If you are like me, organization is life. My Pinterest boards are full of organizational hacks, and I am constantly on the search for products that will help me stay organized. One of the biggest things that I have found to help me stay organized is the use of a planner. Throughout the years, I have bought hundreds of planners. All of these focused around personal planners. When I started homeschooling, I knew I needed to find a planner that would allow me to track all of our homeschool information. This is why I was so excited to be given the opportunity to review the Hey, Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20 Year from The Old Schoolhouse®.
The author of the planner, Gena Suarez, has homeschooled her seven children and knows what to incorporate in a schoolhouse planner to help homeschooling families stay organized. Throughout this review, I will be discussing the product itself, and at the same time, how I have used it thus far and personal opinions.
The Hey, Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20 Year is a spiral bound, 189-page planner. The pages are your standard 8 ½” by 11” paper. The spiral binding has come undone in various sections of my planner, and I have had to fix it. This was easy enough to fix.
Included in the planner is a Table of Contents that shows everything in the planner and its page number. This is helpful when looking for a specific form or devotional. As I begin to use it more, I will mark the pages I will need access to the most with post-it notes. It would have been an added bonus had the planner incorporated tabbed dividers in its design.
The next part of the planner is a small, two-page section about creating an academic transcript. The informational page discusses those items that need to be included in the transcript, how to give credits and grades, and other important information about homeschooling high school level students. The Academic Transcript page is simple and contains a section for each of the four years of high school. Since my children are in elementary school, this is not a section that I would use, but it would be very valuable to someone who had children in this age range.
After the transcript section, there is a two-page section entitled “Checklist and Skills Learned”. This section includes a place to mark the courses studied, and skills covered throughout the month. In all honesty, I do want to disclose that I am not sure how to use this. From the looks of it, I can see that it is to be used by one child, for a month. However, this is the only page of its kind that I have found in the planner.
Next, there is a calendar section complete with a 2019, 2020 and 2021 Calendar page. This is extremely helpful when looking ahead at subsequent years in planning your homeschool calendar. I will use these pages to set our calendar. Days that we will be scheduled off of school will be marked in red.
This takes us into the monthly calendars and devotionals. Each month begins with a page devotional. These devotionals focus around various issues associated with homeschooling such as “Squabbling Kids” and “Homeschool Purpose”. The scriptures included are from the KJV Bible. The devotionals are very relatable. This was one of my favorite aspects of the planner.
Each monthly calendar also includes a note page, and then a two-page spread for the calendar. Holidays are not marked in the calendar, so these are things you would have to add yourself. The calendar pages run from July 2019 to June 2020 which provides the user with an entire year. I went through and marked birthday and holidays with an ink pen, and important dates such as tests in pencil.
As I did this, I noticed that November’s dates were off on the left side of the spread. It was an easy fix, as I just wrote over the dates with my ink pen.
After the monthly calendar pages, we come to the weekly planner pages. These pages contain sections for five children and seven subjects. This will be my most used subject. Even though I am still two months away from our start date, I have started planning for the first nine weeks. I wrote down the items that my children are expected to finish in each subject that I have planned for. This will serve as a check-off sheet for them. I will say that it would have been more user-friendly for me if each subject was broken down into days of the week.
The last portion of the planner is the child planning sections. This section has recordkeeping pages for up to five children. The first page of the section is a lined page. I will use this to write down important aspects of each child, such as learning styles, website login information, etc.
The second page of this section is a curriculum planning page. This includes the subject, curriculum, vendor, grade level, price, and contact information. This would be beneficial to someone who is researching their curriculum or has not already purchased it. Since I have already purchased mine, I think I will use it to write down curriculum that I am interested in for the following year.
The third page of this section in the attendance page. I really like the setup of this page as it is used for the entire year. Each day that the child is in attendance will be marked by going to the month across the top, and the date across the side. Where the two parts meet will be shaded in. I am going to let my children mark their own attendance at the end of each day to allow them some ownership, but also to review coordinated pairs.
The fourth page of this section is a page devoted to books the child has read that year. This is a great page to incorporate, however, there are only twenty sections. My children are avid readers, and this page would be quickly filled up. This is not a bad problem to have.
The fifth, sixth and seventh pages are goal pages. They include yearly goals, first semester goals, and a second-semester goals. As I get closer to the school year, I will sit down with each of my children and allow them to tell me their goals. I really like that there are specific areas identified such as education, financial, physical, and spiritual.
The last page of this section is a lined page. This will be where I will write down important notes about my children. For example, if one of my children is struggling with a specific skill I will write it on this page, so I know to keep revisiting it.
The Hey, Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20 Year from The Old Schoolhouse® would be a great school planner for any family that is looking for a basic homeschool organization method. It is very popular, as 98% of the planners made have already been sold.
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