Hello my friends and Happy Thursday! I hope your week is going well! :-)
Today I'd like to share a review of The Blue Sky Teacher's Weekly Plan Book, the planner I'll be using for our homeschooling next year (as well as throughout the summer). I've shared a couple of peeks over at Instagram and Facebook, but I thought I'd go into deeper detail here, since many of us are currently "in the market" for helpful homeschooling tools!
But first, a full (Thursday) disclosure! I sort of used last year's version of this planner, but abandoned it after a few weeks. Unfortunately, as much as I loved that planner, it just didn't fit the bill for me. It was (and is) an excellent planner, but I really didn't need so much structure this past year. Not only is Little Bear's prek-at-home VERY low key, but I really can't plan out nitty-gritty daily details for Earlybird. (He's more a "big picture" kind of kid - so I plan lots of "potentials" and then choose what works day-by-day.) Meanwhile, Crackerjack is doing all of his studies outside the home this year. (Save for math - and who needs to plan math? Lol, not me. We use Teaching Textbooks.)
All that said, I have a different PLAN in mind for how I PLAN to organize this year!
Ok. Here we go ...
I bought this pretty planner at Staples a couple of weeks ago. Funnily enough, I didn't stop at Staples for a planner, but one look at those new Blue Sky displays and I was a goner. This is the time of year when academic year planners are available as well as those dedicated to lesson planning. Most are made for professional teachers but I find many can be easily adapted to a homeschooling mom's needs.
Now, there were several versions of this particular planner available - identical layouts, varied designs - but the "Ditsy Dapple Floral" cover really caught my eye. I'm partial to florals anyway, but couldn't help noticing how nicely it matched my new Day Designer personal planner!
The planner cover is protected by a "frosted" plastic sheet, under which the colors appear a little less vibrant (a bit more pastel). As someone who lives in a house with four not-always-careful-or-neat boys, I am very appreciative of that protective cover! The cover itself is made of a thick cardstock material.
(If you can't tell in these pictures, the word "teach" is done in a metallic gold. Sparkly and fun!)
The spiral "twin-wire" binding is very sturdy ...
A spiral binding is a MUST for me. I need to lay my planner flat when I write in it or prop it up on display! And since my planners get knocked around a good bit, I need them to be well-made and forgiving - and reasonably priced!
Just before the title page there is a double-sided, clear plastic pocket ...
I plan to file school correspondence here, including submitted education plans. The title page, like the cover, is made of a heavier cardstock.
After the title page shown above, there are dated calendars for 2018 and 2019, followed by a page for recording contact numbers and emergency information ...
I'll mark these dated calendars with highlighters to indicate time on and off throughout the year - aka vacation days and such.
Next comes a spread for organizing monthly holidays and special dates:
As you can see, there are lots of suggestions listed here for fun, random things to celebrate such as "Tell a Joke Day" (August 16th), "Make a Friend Day" (February 11th) and "Children's Good Manners Month" (September). There is also plenty of space for recording your own ideas!
The next spread is set up for recording "Class Birthdays," but as you can see, I'm using it for listing our seasonal homeschooling themes:
This is the only planner page I have filled out so far! I'll admit setting up these themes is my favorite aspect of annual lesson planning!
The right hand page is for organizing a weekly schedule. I will use this for listing out ABA times and our homeschooling rhythm. (For example, storytelling day, crafting day, nature walk day, etc.)
And now we get to the meat of the planner - the monthly and weekly spreads!
Soft green and white shades, and a lovely and neutral design. I like my covers bright, but my planning pages soft on the eye!
And I love, love, LOVE a lined monthly grid! It really helps keep the handwriting neat. This month-at-a-glance has generously-sized blocks which are another must for me. (I write small, but I write A LOT!)
Now the thing I perhaps love best about this planner is that it provides a FULL year of planning! There are 14 monthly calendars (12 are tabbed), beginning with May 2018 and ending with June 2019. There are weekly planning spreads for EVERY week of the academic year, June 25th, 2018 through June 28th, 2019. So if you homeschool year-round this is pretty perfect for you!:
And here is that weekly spread:
A closer look ...
Nice tabs, too. I tend to use paper clips and/or binder clips with my planners for marking my page and/or attaching notes and lists.
My strategy for this two-page spread is to use the left side for our routine/rhythm (first, green column) and then notes for each of my younger boys (2 columns each). The right side will be for "big picture" planning and notes. (That probably sounds confusing, so I'll share more details on my plans for this spread in a future post!)
At the very end of the planner, after the last weekly spread (June 24-28, 2019) there are a few note pages ...
My "plan" at this time is to use these three pages for trimester reviews (in November, March and June).
The very last page is a listing of official holidays for each of the next four years (including 2018).
And finally we have a very pretty back cover!
(Also protected by a frosted plastic cover.)
I also bought a matching wall calendar for the learning room wall, since the one we have now runs out of pages after June!
And there you have it! A full tour of my new lesson planner ... with more nitty-gritty details to come soon!
Are you thinking about next year yet? Do you have a teacher's planner in mind (or in hand)? If so I'd love to hear about it!
I'm off for now, but take care of yourselves and your loved ones, my friends ...
See you here again very soon!