Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Ultimate Homeschool Planner by Debra Bell ~ A Mosaic Review

Guess what! I am going to be sharing not 1, not even 2 but 3 (yes, 3) planners with you today! These planners are NOT just for homeschoolers so even if you don't homeschool you should keep reading! ;) I am reviewing The Ultimate Homeschool Planner, The Ultimate Weekly Planner for Teens AND The Ultimate Daily Planner for Kids by Debra Bell, published by Apologia.
I have been using The Ultimate Homeschool Planner since November 2011 (I did stop using it for a while to try an online planner but ultimately I have returned this planner). Some of my favorite features are the "user's guide", the blank monthly calendars, and (of course) the weekly planner.

The planner is 8 1/2 by 11 inches, spiral bound with plastic covers and a pocket inside each cover. Then there is a page with 4 years worth of "year-at-a-glance" calendars, a page for your contact information and a letter from Debra Bell, the creator of the planners. The planner retails for $28 (click HERE to purchase) with 2 options for the cover.

Next up is the "User's Guide". This is 12 pages of "how-to" use the planner system and includes different ideas on how to set up the weekly planner so that is works best for you. Then there is a one-year planning grid. This is where you enter events that override your typical daily schedule (holidays, birthdays, vacations, etc.) and pre-scheduled commitments (co-ops, sports, music lessons, etc.). There is a page for student goals, family priorities, and resource lists.

The Monthly Planner section is next. Here you fill in the month, year and dates. This is nice because you can start using the planner anytime and not feel like you are wasting any part of it!

The next part is the Weekly Planner. The weekly planner is 4 pages. The first 2 pages include a quote, space to add a Bible Plan, Battle Plan (how you are going to get through the week), Prayers, Hospitality/Outreach (Service), Memorable Moments, Achievements and Evidences of Grace. I have to admit that until I listened to Debra explain these I wasn't using these pages. She said that we tend overlook the good in our lives and these pages will help us and our children recognize God's hand and the blessings in our lives. She also said the pages will become favorites for us and our children to look back at! I have decided that I am going to take the time to fill in these pages each week. After these 2 pages are 2 pages for planning your week, chores, lessons, etc.

The planning grid is set up so you have a lot of flexibility. Personally, I write the days of the week across the top (Saturday and Sunday share a space) and down the left side I have Me, Family AM, Ladybug, Monkey, Unicorn, and Family PM (yes, I color code). There is plenty of room to write what each person needs to do each day. I even include chore and appointments. On the far right there is a space for Notes, Supplies and Appointments.

At the back of the planner are even more resources. There are pages for keeping track of grades, reading lists, activities/field trips, teaching tips, a high school planning guide, year-end review, and notes.

Next up is The Ultimate Weekly Planner for Teens. This planner is about 6 1/5 by 8 1/2 inches, spiral bound with a plastic cover and contains contact, all about me, daily schedule, and monthly calendar pages at the beginning. As in the parent planner, the monthly calendar pages are undated so you can begin using the planner any time.  This planner retails for $19 (click HERE to purchase) and is geared towards High School but could also be used for Junior High students. Especially those who are doing high school course work.

After the monthly calendars are the Weekly Planning pages.
At the very top is an SAT word. Across the top are the days of the week. Down the left side you enter the subjects. There is room to write in assignments as well as little circles to mark down the amount of time spent on task. There is space for doodles, notes, appointments and more.

The back of the planner has pages for grades, reading lists, activities, exercise log, credit tracker, as well as many pages of helpful information (punctuation guide, periodic table of elements, math formulas, maps, college admission information, etc.), notes, year-at-a-glance calendars and some stickers! There is even a cute little bookmark/ruler.

Last, but not least, is The Ultimate Daily Planner for Students. This planner is also about 6 1/5 by 8 1/2 inches, spiral bound with a plastic cover and contains contact, all about me, and monthly calendar pages at the beginning. As in the parent and teen planners, the monthly calendar pages are undated so you can begin using the planner any time. Additionally, this planner contains a "Study-Smart Student Toolkit" at the beginning. These few pages offer tips on how to become an independent learner. This planner retails for $19 (click HERE to purchase) and is geared towards students in grades 4-8 but could easily be used for any student that can read.

After the monthly calendars is the Weekly Assignments pages.
The set-up here is a little different than the other planners. On the left is Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and on the right is Thursday, Friday and Saturday/Sunday. On the lines next to each day you (or your student) write the daily assignments. Next to each of those spaces is a place for the student to "check-off" when they complete the assignment and then a place for a parent to "check-off" that they approve of the completed assignment.

The back of the planner has pages and information similar to what is in the teen planner just at a different level (for example: a multiplication chart instead of a fractions/decimals/percents chart). Yes, it has the ruler/bookmark and the stickers too!

Our Thoughts
We all love our planners. Unicorn (13) used the Teen Planner and Ladybug (almost 7) used the Student Planner. Even though they are both on the "young" side for their planners they loved them and are going to keep using them. They enjoy being able to see what they need to do and then mark off their completed assignments. We are still using our workboxes, the planner just goes in the first box and is used in place of the check-sheet we had been using. I have decided that I am a paper/pencil kind of gal when it comes to planners...I love this planner. It is very versatile and comprehensive. The only thing that I can think of that I would love to see added is an attendance tracker. These planners could easily be used in any family.

Contact Information

Other Information
Apologia (the publisher) and Mosaic Reviews are having a Facebook Party on April 12th at 9pm Eastern! Debra Bell will be there discussing the planners (and answering questions) and I have it on good authority that their will be PRIZES!

Pin It!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for visiting! Feel free to leave a comment!