminded me of a lesson that needed completed; saving frustration later in the week.
If you want to get your own Student Planners head HERE for The Daily Planner and HERE for the Weekly Planner. The Student Planners are $19 a piece.
Head on over to Apologia's website and check them out for yourself. While your there don't forget about their Science Programs and other books by Debra Bell.