Tag Archives: planning

Record Keeping In High School ~ 2020 Not Back To School Blog Hop

Record Keeping in High School

I have always been a tracker rather than a planner in our home education life. It has worked better for us to just plod along with the next lesson and note that we did it each day than to try to plan ahead for specific pages on specific days for the entire year. I like my paper planner. I like writing in pretty colors. This has worked for us. But, what about high school?

We all know high school need a different degree of record keeping so what have we done? And is it working?

I’ll answer the “Is it working?” question first. Yes, it is. Our oldest is starting dual credit classes this fall and my record keeping was sufficient to get her accepted to the program.

So, what have we done?

First, a few weeks before 9th grade started, I looked up our state requirements for public high schoolers. This gave me an idea to supplement what I already knew – 4 years each of math, science, history, and language arts/literature. It let me know about how many “extras” she might need – PE, languages, arts, and other electives. We were well on track with planning for all of this.

I wrote it out for her and then we sat down together to discuss that plan and add in some more specific ideas. Some of the specifics were: what language did she want in addition to sign language? what art – music (instrument or voice) or visual art? What other topics sounded interesting that she wanted to get in?

We then came up with a penciled in 4 year plan. At that point, she was not considering taking dual credit. So that should tell you already that our plans have definitely changed. Not a ton but we have adjusted some things to fit in the time that dual credit requires and to adjust for her doing what would normally take fall/spring home school time in just the fall.

For each year, I have started making sure I write down which curriculum is being used for each class. If it is an outside instructor, such as for voice lessons, I note that and who it was/is. For our dance classes, I note weekly hours and styles of dance. This is all kept in my planner. Some of you already do this kind of thing but I didn’t used to. I used to note things in my daily plans as we went along and started a new program or finished one. Now, I keep a running tally for my high schoolers so that it is all in one place and easy to find when I need it.

We have a discussion at the start of each year to check in on “the plan” and see how we are faring, what we need to do, if we need to change tack, etc. This year, my oldest decided she wanted to add Spanish to her lessons because of a program she has really been enjoying. So, we worked at it a figured out how to work it in. If we stuck to the original plan from 2 years ago, this would not have happened. But what a joy to be able to accommodate that desire!

Most of all, I encourage you to enjoy these years of growing independence and narrowing of interests. It can be eye opening but it is tons of fun. We are enjoying it tremendously with our teens. Please let me know if you have any specific questions regarding planning for high school.

The Homeschool Review Crew members are writing about different aspects of record keeping and planning today. Visit the Crew blog to find the link up.


Yesterday, several members wrote about how they teach different subjects or how they approach teaching in their home school. A few of these are below.

Lori, At Home.


20 Things I Want To Work On In 2020

20 things

A year ago I wrote a post titled “Cultivating An Attitude.” I wish I could say I did well with it. In some ways, I did. In others, not so much. I am holding onto that idea this year but editing the process a bit. So, here you go – 20 things I am going to work on in 2020 – in no particular order.

1 – I have started by downloading a daily devotional program from SchoolhouseTeachers.com. (affiliate link – If you click on it and purchase, I will receive a small commission.) This devotional is titled “Encouragement for Homeschool Moms” and is written by Bonnie Lisech. It is not a long set of devotions, only 31 but it is getting me started this year. There are more devotions on SchoolhouseTeachers, so I may try another one when I finish this. I may move on to something else. Either way, I will continue to set my mind on God first thing each morning, as it sets the tone for my day.


2 – I am going to continue to work on is sending personal notes. I understand the beauty of receiving a hand-written note and I want to do more with this. Again, by sharing my thankfulness of other’s with them, I am more thankful myself and pass on a small bit of joy. I am also seeing this one reap benefits in that my daughters are working hard every couple of months to send cards to let people know they are thinking of them. It is a wonderful thing so I need to do more of this.

3 – I am going to read some hard books. Hard in this case is going to be ones that are challenging to me and make me think. I have some one my shelf – Walking The Bible is one. Farenheit 451 is another. I want to read some Dickens. And to go through some of the “classics” that I have never read.

4 – I am going to work on consistency in schedule. It is easy enough for me to keep the schedule for things outside of the house but I am going to work on keeping a home schedule for myself, also. Getting up and moving, cleaning schedule, laundry schedule, exercise schedule – those sorts of things.

5 – Exercise. I am on a good schedule with walking 2 -3 miles 5 or 6 days per week. I am going to continue that.

6 – Be brave and add a yoga class to my exercise. I don’t know when this will start but I know where I want to add it. I just need to contact the studio and ask about doing so.

# 7 - Declutter!!

7 – Declutter. This is always on the list, isn’t it? I want to get rid of things we no longer need or use. This is going to be the smaller things, such as kitchen utensils (did that today, actually, and got rid of about 10 spatulas and such that we don’t like). Books are next and I already have a pile. 🙂

8 – I am going to continue having the charity group come by each month to pick up a box. It is great incentive to continue with number 7 all month long.

9 – Get rid of desks. Yep – we have too many desks and they need to go. This is a “one-time” sort of thing but it needs to happen.

10 – Start a teen girls Bible study. This one needs to happen soon so I’ve got to get a move-on with it. I think it will be over Psalms, for now.

11 – Take a trip to the UK. This one is in the “plans” but I have to get it actually going.

12 – Get my passport. I have never left the country so this is a must if number 11 is going to happen.

13 – Do a fun school day with the girls one time per month. Drop the books and study something interesting or unique or do a game board school day. Something fun to keep us all in good spirits and working hard.

#14 - Add read-alouds back into our day.

14 – Add read-alouds back in. The past few months, we have not done a very good job of doing read-alouds with the girls. Since they are all working so independently, it is much harder to settle them all at the same time. This may need to work hand-in-hand with number 4.

15 – Handmade gifts are beautiful so I want to do more of that for others. Maybe a “just because” gift but maybe things like birthdays or holidays. I want to do more making of things. I miss doing things like cross-stitch or embroidery or sewing. So, more of that stuff.

16 – Less time on social media but when I am on, I want it to be more meaningful. This doesn’t mean I am getting rid of accounts but I am going to be more attentive about scrolling. I will continue to share and post but when I find that I am not thinking about what is going past on the newsfeeds, I will shut it down and go do something else.

17 – Call my family and friends more often. Putting this down in writing may mean I get called on it but accountability is good. I want to talk to my family, particularly my siblings, more often. And friends that I will not see as often. Or haven’t seen in a while. You know what I mean, right?

18 – Visit with friends more often. I don’t yet know what this will look like but, again, I want to be more intentional about seeing the people I don’t get to see as often. I want to make a trip specifically to see my grandmother and I want to try to get to see a friend who doesn’t live that far away more than once a year.

19 – I will be more intentional about my time use. I am blessed by a good bit of time waiting – you know, dance studio time. 🙂 I want to use that better to take care of some of the things I have already listed (like my reading) but also to be more efficient in doing some other online tasks I need to do daily. This will give me more time at home to spend with my family or to work around the house. #20 More intentional time spent with family.

20 – Last But Not Least – More intentional time doing fun things with my family. My husband and I have enjoyed having 2 hours one night a week when he is off while the girls are at dance. That is a precious time for us. But I want to find that kind of time for each of my girls. Maybe not 2 hours per child per week but some dedicated time to just hear them and allow them to be. Miss J really enjoyed having that time in December while her sisters were doing youth group and dance company Christmas parties. She and I spent some time doing things together and it was good. I need to set that up for each of the girls.

Now that I have put down 20 things for 2020, I need to add them to my “pay attention to” list. I need to print this out or write it down somewhere so I can be reminded and not forget. Because that is what happens in my busy life. I forget. I get tired or lazy or forgetful. So, feel free to hold me to it and check in on me.

Did you do a “word of the year” or a list that you want to work on? Share it with me below. Let’s encourage each other.

Lori, At Home.

20 things to work on


Linking up with the Homeschool Review Crew and their Word of The Year link-up.

Hey, Mama! Planner ~ a Crew review

I am a pen and paper kind of gal. That makes a printed planner a necessity for me. And my very favorite one is published by The Old Schoolhouse®. I have been using it for quite a few years now, except for one year when I couldn’t get it. But the Hey, Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20 Year is just what I needed.

Hey Mama! Planner

The author of this planner, Gena Suarez, has been down this homeschooling road and knows about the hopes and desires and worries and concerns that inundate the life of a homeschooling mama. She wrote this planner with all of that in mind. It seems like that part of the planner – the part that offers encouragement to stay strong and remember why you tackled this homeschooling journey in the first place – actually came before the planning part of the planner. That is what I like most about this planner and why I come back to it year after year. I find great encouragement here.

notes page

You specifically see these encouragement posts each month. Every one starts out with Hey, Mama! Gena is talking to me. And to you. And to whoever is using this beautiful planner. We all have down days and days of struggle. These Hey, Mama! letters are found in the calendar part of the planner (I know getting a bit ahead of myself but I’ll get there). One letter for each month. And I go back to them more than once in the year. Because they are so encouraging!

Planner coverA quick note about the quality of this planner – it is fabulous. The cover is beautiful and this combination of my favorite color with flowers just makes me smile. And who doesn’t like something that makes them smile. 🙂 The planner is spiral bound with laminated paper covers. Okay – laminated is probably not the right word but they are thick paper with a nice glossy finish that will allow it to withstand a lot of use, which it will get. The pages inside are a thick and of a high-quality. The slightly rough finish is smooth to write on. All of this adds up to a lovely planner that is a joy to use.

Now, on to the other pages of the planner. As I mentioned, there are calendar pages of several sorts. There is a year-long view set up month by month so you can see all of 2019 by itself, all of 2020, by itself and all of 2021 by itself. The whole year. There is a monthly view, where you get the month in a two-page spread so you can make plans for the month and see it all at once. Then you have the weekly view in undated pages. So you can make those work for you in whatever way is best, week by week.

You get some transcript information, because at some point, every child will need some kind of a record of what has been covered. There is one page on “Creating an Academic Transcript” followed by an academic transcript if you want a pre-made form. There are checklists for skills learned and a page to track other courses. These are all found up front.

After your weekly view planning pages, you have planning pages for up to five children. There is a page for notes, a page for curriculum planning, an attendance chart, a book list page, a page for yearly goals, and pages for semester goals. That allows you to really think through and plan for your children’s education each year. But, it is also really flexible and you don’t have to use any of these forms that don’t work for you.

For me, I have already color coded our schedule for next school year, starting in July.

calendar for the year

I have also started keeping track of the learning and reviews that will happen during July. I use the notes page that comes with each month to write down what videos we watch, what field trips (or camps/mission trips) we take, what books we use as a read aloud, and what reviews are being worked on by which girl. You can see that in the image up above with the example of the encouragement letter.

The monthly view is another way I track the big picture. I tend to write on it our places we go and activities done. As you can see, I color code everything I write down for the girls. I use blue, pink, and purple to make notes on their course work, attendance, book list, activities, etc. I use red and/or green for anything we do as a family. This helps me see at a glance what has been done or what is planned.

July planning

I also plan to use the curriculum planning pages. I like to track which program each girl is using, especially for any high school level courses. So, for two of the girls, I will have some high school level courses to track.

curriculum planning

I also keep track of attendance. I am not required by the state to track that but it is a good measure of the amount of work done and time spent. And if I ever need it, I don’t have to try to figure it out. It is right there.

The Old Schoolhouse® has done such an amazing job with the Hey, Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20 Year that they are about 98% sold out. There are not plans to print more for this year so you might want to grab yours quickly if you are interested.

Lori, At Home.

There were several families who were able to get a copy of the Hey, Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20 Year for this review. Head over to the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read more reviews.



Transcripts Made Easy ~ a Crew review

Transcripts Made Easy

Transcripts for high school make so many of us home educators cringe. But they don’t have to! Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler’s Guide to High-School Paperwork is a walk through the transcript options and paperwork requirements, made simple for home educating parents. Janice Campbell from Everyday Education has put together a book that will walk each of us through the nitty gritty of getting it right.

In its 4th edition, this updated version of Transcripts Made Easy includes all that we need to know from one who has walked this path before us. A home educator herself, Janice Campbell helps us to see just what it can look like for the end of the high school years. Whether there is college in the student’s future or a great trade job coming, the encouragement, ideas, and information included here help us guide our students to be prepared with the necessary paperwork for stepping out into the world.

What You Get –

Transcripts Made Easy came to me in an ebook format. It was easy to download right onto a Kindle so that I could easily read it. There is also a paper format available for purchase. The book has almost 140 pages in it, guiding me through all the different aspects of high school planning, record keeping, grading, and transcripts. It also includes a number of reproducible forms so that you don’t have to recreate all the forms to get started.

Transcripts Made Easy and easy to read

There are six sections to the book:

1 – Meet The Transcript: This section is about what a transcript is and what the parts of the transcript include. It also guides where to begin in the book since we need different things at different stages.

Transcripts Made Easy get started

2 – Plan With The End In Mind: This section packs the punch with immediately applicable information for our family. When I look at the end of the high school journey, where does my student need to be? That is what this sections helps with. From choosing classes to ideas of what to do during high school, from how to schedule courses to which tests to take, this section has the nitty gritty of what I found most intimidating about high school.

3 – Keep Simple Records: Here we are guided in putting together a binder to help contain the samples and schedules and course descriptions. This sections also includes special needs records and transcripts from leading educators Judith Munday and Kathy Kuhl.

4 – Grades, Credit, and the GPA: This sections walks through how to grade, how to award credit, and how to calculate a GPA. There is information here that helps when you are awarding credit for things like dual enrollment or advanced education classes. There is information about weighted GPA vs. regular GPA and how a college might view that. There is a lot here.

5 – Creating The Transcript: Here you will find a look at all the different types of transcripts there are and samples of each one. Whether a transcript is needed tomorrow (hello check-off transcript) or planning ahead while the student is still in elementary is the current basis, there is something here for everyone educating a child.

6 – References, Resources, and Reproducibles: This section has the remainder of the information needed to be prepared. This is where the ebook comes in super handy – just print the blank forms directly from the book.

Things to Note –

There are some special needs articles included that will show a family how to create the types of records that they need. There are some additional short articles on things student can do to be successful in college. These are helpful articles that I will be having my daughter read in a few years as she prepares to go off to whatever she chooses after high school.

How Did I Use This?Transcripts Made Easy

I downloaded this onto my Kindle and I found myself reading through the book a couple of times to absorb all that is written here. It was not difficult to read; it just did not stick in my head. The easy-to-read writing style makes it feel like I was sitting with a friend who was sharing her wisdom gained in the struggle and that she didn’t want me to feel the struggle.

I appreciated the knowledge shared about planning and scheduling options. I felt much better after reading that section since we are doing a modified schedule for high school this year with two days focused on science and two days focused on history. This really made the schedule feel more manageable and my student to feel like she really had time to dedicate to the learning.

While we don’t know what the “after high school” time period will bring, having these resources at my fingertips now will allow us to be prepared to create whatever kind of transcript will be needed for her dreams.

I felt like I was doing pretty well with our planning and record keeping. But this book showed me that there were a couple of ways to do this better. One of these is the activity log. Keeping an activity log will allow me to give credit for the activities that my daughter is participating in that don’t truly fit elsewhere. For example, tonight my daughter was scheduled to be the sign interpreter for a little league game. With the activity log form from the book, she can now note her time dedicated to this. When she gets enough, I can give her either an applied sign language credit or volunteer hours or something else entirely that I haven’t thought of yet.

Transcripts Made Easy check off transcriptsAnother of the helpful forms was the check-off transcript. We do not have need for this yet but it will allow me to see at-a-glance what is done or being worked on so that the plan can fall into place.

Transcripts Made Easy class pageI also printed out the class profile pages so that I can keep good track of the classes that Miss E has taken in the last year or year and a half that will go on the transcript.

Transcripts Made Easy cover

All-in-all, this is an easy to read ebook that will help guide you through the sometimes scary world of high school record keeping, transcript writing, and creating a special diploma. These things are all part of homeschooling high school and it is an exciting time. This book keeps the focus on the exciting parts and not the difficult things.

Lori, At Home.

Be sure to visit Everyday Education to find their Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler’s Guide to High-School Paperwork. Or click on the banner below to read more of the Crew reviews on this product. You can also find a review of another product from Everyday Education that I have done: Working It Out, featuring the poetry of George Herbert.



Doing What is Next (planning/record keeping) ~ Back to Homeschool Blog Hop 2017

Doing What Is Next record keeping and planning

Today’s topic: planning. I am a minimalist planner. Part is me rebelling from when I had to write music education lesson plans on a general classroom format every week. Part of the reason is that when I plan, I overplan. Part is that we follow rabbit trails so often and so easily that I hate having to mark things out in my planner and rewrite it with what we actually did. Minimalist planning is definitely where my groove is for planning.

My favorite planner

I am a paper planner person (say that 3 times fast!). I like my printed planner so that I can jot things down and don’t have to have access to the computer to know what to do or what comes next. I create a general schedule and then we go for it. I expect us to do “the next thing” in whatever curriculum we are working on. In math – next lesson. In science – read to the next set of questions. In history – the next project. Just do what is next. For me, that means I don’t need to write out detail-by-detail what lesson comes on what day. We just do what is next.

weekly plan page

And I write it down after we do it. When the math lesson is completed, I write it down in my planner that it was done. When the story is shared, I note it. When the project is presented, I write it. Each child has a color and I write their completed assignments in their color. And red or green means it was a family activity/project. Easy-peasy.

Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t read ahead or look at the curriculum or decide what we student checklist with explanationare going to do. It just means I don’t schedule each lesson out. And, it means that I am placing more responsibility on the girls to know and do what they are supposed to. Each year, they are a bit more responsible for their own learning. Miss E and Miss J each want their own person checklist for their week, so we use a simple chart in a spiral for that.

I am adding a bit of a twist for myself this year, though. Miss E is in 8th grade and some of the work she is doing will count towards her high school credits – sign language 3 and Fascinating Chemistry are two courses that will be going on her high school transcript. So, I am keeping tabs a bit closer on those, noting hours/time spent and grading the work and making her take all scheduled tests.

We are in Texas, which does not require any reporting for each year, so while I do grade projects and math assignments and such, I do not keep strict grades for the girls. I keep their work from year to year and I keep my planner as documentation of what was completed. For us, this is a good balance and documentation.

At Home.

Back to Homeschool Annual Blog Hop - 2017Looking for more ideas? Visit the others participating in the Homeschool Review Crew  Back to Homeschool Blog Hop 2017.

Jennifer – Dear Homeschooler

Jodi – Insane in the Mombrain

Karen – Tots and Me…Growing Up Together

Kelly – God’s Writer Girl

Kellyann – Walking Home …

Kemi  – Homemaking Organized

Kirsten – Doodle Mom’s Homeschooling Life

Kristi – Classically Quirky Learning

Planning? or Tracking? – Our Way

I enjoy planning. Well, I enjoy planning for unit studies and finding curriculum. I really like unit studies and all the research and reading I get to do to prepare.

But the day-to-day school stuff? Yea. Not so much. Sometimes I feel like I am writing the same thing over. And over. And over.

I do our day-to-day planning stuff a whole lot differently than most people seem to who write about it. I don’t do the whole “sit down for a couple of day and plan out your whole year for every student and every subject.” Number one – I am not that organized. Number two – we change things to fit the girls or the subject or the attitude way too often for that to work for us. Number three – I just don’t want to!

So what do I do?

This year, I spent a lot of time thinking. Pondering schedules and subjects and curriculum. All of this was done without any pencil or paper and without sitting surrounded by curriculum books. I just thought. About what has worked. About what has not worked. About each of the girls and their personalities. About where I wanted to push harder and where I wanted to back off.

Then, At Home Dad and I spent a comfortable Sunday afternoon sitting on the porch and discussing our plans and goals and ideas. I jotted down ideas while we talked and we sketched out weekly schedules for each of the girls. (You can find those here.) We also did some planning for the next 5 years – yes 5 years, from the lady who hates day-to-day planning – for Miss E. We wanted to make sure we had covered the initial thought process for her as she enters high school levels in the next couple of years.

weekly plan page

Days of the week go across the top; subjects go down the side; each day will have the list of what is to be done for each subject and I’ll put a check next to what gets accomplished with each girls’ color (Miss E is blue, Miss L is pink, and Miss J is purple).


Once we had our weekly schedule in place, it helps me know what to do for a day-to-day basis. I am going to be writing out weekly plans and those will be pretty easy to do since I have our schedules. I will be writing down on each day and subject how much will get done but it will be written in pencil so it can change as things actually happen. Because, you know, life happens and that means we don’t follow a script. I allow lots of flexibility in the plan.

When we reviewed the Hey Mama! Planner a bit ago, I shared about how I keep track of our day-to-day stuff at the monthly level. I keep track of read-alouds, audiobooks, videos that pertain to studies, volunteer work, and field trips. I also keep track of school days and other activities that we do on a monthly calendar. We are not required in our state to track or report these things but it is always good to do so, even when not legally required.

And, since life is learning, don’t forget to track Bible classes, worship services, dance or other sports, library visits, art projects or classes,  camps, and all those other things that happen to enhance life experiences. These are all important learning opportunities that help shape and guide our children to become who God has designed them to be.

We consider anything worthy of our time to be a learning opportunity. Learning is a lifestyle and as such, many of the moments when learning happens are unplanned. So don’t forget to go back and keep track. When you have a lifestyle of learning, planning is not always proactive. And that is okay. Many times it is a reactive activity, pulling out the planner (maybe a better name is tracker!) and writing down what has already happened.

Remember, keep track and plan for what is legally required but more importantly, do what works for your family. Know what YOU need and find the way that it works best.

At Home.


This post is the second in a series for 5 Days of Homeschooling 101 and is part of the TOS Review Crew Blog Hop.5 Days of Homeschool 101
Monday – Curriculum
Tuesday – Planning
Wednesday – Home Management
Thursday – Traditions
Friday – Encouragement

 Some of my blogging friends participating in this blog hop are:
Laura @ Day by Day in Our World
Leah @ As We Walk Along the Road
Linsey @ Lille Punkin’
Lisa @ Farm Fresh Adventures
Margaret @ Creative Madness Mama
Megan @ My Full Heart
Meghan @ Quiet In the Chaos

To read more please visit the Review Crew post or the link up to read more on planning and to get a whole bucket full of idea to help you plan. If the linky doesn’t show up below, please just head over to the Review Crew post to find the link up.


Budgeting in the Homeschool

Budgeting in the Homeschool


It is a word that many people fear.

We shouldn’t though. We should try to embrace it and think of it as freedom rather than submission to a number or slavery to a given amount.

I thought I would share a little bit about out budgeting because it directly impacts our education. And, just as a side note, we have one income. No additional income sources. Budgeting is the reason this is not a problem.

We work from a combination of a zero line budget and an income based budget. We start with the lowest amount possible that will be received as income. We deduct all possible spending, including giving at church, insurance, savings, and all utility/house bills. That leaves us with what lots of people call “disposable income.” This is where we move to a zero line budget.

I don’t know the real name of it but this is what we call it. We assume that we will spend $0. Nothing. From there, if we do need to spend something. We look at the checkbook to see if there is money there for it. We write everything down in the checkbook. Just as if we were writing checks rather than using online bill payments or debit/credit cards. We try not to spend money. It is simple as that.

How this impacts our education  is really quite simple. If we need money for something, we spend it. But, since we are working from “only spend what you have” rather than “how much can I spend” or “I have budgeted $550 for curriculum”, I can purchase what we need for unit or a book that will help us out. Honestly, I don’t know what I spent on homeschool needs last school year because it was what we needed. It was not an outrageous amount. It probably was not even $550. But, it benefitted the girls by giving them what they needed to learn what they were interested in.

Education does not have to be a big budget item. Regardless of how it is painted in the world, it does not require tons of money to teach your children what they need to be successful in life. Sure, it is a joy to be able to just go out and purchase whatever big money item you might want like a telescope for astronomy or a microscope for biology. It would be nice to be able to travel the world. Those are definitely things to shoot for and plan for (see the savings comment made in passing above – that is what that savings is for!) but education is about life.

If you are looking for a more specific post about how to lower your costs for education, check out my post on 10 of Our Favorite Ways to Save Money Homeschooling. You could also read about Teacher Discounts.

At Home.

This post is part of a round-up of budgeting ideas for the homeschool, brought to you by the TOS Review Crew. Click below to see what other budgeting ideas we have for you. (post is live on Friday, August 5, 2016)

Homeschool Budgeting 101

Hey Mama! Planner ~ a TOS review

planner cover 

I am a paper planner kind of girl. I need my Hey Mama! Print Schoolhouse Planner 2016-2017 to keep track of my school life and plans. I was so happy when I received one to review from The Old Schoolhouse (TOS – yep, the parent company of the Review Crew).

Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner 2016-2017 ReviewI don’t really know where to start with what I really like about my Hey Mama! Planner. The Hey Mama! Planner has almost 200 pages to work with. Printed in beautiful sepia and black tones throughout, it is bound with a metal spiral binding. The covers are glossy, printed cardstock.

I think what I like best is the constant encouragement found within the pages of the planner. Right off the bat, there is a Hey Mama! letter of encouragement. These Hey Mama! letters are found at the start of each monthly planning section to remind you of the important job you have but more that God created you just as you are to be THE perfect mama for your little ones (and big ones). Every single month.

Table of Contents


So what all is in the planner? Well, everything I need and so much more. There are so many calendars and forms that I don’t need anything else for planning. Well, maybe some blank paper but that’s a different story. Calendars, weekly planning pages, goal pages for months, semesters and years, attendance charts, contact pages, curriculum lists, and a whole bundle of other lists for topics of interest or dates needed. Chock full!

The weekly planning pages are probably the main portion of the planner for me. I use those day in and day out. I am saying use because this is the planner I currently have. There are 36 weeks worth of pages. Since we tend to do more school than this that I want to keep track of, it is permissible to copy additional pages to keep with the planner. I would love to see this planner include 52 weeks since so many homeschoolers educate all year round, even if it isn’t full-blown school mode.weekly plan page

These pages are my mainstay and help us track what we are doing and/or what needs to be done. The pages are set up in table format, with 6 across the top and 8 down the side. One of each of those is for labeling, in my opinion, leaving 5 across the top and 7 down the side. This means I label and date the top ones Monday through Friday, Down the side, I label the subjects that we are working on. When I am writing in what is happing or planned, I use three colored pens: blue for E, pink for L, and purple for J. There is actually a fourth (red) that I use to show things that are the same for all three girls. This allows me to fully utilize the space on the pages.

Our monthly notes page

I also use the monthly planning pages a lot. A LOT! On the notes for the month, I keep track of our read-alouds, any videos we watch, all of our field trips, any reviews and due dates we have going on, and all of the volunteer work that happens. To show you this in actual use, I am showing you the May 2016 pages for our family. **For the 2015-2016 school year, there was a digital version of the Hey Mama! Planner available with a membership through SchoolhouseTeachers.com. I printed off my copy of the Hey Mama! Planner and had it bound locally. These pages look the same in the 2016-2017 printed Hey Mama! Planner. Well, with the right dates. 🙂


our monthly planning pagetracking my reading

One other thing that I do that is really personal for me: I keep track of the books I am reading just for me. I do that above the Hey Mama! letter each month. This tracks the fact that I am doing something just for me but also encourages me to keep it up.

I am currently working on setting up goals for next school year. The goal planning pages are going to be a big help for that. There is a monthly page, a semester page, and a yearly page, plus a curriculum planning page. There are 4 or 5 copies of each of these in the Hey Mama! Planner. Some families have need of more copies of this than are included; it is okay to copy the page if you need more.

With Miss E in middle school now, we are looking towards what she will need by the time she graduates. These planning pages are going to be a huge help for that, with a couple of pages at the end dedicated to helping create an academic transcript. Again, if you have more than one high schooler or are planning for more than one, you may need to make a copy of the transcript page. (You could also print it off of SchoolhouseTeacher.com if you have a membership.)

Hey Mama letter and monthly notes page

I don’t know many people who can get along without planning so why not use a planner that is full of encouragement and helps. The Old Schoolhouse has created a wonderful planner with the Hey Mama! Planner, full of encouragement with the Hey Mama! letters and Bible verses throughout. This is a fantastic resource that I highly recommend and have used for two years now. I use mine all the time and I can’t imagine using anything else.

I have a coupon for you to order your own Hey Mama! Print Schoolhouse Planner 2016-2017! Visit TheOldSchoolhouse.com and order the printed planner using the code CREWCODE for $10 off. What a fantastic deal! If you live in the U.S., that would give this a cost of $19. The coupon is good until July 15, 2016, but if you are like me and put it off, you forget. So – Order yours today.

**There is also a digital download version available. The coupon is NOT good on the download version.**

Coupon Code Hey Mama Planner 2016 2017
At Home.


Find The Old Schoolhouse on social media.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter @TOSMag, and Google+

Read more Crew reviews from over 100 others who have used the Hey Mama! Planner.

Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner 2016-2017 Review Crew Disclaimer

Ultimate Homeschool Planner ~ a TOS review

I am a paper planner person. When I got the opportunity to review a planner from Apologia Educational Ministries, I was happy to. There is nothing better to me than the feeling of writing on a paper with your thoughts and having them appear. I like the feeling of putting pen or pencil to paper. It is a pleasing thing for me and on a planner that is pretty, such as The Ultimate Homeschool Planner – Orange Cover by Debra Bell – well, that is just a joy.orange cover planner

When I received my copy of The Ultimate Homeschool Planner, I spent some time just browsing through it. I looked at the pages and the boxes and all that is in the planner. As I always do, I felt a bit overwhelmed and knew I needed to go read up on the suggested uses to get an idea of how it was designed. The example pages were really helpful and I was ready to get started.table of contents

Debra Bell is familiar with the needs of homeschooling moms because she is one herself. She set this planner up with maximum flexibility. I like flexibility. I like that this is set up in a way that I can decide how it will work best for my family, yet still have some foundation for each page that I don’t have to create. The pages can be used in a couple of different ways and the calendar pages are undated so you can adjust them to your family’s schedule.

Throughout the planner, you will find that Debra has set this up to find a focus that relies on God. There are Bible verses and quotes throughout the planner. Each monthly planner has both a Bible verse and a quote of encouragement or beauty. The weekly planner pages have several ways in which the focus on God is presented. There is a reminder of the Lord’s Day, a place to write your Bible plan for the week, a place for a Battle plan and fighter verse for the week, a place to write about hospitality and outreach. Additionally the weekly planner has places to write your week’s evidences of God’s graces and memorable moments and achievements.

weekly planning pages

The whole purpose of a planner is to plan, right? Well, I often forget this. Debra reminds us of this need for planning in several good, helpful ways. The user’s guide at the beginning guides us through a planning retreat to help us get the entire year planned out and going right. She also helps explain a monthly planning session and weekly planning sessions. She also helps me see how to include my older students in mini-planning sessions on Monday and Friday.

I plan to incorporate these in our schedule once we begin after Christmas break. This gives me some time to get myself together and it will allow us to implement it without the interruptions of holidays and school breaks due to travel. I hope to fully implement her planning schedule, including a plan for the entire year of 2016, at the new year. This in particular has been a helpful insight for me. I am not a planner by nature so this was good information to have written down with examples.


There are a couple of things that I want to point out.

  • As our oldest student gets towards high school, we are beginning to think in that direction. The planner advertises that it has a High School Planning Guide. I was very disappointed in this. It was not what I would call a planning guide. It was an example of how to fill out a form in this book that has to do with high school plans. But, it was not a guide. For information, you have to purchase a different book.
  • There are only 48 weeks in the planner. Since we are talking about planning an entire year, including breaks, I would prefer to have a planner that has 52 weeks in it so that I can mark the off ones as well and add in anything educational we do during that time. If I understand it correctly, one of the other color options has 52 weeks in it. The orange cover does not.

All in all, this is a lovely planner with some good information. Definitely worth a look for those of you who, like me, prefer to write down what is going on the “old fashioned” way.

At Home.

Check out Apologia on social media:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/apologiaworld/timeline
Twitter: https://twitter.com/apologiaworld
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/apologia/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/105053356034237782125


Exploring Creation Field Trip Journal ReviewCrew Disclaimer

%d bloggers like this: