Last week Mardel released its much anticipated free online homeschool planner, A Simple Plan Online, which is based on its existing print planner, also called A Simple Plan. I recently reviewed the print version of A Simple Plan, and if you read that review, you know that I am not a big online planner person. However, I really liked this online planner right from the start.
Here are features from A Simple Plan Online that I liked right away:
- It’s free.
- It is very user friendly.
- It is easy to navigate and change.
- It is visually appealing.
- It has a library tab (which is one of my favorite features).
Once you create a free online user account, the Web-based application immediately walks you through all of the steps to set up your planner. This includes entering information for each student, the school year, your subject names, and your chosen curriculum. Then you can start filling in your lesson plans by week, and entering individual assignments, which can be daily, weekly, or monthly. Once they are entered online, these can be printed out quite easily. The planner also has a Calendar tab for tracking school-related activities, as well as a place to keep track of attendance and grades.
Detailed Curriculum & Library Tracking
I like the Curriculum tab, where you have the ability to enter not only information about the publisher and ISBN, but also where you bought or borrowed it, how much you paid, and for later, a place to record where you sold it or who you let borrow it and how much you sold it for. I can definitely see this coming in handy later.
The Library tab is my favorite. My home library is too large to consider adding all of my books, but it will be beneficial this year to add all of the books I have that correspond to the subjects we will be studying. I have a habit of forgetting that I have a book to go with a particular subject until it is too late.
I have a feeling I will continue to use my Simple Plan paper planner more often than the online planner because I am just a paper person. However, if I start helping my sister create lesson plans for her older girls, I will definitely use the online planner. The fact that it is Web-based will be very helpful: I can create lesson plans at my house, and then her girls can sign in and complete assignments at their own house — and print them out if they’d like. The online planner is definitely a plus for anyone working in a co-op or collaborative schooling situation.
I would definitely recommend both A Simple Plan Online or the print planner to anybody looking for something stylish, user friendly, and comprehensive for their homeschool record-keeping.
To celebrate the launch of A Simple Plan Online, Mardel Homeschool is sponsoring a giveaway for A Simple Plan Complete Collection of homeschool organization tools — valued at $62! Includes A Simple Plan Planner, Work Box, Decorative File Folders, Magnets, Magnetic Book Marks, and Journal. This giveaway is open for ONE WEEK and closes on July 1! Enter to win below (daily entries allowed):
49 Replies to “Free Online Homeschool Planner & Mardel Simple Plan Collection Giveaway!”
I like to do my planning in Excel because I can move things around easily. I keep a physical grade book and use Excel to figure the final grades. That gives me a backup in case of computer issues.
Excited to look this over.
I’m looking for a planner that goes by number of days instead of Monday through Friday. I think I prefer paper but maybe I just haven’t found the right online one.
I definitely am more a fan of print planners vs online/computer based ones. I like ones that are simple — too much content just gets in my way.
I prefer something online, that I can just save and print. Now that my oldest in high school, I am in need of a planner to help keep track of her credit hours and courses.
I’ve done an online planner and found it hard to keep up with. I was beginning though so I’m open to revisiting that option!
I prefer paper planners but I am considering the nonlinear option. It sounds handy and User friendly.
One of the things I liked about SOS is the ability to track grades, school days, etc online. But now that we no longer do SOS, I was looking at having to create my own spreadsheet. With the new online planner, I won’t have to. Plus, I can have a paper planner to supplement and take on the go with me. I love the idea.
I think i want both, I would really like it to also be avail on my android device. I may use paper so it would include other aspects of family life. I would really like the printed one to be landscape.
I’m with you about the “app” interface, Melanie. I would love to have an iPhone/iPad app so I am not limited to what my mobile browser can do on the Web-based planners. Thanks for commenting!
Love this Planner !
I like print the best. I’m just a paper girl I guess. 🙂
Love the new online planner and the beautiful planner set!
i am a paper girl but i like online programs too
I am still half & half myself, Kelli! I do like this one online, though – looking forward to putting it into use next month.
I’m a paper girl as well and really love my A Simple Plan print planner!
I really want to like on-line planners but they always seem more time consuming than they’re worth. Looking forward to trying this one out. Thanks for the review.
I’ve been using paper for my planning. I have been wanting to do it online, but worried about how it would go. This would be great.
I like simple so I’ve used a daily planner to record what we have done. I’ve not used an online program so I’m interested in looking into this.
I want something big enough to list all my kids in it…and I prefer print! 🙂
I prefer print as well and I really love the A Simple Plan Print version. It is good for up to 6 students.
I would love to use an online planner – I have tried, but find it difficult to stick to it. I get discouraged because they are much too “involved”. I’m hoping this will be different!!
I’m not very good at planning so any help would be great. I think I prefer paper instead of online though.
I like both. Currently I have been creating my own weekly planner using excel and then printing it out but I would love to try both of these options.
Okay, So I have checked out the online planner and this is my assessment so far. I like how easy it is to navigate and I love the option of planning either by quarter, semester or trimester. I like being able to enter each subject and curriculum and I even like how some curriculum is already in there for you to choose from. What I don’t like is how you have to go in and delete each item that is already in there, one item at a time. I wish there was either a select all button or a click the box to delete multiple items. Anyway, so far I’m enjoying it.
I prefer print planners 😉 I guess I’m just old-school like that.
I am looking for a planner that is very easy to use and my kids can look online to see what they need to do. Plus, it will coordinate with more than one or two children. I also would like to be able to print it as well
This is my first year homeschooling so I am not sure if I like print or online better, but I am so excited to find out.
I am a “paper person,” but I have been thinking I need to try a digital planner. I look forward to checking theirs out. Thanks for sharing!
I prefer a paper planner. There is just something about holding the planner in my hands and writing down the lesson that appeals to me more than typing.
Me too, Joysoftwo! I love the feel of planners and being to write thing in and check them off. I don’t think an online planner will ever replace my print planner!
I love having the versatility to choose from the paper or online options with this package. I am a paper person; but being a paper person and trying to keep up with 6 kids can be a challenge – so having online materials will definitely keep me up to speed with everyone.
I’m a rather unorganized and undisciplined homeschooler. I like to start lists but I’m not good at following through. Dear me! I just signed up for the online planner and it looks wonderful. In all honesty I’m not sure what I’m really looking for in a planner but I’d probably do best with something that’s a little paper and a little online. So, we’ll see how this goes.
I love planning on actual paper. I love technology and doing it online is fine, but something about being able to easily flip between sections or dates helps my brain out. Like I can see Italy at once or something LOL. I used to teach school before I had kids and I would carry around this huge binder that had everything, my plans, my schedule, my grade book, everything! I taught four different classes in high school so it had it all in there.. I imagine starting homeschool with my kindergartener will be a much smaller notebook LOL
I still like using paper, but it seems like laying it out on the computer would make things much easier. I’m not wonderful about organization and I’m looking for something to help with that. Just having a flexible form to jot in what we do and what it could “count” for would be good, too.
Thanks for the opportunity to win, and thanks for the available tools! -KVB
This fall will be my first time homeschooling. I think I would prefer paper rather than online. But who knows?!
I prefer to have written plans, so they are easy to change, but it’d be great to have an online database of my plans, for easy searching, back up, and record-keeping.
This is our first year homechooling and this looks like a great planner. Hoping to win it!
I have never tried an online planner, and none of the print ones that I had seen as a teacher had exactly what I needed as a homeschool mom, so I created my own. I had a tendency to edit/tweak/make my own in my classroom anyway, so I just built one from scratch. I would be thrilled to find one that had everything I needed in one place without having to build all the pieces!
I have always used a paper planner. I have tried online planners, but never stuck with it. I like to have it in my hands.
I think I prefer print, but I’d love the ease and availability of online. I’m going to check this out now. Thanks!
I much prefer a print planner. This is my first year to homeschool and this would be a wonderful system to jump start us! Thanks for the opportunity to win. 🙂
I just tried using the Mardel planner this morning. I love that it’s free…but I can’t seem to figure out how to do daily lesson plans vs the weekly. Also, it appears that I have to enter “assignments” to get it to show up on my calendar; I prefer having each day’s lesson plan pop up on my calendar…I just don’t like having to go to the actual Lesson Plan tab to see it list everything, by week. I’m not sure this is for me; I might have to stick to my printed pages from excel. I spent about an hour getting everything set up on Mardel, when I could have spent that hour updating my daily schedule in Excel. Perhaps I’m missing something, however. I’ll spend about another hour, maybe 30 minutes digging around on the Mardel site…but I don’t think it’s for me.
I’ve tried my fair share of online planners myself, and they’re all a bit different when it comes to how to lay out your lesson plans and track assignments. I do appreciate that Mardel’s is free, so you can give it a try with no expense. If it doesn’t work for you, I say stick to what works! I know several moms that love using Excel to track everything. On the other hand, I’m more visual and I need to see things in a calendar format for it to make sense to me, so I like planners that give you a typical calendar view. I hope you find what works best for you Stacy! 🙂
I am a paper and pencil girl myself. I like Mardel’s planner in that it is free and it has that great Library tab and so many other options but I agree with you about the lesson plan. I know that Mardel’s homeschool branch is still working on tweeking this site so you may want to voice your concerns to them. On the bottom of their page is a feedback option. They love to hear from us.
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