Tuesday, September 27, 2011

TTOT: A Planner Review

Staying organized, I have learned, is crucial to a successful homeschool.  Not that the house can't be a mess and the dishes undone or that your schedule can be off (You have been meaning to do that science project for 2 months now!).

Organizing, in homeschool terms, is basically having a plan of attack.  Drawing out that plan can be helpful because it becomes real and tangible and you develop a tendency to keep it tucked in your mind (or on the wall if you hang it up!!)

To this end, I like to sketch out our plans for the school year.  Lesson plans, daily plans and so on.  It may take some adjusting at times (as we are currently doing!) and it may not always be adhered to, but it helps us to stay focused whenever possible.  It shows us what our day can be and gives us goals.

I have often drawn up my own daily schedules, from color coded to hand written.  I am rather computer savvy with Microsoft Word and capable of designing my own forms.  But as this summer bared down and time drew close to start my lesson plans, an email inspired me to let someone else do the work for a change.

Approached by Heather Bixler about sampling and reviewing her Printable Homeschool Planner I was intrigued to lighten my load and give it a try.
 Some points about The Printable Homeschool Planner:
  • Planner includes a lifetime unlimited access to a special members area where we
    continue to add new forms on a weekly – sometimes daily – basis.
  • The forms included with initial purchase are: Cover page, Art Project Planner, Attendance
    Record Keeper, Book Report Worksheet, Field Trip Planner, Project Planner, Science
    Experiment Planner, Scripture Verse Planner, Student Project Notes Worksheet, Thematic
    Unit Planner, and Lesson Planner.
  • Customers can pick and choose what to print, how much to print, etc.
  • Minimal items are needed to put the planner together. Items needed: 3 ring binder,
    the forms provided with The Printable Homeschool Planner, a printer with ink, a three ring
    hole punch, and dividers (optional.)
 I took my pages to Office Max's print shop and had copies made for less then the cost of ink in my printer (and less then the cost of a good store bought planner!)

Heather's planner has clean, easy to read, easy to re-produce pages.  I must admit I am not using all the elements she provides but I am using many of them in my own way:
 This should be updated to say "Organizer", it has operated as my lesson planner for the last four years.
 I use it to set up my schedule and the tabs contain my lesson plans.  I plan somewhat unconventionally (more on that another day!).  I like to color-code the segments of our day (because it is so pretty and easier to read!):

I am using the attendance record (because it too is prettier then our state-issued one!)  I have modified it to keep track of all kids on one page.  In Montana we are required to keep track of hours spent schooling and over the years I have learned it is tedious to have to flip between three pages when all of them (typically) spend the same amount of time schooling.  Minor adjustments when one logs more hours is easy and all in one place:

I have also decided to keep some copies of the book report form in our reading response binder.
 I like how she has laid out the information to draw kids' focus on the main ideas and topics necessary to formulate a good book report:

It was nice, as I sat down to plan out our year, having all this work done for me!  My use-to-be favorite planner has increased to $30 and contained pages I didn't need or used sometimes in places I didn't like.  This planner only cost me pennies for printing and provided only the pages I needed and placed exactly where I wanted them.  This is one happy well-organized momma!

Visit The Printable Homeschool Planner to check it out for yourself!

May God bless your homeschool organizing and planning!  


I was provided The Printable Homeschool Planner free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion and review of the product.

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