Thursday, October 29, 2015

Because everyone needs a plan... (A review)

Apologia Educational Ministries  has been a  "Go-to" for homeschool families for years~ perhaps most notably for their Creation Science Curriculums. However, over the years they have expanded the resources they offer, including World View curriculum, Language Arts, Geography, History, Civics, Preschool books, Encouragment and Devotionals, and Homeschool Helps. I have been privileged to review a number of different products for Apologia over my years on the TOS Review Crew~ you can access those reviews by scrolling down to the "labels" on the right side menu, or just searching "Apologia" in the search field at the top of the blog.

This time the TOS Review Crew was asked to review the parent version of their new planners by Debra Bell.  Three different color choices were sent out randomly, I received The Ultimate Homeschool Planner - Blue Cover.

The planner is a little oversized, with a spiral bound plastic pocket cover, both front and back. The first set of pages include yearly calendars up through 2023 for long range planning.

The next page includes a space for you to personalize the planner with your personal information, and gives a hint to the style of planning Debra Bell hopes you will utilize. There are spaces in this planner to
Count Your Blessing
Encourage Independence
Record Your Progress
because as St. Augustine reported to have said (And we have seen played out time and time again) "Order brings peace"

The next 10 pages of the planner give suggestions and illustrations for using the planner, as it is intended to be fairly flexible. It is also intended as a tool for growth, not just of our children's minds, but the daily, weekly, and yearly spiritual character of ourselves, and our entire families.

The planner includes an undated one year calendar on a two page spread, for you to see a year at a glance, and fill in vacations and holidays. There are pages to detail Character and Academic Goals for each child, as well as family priorities for the coming year (A prayer list for the year???).

There follows a place to record the resources you are planning to use with each child (Mine is pitifully small, as I don't know what might be coming down the pike, so I just have the basics of Math, Reading/English/Literature, Science, and History.

After that there are undated double spread monthly planning pages (This is where I put in my review deadlines, and co-op teaching plans~ Dr. Appointments, baseball games, and any out of the ordinary dance events). These pages have a scripture quote at the bottom, and an inspirational quote at the top right, which is always pleasant to contemplate, and sometimes a needed reminder.

Next come the weekly planning pages: the "meat" of the planner. Each week has 4 pages devoted to plans and accomplishments. The first page is a space for mom (or dad) to devote some quiet time to planning~

  • An inspirational quote
  • Space to outline your Bible Reading for the week
  • "Battle Plan/Fighter Verse" for the week (What verse will you choose to encourage you this week?)
  • Place for you to record prayer requests, or priorities as you pray for your family
  • A place to record your plans for hospitality and outreach~ even something as simple as noting encouraging phone calls or emails that you want to make this week. 

The next page has a place to record the weeks memorable moments

  • family funnies
  • victories
  • progress
  • promising signs
  • small beginnings
  • finished projects

and another space to record Evidences of Grace,
Reminding us to look for and acknowledge God's:

  • Grace
  • Mercy
  • Faithfulness
  • Protection
  • Provision

each week. Creating a record of those evidences may well be another grace, as we look back on these days in the future~ Encouragement!

The second double page spread of the weekly planning pages has a 6x6 grid (with column and row headers for each), as well as a space for notes, supplies needed, and appointments, and yet another inspirational quote. One week had this gem from Abraham Lincoln "The things I want to know are in books. My best friend is the man who'll get me a book I ain't read." 

I have to admit that the 6x6 grid kind of threw me for a loop~ I had to figure out how I was going to use that with my 3 children and 5 day school weeks. I decided finally that it was "ok" if I didn't use the second page... I ran Monday-Friday down the "Week of" row, with one space for "Review items", and gave each of my children a column. If I need to, I can always give them double columns, if I want to use more space to record their lessons.
Families that are larger than mine are sure to appreciate the extra spaces... :)

You can visit Apologia on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ 

Not So Nutty Nitty Gritty 
Please click the banner below to visit the TOS Review Crew and see what others had to say. As always, I hope that this review was useful to you as you choose where best to spend your homeschool budget.

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