It’s that time of year, when I sit down with paper and pencil, making lesson plans for our next school year. This time around I am using the Hey, Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20 Year published by The Old Schoolhouse® to get our plans in order and our calendar all set. Gena Suarez, a veteran homeschooling mother of seven, has created this beautiful planner with a clear and easy-to-use format, with a little something extra for Mom – devotions to encourage you throughout the year!
We are down to only three students in our homeschool this year. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to juggle so few, but still, I need the help of an organized planner that doesn’t over-complicate things. This sprial-bound planner contains all I need to track our daily assignments, activities, appointments, and our educational goals as well. Having it all in one pace helps keep us all focused and headed in the same direction.
The 188-page soft book is made up of 8 1/2 x 11 high-quality paper (a nice size, making it easy to slip between my stacks of books on the shelf.) It lies flat on the table or is easily folded back upon itself because of the spiral binding. The front and back covers are heavier, glossy-coated stock. All these features make it practical and usable.
Between the covers you’ll find:
- ideas and forms for creating high school transcripts.
- checklists for subjects, courses and life skills.
- blank, lined pages for jotting down notes.
- 22 Hey, Mama! devotionals for mom.
- yearly calendars for 2019, 2020 and 2021.
- weekly lesson planning pages for up to 5 children.
- curriculum planning worksheets for each child.
- attendance record pages.
- a place for you to record “Books Read This Year.”
- goal-setting pages for each child.
As I sit down to plan out our upcoming school year, the first thing I do is look at the overall calendar, blocking off holidays, vacation days, weeks with special commitments like out-of-town visitors, etc. Having a page with an entire year at a glance makes this so easy. I can then see which weeks we have available for our school days. Some things are set in stone (like Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays, etc.) but much of it can remain flexible. Seeing the days all in one place helps me gauge things and adjust our schedule as needed.
After blocking out our days on the yearly calendar, I sat down with the curriculum planning pages. For each of my students I make notes about subject, curriculum we are planning to use, as well purchase info if needed. It’s great to have a visual reference, listing everything on one page. It also helps me make decisions, because I can see what we have accounted for and what gaps need to be filled in.
There are also pages for yearly goals and semester goals for up to five children. Writing down detailed goals for each student has always been difficult for me. I generally know what needs to come next and where we are headed in general, but I am taking extra time this summer to set a few goals for each of my children and for myself. I love the suggestions for various types of goals. Homeschooling is not just an educational choice, it’s a lifestyle, and prayerfully considering these different goals will help us all have a fantastic year. There is plenty of space provided for brainstorming, tweaking, celebrating.
I really like the two-page spread for the weekly lesson plans. There are enough for 34-weeks. I prefer 36 weeks, but I can adapt. There are five columns, designed for up to five children, but you could label them Monday through Friday. There are seven rows, designed to record assignments for your various subjects. The blocks are all blank, and roomy, so you can easily adapt them to suit your needs and lesson planning style.
The weekly lesson plan pages are not dated. Therefore, you can begin with any week you wish and skip any week you wish. My 3 teenagers will all be able to check in on our weekly pages, get to work on their next assignments and then check them off for me as they finish them. I plan to color-code (Gabe’s assignments in green, Noah’s in blue, Bekah’s in red) so we can all easily keep things straight.
You may be asking, what if i have more than 5 children to schedule? You would still have options – the amount of space on the pages and forms is generous and can easily be divided and/or adapted to suit your needs. Or you could use these pages for your oldest students, since documentation is so important as they enter into the high school years.
Having only three students, I am using my blank columns for things like field trips and co-op classes. I love having a place to brainstorm and jot down dates and activities right on the lesson plan pages.
It feels so good, getting the boxes filled in and decisions made. I am getting things into place so my lesson plans, record keeping and school goals will help set us up for a great start to our school year. But, what will make an even bigger impact on our school year will be the 21 Devotionals to encourage mom. Ms. Suarez has written these and scattered them throughout the planner. At the start of each monthly calendar section there is a short devotional in the form of an encouraging letter for the homeschooling mom who gets to feeling tired and burdened and overwhelmed.
My plan was to wait and read and enjoy these devotionals as the year progressed, but I couldn’t help myself. I started right in, and skimmed a few of the letters on topics like ‘persevere’ and ‘joy’ and ‘failed days.’ It was enough to whet my appetite and I look forward to sitting down with a cup of coffee and soaking up the wisdom and encouragement offered.
If you are looking for a planner to help with your homeschool organization as well as a bit of encouragement for the homeschooling mama, then you’ll want to consider the Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner. **A Note from The Old Schoolhouse® “We’ve sold out of close to 98% of our print run, and after that, we don’t plan to print more until next year.”
To see how other homeschool moms are using the Hey Mama! Homeschool Planner, visit my fellow crew mates by clicking on the image below: