I have a confession. I've long been a homeschool planner junkie. I've tried printable planners. I've tried digital planners. I've tried software that I downloaded to my computer. I've tried planners I can use online. Some are free. Some have cost me money. But I've never found a planner that really met all of my needs. And, always, after using them, I would end up throwing up my hands and walking away because I needed some function that they didn't have.
But when I saw the trial of Homeschool Planet from the Homeschool Buyers Co-op, I was very intrigued. And when I was able to review this online planner, I have to admit that I've found many of the features and functions I've been seeking in a homeschool planner.
As a Schoolhouse Review Crew member, I received a one year subscription to the digital planner- Homeschool Planet. You can purchase a year's subscription for $65. But you can sign up for a free 30 day trial- without having to enter a credit card (which I think is an awesome trial!).
Homeschool Buyers Co-op is an excellent resource for homeschoolers. You can apply and receive a free membership. As a member, you are notified of special deals on homeschool curricula and resources. Often you can end up purchasing curricula with the same discounts that schools get for large bulk orders. I've used my membership to the co-op to purchase some curricula at great prices. And I've seen Homeschool Planet around the co-op, but I've been reluctant to try it because of my history with homeschool planners.
You'll need to be a co-op member to run Homeschool Planet. And the planner is an online planner, so you'll need a good internet connection. One of the nice things about having an online planner, however, is that you can access your planner from any computer and some other mobile devices (although there isn't an app yet, so mobile access is limited.)
When I first began looking around Homeschool Planet and setting up my account, I admit that I was a little overwhelmed. There are so many great features and so many ways to use the program that I wasn't sure how to start. I'll also admit that I had some reluctance to spend lots of time on something that was too confusing to use. Thankfully I found the library of tutorials. In the help section of the planner, there are many tutorials that teach you everything about getting started and using the planner.
I started off by logging into my Homeschool Buyers Co-op account and clicking on "My Subscriptions." This brings up the Homeschool Planet launch and takes me right into my account. In the Settings tab on my home screen, I set up the basics like the days of the school year, the subjects and classes I wanted to use, and the grading plan I use. I also chose my theme. You can personalize your dashboard with a chosen theme and with widgets- like the quote of the day and verse of the day or to do lists and shopping lists. There is also a dashboard widget that tells you about anything new that's going on with the planner like updates and new added features.
The main hub of this homeschool planner is the calendar. The calendar can be viewed as a month, day or week. It can be integrated with Google calendar, so I was able to easily import our family calendar that I keep on Google.
When you view the calendar, you can see a variety of things- assignments you've created, chores, or events for that day. You can easily choose whether to see one person's events and assignments or the events and assignments for a group or for everyone. If your classes and assignments are scheduled for specific times, you will see them at the correct time on the schedule. If they aren't assigned to a particular time, you'll just see them at the top of each day.
To add assignments, events, chores, or other appointments, you can click the Edit Profile option under the family member's photo or you can click on the day you'd like to add to. Under the Edit Profile option, you can also manage attendance or change contact information and notifications.
When you choose to create an activity or assignments, you have many options. The creator opens and allows you to choose the date, whether you want the assignment or event to repeat, which family members need to be assigned to the lesson or event, how often the event or assignment repeats and more. For repetitive assignments, you can set the creator to number the assignments consecutively. This is very helpful in creating repeated assignments.
For example, I've been using a history program for review with the younger girls. The program is divided into lessons called "Stops." I was able to easily schedule this as a repetitive assignment, and the planner lists the stop number we'll complete for each day that I've scheduled the history program.
Another great feature of this planner for me is that it has the ability to not only keep grades and average them but also create a transcript. With two high school students this year, that's a big benefit. Transcripts, along with other reports like assignment lists and grade reports can be printed from the Reports tab on the planner dashboard.
The calendar can also be printed at any time with a choice for economy printing. That way if you'd like to post a hard copy of the planner or print one for each child, it's easy and cost effective.
The more I've used Homeschool Planet, the more I've discovered I can do with it. In addition to coordinating our Google calendar- which is extremely useful, I began using it for meal planning. I created a profile for an extra family member named Meal Planning. I simply "assign" this family member the meals I'm making for each day. I have this profile's notifications sent to me. Or I can print "his" assignments so that the family has a list of meals for the week.
In short, I don't know that I've ever seen a planner that is this versatile and feature rich. It has so many options. (And the company is so good about adding and changing to make it even more usable!) Homeschool Planet is definitely worth setting up and using for a free trial. And, it might even become your new best friend as you plan this next homeschool year.
Company- Homeschool Buyers Co-op
Product- Homeschool Planet: a digital, online homeschool planner
Price- Free 30 Trial (no credit card needed) and $65 for a year
Other Crew members reviewed Homeschool Planet, and you can see what they thought by clicking below.