The Ultimate Homeschool Planner From Apologia: A Planner With More to Offer (A Schoolhouse Crew Review)

I have admitted before that I have a weakness for trying every homeschool planner that comes along. There are usually things I like about each one, but it’s difficult for me to find the “perfect” planner. When I saw that there was a new planner available from Apologia Educational Ministries, I was very excited to have the opportunity to try it out. There are a variety of colors of this beautiful planner available, and I received for review The Ultimate Homeschool Planner- Blue Cover.

Review of the Ultimate Homeschool Planner from Apologia

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The Ultimate Homeschool Planner is more than just a basic planner. It’s a planning system designed by Debra Bell and available for purchase through Apologia. I decided that the best way to show and tell about this planner with so much to offer was to give you a little tour of it’s features.

  • The planner is spiral bound which allows it to lie flat. The cover is vinyl to make it more durable, and there are pockets made into the front and back cover to allow you to store papers.
Homeschool planner from Apologia
  • At the front of the planner, there are complete school year calendars from 2015/16 through 2022/23.
  • Before getting into the blank planning pages, there is a complete user’s guide that tells how to make the most of the planner. I love that they recommend time for a “planning retreat” each year. In this user’s guide, there are instructions for how to plan your overall year, how to plan each month, and how to plan your week. There is detail about each of those planning pages.
Homeschool planner with instructions for use
  • Next in the planner comes a section that allows you to plan academic goals and characters goals for each student as well as a section for family priorities. There are places for up to six students available. There is also a section for a resource list for each student- up to six.
Homeschool planner for goals
  • The monthly planning sections come next. There are twelve blank monthly calendars. Each month spread has a notes section along the bottom and on the right-hand side. There isn’t a large amount of space to write in each daily box. This can present a problem for users like me who have multiple family members doing things each day.
Ultimate Homeschool Planner monthly planning feature
  • After the monthly sections, there are fifty-two weekly planning sections. The weekly sections have four pages. There are sections to write a Bible plan; Battle plan, including verse; Prayers, Hospitality/Outreach; a place to record the week’s memorable moments and evidences of grace; and a two-page spread with a weekly planning calendar that includes a place for notes, supplies, and appointments. I love that there is a section to be deliberate and think about the focus of your week. So often I want to train my children up to love and serve God, but I’m not very deliberate about it. I love that this planning section reminds me to think about that. The weekly planner pages are arranged so that they can be used two different ways (illustrated in the user’s guide) and can be used with six children. However, I found that there wasn’t very much space in each block either way. I think that using it with six children would be difficult. I was primarily using the planner with my younger two because I still do most of school with them. My high schoolers work independently and have their own planners. I had enough room with just that planning, but I couldn’t have fit planning for all four into this section.
Ultimate Homeschool Planner weekly Biblical focus

Homeschool planner for the week
  • Next comes a section for records and grades. Technically there is, again, space for six students. But there isn’t space for daily grades. This is just a two page spread with room for eight scores per subject per student. I think you could perhaps put in averages for the quarter here. I keep grades and attendance together, and this wasn’t enough space for that. There are also sections to record for six students a reading list and a list of field trips and extracurricular activities.
  • At the end of the planner is a section that contains teaching tips. There is information about how to mark memorable moments in your homeschool, a “What I Wish I’d Known About Homeschool” article, an article about learning styles, and some information about planning and recording through the high school years.
  • The end of the planner also contains some pages to write a year end wrap up and a section for notes.
There were a few things I really liked about The Ultimate Homeschool Planner. It is visually a beautiful planner. Honestly just looking at it made me long to get my pen out and start planning. I love the sections that encourage me to be deliberate in my planning and focused on how I’m teaching and leading my kids for the week. I love the sections for Bible verses and prayer that remind me what my primary focus should be each week. I think that the information contained about planning and about homeschooling, in general, is very useful- especially for newer homeschoolers who may look at the school year stretching out ahead and think “What on earth am I doing?!”
There were also a few things that made the planner not as effective for me. The lack of space- especially in the weekly planning sections limited how much I could put there. And the smaller monthly calendar blocks also limited my recording information for the whole family. 
Ultimately I found the planner to be most effective for me as a resource for information about planning, as a guide to focus my week, and as a place to write down memorable events- to keep a record of sorts of our homeschool year. 
In Summary:

Price: $29 on the Apologia website
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Crew Disclaimer

Other Review Crew members reviewed the planner- both the blue one I reviewed and the other colors. You can see what they thought by clicking below.

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