I don’t know why I was hesitant, I mean, it’s Apologia Educational Ministries. Do they have a product I won’t use? Unlikely!
There is SO much in this planner. It is excellent! First, I loved the beginning that explains, in very clear and guided detail, how to use the planner. Not that you don’t intuitively know how to use it, because you do, but the fact that it guides you with examples is great. This is especially helpful as you are planning your year. Seeing the examples helped me ensure that I did not forget anything.
There is a pocket inside the front and back covers, which is handy for keeping any extra schedules, receipts, or whatever else you would like to keep in your planner. Then there are calendars for 2013-2017 to see at a glance. I liked having this to refer to right in front.
The Table of Contents is a good reference followed by the “How to Use the Ultimate Homeschool Planning System,” which I poured over several times to because it really helped me think of ways to get my homeschool better organized. Next there is a 2-page spread of the year by month. This is a place to put all those important things that you know of like holidays and birthday and vacation. Good overlook of the year. Very cool!
The next pages provide you with a place to write down student goals, both academic and character. I liked this because we truly have some goals in both these areas this year and I think it’s great that we can list them. There is room for 6 students. Though the areas to write are large so if you had a larger family you could easily divide it up and create a space for more children.
Family priorities lists and rescues lists are next, which is great. A wonderful place to record this resources you come across, I even used it for some websites that we like to use. The family priorities section is nice to refer back to when you aren’t staying focused.
Then there are monthly calendars. Each 2 page monthly calendar has a plenty of places for appointments, a notes section at the bottom and down the side as well as a lovely quote and Bible verse on each page.
The Week of…. section is great. Each week have 2 full 2-page spreads with room for lots of recording and planning. There is a quote, a place for a Bible Plan, a Battle Plan, a Fighter Verse, Prayers, and Hospitality/Outreach. Additionally, there is a fun place to record the week’s “memorable moments,” which I think is great. I’m never writing down things that I need to and then I wish I had. I also like that there is a place to record “evidence of grace,” because this is something we are all working on right now, especially among the siblings.
Then there is a 2 page spread for the days of the week. There is room for 6 schedules on this page as well as a place to make notes, record supplies and a place to jot down appointments.
At the back of the planner there are extra pages that include a place to record grades, reading lists, and field trips (I like this for sure). After that there is a Checklist for Raising an Independent Learner, something I really was excited to read. It was full of some great teaching tips to help make the school year run smoothly. And then the section that I needed the most, Motivating the Reluctant Learner. I also liked that there was a reference guide to Learning Styles and Thinking Skills as well as a place to plan out a schedule for 8th grade through 12th grade with a sample schedule to refer to. The planner ends with a couple of pages to record your Year End Review where you can summarize the child’s yearly progress and which goals were reached. There is a final page for random notes, which I’m sure will be full of miscellaneous information by year’s end.
Overall, I thought it was a GREAT planner and easy to use. It took a little getting used to get into the habit of using it and, I admit, I wasn’t able to have a planning session in the detail in which the planner suggests but I was still able to utilize it well. I look forward to continuing to use the planner throughout the year and can see this being a excellent addition to our school.
Check out what the rest of the TOS Review Crew had to say about using The Ultimate Homeschool Planner by clicking the banner below. And you can see some of the other reviews I have done on Apologia’s great products by seeing this review of the iWitness series, the Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal review and this review of What On Earth Can I Do biblical curriculum.
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