Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My Favorite Homeschool Planner

The topic this week at The Heart of the Matter’s Organizing Carnival is Organize your school schedule, including schedules on paper, reviews of planners, time allotted for subjects, etc. I’ve been tempted many times to try out a new planner, but I always go back to, and buy, Amy Knapp’s Homeschooling Organizer. I’ve purchased them from both and Amy Knapp’s website. I first discovered Amy Knapp’s Christian Family Organizer at Wal-Mart and fell in love with her style of planner.

So, what do I love about Amy Knapp’s Homeschooling Organizer? Well, there are so many things. Sadly, some of them I don’t currently use to the fullest extent. As I was thinking about writing this, I thought how much simpler I could make my life if I was using every aspect of this organizer to the fullest.

The addition to last years Organizer is one I definitely use, pockets to the front and back covers. I keep our Co-op Directory in the front, along with the kids’ Book It coupons. The back pocket contains miscellaneous papers along with the schedule for both Co-op and our Home Educator Support Group.

The first page is for personal information and emergency phone numbers. I don’t know why, but I always enjoy filling that page out, making the organizer mine. Also included in the beginning of the organizer is a yearly calendar and Amy’s tips for organizing/planning.

The back of the organizer has ten pages of useful planning pages which you can copy and use over and over including a Book Log, Chore Assignment Log, Personal Development Worksheet, Grading, Field Trip Log Ideas, Completed Field Trip Log, Budget Planning, and Individual Budget Planning. The very last section of the organizer contains Babysitter information pages and Quick Reference Children’s Organizations pages. I know that after doing this review, I will make better use of these back sections. I almost forgot they were there! The key, for me, will be to copy them at the beginning of our school year and begin filling them out right away.

The middle of the organizer is what I use the most…though I have to used this to the fullest since I had my very first Amy Knapp’s Christian Family Planner. Each month has a two page monthly planner where I put in all of our dates for Support Group, Co-op, Library, Field Trips, and the Home School Conference at the beginning of each year. It also includes a Monthly Projects list on the side. Since I am the Field Trip Chair for our Co-op, I use that to keep track of the families attending and the number of children for each field trip. I love to have this at a glance look at each month.

Then, after each month, is the two page week at a glance. The left hand side has a tear away strip Grocery and Supplies List next to a spacious Lesson Planning area divided into five spaces, with a mini-two month calendar at the bottom. The right hand side contains a tear away Meal Planning strip divided into seven sections, which are then divided into five lines to plan for meals and snacks. Next to the Meal Planning strip, is a spacious section for the whole weeks planning divided into the day and a smaller To Do/To Call and Chores spaces.

Currently, I use the Lesson Planning section as sort of journal to keep track of what we do each day and the hours we spend on each subject. Since we live in Missouri, that is what we have to keep track of, along with a portfolio each year. So, the Lesson Planning section is a stepping stone to my hours log. I haven’t been much of a detailed pre-planner these first “official” years of homeschooling, but I believe that next year, I will use the calendar days for lesson planning our school days farther ahead of time, and continue to use the Lesson Planning section for my log of what we get accomplished each day.

I did make good use of the tear off grocery list back when I got my first Amy Knapp Organizer and I’m not sure why I stopped using it. Now that I am actually planning meals for the week, I should take advantage of the meal planning list, too. I love that the Organizer is large for writing in, but I wish I could shrink it to carry in a smaller purse. I would love to have a cover for the planner…something with zipper…maybe I should get out some material and try to make what I want. Anyway, I love this planner and as long as Amy is making them, I will be buying them.

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