Friday, July 25, 2014

Planner Talk

This past year I have used The Well Planned Day - which I loved, but it could have had a bit more space to record our work.

So for the 2014/2015 academic year I decided to try something different, A Simple Plan planner from Mardel. I had seen it reviewed, watched a YouTube video of a homeschool mom giving a 'tour' of the planner, I liked the look of it. I liked that it didn't have the subjects listed and that it had ample of space for me to accommodate not only our regular subjects but the electives that are coming in this year.

My last planner ended in June, so I got to use this planner for the last month of this school year. (Here in England we finish in July not May). There are a couple of things that I love about this planner. I love how each month and section is divided with durable and pretty dividers...

I love how just about every homeschool base is covered. This planner has:

* A whole section of sample pages to help you use your planner in the best possible way

*2014 and 2015 yearly calendars with a list of holidays and place to note down your own dates to remember

* Student schedules  and Yearly overview forms for up to 6 students

* Ample space to plan out the nitty-gritty - with no subjects listed for you

* Various attendance and curriculum tracker forms

* Handy extras like forms to record contacts and details of co-ops, extra-curricular activities etc.

But, I have to say, after a month of working with this planner, I have not been completely happy with it. Here's why:

* It's much bulkier and heavier. This makes working with it cumbersome

* The pages where I plan out the nitty-gritty just does not look neat and ordered and I like a pleasing visual appearance to my planning - yes, I'm a bit persnickety :)

* I like a bit of pretty - and this is all rather functional. The dividers are pretty, but the actual pages are just - blah!

I'm afraid that I just could not see myself using this planner for a whole year. So after much thought, I decided to just chalk this purchase up to experience and go with creating my own customised, well laid out, pretty planner for the new academic year.

I actually really love creating my own planner. I love setting it out in a way that makes sense to me, I love including seasonal things, and putting lots of 'pretty' into it's pages.

So the first thing I did in creating my new planner was order more printing ink and went out and bought a pretty spiral notebook. I like a spiral bound book as I can turn it back on itself quite easily without bending pages etc.

Now this pretty cover IS something I could look at every day and feel happy about!

On the inside cover I have printed off a 2014 Year at a Glance from my Moms Toolbelt files. I have used my Moms Toolbelt resources quite extensively in my homeschool planner and in updating my FCS (another post).

I have highlighted all the school holidays, bank holidays, days that we wont be doing lessons due to other plans and have noted down important celebrations or noteworthy days on the lines below each months calendar. 2015's year-at-a-glance calendar comes after Decembers planning pages.

On the right hand side is a page noting which term we are in and the terms school dates.

Next I have a month cover page. In here I have put some of my 'Themes and Plans' info. Things like seasonal and faith based days of celebration, the name and date of the full moon and a little poem and quote relevant to the month of September. Each months cover page is decorated with different seasonal pictures and clip art - reflecting that months uniqueness.

On the opposite page I have a 'Notes for the Month' page. This is where I write down reminders and details of any articles I have due, supplies needed, an area to note down books for our reading list, and a spot to record details of any special outings or activities for the month.

Next, using my Moms Toolbelt once again, I have printed out a month-to-view calendar, themed according to the season of course. This is one feature that both The Well Planned Day and A Simple Plan had that I could not do without.

And as for the nitty-gritty, Each page is a week at a glance. Right at the the top we have the season, month and week that we are in.

The first block are things that we do together. Bible, Read Aloud, Nature Study  etc...

Next I have a section for my eldest daughter. At the moment she is busy with 7 subjects which are listed down the side. Each subject has enough space for me to note what she will be doing on each day of the week.

Below that is a section for my youngest, same thing, less subjects.

And in the two little blocks at the bottom we have a space to note our weeks memory verse, a field trip and a space to note down any days-of-note pertaining to that specific week without me having to page back in my planner.

I'm not sure if you can see it in these pictures, but each and every planner page has been printed with a season related watermark as the background.

So on the left hand page there is a red fox and on the right hand page is a little autumn scene of two vintage dressed children catching falling leaves.

Here's a closer shot. Can you see the fox?

So there is a different water-marked page for each week. At the end of the months planning pages is a blank page where I will past our Outdoor Hour Challenges set out by Barb in her monthly newsletter.

So far I have printed off all my cover, notes and planner pages up until and including December. So the first term is all set. I have done this as My eldest daughters electives will change and come in at various stages of they year, this gives me the flexibility of being able to adjust her section of the planning sheet accordingly.

Annual Learning Plans for each child are at the back of my planner. Each child has a list of the PACE's we hope to work through as well as a scope and sequence of what is covered in those PACE's. 

My Supervisor's Progress Card's for each child is also kept at the back. This is where I record all their test results for my own records. I also keep an updated copy on the computer which gets sent in to TEACH at the end of each year.

And the last thing I have at the back is a copy of my TEACH District Representative Agreement. Our family will be a Representative for TEACH, ministering to and encouraging other TEACH families in our area. I'm very excited about this extension of our ministry in the homeschooling area.

So there we have it, a rather lengthy and drawn out post on just another homeschool mums planner :)

Happy Weekending all!

**Visit Moms ToolBelt to see what you get with a life's membership!**


  1. Thanks so much for sharing. I liked looking inside your planner. I have been contemplating what I will put in mine for the upcoming year. I need to get busy! :o)

  2. I love the cover of your new planner too! I am just like you, I need it to be pretty to perk me up :) Thanks for sharing this week on the Art of Home-Making Mondays :)


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