There is nothing like planning for a new school year. And I am a huge planner! I know a lot of people like to plan on their computers, but for me, there is just something about a good, old-fashioned paper and pencil planner. (I feel the same way about books! I am still a page turner too.). So, for this review, I was really excited to check out The Ultimate Homeschool Planner from Apologia Educational Ministries. They randomly sent out planners to crew members and I received the one with the pretty yellow cover!
So, first impressions: the planner is wonderfully put together! I love the lilac color of the binding and the pockets on the inside are really convenient. The pages inside echo the same color scheme as the cover, and inspirational quotes decorate the pages. The very first page is a two-year calendar that runs through 2017, giving me a convenient monthly snapshot of the coming year. I can easily mark of holidays and school vacations in one sweep, and keep track of things like birthdays and other events.
From there, the planner offers a few pages that explain the purpose of some of the special pages in the front, such as the family priorities page and the yearly and monthly planning pages. The author suggests a yearly planning retreat, which I think sounds awesome! For me, this looks like a day spent at the library or coffee shop, books and schedule in hand. I started with the family priorities page and the goal setting page for both of my kids, because I feel like I can’t really plan subjects and schedules until I get a feel for our overall goals.
One of my biggest priorities for this year is planning for my oldest son’s high school graduation! EEEK! I can’t believe we are actually at the end of his homeschool journey! It is absolutely exciting and kind of heartbreaking at the same time!
When focusing on individual goals, I was looking at the last few credits I needed to get done for my oldest, while also looking at the specific skills I really need to address for my youngest as he prepares to enter high school. From there, I moved into the yearly planning pages, which have blank columns that allow you to number the days. From there you can write down recurring events (like Co-ops), holidays, vacations, and other non-movable events. I like the idea of sketching your whole year out at once like this because you do get a picture of exactly how much time you have for school, which does help you to be more realistic in your planning. (I don’t know if you have ever had a problem with wanting to do TOO much in a school year, but sometimes I see so many cool ideas, I just want to try them all! LOL)
After that, it’s easy to progress to the monthly and weekly planning stages. They have blank monthly calendars with plenty of space to record field trips, doctors appointments, meetings, dance classes and anything else you need. Then, the weekly planner really breaks things down with space for you to record your personal Bible reading plan, prayer requests, and outreach plans for the week, and your “battle plan” which is really a place for you to list your personal goals (mine were things like “get up by a certain time” “get to the gym at least 3 days per week” etc.) and a special “Fighter Verse” which is explained in the instructions to the planner. The other side of the sheet has space to record special moments from the week and evidences of God’s Grace. I thought this was really cool, because how many times do moments like this happen, but they go by without us really taking a moment to recognize them?
Writing down my goals each week really does help to keep me on track! Something about writing things down makes me feel like I have to be accountable.
After years of struggling, my youngest is finally, finally doing well in grammar, so I wrote that down as a success!
This planner has a ton more to offer, including pages for daily lesson plans, a gradebook, space to record field trips, reading lists, and so much more. I think it’s amazing and I think it’s going to be my go-to planner for years to come! The Ultimate Homeschool Planner costs $29.00 and you can learn more by connecting with Apologia on social media here:
To see what other members of the crew had to say about this planner, click here: