I have a love/hate relationship with planners — as I do with purses. I am always looking for the perfect planner. I buy them but rarely finish them. I’m sure I’m not alone.
When my girls were younger, I used Homeschool Tracker, which is a computer-based homeschool planner. I liked it for its simplicity, but found that I just don’t plan well or consistently on a computer or electronic device. Recently I spent money on a homeschool planner app named Olly that I never even figured out how to use. I am definitely a paper-and-pen planner and list maker.
So the past couple of year, I have used a print homeschool planner called My Well Planned Day from HEDUA. I was attracted to it for all of its organizing functionality. It is a planner for your life — not just school. There are ready-made lists for groceries, menus, holiday planning, etc. — all very cool, except I found that I never used them. I tend to keep my school plans with my school stuff, and my grocery list and menus (when I make them) on the refrigerator door. I went all out and got the three-ring binder version, but it was too big and bulky for me to carry around along with all my school stuff, so I wasn’t using it very often for school planning either. However, I must say that I really liked the Report Card in the back and the “My Education” and “My Responsibilities” cards, which I laminated for my son to use this year.
For several years when my daughters were in school, they each had their own simple, generic lesson plan book that I picked up at Mardel’s for less than $10 each. I have begun to plan for school next year so I went to Mardel’s, planning to just buy a simple, inexpensive lesson planner.
I found “A Simple Plan” instead. It is a bit big (thick), but not three-ring binder big. And it is only for planning school, one year at a time. I already like the “yearly overview” pages and the pages at the beginning of every month to write down a list of supplies needed, reading list, activities, and things to accomplish for that month. I can’t wait to start penciling in our school plans for next year.
A bonus is that the colors match the file folders I bought at Mardel’s earlier: And this all matches the hanging wall organizer I bought from Thirty-One Gifts. I will get back to you on how well this planner worked for me this upcoming year.
At the Tulsa OCHEC Homeschool Convention last week, I had the chance to meet the author of this planner, Dee Jones, and ask her a few questions about A Simple Plan. This was after her exhibitor workshop on the new planner and other organizing products in the new Simple Plan homeschool organization line from Mardel Homeschool.
Mrs. Jones said she created this homeschool planner as she was homeschooling her own children. She needed something simple, just for school, where she could plan out the year, the quarters, the months and the weeks. It will accommodate up to six children for one school year. There is an entire set of matching homeschool organizing tools by this company, which includes: A file box, bookmarks, magnets, plaque, small notebook, the folders and the planner. She also said that every year, new colors and patters will be available for the homeschool planner and organizing line, and they are also planning to have a smaller student homeschool planner next year.
Mardel’s has large plans for its homeschool division. Mardel.com already has a homeschool tab on the main Web site, where homeschoolers can find lots of helpful information and do learning style assessments. Soon this section will have its own website, Mrs. Jones said. She also told me that the line expanding and to keep checking the Mardel Web site for updates.
I am very happy that Mardel is building up its homeschool division! I think it will reap great rewards for the company. I am also very happy I got to meet Dee Jones and discovered her planner. I am hopeful that A Simple Plan will turn out to be the ideal homeschool planner for me.
What do you use to keep your homeschooling plans organized? Do you use a specially designed homeschool planner? Is it online, on the computer, in print — or a combination? Have you found the perfect homeschool planner yet? If so, tell us what you love about it!