Hello again my lovelies! This week we started back at our lessons so I thought that I would take you on a photo-tour of the planners we are using this year.
I started our homeschooling years (The first five or six in fact) by making my own planner. I really enjoyed doing this because I was able to customise it to suit my needs completely. I love that I can be as creative as I want to be with these.
Then one year I tried ‘The Well Planned Day’. I loved it. I loved the additional bits that helped me keep tabs on other areas of my life. I loved the articles peppered throughout. Very nice! I used this for three years. This year that’s just finished I actually cut my Well Planned Day off the spiral and put it in a binder, adding other sections to it, again, customising it to suit my needs. However, there were three things that put me off buying it again. 1) There were a few wrong dates printed in the 2016/17 planner. I was disappointed at the lack of attention to detail. 2) They cut back on the report cards that they used to always have although I do believe they may have rectified that for this next year after all the complaints they received. And 3) I just don’t need the place for as many students as they allow, I only have 1 student now so it was time to change.
After deliberating over various planners and of the pros and cons of once again making my own, I decided on Debra Bell’s Ultimate Homeschool Planner. I also bought the Ultimate Planner for Teens so that my daughter and I can sync our weeks.
After receiving my planner, perusing it at leisure and setting it up I have to say…I LOVE it! I think that this is the planner I will use to see out our homeschooling days (2 years) unless I am tempted by something else for our final year. Let me show you what it is that I love about it.
The cover is a sturdy plastic which I love because it means it is protected from spills and very durable. Both the front and back covers have a pocket to catch those stray papers.
The next four pages are calendars from 2015 to 2023, this is because this is a perpetual undated planner. These pages made of much sturdier (light cardstock) that the rest of the page which a good quality paper weight kind of quality.
The planner does not come with tabs and I have to say that I do love tabs so I have added them to pages that I want quick access to. Year @ a Glance, Goals and then the monthly overview pages which are all at the front of the planner before the planning pages.
After the calendar pages, we have the user guide (pages 6-17). I really appreciate these pages because there are some really helpful tips on how to use this planner to its max plus some great tips for the planning process. I’m a planner and there are tips in here that I have totally taken on board.
After the user’s guide, we have a one-year planning grid…
This is where I have marked off the holidays for the next year as well as any important days (liturgical and seasonal) that I wish to keep.
Turning the page we have the Student Goal Setter, enough space for 6 children.
You can set Character and academic Goals here. Turning the page we have the pre-planning pages which consist of a Family Priorities page and Resource list pages enough for 6 children.
I’ve used one resource list to list our resources naturally but then I’ve used the other lists (because I’m not homeschooling 6 children) to plan out our Nature, Artist and Composer study plans for the year.
Next, comes 12 double-page monthly calendar pages.
As you can see you will need to write the month, dates and year in yourself – not a big deal for me. There’s space at the bottom for you to make notes, for September I’ve written a seasonal quote for September taken from Chambers Book o Days which I use in my seasonal planning.
There’s also a sidebar on the page for additional notes, I’m using mine to jot down ideas for field trips or activities relating to any significant events relative to that month, for example, we live just outside Plymouth which is where the Mayflower set sail from so I’m planning on taking DD to the Mayflower museum on the date it left England nearly 400 years ago. These monthly pages are the ones I have added tabs onto.
After the monthly planner pages, we have the weekly planner pages. I keep my place using a very cute and seasonally relevant paper clip that my daughter makes. This month it is a pumpkin, next month it might be a pinecone or an acorn.
Each week begins with a two-page spread that you use in your 30-minute weekly planning session to map out your bible plan, Battle Plan, Prayers and Hospitality/Outreach goals. There is a quote/prayer/inspirational quote to ponder on on this page, a new one each week. On the opposite page, there is space to record any memorable moments, achievements and evidences of grace in your children’s lives.
Next, comes the actual nitty-gritty planning pages which form the bulk of the planner, the Weekly Planner. There are 6 boxes across by 6 down. Nothing has been filled in so you can really structure this in a way that suits you best. I have the subjects we are studying across the top and the days of the week down the side. There is enough space in the ‘days’ boxes for me to record any appointments or observances that I want to remember for that day.
I am currently using the bottom block as a notes column to note the aim I have for each week’s subject. For instance, under the ‘Bible’ column I have written that “I want us to grow in wisdom, knowledge and character. To put God and His Word first each day”.
On the right-hand side of this double-page weekly spread, you have a sidebar with space to note down ‘Notes’, ‘Supplies’ and ‘Appointments’. I might use a sticker to change the appointments heading to ‘Meals’ perhaps.
After the Weekly Planner pages, we have double spread each for Records/Grades…
Field Trips/Outside Activities…
After that, there is a ‘Checklist for Raising an Independent Learner which was interesting to read, an article on how to motivate the reluctant learner and a very page on Learning Styles and Thinking skills which my daughter found interesting to go through and identify with.
After that, there is a ‘High School Planning Guide’ which is useful if you are at the beginning of your high school years and want to map out a rough plan from 8th through to 12th grade. This isn’t really applicable to us living in the UK as our educational system is totally different.
Finally… there are a few pages for Year-End review notes. I’ve used these to note down nature notes – by that, I mean noting down where I see things blooming/growing etc that I will want to use when we do our nature study work. So when we look at the Horse Chestnut tree in September I know where we can go and see it as I don’t have a Horse Chestnut tree in my immediate neighbourhood. I’ve also noted down useful websites etc for various studies that I don’t want to forget.
So there we have it, a walk through of my homeschool planner for this year. Please do note that this is definitely a Christian themed planner with a Godly focus and scripture throughout, so if you are looking for a more secular planner this one might not be your cup-of-tea.
That’s it for this post, wishing you all a wonderful day…