Oh my goodness! The Homeschool Planet Planner is THE BEST planner I’ve tried! This is every list in all my various notebooks all put together in one place!! Oh the forests I will save!
Is there anything this planner doesn’t do? I’m usually a pen & paper gal, but I have been swayed with this planner (and not only because it has the ability to print as well)! I’m really not sure where to start to try to explain all of the options that are available. More options are now available, some of which you can see in this review.
I can meal-plan, schedule in reminders to send press releases about my camera club off to the newspapers, throw in upcoming events for our village and area so we don’t miss them, make lists to my heart’s content on every possible topic…oh…right….this is for a homeschool review…I should try to schedule in time to schedule some education as well!!
Homeschool Planet is very easy to set up. There are helpful video tutorials to help you along the way.
The first thing I did was set up my ‘students’. I included the children, as well as Phil and I. I have also made the blog and household chores, as their own entities. You can view each student’s calendar separately, or merged together into one calendar (as well as any combination of students). I love this option!
Then I took some time to get myself familiar with the widgets that are on the screen around the planner itself. You can add and delete widgets as you like. The widgets are really what make Homeschool Planet what it is: an excellent life organiser!
These are the widgets you can choose from:
Co-op news: you’ll find new updates and info here
Daily quote: I enjoy these inspirational quotes.
Look up: A search engine built right in! I have mine set to Google, but you can use Amazon, Recipes, Dictionary/thesaurus, as well as other options.
Shopping List: You can add to your list right from the planner! I have this list broken down by the shops we use. Each grocery shop has its own list – wonderful! If you’re in the USA, you can then text the list to your other half so they can stop on their way home from work! We can’t use this option, but I DO email the list to Phil from time to time, and it’s very handy! You can also print these out to take with you.
Messages: You can send email messages to your students.
Weather: I have 2 of these widgets set up. One for where we live, and another for where my parents live. The kids find it interesting to compare the weather 7 time-zones away.
To Do: I have LOTS of different lists in this widget! I am still working my way through my notebooks, bits and scraps of paper here and there and compiling them into consolidated lists all in one place. I have a lot of lists hanging about! I am using this widget to dump my brain into some sense and then I can forget about it all. You can either print off, email, text, or work with these lists right from the program.
Daily Bible Verse: A new verse each day.
Homeschool Planet Planner
Now onto the main event: How have we been using the HSP Planner?
I started off by putting in all of the ‘ordinary’ bits into the planner. The things the kids think are important: lunch and snacks! As well as times for tidying up.
Then I added in times for the kids to read their books in the mornings. I added in the online programs the kids are using, and then the textbook classes we’re doing. I did this over the course of a couple of weeks, going slow and adding in things as we were finding out what fit where, and how much time they actually took.
We’ve been a fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants household, but I’d like to start to do better planning. To begin with we stripped right back to the very basic and then have been adding on as we go. I used the planner to track how much time it actually took us to do tasks. Now I’m doing a mix of planning ahead and then going in and adjusting the times. I hope that before too long we’ll be better able to realistically schedule things out.
When you want to schedule something, just click on the calendar, and choose if it’s a class, an event (birthday, etc), or ‘everything else’ Each class can have its own colour. You can also assign colours to other things.
Choose the day(s) and times of the class (1-time only or MWF, weekdays, or a customized choice of days). Choose who the class is for, then add the assignment. You can add notes, specific assignments, etc. You can even add in books, internet resources, magazines, CDs, PDF files, etc. that will be needed.
Time Tracking option. If you desire, you can track the number of hours spent on either particular assignments, or on the class time as a total (you don’t have to track times if you don’t want to)
There is also an option to track grades, but as my children are still young, we haven’t done anything with this yet. There are also many ways in which you can grade a student. You can also track attendance and create transcripts.
If you use Google calendars, you have the option of importing or exporting the information between them as well. This could be useful if you have a busy husband and want to coordinate with him.
There are various views that you can see. You can choose to see your schedule by the day, week, or month. With one or all students together. You can view it as a calendar or a checklist. You can also choose to print any of these options in either colour or black and white.
Email Reminders. You can opt to have HSP send an email to you (or your students if they have their own email addresses) daily and/or weekly with your upcoming schedule. I get this first thing in the morning so I can have a quick glance at it before crawling out of bed so I know just what we should be focussing on.
Each student also has the option of having their own log-in passwords. We aren’t using this at the moment, but as the kids grow, they can start to take more responsibility for their education and track what they do, check on assignments, etc.
Is there anything missing from Homeschool Planet?
The only thing I can currently think of is the option to access the widget lists from my iPhone. I tend to add to my lists on the go – in the kitchen when I run out of a grocery item. In the library when I think of something I need to work on. On the train as I remember something else I need to pick up in Belfast. I have made the suggestion to HSP, and I’m hoping that it will be a feature in the future.
My final thoughts
One important thing to remember is that there is a lot of flexibility in this planner, and so many ways to customise it for your own needs. I’m sure we’ve only scratched the surface of what we could do.
Secondly, should you run into a problem, the customer service is the best ever! I’ve had several emails back and forth with Joe. Not because there’s anything wrong with Homeschool Planet – but because I somehow use the planner in a different way than most people. Occassionally I have done something that perhaps wasn’t meant to be done and it caused a glitch in my account. After the first instance, Joe would catch the error on his morning report and email me before I had even logged in! He was able to tell me what I’d been doing and what had gone wrong. He then was able to adjust the coding so that I would no longer have trouble, nor would anyone else in the future! There’s just so much that this planner can do, that they haven’t been able to fortell how everyone will use it. Joe is the only person who thanks me for finding ‘glitches’, my husband just rolls his eyes when I have electronic trouble!
Homeschool Planet have been very open to suggestions and are making improvements on a regular basis. One of the newest is that you can now upload PDF files right into your planner so you can find them when you need them for an assignment or when not at home (this will be great when I am working at the library)!
I’ve realised that it’s physically impossible to complete everything that I think needs to be done with the amount of time in a day to do it. And it’s been a good realisation to have it in black and white (or colour). I need to be more realistic and not plan so much that I burn myself out. Since using Homeschool Planet I’ve been taking more evenings ‘off’ and enjoying the time with my husband.
Widgets, separate planners or combined, weather, attendance, themes, and the ability to email lists as well. And I can keep things fresh by changing the theme background and colours from time to time, too.
Homeschool Planet is soooo much more than a planner! It’s a life-organiser, and I will be saving up to continue my subscription when my trial period is over. If you’re curious about all that Homeschool Planet can offer you, you can sign up for a 1-month free trial.
To read more reviews about Homeschool Planet by the Schoolhouse Review Crew, click on the graphic below and follow the instructions. You will find 90 honest reviews by the Crew. If you’d like to know more or would like to follow Homeschool Planet, you can connect with them through their website.