Today’s review is for a homeschool-specific online planner. The planner comes from the Homeschool Buyers co-op, which we have been a part of for years and love; it is called Homeschool Planet. While I was dreading learning a new program for organizing, this planner is built for people like me. That is, really busy people who are homeschooling multiple children and need a one-stop shop for keeping track of things.
I confess, before trying this planner, I was using one planner for blogging, a wall calendar, a phone calendar, two student planners, and I was struggling to keep track of everything. One or more planners was outdated and not quite correct all the time. Part of that is me, and part of that is having way too much going on in the organizational department. Being able to do everything from one command center is refreshing.
I really like that this planner is designed to hold everything, and that it really caters to my life. There are options for adding classes (which you can assign to one or more students), chores, appointments, holidays, and lots of other things, plus, you can color code all of it if you are a visual person like I am. You can look at one schedule at a time, or see everyone’s schedule at the same time. You can view by day, week, or month. Also, you can schedule things “all day” or only for a set time.
This is not a screen shot from my schedule, but here you can see the photos for each family member would show up on the left side, the background theme is customizable, and this organizer can handle tons of activities or assignments at one time.
Widgets are also available, such as a daily Bible verse, daily inspirational quote, to-do list, or the weather. These are on the side or bottom of your planner so you can see them when you are online looking at your schedule. There is a spot to add the resources you use for the year, such as books, websites, class materials, DVDs, your own custom resource (say, a lapbook), or workbooks.
This is the “everyone’s schedule” screen. You can see what everyone is doing each day, or you can see one person at a time. I have my blog commitments in yellow and red for myself, and the kids’ subjects they do together say “all students,” which makes it easier for me to see how much I have to teach each day.
There are a ton of different options once you get into the planner. It is all online, but you have the option to print out schedules for one family member or all of them. I entered everything online, kept track of my own schedule from my computer, and printed my kids’ schedules each week. This was the best way for us to keep track of what we had finished because the kids could mark off their paper with a highlighter once a subject was finished. They could also see things that were coming up that week, like a trip somewhere, an appointment, or our Summer Movie Fun days at Harkin’s theater. I also included specific activities like “flex time” for either doing art or working on a story, as my boys are both working on writing a children’s book. That way, they know that time is for school, but there is no one set activity for that time.
Price, Specs, Conclusion
Homeschool Planet is $65 yearly or $6.95 per month. There is a 30 day free trial, so you can take a look at it before you buy. I always love that option! There is nothing to download, as it is internet-based. As long as you have internet access, you can use Homeschool Planet.
There are some other features that I didn’t use, but you might really love. You can keep attendance, and if you skip a day of school because of illness or something else, you can rescheduled one whole day at a time instead of having to manually move each assignment for each student. You can send your lists to a smartphone or an email address so you have access to them while you are out. You can also use the program to track grades and create transcripts for your students. If you like, there is a daily digest e-mail option so you can get your schedule automatically emailed to you each day.
I didn’t use grade reports, but they are available.
In Arizona, we don’t have to track hours, so I’m not using this feature. I looked over it, though, and the setup is very easy. You can sort by core or non-core classes as well.
Here is our class list. You can color code and set core vs non-core classes.
In conclusion, I really enjoy having everything in one place. I have used paper planners in the past with limited success, but I feel like it’s important to keep track of what we have done over the course of a year. It’s easy to look back and feel like we did nothing when I have no record of it. The truth is, we do a ton every year! If I can look back and feel accomplished instead of stressed, that is huge! The people who designed this planner really took the time to figure out what a homeschooling family needs, and they put those things into the program. I really appreciate the effort, and the end result is a great planner. My kids loved having the paper schedule each week, and it helped lower the stress of the school day. If I didn’t have a paper printout waiting for my kids on Monday, they would protest.
One note on the Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op, we have been members for a few years now, and they have amazing deals on curriculum throughout the year. Some products come with Smart Points, which you can use to “buy” additional products with. It’s free, and they have a lot of resources available to homeschool parents, including a Summer Fun reading program, free curriculum, and a homeschool ID. Sign up here for a free account. They are a great resource.
For more reviews on this product, please check out the other ladies on the Review Crew. We are a diverse group of people who all homeschool, and we all used this planner to organize our lives for about 6 weeks. We all have different needs and experiences, so please check out some of their pages if you are interested in reading further!