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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Apologia - The Ultimate Homeschool Planner - Used and Reviewed!

When I was asked, by Mosaic Reviews, to review some Apologia planners I was thrilled! I LOVE to organize and need to do so when it comes to homeschooling.  I was sent three planners - The Ultimate Homeschool Planner, The Ultimate Weekly Planner for Teens, and The Ultimate Daily Planner for Students all designed by Debra Bell.

Imagine my excitement when the planners arrived!  Really!  It was like someone had sent me birthday gifts early (It's in July, by the way, if you'd like to do just that)!
The first things I noticed about the planners were the designs, the colors, and their sturdy binding.  These are some really nice planners.  I have always just printed my own and then taken it to my nearest office supply store to have it bound.  I won't be doing that anymore! 

Let's start with The Ultimate Homeschool Planner.  Love it!  Does that just about sum it all up?  No?  I'll elaborate.  This planner has so many tools you can utilize in your homeschool planning and even in your daily life.  I have found myself using it for prayer lists as well as for notes and reminders to myself.  With yearly planning, monthly planning, weekly planning, Monday morning tutorials, Friday afternoon reviews, and a student goal setter - what more could you want?  Actually, there is more!  There is also a place to record grades, activities, and reading lists.  There are teaching tips, a high school planning guide, and even some pages for a year-end review.  This planner has it ALL!
I love the pocket on the inside cover (there is also one in the back) - I use it to put all my papers.  *I removed them all so this picture didn't come out too crazy looking*


Weekly Planner
Weekly Planner Full View




Records - Grades
The weekly planner section is probably my favorite!  The beginning of each week looks like the photos above.  There is room for a Bible Plan (can be used for scriptures you plan to make a part of your week), a Battle Plan (where you can list your weaknesses or vulnerabilities and your plan to overcome them), a place to list accomplishments, and a place to list evidence of God's work in your daily life.  

Pros:
  • A place for just about everything (it measures about 11" x 9" and that means you don't have to cram everything into small spaces!
  • User friendly - very nice user guide to get you started
  • A place for prayers / thoughts 
  • Very sturdy & well-made (it's got an attractive design as well)
  • God-centered
  • Planning for up to six children
  • Available in two different cover styles
Cons:
  • The cost -   at $28.00 it can be costly when trying to prepare for the year
  • Planning for up to six children (if you have more than six children)

Next up is The Ultimate Weekly Planner for Teens .   My daughter, who is 13 years old, really likes hers & uses it daily. 
I love the design - it really does draw attention to it and helps to make my daughter WANT to use it.  I've printed planners (similar to the ones I made for myself) for my daughter before and she did not enjoy using them.  Why?  Well, she says they weren't what she needed & she didn't always understand why she needed them.  As soon as she opened this planner - she loved it and has used it every day.  She won't let me share her "messy" pages - but, she jots just about everything down in this planner and takes it with her when she goes places.  It's small enough (about 8½" x 6½") to fit in her bag or purse but just big enough to plan out her days / weeks / months.
Cite Right (love this!)
Periodic Table of the Elements









These are her favorite pages since she is always needing some help & reminders.  I'll admit that she's asked me a lot less questions since she has these "reminder pages" to refer to.  


View of Monthly Calendar pages

View of Weekly Calendar Pages
This planner is geared for grades 7 - 12 and starts with an "All About Me" section where your teen answers all kinds of questions about themselves.  It has a space for him or her to write personal goals for the school year at the end of this section.  Following the opening pages are First & Second Semester time / calendar pages, monthly calendars with fun tips (called Mindworks), and weekly calendars with task bubbles (separated into quarters with each bubble equal to one hour).  Each weekly calendar page has SAT words, a doodle spot, think pad, a space for notes, a space for appointments, and devotions.  In the back of the book you'll find pages for Grades, a Reading List, an Activities Log, a Credit Tracker, and a number of helpful pages including a measurement equivalency chart, Algebra & Physics Reviews, a Map of the World, and even Timelines of U.S. and World History!  

Pros:
  • Small enough to carry - big enough to use
  • Durable
  • Nicely designed for teens
  • FULL of useful tools & tips
  • Ways to track time & keep on task
 Cons:
  •  The cost of $19.00 can certainly add up quickly when trying to begin the school year or if you have more than one teen.
  • Some of the pages aren't as useful for younger teens

Last - but, not least -  The Ultimate Daily Planner for Students has been a wonderful addition to my son's daily schedule.  My son, 10 years old,  has a strong need to be (or at least feel) organized.  He really tries to plan things out and will get frustrated if he can't do that.  
He uses this planner for just what he needs - organization & reminders.  My son is the the kind of child who needs direction, one on one help at certain times, quiet / alone time, and a schedule.  This planner has given him a place to schedule everything!  He doesn't really take this along anywhere with him (unless we're doing school outside of the house, but truly relies on it while we're at home.
This planner - best for grades 4 - 8) measures the same size as the teen planner (about 8½" x 6½") so it is perfect size for the children.
Monthly Calendar View
Weekly Assignment Pages


 






My son isn't fond of his own handwriting, so he doesn't want to "show it off" in these photos - but, above you can see the Monthly Calendar & the Weekly Assignment Pages.  The weekly pages even have a bubble to fill in for quiet time - how perfect for him!  Each day on the page has 8 lines to write assignments (he also writes his chores here) and a place to check them off as "done" or "approved".  This is perfect for him because he always needs that approval after something is complete!

This planner also starts with some "About Me" questions with a space for personal goals for the school year.  There is a great Study Smart section that I love which gives great tips for learning.  Following this are the monthly calendar pages and the weekly assignment pages.  In the back of the book there are pages for grade reporting, a reading list, and an activity log.  Many more helpful pages in the back of the book include a Timeline of U.S. and World History, U.S. Map with State Capitols and Time Zones, a World Map, Scientific Method, Multiplication & Division Chart, a Guide to Punctuation and much, much more.  There are pages for notes in the very back of the planner (which come in very handy).  
Scientific Method - Multiplication & Division Chart

Timeline of U.S. & World History

Guide to Punctuation, Italics, and Capitalization

 Pros:
  •  Everything is useful for children in grades 4 - 8
  • Space to jot notes, keep track of quiet time, and keep assignments
  • Nice Design - appealing to children
  • Lots of helpful tip pages in the back of the book
  • Monthly calendar has plenty of room to write without looking cluttered
Cons:
  • The cost of $19.00 can be costly with more than one child or on a budget at the beginning of the school year
If you have the need or want to organize your homeschool (or even yourself) these are great planners to use!   The Ultimate Weekly Planner for Teens and The Ultimate Daily Planner for Students work with The Ultimate Homeschool Planner to help students become more responsible over their schedules.  We LOVE our planners and I don't see myself using any other planner again.

Planners:
Other things Apologia offers:
Learn more about Debra Bell - the designer of the wonderful planners - here.  
 




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