I am a planner. There, I said it. It's true, I fess up. I plan EVERYTHING. Going on a vacation? I've researched and planned it all, even planned our "days to relax". Plan out my day to day stuff, plan out my year to year stuff. Don't even get me started talking about planning our upcoming year of homeschooling...that's an ongoing, never-ending, plan-till-you-can't-plan anymore, type of thing.
I was thrilled to be a member of the Mosaic Review team that received the Apologia The Ultimate Homeschool Planner by Debra Bell. This is the planner to end all planners.
Let me start off by saying it is simply beautiful. Elegant graphics and subtle colors....sounds like a work of art, right?
It starts off with a User's Guide. Is it that complicated that one needs a User's Guide? Naah, but the User's Guide sure does help you get off on the right foot. If you are already a planner, it's like a welcoming, fun review that reminds you why you love to plan, and if you are coming in as a hope-to-be-reformed-non-planner, then the User's Guide is a great intro into how to use The Ultimate Homeschooling Planner planner, reminding why you really want to be a planner, and loads of other great tips.
It comes with a Yearly Plan, so you can start with the big picture (and the year is not labeled so you can start at any point of the year you want, not just a normal Jan-Dec year). Then you can narrow down your plans on the Monthly Planner and the Weekly planner.
A section to help set your student's goals, a section to records grades, activities, field trips, reading lists. You name it, there's a section for you to plan it, record it, check it off as complete.
I loved the Teaching Tips section. Although I consider myself an old-pro at homeschooling, having done it for almost 9 years now, it never hurts to read up and review things on how to teach different types of learners. Call it a refresher course if you are an old-pro like me, and a great into to homeschooling if you are a newbie.
But you know what really made me fall in love..the little tips and messages, quoting Scripture or other pick-me-ups....just enough that when you turn the page and see it, your eyes are drawn to the saying and you always read it first.....and instantly feel a sense of calm and peace, a warm fuzzy, if you will. We can all use a warm fuzzy, right?
I'm normally a planner electronically. I like to use my calendar on my various electronics and sync them up. But The Ultimate Homeschool Planner has actually converted me, or shall I say, reverted me, back to planning on paper. This thing is just so useful, and visually appealing, it makes me WANT to pick it up and use it, and I feel accomplished every time I do! If you are looking for a paper planner, then I highly recommend this one. Head on over to the Apologia website and pick one up for yourself!
I also received The Ultimate Daily Planner for Students from Apologia. This one again, was bright and vivid, without being too busy. I loved the look of it, and thought it would do a good job of helping my 14 year old keep on track. I went over it with him and explained how to use it. Now, as with many boys that age....the follow through is less then stellar. He's not used it as much as he should, or to it's full potential. I do think it is a great way to keep a student organized, and on the ball. Check it out if you have a student is ready to do some work independently.