If you're like me, the "perfect planner" seems an impossible dream. I've downloaded, I've hand-printed, and I've purchased, and each feels like it could be the "perfect" one...if only one thing were different. I had high hopes for the Hey Mama! Print Schoolhouse Planner 2016-2017 from The Old Schoolhouse.
Dividing each month is a message from Gena Suarez. These often Biblically sourced notes are meant to be from one Mama to another -- Gena signs her first note, "Gena Suarez, Just another Mama." My favorite is "We walk by faith," from April 2017:
When you're teaching kids, you don't know what's coming next on this road. We can't see past the roadblock or the turn right ahead, but we keep going because we believe in our children and what we're doing. Faith is keeping on, because you know there is a bigger plan.
After the calendar comes the "planning" section. First are blank "Week of..." pages, where you can fill in a weekly schedule for multiple children, or lesson assignments for a single person. These repeat in monthly blocks, with more notes to Mama and a trivia-like page. One I didn't know about was a "dolly stick."
After reading the description, it makes me extra-happy about my modern front-loader!
Other extras are writing prompts (36 general prompts that are great conversation starters for all ages), a list of the US Presidents and their First Ladies (totally awesome, just because), and a list of States with their order and date of entry. They're not strictly necessary with a planner, but I do like them in an easy-to-find-place.
Unfortunately, here's where things started to turn toward "I wish..." Many of the forms come in multiples - such as the curriculum planning sheet. However, "Books Read This Year" section only has four copies included. If you have more than four children or have fewer children but they're avid readers, you're going to be short. Also, there is only one each Academic Transcript and Checklist and Skills Learned forms. These can be copied (the Crew checked, and this is permissible), the idea of an "all in one spot" starts to fall apart. Even the curriculum planning pages don't have enough space -- I don't have all of Jude's subjects planned out and the page is nearly filled!
For me to use it my gang of homeschoolers, we're going to need to start copying and tucking/taping pages. My "I wish..." is that the planner came in a 3-ring-binder format. I'd love to find a "binder kit" like this with a master calendar and the extras that make the planner unique, and the ability to purchase additional "student kits" that had planning pages and forms for that child that I could place in the binder. (Ok, so if I had a master copy I *could* copy the pages I need for the "extra" kids, but honestly, by the time I convince the printer it wants to work with me, and pay for paper and ink, I'd be happy to buy a pre-printed student pack.) One planner for each child is not only a waste of paper but space, too, because the Hey Mama planer is almost 192 pages as is.
Overall, I think the printed Hey Mama! planner is the closest to my "ideal." If I only had one student, it would be just right. I have a feeling the stuffed-in "extra student" papers are going to frustrate me. (Or, more likely, they'll fall out and get lost, and that will drive me crazy.) What I think will probably happen is I'll get the DIGITAL VERSION of the planner. With a printable version, I can create a central binder by printing pages as needed and adding a few index dividers for individual students. (Note: The digital version is free to members of SchoolhouseTeachers.com.) If you think the paper Hey Mama! planner is right for you, make sure you order before July 15, 2016 and use the coupon CREWCODE to get yours for $10 off!
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