Friday, April 5, 2013

Mosaic Reviews: Apologia and Debra Bell-The Ultimate Homeschool Planners





“If you don't know where you are going,  you'll end up someplace else."
- Yogi Berra


I've been home schooling for a long time.  My oldest is almost 13 and we've been home schooling her since she was three at her insistence to learn.  By the time my second one started 1st grade, I knew I needed some type of weekly assignment sheet for my kids.  So, they could keep working without having me monitoring every minute.  I've typed up weekly assignment sheets for my kids for at least 3-4 years now.  When I received this product (Ultimate Homeschool Planner and Daily Student Planner), I wasn't quite sure I would like it.  "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" was my motto.  It's hard to break old habits especially at the tail end of our school year.  

This planner has opened my eyes to a deeper way to plan for our school year.  One that invites God to come in to lead and guide us.  I'm ashamed to say that I haven't been as active in inviting Him in to help me or ready to see Him at work every week, day and moment.  Plugging in the assignments into a chart on a word processor doesn't lend itself to this very well.   This planner's setup is constantly directing you back to the ONE that gives us "every good gift!"  It has given me so much excitement for starting the planning process for next year.  I've found myself praying more about my home schooling decisions and comparing myself less to what other people are doing.  Just in the past few weeks, my eyes have been opened to some changes I need to make, that frankly, I didn't see before.  New and exciting things that will benefit my children. 

I just can't wait for next school year...oh wait, I need to finish this one first!  

48-week planner for homeschooling parents 

Grades 7-12 

Grades 4-8

Apologia's mission is to:  give parents the tools to hang in there and stay the course, to help lighten the load, and to offer products that are easy to use- that are flexible and adaptable to each family's needs.  This planning system's goal is to help families be aware of God's faithfulness and work in their individual home school journey.  It also helps families encourage independent learners gradually.   The new home schooler, as well as seasoned veterans can find this planner to be an awesome tool. 



What I like/love about this product:

  • Very pretty and feminine, but not pink. (Available in 2 different covers)


  • The user's guide!  There is an 11 page user's guide in this planner that takes you through the steps for all your planning on a yearly, monthly, and weekly basis.  I have been home schooling for a long time and this laid out process really helped me to think differently about my planning next year. 
  • Gives suggested time frames (in hours) for yearly planning retreat; monthly planning sessions; weekly planning breaks; Monday morning tutorials and Friday afternoon reviews.  It's so hard sometime to know how long we should be spending on planning out our schedule.  I like how this helps us focus and not overburden ourselves.  The most time is spent during the yearly retreat, which in turn helps guide and simplify the rest of our planning.  
  • Sample layouts for all the steps to planning.  This shows you what it "might" look like. 
  • The cool pocket in the front for all those extra papers!

  • I can SEE how it all fits together.  Yearly family priorities flow into setting character/academic goals for each student.   Family priorities or long term goals should influence everything we do on a monthly/weekly basis (short term goals). 
  • I LOVE the page each week to record Memorable Moments and Achievements or Evidences of God's grace.  I used to keep a journal and write down funny things my kids said or did.  This is a great way to have it right there in the moment.
  • This planner guides us to invite God to be present in every part of our home schooling.  I don't  know about you, but sometimes I just go on my own strength.  I don't think to bring everything to God or to even pray about home schooling, until things go seriously awry.  That's not the best approach. 
  • LOTS of space in the weekly layout for multiple children and subjects.  Not DATED...this is great if you home school year round! 



Suggestions:

It would be great to have the option of the weekly pages sandwiched between the monthly pages.  So, then we wouldn't have to turn back so far to get to our monthly layout.  



I would love this resource even more, if there was a digital version, where you could type in your information...save and print or view.  So many people are using portable devices these days, that I think it would be a great for the company to consider.



Weekly Teen Planner:

Contains 1st and 2nd semester grids as well as monthly planning pages- provides more steps towards independence.

Cool circle grids to chart how many hours worked toward high school credits.  I really like this tracking tool! 




Daily Student Planner:

Great for training students to become independent learners, take responsibility for their own work and to become wise managers of their time.  

Contains 2 page open layout per week and student helps in the back--My daughter especially loved the timeline and the other resources. 

Encourages parent/teacher and student communication about work and progress.
 



To check out some sample pages, you can see all 3 planners by clicking here!  or visit Debra Bell's website.










7 comments:

  1. I also like that it's pretty, without being pink. I do like pink, but it seems that everyone is using pink these days.

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  2. I too have neglected to remember God while lesson planning. I love how this planner brings Him back into the focus of my day and why I homeschool!

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  3. I would have never spent money on something like that, but, now I'm looking at it seriously for next year! I'm so guilty of the same thing...just getting through school on my own strength. Maybe that's been part of my problem this past couple of weeks! :)

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  4. Great review and I agree about the placement of the weekly pages!!

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  5. What a wonderful review! I am not a big fan of pink, so I am also glad it's lovely and not pink. :-)

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  6. When my high schoolers were younger, I tried many different planners and finally ended up creating my own, which was not a daily, but by the week.
    Now with my youngest we use Time4Learning, which has made planning/scheduling and record-keeping so much easier. I just print the progress report at the end of the week which shows me her scores for each subject. I love it, she loves it...why can't I find something this simple for my high schoolers! lol I may try the teen planner. I'll look for it at the homeschool conference in a few weeks. I do agree that a digital version would be nice. :)

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  7. Love this. I have another one I just bought for this coming school year. I am gonna put this on my list for the next school year! I wish I had known about this one sooner! I agree with you when you say I wish there was a digital version of THIS planner :)

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