Homeschool Conference!!!

Look at all those beautiful little feet two people can create!

Look at all those beautiful little feet two people can create!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Ultimate Homeschool Planner ~ ta da!!!

I have SADLY had to add an addendum to this post...
I can no longer endorse this product ~
For details, please click here to see my post in its entirety.

I have this battle that rages inside me...
one side determined as ever against the other.

The one side of me wishes so desperately to reach that point of refinement.
Oh, how I would love to say, "I have it all together!"
I dream of how fantastic it might feel to be completely organized, to have it all figured out, to have a plan for the day, the week, the month, the year...even the next many years that lie ahead of me...
How I would love to never have a freak-out moment because I failed to plan and then am left with the feeling of impending doom as nothing seems to be coming together as I had wished.  (if only I had planned)
Having it all together would be ideal as the homeschooling momma to so many kiddos, wouldn't you agree?

Then, I have the opposing side that wishes to fight the nastiest battle time and again!
Wishing for virtually NOTHING to do with "having it all together."
This side of me looks at all the planning and organization and screams out, "Why on earth would I wish to do such a thing, where is the FUN in that plan???"

I really do enjoy flying by the seat of my pants; it's exhilarating and refreshing!
I also really enjoy having a plan; I love the peace that organization leaves me with, not as exciting, but just as rewarding.

A year or so ago I began to figure myself has been quite a journey.
What I have found is that I love having a plan,
I love the stability that it provides.
What I don't love (at all!) is the thought that I MUST FOLLOW that plan;
it feels stifling to think that I can't wake in the morning and have some fabulous idea pop into my head and go for it!
I just have to remember that the thought (see above) is silly, I can still have the plan and improvise as I feel...isn't that the beauty of homeschooling and learning along side our kiddos, anyway???

When I was asked to review
The ULTIMATE Homeschool Planner, designed by Debra Bell, and sold through Apologia Press,
I had somewhat mixed emotions, that darn battle was raging away inside me again!

I am quite drawn to planners, I've probably given most of them at least one shot ~ they have tremendous powers that just suck me in ~ the problem is that they get me, but then can't hold me for long!
Would this one be any different???
Would I tire of it and move on,
or stick with it and see value in using it day after day, week after week?

To be honest,
I received my package in the mail and was really quite excited,
but then I put to the side waiting for Just the Right Moment to check it out properly...

It sat on my desk vying for my attention as I disregarded it for a substantial amount of time....
Then one day, I picked it up.
I'm certain it was the cover that finally got to me...I am absolutely in LOVE with the color Yellow!  Add in a few flowers, a hint of purple here and there and I'm hooked!

After adoring the cover, I decided to give it a shot; as I began flipping through the pages I have to admit I was intrigued.  THIS is no ordinary Homeschool Planner!  Debra Bell put some serious thought into this piece of work...

If I were to be speaking directly to Debra, I might be heard to say something along these lines,
"Debra, I really must tell you that as I opened the first page of your Ultimate Homeschool Planner, there was this quote, only three words in length, but those three small words have had the greatest impact on me:  'Order brings peace.'  It is those three words, along with the beauty you've created, that might just hold me.  This may very well be the ONLY planner that will keep me hooked.  Thank you for the time you've put into designing this ULTIMATE planner for me and for my kiddos!"

I think I should just make this official ~ time for introductions:
Debra Bell

meet Stacey Lytle
Meet Stacey
Stacey meet Debra...okay, that's better!

Moving on...

Going back to that little quote by St. Augustine ~ "Order brings peace", I have to say those words caused quite a moment of reflection for me...
I had to ask myself some tough questions, one I will share today was, "during which times in my 'homeschooling career' could I say I felt most peaceful?"
Well, during the times that I had a plan...
One side of me is winning over the other again!!!

Time to succumb and let the planning sessions begin ~ just add a little chocolate and a cup of tea and I can tackle the world before me!!!

Alrighty, I need to just tell you all that I love about the Planner and then toward the bottom I'll throw in some of my not so much in love with the planner thoughts!

What I LOVE about The Ultimate Homeschool Planner:

*  This is a PLANNING SYSTEM...not just the average, everyday, run of the mill planner.
Debra Bell has added so many elements to help walk the homeschooling mom through each and every step of bringing order to your home.
There are 12 pages of How-To Instruction along with visuals, so very helpful!  For a little sneak peak, click here!

* There is space to plan for 6 separate kiddos ~ being the Momma to 7 (6 at home now) this makes me happy.  Rarely do you find something that will compensate for a larger family.

*For each student, Debra provided a space for Mom to fill out goals for her children.  I LOVE that her primary focus here is Character Goals followed up by Academic Goals.

*There is a section for FAMILY PRIORITIES, followed by 3 pages of Resource Lists, with a space again for each child under which you can list the resources to use for each individually.

* One of my very favorite things about this planner is the number of inspiring quotes interspersed throughout its pages ~ here is one of my favorites ~

"The children should have the joy of living in far lands, in other persons, in other times - a delightful double existence; and this joy they will find, for the most part, in their story books."  Charlotte Mason
And one more ~

"It's a good thing to have all the props pulled out from under us occasionally.  It gives us some sense of what is rock under our feet, and what is sand."  Madeleine L'Engle

Okay, just one more...cause this one just makes me laugh:

"Always end the name of your child with a vowel, so that when you yell, the name will carry."  Bill Cosby

Okay, I just have to share two more, but they are short...keep smiling with me here, they are worth it!
"A room without books is like a body without a soul."  Marcus Julius Cicero
and the last one...

"In Science we have been reading only the notes to a poem; in Christianity we find the poem itself."  C. S. Lewis

Just gotta sneak in one last one:
"If you can't explain it to a six-year-old, you don't understand it yourself."  Albert Einstein

This is only the beginning of the quotes ~ YOU want this planner just for the quotes.  :)

*Moving on to a point that NEEDS to be made is the weekly planner part of this ULTIMATE Homeschool Planner.  The Weekly Plan takes up four pages to itself...I just have to say it is fantastic!
The time that is taken to plan your week is beautiful is reflection is spiritually uplifting is a time to ponder your week and what you see happening, along with what you wish to make happen.  There is a section for recording the Memorable Moments of your week and a section titled Evidences of Grace ~ these are places to record the everyday little things that make your life so big and wonderful!  One section that I love in the Week Plan is a little section that is titled BATTLE PLAN!  In this section, you can arm yourself with a plan and a verse of scripture that you can fall back on when times get tough or out of control (IF you are the Mom, you know exactly what I'm talking about here!).

*These planners were designed with three things in mind, another reason I LOVE THEM!
1)  Count Your Blessings
2)  Encourage Independence
3)  Record Your Progress
This is listed on the inside front cover, which by the way is fantastic in that it has a handy little flap to hold all the papers you might wish to use for the week!

*Let's focus on #2 - Encourage Independence -
This is where the other two planners come in...
NOT ONLY does Mom have a planner,
so do the kids...
and the beautiful part about this is that they work hand in hand.

Start your kiddos out early learning to make a plan and see the benefits of having one and you will be encouraging that wonderful independence that we all desire our kids to have when it comes to education ~ I know we don't really love the independent little natures they sometimes throw our way, but trust me, it is a good thing.

When using these planners together, it is encouraged that Mom spends a little one-on-one time with each of her kiddos on Monday (or anytime at the beginning of your week) to set the plan into action for the week and then do a follow-up Friday or sometime over the weekend to see how the week went.  After a short amount of time, this will instill a routine and consistency that kids so crave from us.  I LOVE THIS PART!
I love the idea of my kids having a planner that they fill in
and then check off
and then report back to me...
we've done our own variation of this many times, but I'm thinking this one just might stick with us!!!

Now to pick on the planner for a minute and do a little critiquing...

*This is totally a personal choice and does not keep me from wishing to use the planner...the planner contains many Bible, I don't have a problem with that ~ I think it's lovely, BUT I do prefer using the King James Version and this uses another version.  But again...I can deal with that.  I just pull out my own scriptures and read it the way that fits my spirit and I'm good as gold.  Not a problem, in fact maybe it's a grand more reason to pick up my scriptures and go on the search.
See, we can find good in all things if we only wish to!!!

*And along the same lines, there is a section for "Prayers" on each weekly plan that I haven't used. I guess I don't really know what I'd use that for other than to check off that I had said my prayers???  So...I just utilize the space for whatever I may need.
I'm sure I'm just a little slow here and there was a fabulous reason behind this little section, so no biggie.  I'm just adjusting a little and there's nothing wrong with that.

*Cost might be an issue for some ~ this handy little tool for Mom comes in at $28.00
The Ultimate Homeschool Planner

The Ultimate Homeschool Planner

The Ultimate Homeschool Planner

Deb Bell's insights which crafted the homeschool classic, The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling, have now applied to helping moms plan. Count your blessings while charting your family’s progress with this 48-week planner designed to help you document God’s faithfulness and activity during your homeschool journey. Features include: Unique Lord’s Day planning grid, Flexibility to help you prioritize and plan for up to six children, Customized daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly planning forms, Forms for setting goals, journaling activities, and tracking reading lists, Year-end review pages, Sturdy construction with convenient pockets and coated covers.
Now available in two different cover styles to coordinate with the colors of your life.

And for your teens, this one is priced at $19.00
The Ultimate Weekly Planner for Teens

The Ultimate Weekly Planner for Teens

Deb Bell's is the perfect planner for homeschool teen which allows you to customize the days, weeks, and months to your year and frame it within God's working in your family. 

And don't forget your younger kiddos, there's one for them as well!  Coming in also at $19.00
The Ultimate Daily Planner for Students

The Ultimate Daily Planner for Students

A great gift to start younger students on the road to academic independence! Students
meet with Mom weekly to record their daily assignments and mark their progress.
Helpful tips, extensive study aids and engaging trivia give this planner true kid appeal.

I don't really feel the cost is too prohibitive...
I believe I could justify it if I felt it was worth the investment.


I'll give this one a thumbs up!!!

Give it a shot, I am certain you will be pleased as punch!

Just click here and you can start spending your pennies.