I have never before used a homeschool planner. While I am very much a planner, they all felt a little intimidating and not quite what I needed. However, when I saw the chatter on the Classical Conversations group Facebook page about the Homeschool 18-Month Classical Planner by Hot Pink Lime, I was instantly interested. The folks over at Hot Pink Lime were kind enough to give me a copy to review. Now that I’ve received it and have it all set up for this school year, my initial instinct is confirmed, it’s just right! I’ll tell you why I think so:
1. The look. The design is simple and clean, but with colorful touches like the watercolor drawings and thoughtful, encouraging quotes throughout.
2. The function. Besides lesson planning pages, there are pages for important dates, gift lists, master meal planning, goals, book lists, attendance records, field trip plans, to-dos and notes. I have the pre-printed planner and I think there are plenty of copies of each page. With the digital download, you can print as many as you need and only the ones you need. How smart! Also running from July 2015 to December 2016, I like the margin it provides. If you’re a year round homeschooler, perhaps this will be even more helpful.
3. The quantity. There are lesson planning pages for the 24 weeks of CC with brief outlines of the memory work subject matter and an additional 17 lesson planning page spreads. Each lesson planning page is designed to work for planning for three students. Even though I have five children, this works for us because much of our lessons are shared. The attendance records have room for six students. In Pennsylvania, we have to “count days,” so this will make that easier. At the end of the year, I can copy these filled-in records and place them in each of my little’s portfolios.
4. The quality. The printed version is spiral-bound with over two hundred pages, thick durable laminated cover and back pocket. I need it to keep up with our busy days, so I’m glad it’s sturdy.
5. The options. I went for convenience of one kind by ordering the printed planner, but you can choose convenience of another kind by purchasing the digital planner as a download for $15.00. Besides the lower cost, you have the flexibility of printing whichever pages suite your needs and as many copies of those pages as you need. As Hot Pink Lime explains, you can even print multiple pages and covers to make each of your students their own planner. They offer nine additional covers with fronts and backs, so everyone can have their own distinct look. The designs are great and I know I could find something each of my students would like. Now that’s value!
I’m excited to see how the ease of using this planner will help me this year. So far I penciled in the dates for each week’s plans on the lesson planning pages. I even penciled in holiday weeks. I like having them there so if I want to include holiday plans, like reading certain books or scheduling special field trips or friend dates, I have space to do so. Most weeks I planned for 4 days worth of lessons, but on weeks without CC, I often scheduled 5 days worth. Knowing how many weeks could be 5 days really helped me schedule more easily for the full year.
I like having the schedules for all my lessons in one place. We have a schedule for reading (which covers most of our subjects) and CC. I make a schedule for math, English, Latin, and Bible. In case you thought we were strict abiders of our schedule, we absolutely are not! I just like having a guide or an expectation of where we need to be to complete our goals for the year. For example, I planned on using this past Monday for our first day of school! We don’t start CC for a couple weeks, so this would help us get a jump on our math and reading, which takes more like 36-38 weeks to complete. However, we decided to spontaneously take our baseball loving crew to the Little League World Series instead. Monday worked for daddy’s work schedule, so we grabbed some cardboard boxes and off we went! School will start on Tuesday or maybe Wednesday since I might need a minute to recover the house and we all might need to rest before diving in.
And that is a perfect example of why I always use pencil and planners are only for plans, because I know life is not static! Last year we had a newborn and moved. Two years ago I was quite sick with pregnancy. None of that was exactly planned, so who knows what this year holds?
If you’re interested in this planner, you’ll be excited to know they’ve been very generous to offer two digital downloads for y’all to have a chance to win! See below for details:
To learn more about the planner, be sure to check out the Hot Pink Lime Facebook page for more images and ideas on using it.