A secular homeschool planner!
My review of the brand new The BIG FAT Secular Homeschool Planner!
I'm going to go ahead and assume that all of us homeschoolers are planner nerds. We might not always adhere to those plans (or is that just me?) but getting them in, breaking out all of the 'good' pens, seeing the possibility of the whole school year ahead of us...it's exciting! If you're a secular homeschooler, you've probably picked up some gorgeous homeschool planners only to find bible verses strewn about the pages (see this post for an explanation of why secular materials are important to us).
Having something designed for us in mind was really important for Chrissy, the brains behind this planner. As a homeschool mom herself, she was tired of planners containing quotes, pictures or ideals that didn't align with hers. So she set out to create her own! I've been excited to get my hands on this guy from the minute I laid eyes on it. And did it live up to my expectations? Read along to find out!
First things first, the words BIG FAT in the title is not a misnomer. This thing is huge. It's full of thick, high quality paper that was pen tested to ensure that you can use all of your most favorite, fun pens without any bleeding or ghosting.
I'll mention here that you can actually buy this planner in both a pre-printed or a PDF print-at-home version. I'm all about convenience so I opted for the printed version, but now that I have it, I can definitely see a few perks to being able to print it yourself. The printable version is great if you really want to customize this even more. The planner includes some really helpful Unit Planning pages, and it only includes two. If you're someone who utilizes unit studies a lot, it would be nice to be able to easily print more of these pages to add in. As well, the planner does include attendance pages. While it only takes up two pages, we're in a state that does not require attendance to be reported. If I was printing this myself, I could easily have left those pages out.
I'm going to walk you through some of my other favorite pieces of the planner!
- Budgeting pages. I think these will be super helpful in getting a real feel for the costs you need to plan on for your upcoming year, and if you have room for extras or wants.
-The Resource Organizer I think is an even more important tool. We all come across books, websites or videos that we know we will want to remember later and this is a central place to write all of those down so that you don't have to waste time trying to remember where you saw that one thing you wanted to use, one time, in a random Facebook thread somewhere.
- Lots of blank Bullet Journal pages. In addition to random, blank, Note pages interspersed here and there throughout the planner, there is also a section of dot grid bullet journal pages. These would be great for pretty unit study pages, if you have more than would fit in the provided pages, or for curriculum planning pages. You could even keep a book log in this section.
When you get into the month-to-month areas, each month begins with a fun, homeschool-y quote or saying. Having a little levity is always a breath of fresh air, and each one that I've seen so far has made me smile.
There is a blank monthly calendar spread, so you can easily fill in field trips or other things you need to see at a glance. And then each week has its own full two-page spread, with handy little check boxes included. Personally, two full pages is a bit much for us because we tend towards the more relaxed side. However, if you have a more rigorous curriculum, or want to keep things separate for multiple children, this is going to be a great feature for you!
Now we get to my absolute favorite pages in the entire planner. At the end of each month are a Month in Review and a Next Month page. I just love that these are included, and I also love some of the spaces included in the pages themselves. It's so well thought out. We don't often have opportunities to write down positives, as homeschoolers, and the review page gives us those spaces.
The Next Month page gives us a space to write down some goals, and look ahead to any supplies or library books we might need to have on hand. Again, great foresight and I think something many of us can put to good use!
At the end of your year, there are some Curriculum Review pages. This is something else I haven't seen anywhere else. It gives you a lot to think about in terms of how the curriculum worked, what you might replace it with next year, and even what your child thought of it!
And finally, we come to the End of Year Interview. These pages ask some really insightful questions, and is a wonderful tool for reflecting on the past year. It's obvious that Chrissy put a lot of thought into these questions, and I hope that anyone using this planner really does take some time to work through them. Celebrate the end of your school year with a cup of coffee or tea, a quiet room and pat yourself on the back for your wins as you look through the year, as well as fleshing out the things you want to improve upon next year.
As a self proclaimed connoisseur of planners, I can honestly say that this one is refreshing and has some out-of-the-box thinking that will really help bring a spark to your homeschooling year. Plus you might get in a good arm workout lifting it ;)
Consider printing it yourself if you want it truly customized for your needs, but you really can't go wrong either way.
As the number of secular homeschoolers grow, so does the market for products and it's an exciting time to be part of such an amazing group of home educators!
**disclaimer- I was given the planner in exchange for this review however, it was requested by me because I was so excited about it, and all thoughts and opinions are my own. And yes, I WILL be using it for myself!