Friday, April 5, 2013

Apologia Homeschool Planners

As a member of Mosaic Reviews I had the privilege to receive an Ultimate Planner and two students planners for my two oldest kids who will be in grades 4 and 7 next year.  I didn’t know what to expect when I received the planners.  I liked the fact that it was published with Apologia and that it was35527_183322448458910_529576174_n Christian based but I didn’t know if it would be similar or different to the planner I had used in the past four years or so.   

Ultimate-Homeschool-PlannerSo imagine my surprise when I received The Ultimate Homeschool Planner by Debra Bell and two copies of the Ultimate Daily Planner for Student.  Flipping through the pages that first day, I suddenly realized that my homeschool would change and be more – how should I say this – organized…  In the past, I would use my planner to write what the kids have done during the day but I wasn’t planned per say.  This planner will help me to become more pro-active when it comes to homeschool which is a blessing in disguise because I am entering the middle years of homeschooling next year and I want to make sure that my oldest child will be able to cover all that needs to be covered for his level.

In a nutshell, the mom planner works hands-in-hands with the student and teen version.   It will not only record your progress but it will encourage independence to your kids in taking property of their studies.   It’s a great way to train them to take charge of the things they need to do in order to be completely independent by the time they arrive to college or university.

Let’s star with the Ultimate Homeschool Planner for Moms.   I particularly like that you can plan on year in a two page grid to get an high level view of your school year.  Then you can decorticate this high level view into a monthly view and eventually in a weekly planning which can accommodate up to six children with this flexible format.   You can alternate where you put the subjects or the names of your kids on the weekly grid.   I really like to have the options in writing the subjects myself.  My previous planner was not allowing me to do so.   For me this particular flexibility with the Ultimate Planner for Moms is fabulous because we not only cover English, Math, Science, History, Geography but we also have French in our home.  

When the planners were designed, the author, Debra Bell, had specific goals in mind.   She wanted to make you aware of God’s faithfulness and activity in our homeschool journey, that you can catch God’s faithfulness so you can see how He showed up through the years, and to allow you to raise an independent learner. In this specific planner, you can count your blessings and reflect on the grace that God has showed you through the weeks.    I am taking the habit to write in my Gratitude journal on a daily basis and it’s a good exercise to do on a daily basis.  Doing so will shift your thinking process especially if you got up with a not-so-good mood in the morning.    Before each week of planning,you will get two pages that will allow you to focus and ponder on scriptures and God.  You will have a place to write a Bible Plan, a section for your specific Battle of the week (What do I want God to do in my life?  example: dealing with anger or frustration, anticipating traps) and where you can write a fighter verse.  A section for prayers will help you to go back daily on specific prayers requests and finally a place where to write down you hospitality/outreach activities as a family.    My family loves to open our doors for people to come over and have a good meal.  Usually I jolt it down on our calendar.  I never really thought of the possibilities to write this in my homeschool agenda.   But it’s a great idea as it teaches the kids the importance of hospitality and outreach in the community.

The second page consist of two sections – one will allow you to jolt down the week’s memorable moments and achievements and the other the various evidences of Grace in your life.    It could be family funnies, victories, progress, promising signs, small beginnings, finished projects, faithfulness, protection, provision, and so on.

IMG_7111At the complete beginning of the planner, you will find specific pages titled Student Goal Setter and Pre-Planning Guides.  These pages are found between the yearly planning and the monthly planning pages.   The Student Goal Setter pages will allow you to identify specific character and academic goals for each children you have in the family.   Like it or not, your kids are not all the same and will have different challenges in learning.   For example, I have a child who has the tendency of putting himself down when he doesn’t have everything perfect in his math.   In his character goals, I wrote that he will have to learn to fight the tendency of putting himself down.   Another child of mine need more self-control in his actions, one needs to be less bossy and another one needs to control her emotions.    On the academic level, they will have different goals as well since they are not all at the same level – one would have to improve his cleanliness in writing, one will have to learn to read and so on.  Having clear goals identified will help me to see if they are making progress.IMG_7110

In the pre-planning pages, you will have the opportunity to enter your family priorities (example: have people over one a month for fellowship) and list the resource list for each kids during the year.   At this point in time, I am trying to figure out all the curriculum that my oldest will go through for his 7th grade.  So far, I have Math-U-See Pre-Agebra, Awana Trek Book 1, Easy Grammar, Le Petit Prince, Le Canada Un Patrimoine à Raconter, Adventurers – Hudson’s Bay Company, Of People Literature, grammaire Française, Ortho-Fiche, Lexico, and probably Observing God`s World or God`s Design for Heaven and Earth.  Once I have completed his curriculum list, I will move to the next child and so on until I have covered all of them.


In the Student Planners, you will find a check list format, a scripture of the week, an activity log and study aids.  You will also find some presidential trivia but for us living in Canada, this information is not really useful.  I would personally prefer world geography trivia or world history trivia.    OH!  And guess what!  The binding of this specific planner is glow-in-the-dark…   We tested it by going in our laundry room and closing the door and you can indeed see the binding glowing.  It was an interesting feature to add for the kids.   In this planner, you will find page which will allow the child to write about himself and about his future self.   He/she will also have the opportunity to write down her personal goals for the year.   The planner also gives some helpful guidelines on how to study and learn, monthly pages and weekly pages as well.  In the weekly pages, the child will have a place for each day of the week where he/she can write down what she has done and if  it was approved by mom or dad.  Each day also has a little quiet time circle which can be colored in when the quiet time has been done by the child.  At the end of the planner, you will also find a reading list where the child can write down the books he/she read during the year, an activity log of the fun things he/she has done, a place to write down the active lifestyle for six weeks in a row, a timeline of the U.S. and World history, maps, scientific method, multiplication and division chart, conversions, equivalence chart and some grammar.   You will also find a recommended reading list for middle schoolers at the end of the planner.  Oh! and totally at the end of this planner the child will find some fun stickers to put in his monthly planner if he/she likes.  

So I am on a journey to become more organized in homeschooling – even more than I was before…   There is place for amelioration and this planner will help me to reach it.  I am planning o take the yearly planning retreat by myself as well as the monthly planning sessions, weekly planning breaks, the Monday Morning Tutorials with the two oldest and Friday afternoon reviews.   I need the accountability and so do they kids.   Having to sit down together to see what needs to be done during the week and what has been done at the end of the week, will allow us to revise the planning if needed be.

I can see tremendous possibilities with this planner and I intend to use it a lot during the coming year.   I wish there was also a portable version (iPad/iPod/iPhone) and hope that in the future there will be one.   I also hope that they will come up with a variety of different covers and trivia as for us all the things that are U.S. based is not very useful.   However, it would be nice to have a Canadian Edition with facts about Prime Ministers, history and geography…!  *grin*    I’m sure that some Canadian homeschoolers would be happy to work with Debra Bell and Apologia to make this a reality!   I am very impressed with the quality and the flexibility of these planners.  I strongly recommend them to homeschooler who are looking in becoming more organized and want to train their kids to become more independent.

Are you curious about The Ultimate Homeschool Planner and would like to see what it’s looks like?  A sample is available at  

In Canada, you can purchase the planners on

In the U.S., the planners are available on or on the Apologia website.


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