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My Favorite Planner (a review)

After a dozen years of homeschooling, I've tried a LOT of planners. After hating a lot of planners, I settled into creating my own forms for many years. And then, two months ago, I found the perfect planner for my family. It is simple, but complete. It is online, so it keeps track of all of our information, but it is easily printed for my students each week. We've used Homeschool Manager for nearly two months now and I still want to sing hymns of thanksgiving every week as I print out our checklists.

To use, I first set up my school and students and year's details. This required listing every subject. The set-up for any planning program requires some time and effort, but I had all 4 of my students signed up, with subjects, within 20 minutes. Since then, my weekly planning is easily finished within 10 minutes. It's wonderful.

Scheduling is a breeze. To plan my next week, I click on the subject and enter the assignment. For example, under MATH, I might type in Lesson 3 Page 27-31. In reality, it would look more like L3P27-31. If more than one student has the same instructions, I don't have to type then in again or
 even copy and paste. Instead, I click a little box that says "Assign to multiple students" and then click on the other student's name. 

Some subjects have more than one assignment. This is no problem at all; you can't list as many as you like. Under LANGUAGE ARTS, I add several assignments:
  • Grammar: L3p27, See Me
  • Spelling: L4p43
  • Lit Analysis: Ivanhoe p234-250
  • Read Aloud: Sword of the King
  • Vocab: L2p14-15

Since easy subjects like math will look nearly identical from day to day, just a change of a few numbers, I slide and copy assignments I've already typed and just edit the tiny bits that are different. If the original entry was assigned to multiple students, all copied and edited assignments are automatically assigned to others without me telling it again. If I want to change that, it's still just a click of a button.

There are many extra features in this. You can stick with the simple options, or dig a little deeper. None of it is difficult or overwhelming, so digging is fun. Here are some of the extra benefits I appreciate:
  • You can set up assignments as tasks or assignments to be graded. It prompts you to grade, which is helpful to me as I tend to forget this part of teaching. 
  • As it tracks everything, you are also building a transcript as you go. This is completely editable, so the finished product says exactly what you want it to say. 
  • I only recently discovered the Book List option, which also allows me to track every book they read throughout the years. 
  • Volunteer hours can also be tracked for that transcript.
  • Hours of instruction can also be tracked if your state requires this for records.
  • Students can log in with a separate password to access assignments or you can print the week's assignments for them. 
Homeschool Manager doesn't cut me off at 3 kids, it doesn't cut me off at 6 subjects, and it doesn't take an hour to correct mistakes when we get behind. I don't have to enter every page and project; I copy and paste. It takes five minutes to enter assignments for the week. FIVE MINUTES! And if we have a surprise vacation or come down with the plague, I can slide the assignment boxes over and put them on a different day. My plans are rearranged in seconds.

I am very visual and this lets me see everything I need at a glance. I can see when we're ahead or behind. I can see if we've skipped assignments for three weeks. (I'm not the only one who forgets entire subjects for months at a time, right?) 11 years of teaching and I've finally found my perfect planner. 

If you are curious about it being a good fit for you, be sure to check out their free 30-day trial! If you decide you love it as much as I do, you can purchase a year's subscription for $39 per year, or $4.99 per month.

Realizing that not everyone has the same tastes and preferences, I've also shared many different planner options in the Year Round Homeschooling Round-up. The entire month at YRH is going to be filled with homeschooling tips and tricks. Be sure to check it out.

A subscription to Homeschool Manager was provided to me in exchange for an honest review. 
The opinions are my own, in compliance with FTC Disclosure Policies. 

1 comment:

  1. Jenn,
    I am beyond thrilled that this is blessing your family and lightening your load!!
    The Homeschool Manager team is simply three homeschooling families and our hubbys work evenings and weekends to continually improve and take it further.
    Stories like yours fill our sails and remind us that our mission to simplify homeschooling and bring freedom to families is REALLY changing lives!
    Thank you so much for sharing, we are honored!


"Man lives by affirmation even more than by bread." - Victor Hugo