Thursday, April 11, 2013

Review: Apologia Planner

About a month ago, I posted my very first review. It was a blog planner, which has helped me stay on track and given direction to my blog on a weekly basis (with the exception of when we were hit with nonstop sickness for a few weeks and then traveling for a couple of weeks...it's already on my planner to get some guest bloggers to fill those times in the future). I'm still using it, which is a HUGE feat for me! As I've told you in the past, I'm organizationally challenged which is why anytime I can find something that helps my family's life become a little less chaotic it's wonderful.

Now, since I've been homeschooling the past three years, I've always had a plan and I've tried everything from fancy paper planners to just simply putting it on iCal. They've all fell by the wayside, which means, I'm still looking...or at least I was until I received The Ultimate Homeschool Planner (it's really working for me at the moment)! Everything about this book makes it practical. I'm not even sure I can list all the reasons why I love it, but my favorite is because it is undated. That may seem silly to some, but when you're a free spirit who changes with the wind, it's wonderful! It means if I forget to write in my planner for a month, it isn't useless! It means if I fall by the wayside, I can pick up in whatever month we are in! If I want to start planning in October, I can...or February I can...it makes your planning regimen so flexible! And free spirits love flexibility, so for me it really is the best feature. Now on to all the other awesome features.

Let me start by saying, even though I've been homeschooling for three years, I'm still learning as I'm sure most homeschooling moms will attest to. Every year has a new challenge and especially when you are homeschooling your first child, which is sort of the guinea pig in this adventure. Having said that, this planner lays out so many things I never thought of to plan for (free spirit here).

The planner starts with a yearly planning retreat. Sure I sit down and sort of map out our homeschool every July, but I've always just focused on the academic side of it. I never thought what are the characters goals I have for my children...when I say that I mean sure I want them to be well behaved and following Christ, however, pinpointing the exact attribute they needed to work on never occurred to me (or at least not until We Choose Virtues). It also provides an area for family goals. Again, I never sat and mapped out what we as a family need to accomplish and with family being the first institution God created, it's an absolute must! How could I have overlooked these simple things? It's so easy to get wrapped up in the academics of homeschooling by trying to meet other people's standards of what your children should be learning (i.e. state, grandma  photo 77448590-63d3-4a20-9ef0-03d0d8fc7286.jpg) that you stop focusing on the real reason you decided to homeschool in the first place and this planner reminds you of that.


The next awesome thing about this planner....the monthly planning sessions. Every homeschool family already does this to some degree, but add in the family goals you are now focusing on and it gives you better idea of how to accomplish those goals each month. You can see how you've progressed at the end of each month and readjust family priorities and other commitments you have made if necessary because they are there in black and white (or pencil which is what I'm using).

Next, you have weekly planning breaks. My favorite part about this section was that there were so many areas that I'd never thought of like a battle plan, or even making a list of the weeks memorable moments and the best...evidences of grace...honestly, how often as a homeschool mom do we need to remember those moments when God's grace was present to keep us going...for me that is definitely weekly!!!!

There are also two sections called Monday Morning Tutorials and Friday Afternoon Reviews, which are designed to help you raise an independent learner (yes, please). You use the first to give your student their lesson plans for the week and then on Friday they check in and you get to see how they are managing their time and completing tasks. This it is set up to work with The Ultimate Daily Planner for Students, which I also received, but since my daughter is only in 2nd grade she struggled a little with it and we weren't really ready to dive in and use. Another year or two and it will be a perfect companion for us to this planner!

My overall take on this product is it is wonderful!!! The ease of the layout makes it simple to tweak anything in the planner! Users guides are included in it with thorough explanations on how to use each and ever section, so I wasn't overwhelmed at all like I am with most planners this size! Both The Ultimate Homeschool Planner and The Ultimate Daily Planner for Students come chalked full of encouraging and motivational quotes and scripture as well as other extras. In The Ultimate Homeschool Planner you'll find teaching tips and a year-end review section. I can honestly say that I expect to use this for years to come. I would really love to see a digital version available too so I could see which I would prefer using. I wholeheartedly recommend purchasing this planner (which costs $28 but is so worth it) for your next homeschool year!

Need a second opinion, check out other reviews from Mosaic Reviews team members here.


2 comments:

  1. ooooh a digital version - what a great idea! I love this review - it gets me excited about homeschooling and you are right - one of the very best features of the planner is helping to focus on why you are doing all of this in the first place....

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  2. VERY nice Review!! You really hit on some GREAT points about the planner and you "Sold" it!!

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