Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Ultimate Homeschool Planner & The Ultimate Daily Planner for Students ~ Review

Every year I plan to use a planner for our homeschool lessons.  Every year when I go to the FPEA Convention I look at a dozen different planners and pick them apart with their pros and cons until I finally settle on the one I will buy.  Every year I come home without a planner.


None of them seem to fit well enough.  None of them have everything I want.  None of them seem worth their high price.

So, when I was asked to do a review for The Ultimate Homeschool Planner and The Ultimate Daily Planner for Students by Debra Bell I was thrilled.....but, leery.  I wanted so bad for this to be THE ONE.  The planner I would fall in love with and live happily ever after with (well, at least until my son graduates).  Was I disappointed?  Well, let's see.

Here they are!  Yes, I know.  They are purrrrdeeee!  So colorful, modern looking, spiral bound, water and tear resistant covers.  *sigh*  Is this love at first sight?  I'm thinking...."Don't be drawn in by the beauty, Doreen.  Keep your head on straight!"  So, I dove deeper into seeing what The Ultimate Homeschool Planner had to offer me.  Here is what I found.

  • Pockets for storage on the inside and back covers
  • An at-a-glance calendar that went all the way through 2016
  • An information page to record children's names, address, phone number, etc
  • Table of Contents to help me find what I need easily
  • User's Guide 11 pages long!  It's filled with tips on planning, organizing, and sample schedules.  For the visual diva inside of me, Debra even included pictures!  Let the angels sing!
  • 2 full pages to record your students' Character Goals and Academic Goals
  • Family Priorities page
  • Resource List spanning 3 pages
  • Monthly Planner spanning 23 pages with fill in your own date option!!!  Woohoo!  Start this planner at any point in the year and you won't feel like you are wasting pages with pre-dated calendars!  Each page hosts an inspiring Bible verse and an encouraging quote with a notation space to record whatever you want....goals, dreams, field trips, family events, etc.
  • Weekly Planner spanning 191 pages!  Lots of space to plan the details.  There are spaces for Bible Plan, Battle Plan, Prayers, Hospitality/Outreach, the week's Memorable Moments and Achievements, and Evidences of Grace.  What a beautiful way to record the homeschool journey!  
  • Records & Grades across two full pages allow you to record each subject and any test, quiz, project, or homework scores
  • Reading List to record books, authors, and genre
  • Field Trip and Outside Activities pages to record all of your fun and educational homeschool events
  • Teaching Tips for 6 pages!  Everything from motivating the reluctant reader to learning styles and thinking skills.
  • A special section just for high school planning
  • A Year End Review section to summarize your school year
  • In case you weren't paying attention and didn't account for some of the pages I didn't mention, that is 263 pages.
I have spent a month with this planner and I have not yet missed anything.  The only thing I can think of that this planner does not have are tabs.  But, I can easily put those in myself.  So, I'm not going to place any cons on the content factor.  Let's look at the size.  It's a good almost 10x11 planner.  That might seem hefty to some of you since that is the size of a text book.  But, I don't mind.  It gives me plenty of room to write everything without trying to cram it in.  It still fits in my bag.  The only way to make it smaller would be to take things out and I say a NO WAY to that idea.  I need and want everything in there!  The price of this planner is $28.00 at the Apologia website.  Now, at first you might think...what, $28.  Trust me.  I thought the same thing.  But, I'm telling you that after spending time looking through and using this planner I think it is worth every single penny.  I can't imagine needing or wanting any other planner.  I am not just saying this.  I don't get paid to say that.  I could tell you don't get it, it's not work it and it wouldn't matter to me.  But, that would be a lie.  Go order it today, or go get it at your next convention. 

Now, let's move onto The Ultimate Daily Planner for Students.  Debra Bell also offers The Ultimate Weekly Planner for Teens, but I picked the other one because I thought it would fit my son better.  We'll switch to the one for teens next year when he is in 8th grade.  OK, the planner for students is much smaller and measures about 9x7.  Did I like this planner just as much?  Well, let's see what it has to offer.

  • Clear, thick plastic inch and centimeter ruler
  • Information page to record name, address, e-mail, phone numbers, and courses
  • 4 pages of About Me, My Future/I Want To Be, Personal Goals
  • 6 pages of Study-Smart Tool Kit filled with tips 
  • 21 Monthly Planner pages....once again, fill in your own dates!  Woohoo!
  • 95 pages for weekly assignments with each day of the week in it's own row.  There is a space to check when the assignment is done and when it has been checked.  Each week has a Bible verse and a history trivia Q&A.  There is also a place to check that the student has had some quiet time....reading, praying, or just sitting quietly with his thoughts.  Oh, how important this is.
  • 2 Pages to record Grades for each test, quiz, project, etc in each subject
  • 4 pages to record a Reading List and Activity Log
  • 2 pages to record a 6 week Active Lifestyle Activity Log
  • 22 pages that include the following:  Timeline of US & World History from 500BC-2009, US Map with State Capitals, Map of the World, Scientific Method Diagram,  Charts of US to Metric Conversions and Multiplication & Division, Measurement Equivalency Chart, Fraction/Decimal/ Percent Chart,Guide to Punctuation / Italics / and Capitalization, Guidelines for Good Writing, Recommended Middle School Reading List, Greek and Latin Roots , and Notes
  • A pocketed page with an at-a-glance calendar through June 2015.
  • 2 sheets of stickers for the calendar
I ask you, my treasured reader.  What is missing?  I say, the only thing I would like to see are tabs.  Again, I can slap them on myself.  These planners are $19.00 at the Apologia Website.   Once again, this frugal homeschool Mom says it is worth it.  Not only does it have everything and more of what my son needs, but I love that a lot of it goes in tune with my planner.

Debra gave us a link to a flyer that gives some more detail about the planners.  Here is the LINK.  There are also some great pics on that flyer. 

Well, that's the scoop!  I am so happy to find my true love planner LOL  I'm willing to share with you though, so go get one.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Janet's Planet Exploring Microgravity DVD Review & GIVEAWAY

Welcome to Janet's Planet!  This website will create a spark of excitement for science for you and your children!  Here is a message from Janet:

“For the past decade, science education has been my passion and America’s children have been my inspiration.  It is incredible to see how excited children can become about the world around them when the information is presented in an accessible and fun way.  That is the mission of Janet’s Planet, and I look forward to continuing to support better science education in the years to come.”  

At the website, you will find the following:
  • Explore amazing photos in the Space Photo Log
  • Test your knowledge and learn something new at the Speed of Thought game
  • Create your own planet
  • Check out what non-government organizations are doing to better our planet and communities
  • Ask Janet questions and see what others are curious about
  • Janet's Planet Space Store
  • Listen to Janet Planet's theme song, Rock the Planets
  • Watch videos to learn more about body, mind, space, and memory
Ah, videos!  That's where I come in.  I was given the DVD for Exploring Microgravity to review and share with my readers.  Janet does a great job in this DVD explaining all about microgravity in a fun and easy way.  My son (age 13) and I loved listening to Janet.  She takes something that could be complicated and has it make so much sense!  We loved all of the cool examples she provided so we could see how microgravity works and how it is in our world.  This video, and the others on the site, can easily be used as part of a science curriculum, to enhance a lesson, or just for some extra knowledge!

Although you can watch the DVD, Exploring Microgravity in its entirety on the website, you may purchase it for $13.49 at the website store if you want to have your own copy that you can take with you in the car to watch or play on the TV.  Don't forget to enter the giveaway below for your chance to win your own copy for free!  So, visit Janet's Planet to check out all the amazing features and have fun!  You can also get connected on Facebook and Twitter.

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

 One lucky winner will receive their very own copy of  Janet's Planet:  Exploring Microgravity DVD .  All entries must be received by midnight EST on Wednesday, April 10, 2013.  Entrants must be 18 or older to enter. Due to international sweepstakes laws, this giveaway is for US entries only.  This giveaway is not connected to any social media site.  The winner will be contacted via e-mail and have 48 hours to respond.  If I don't hear back from you then I'll pick another winner, so mark your calendar and keep an eye out!  Get started now on Rafflecopter...

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