Wednesday, April 10, 2013

To Plan...or Be Flexible?

I am a very organized person, in my own messy, chaotic, piles of paper everywhere kind of way. I have every single day planned out from sunrise to sunset with whatever seems to happen. Truth be told, I want to be organized and have everything planned out without actually having everything organized and planned out. Does that make any sense? I didn't think so. I go through phases of trying to plan and organize everything, but it usually falls by the wayside to a better offer. I really enjoy being spontaneous and going with the flow. How do I find that happy medium?

For starters, how about I review yet another planner? It seems that even if I don't want to be organized, God keeps sending things in my path to get me that way. I was excited to get the Apologia Planners to review. I really was hoping it would finally help me get at least the boys' schoolwork organized and planned out, especially since I have one ready to start high school. Here's what I received: The Ultimate Homeschool Planner, The Ultimate Weekly Planner for Teens, and The Ultimate Daily Planner for Students. Surprisingly, the boys got really excited about them too. They each had their own planner. That is, until I told them the purpose of them. They did still set out right away filling in the days on the monthly calendar pages and then adding the special days that are important to them.

My 10yo got the Student Planner and loved filling in the calendar and putting his stuff on there. He really loved the stickers that were included, like little birthday cakes and what not for important days. I just discovered that he found the reading list in the back and added his books he's been reading. He also really likes the resources like maps and multiplication tables in the back. He has not really used the daily planner part up to this point.

My 14yo, of course, got the Teen Planner. He also enjoyed filling in his special days on the calendar. For him, I am attempting to use the daily planning portion to write out his assignments for the week. We had the added joy of a conference call with planner creator Debra Bell. She talked to us about how she assigned her kids work. She suggested a meeting at the beginning of the week to discuss plans and one at the end of the week to go over the assignments. I really like the concept of that, and am trying hard to implement it for him. He is becoming more and more independent, but still requires a lot of constant supervision at this point. I am really trying to lead him to be more independent, though. I know we will get there, and I really think this planner is helping with that.

The student and teen planners are very similar in their layouts, but there are some minor differences. There is no reason the student planner couldn't be used by teens, but there are some added features in the teen planner that are great for high schoolers. The monthly calendar pages contain some inspiration and Bible verses. The daily planner pages contain SAT words for useful study. The resources in the back include a credit tracker, grades, reading list, activities log, grammar guides, periodic table of elements, algebra review, physics review, and more. The teen planner still contains the fun stickers to use on the calendar too, so they won't miss any of the fun. I would highly recommend the teen planner for the high school crew. Even if your students attend public, private, or other school setting, it could be a very useful tool for them.

I haven't even told you about my planner yet. The Ultimate Homeschool Planner is what it's called. While the kids' planners are about 5x8", this one is a full 8.5x11". The monthly calendars are all in the front. Then, each week contains two full two page spreads for writing to do lists, jotting down memorable moments, and making plans. There isn't space specifically designated for meal planning, but there is plenty of space available to use it for that. This one also has plenty of resources in the back. There are spaces for grades, and reading lists for up to six students. It also has spaces to keep track of field trips or activities, a checklist for raising an independent learner (I need to go over that some more), tips for motivating the reluctant learner, and a place to map out high school, year end review notes. There is enough space that I can keep track of homeschooling stuff, meals, business items, and my blog reviews all in one place. Oh, and I even added some fitness things on there this month.

What I love best about all the planners, is that they are 12 month planners, but the months are blank. That means that if I start my school year in September, I can start my calendar in September. What if I start in August? That's ok too. These planners happened to start in February, because that's when I got them. It also happens to be around the same time that I promoted my son to 9th grade. Back up to the beginning of my wanting to have a plan, but not problem. This really is the perfect solution. I can have a plan, but have plenty of room for flexibility. All the reasons I love homeschooling.

I received these planners in exchange for my honest review. I received no other compensation.

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