I’ve been using Homeschool Planet for the past two years now and I’m happy to review it again for you. It’s still my favourite online planner and a few things have been added since I first introduced it to you.
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Homeschool Planet is a complete planner. It can be as simple or as variant as you want to make it. Some days I think I want to simplify; but other days I want to expand even further. Even after two years of use, there are things that I haven’t used and should look further into as my children grow and my own needs change. Yes, this planner evolves with you!
I don’t want to reinvent the wheel in this post, so please read my initial review of Homeschool Planet for a more in depth look at some of the ongoing features. If I delved into all of them here, this would be an immense post! This time around, I will touch on the features I use regularly, as well as some of the new and nifty features that are just genius!
How I had been using Homeschool Planet
I have multiple profiles set up on my account: personal, one for each family member, chores, virtual assistant work, and of course one for my blog (which is telling me that this review is due today). I can look at an amalgamation of all of the calendars at the same time, only one specific calendar, or any combination of them, all combined into one.
My various widgets and lists have mainly stayed the same. Though I’ve added a specific widget on the side to keep track of things I’m waiting for the postman to deliver. And I’ve added many new lists to my ever-growing number of them. It’s great for doing brain-dumps from time to time and keeping everything all in one place. If you want to print out a list, it’s easy to do that, too. And no little sticky notes and scraps of paper cluttering up the house, either.
In my first review I mentioned that I had discovered that I simply had too much to do and not enough time to do it all. I’m still working on this, but I’m becoming more realistic, and using the calendar helps me move things around and see how to attempt to fit in as much as I can. Time management and over-extending myself is an on-going struggle for me. Seeing things fit together visually in this calendar is helping with that.
I am starting to set up weekly meal plans at the top of my calendar by using the ‘all day’ option rather than a specific time period when filling out the item. Now I can see ahead of time what I need to prep and if I need to start the slow cooker in the morning. Also, if I realise I’ve run out of a key ingredient, I can send a list via email right to my husband-cool! I can even get this information before I log into Homeschool Planet as I have it send me a daily reminder by email each morning that I can see from my mobile phone. And if you have something important you don’t want to forget, you can also set up reminder emails for particular events to go out at a time that works for you.
How I’m using Homeschool Planet now:
I am continuing to use this planner the same as I have in the past – but they’ve also added more features to it recently that I’ve been making full use of.
Tristan is 9 now and I’m trying to give him more responsibility to get his own work done. How many times I’ve heard…I was done but I didn’t know what to do next…which results in lost time. Tristan has a kids email account so I’ve added it to his Homeschool Planet profile. Now each morning he receives a reminder of what’s coming up for him. Of course, he doesn’t always log into his email account, so I’ve set up his profile with its own password so he can log on to HP and see for himself what his lessons are for the day. I am pretty flexible with what he does when, but now he can see how much time it should take him to do an assignment.
I am in the process of setting the classes up so that each one has a little box for him to check once he’s completed an assignment. I think he feels more grown up checking off an online calendar and keeping track of what’s going on. I have disabled the widgets and lists from his profile so he sees only his own calendar without being distracted by other things.
Of course, now that I have Tristan set up this way, Kallista also wants me to set her up with her own password as well…I’m adding that to my list of things to do!
Awesome New Feature Alert!
New in the past year, and an option I LOVE is the option to purchase lesson plans for various classes. You purchase the actual class separately, and then when you get the lesson plans through the Lesson Plan Marketplace, it will AUTOMATICALLY fill in what needs to be done on each day for you, and it also includes optional resources, web links, etc.! Based on the number of days you have left in your school year, or on a range of dates you choose, it will fill in everything the child needs to do for each day, all you need to do is answer a couple of questions and choose the time.
We have two lesson plans that we’re currently using; Homeschool Planet’s goal is to setup lesson plans for all major homeschool curricula. This is going to be a huge task for them, but new lesson plans are popping up on a regular basis. Tristan is using Math Mammoth lesson plans (you can read more about how this one works here), and he has also been using Mystery Science.
Tristan likes how he can easily access all the required online links in one place, including bonus and fun parts I might not have thought of or have time to write in. He simply has to click on the item in HP, then click on the link that will take him to the lesson if it’s online. If it’s a pencil and paper class it will tell him exactly which pages or assignments he needs to complete that day.
I love that I don’t have to take the time to write this all in HP, and that all of the work determining what gets done on each day according to our schedule is done for me. This is a HUGE TIME SAVER, and makes our lessons run so much smoother! This is a really exciting new feature!
I’m still not using Homeschool Planet to the max, which means there’s room for growth. The widgets and lists keep my brainstorming and ideas (and to-do lists, of course) all in one place. The ability to view one or several calendars at the same time makes it easy to see what’s coming up for home, school, blogging, or virtual assistant work and how they all fit together.
I like getting a glimpse of my day via email before I get out of bed so I know what I need to prepare for.
I love having the lesson plans already set for my children which saves me loads of time, and means the children know just what they need to do.
I have fallen off the planning wagon several times; but with so much now done for me, and the children knowing what is expected of them, I am hopeful this will be easier to manage going forward. I am going to add more into the schedule as far as chores go (being more specific so we all know exactly what to do and we can check items off as we complete them). This is my year of organisation in many areas of my life, and I’m pulling things learned from previous classes I’ve taken and applying it. I also need to remember we all need to take a break now and then, and I will put that into the planner as well so we all have something to look forward to.
Yes, after 2 years, I’m still excited by what this online planner is capable of and I can’t wait to see what new features they will bring out in the future.
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