Jul 02 2013

My favorite things series– This Homeschooling Mama’s Dream Planner~”A Well Planned Day”

I’ve decided to share a series this month called– My favorite things! It is a just for fun series in which I get to share with you some of the things that help make my life easier, are things I enjoy, or great sources of encouragement.

I’ve been trying to find or create a planner to use for our family appointments, something to help me stay on track with home cleaning, meal planning, holiday planning, budgeting, and of course I always needed planners and record books to keep my lesson plans, subject hours (attendance), track books the boys read each month, field trips, a place to keep track of the curricula we use, and this year I start tracking grades for English/Grammar and Math.

Every year I buy a simple one for home and family scheduling and a separate one for lesson plans and another one for tracking subject hours or try to find something on-line that will work for me. I have been trying to find something that I could keep everything in together and that will have enough space for everything I need and until now, really haven’t had any luck. I end up printing off page after page of forms to use in a binder, but I don’t always find everything I need and it ends up being so heavy and bulky that I can’t take it anywhere and then I end up spending more money on a smaller planner to keep in my purse for appointments too.

This summer I was determined to do better. I really need something to help me get and stay organized!

Well after a lot of research looking into all of the MANY planners out there, I have finally found what I need!

This year’s version of “The Well Planned Day~A Family Homeschool Planner” is just what I need! After looking at all the sample pages on the Christianbooks.com site and the great list of planning pages included…I knew I had finally found what I need so I took a deep breath and placed my order.


504981: The Well-Planned Day Homeschool Planner (July 2013 - June 2014) The Well-Planned Day Homeschool Planner (July 2013 – June 2014)

By Home Educating Family Publishing


Here’s why…

There is so much included in it! Yes I am a planner nerd and can’t wait to finally tell you all about it!!!

The life and home planning pages are just what I needed!

There is a page to keep track of all the birthdays, anniversaries and other special events for each month of the year and a place to check off when you have sent a card. Ohhhh how I need this! I am always forgetting someone’s special day and getting it to them late. This is just the help I need!

There’s even a place for to write month household finances including homeschooling expenses. And there is a place to write the bills for each month, how much they were, when they are due and when I pay them after each monthly calendar page. This will make my life so much easier. Will always took care of paying the bills and I am still working on getting all the bills and paperwork organized to get them paid on time each month without having to search around and remember what I did with them when they came in the mail. Perfect solution and all in ONE planner so I don’t lose it! Whew!

I’ve wanted to write out a weekly plan for house cleaning tasks and try to keep track of things I need to take care of during different months of the year around the house…the part that Will used to take care of, and this planner has a page for that too. What a relief!

Then the page with emergency numbers, important websites, and important contacts is all together on one page…so much easier to keep track of than what I was attempting to do.

If I want to use it there is a “My responsibilities page” divided into quarters with a tracking for each day of the week for chores to give to my kids too.

There are enough for up to four children so I won’t have to use two planner/lesson plan books for the boys this year with Michael starting Kindergarten! Woo Hoo! I returned the lesson plan books I had already bought when I saw how well laid out this one was.

The homeschool planning pages are just awesome and they are integrated into the planner just like our lives are so I don’t have to do lots of flipping to different sections all the time to find what I need!

There’s a page to keep track of the curricula, materials, and books we are using for each child and the expenses for each semester. There’s a page for me to start mapping out a structure to our schooling weeks for each of them and I can make a copy for Josh if I decide to do that. And there is a page for me so that I can map out a flow of when I work with Josh when I work with Michael and get our days more organized. Whew!

There are pages for…

Writing out semester goals for our family homeschool;

Large monthly calendar pages with plenty of room to write in each day’s box with room for notes on the side and an encouraging quote on each month;

On the back of each month’s page there is a place to track the books you want each student to read that month or you can use it to track the books that they did read, which I will use it for in our family. On the same page there is a place to write the field trips and extra activities we did that month. And at the bottom of the page is the section to track monthly bills and expenses.

There are perforated shopping lists to use, but they are a little small for me, even though I know they work for other people.

Each month has a wonderful encouraging homeschool article to help me start each month off on a positive foot.

Then the lesson plan pages follow that so your calendar and lesson plans are together where you need them to be instead in all separate sections!!! This is exactly what I have tried to create for two and a half years and not been able to do it! LOL There’s plenty of room for what I need for lesson plans for both boys. I have finally figured out how to condense what I write in the lesson plans referring to the books we are using and not writing every single thing they will learn on the pages in the books…I can just reference the books and what page it is found in the Heart of Dakota guide for the subjects I am using in it.

I am starting to track grades for Josh’s English Grammar and Math this year to slowly get him (and me) comfortable with grading before we get to High School learning. There is even a place on the lesson plan page to record the grade percentage for that day’s work. Woo Hoo! I only need to track it in one place instead of two or three!

I love that there is a place on the lesson plan pages for “weekly priorities” to help me stay focused on the main goals for the week and not get bogged down in the details…I stay less stressed that way and we are all happier. I even have a place on the lesson plan page to track dinner menus for the week so I don’t forget to put something in the crock pot or take it out to thaw.

There is a “weekly catechism” question and answer to use with students but it something I will use, but seriously…that’s the only thing I won’t use in the lesson planner pages! It even addresses one of my pet peeves about lesson planners and there is a spot to record learning we do on the weekends!

There is a place to track weekly grades for each semester and attendance for each semester too. I don’t use daily attendance because we track subject hours in Missouri but I can track the core and non-core hours on the attendance calendar and easily keep up instead of getting overwhelmed and behind like I have in the past. This is HUGE for me as it tends to be my bigger source of frustration since Will helped me with this in the past. Now I have figured out a simple method that will work for us and it won’t stress me out! Woo Hoo!

And one of my FAVORITE things about it is the Holiday planning section!!!!

There is a special section between November and December to keep me on track during the holiday preparations. In the past I have tried to make a separate planner to keep myself organized but now I don’t have to, it is all here. It includes pages for: Christmas card sending lists, Holiday activities we are hosting or attending the dates, times, budgets, locations, and what we need to bring!!! Then there’s the gift giving pages to plan out who I need to buy for, the budget I have for each person and ideas for their gifts…no more last-minute oops how could I forget them moments…or fewer anyway! LOL I tend to plan out my shopping in advance as to where I am buying gifts from, since I have to buy with boys with me or find someone to stay with them so I  can shop…there are pages that divide out the stores and what you need to get at each one and a place to track what you spend at each store. Then there is a page to track on-line shopping–websites, purchases, totals, date ordered and date received to help me keep better track of on-line shopping. Seriously? Wow.

At the end of each semester there is a page to record semester successes and accomplishments…that page will help me to remember what we really did do and not start worrying if we did enough.  Know what I mean?

There is even a semester progress report with the weekly grades, progress and accomplishments and a grading scale for each student. It has all of this for both semesters! And then there is a special surprise at the end of it…the coolest report cards on card stock! Four of them! Now Josh can take his report card to the video store and get free movies for every A like the rest of his friends.

I love these report cards because they don’t just focus on grades, there is a place to record literature we completed during each semester and enrichment and events in each semester and a nice big spot for comments. Much more homeschool friendly than a lot of the ones I have seen.

There is a Keepsake page for a picture of our children together and under it there are wonderful questions to help me record our favorite things from the school year. It is exactly what I need. Now that may sound silly, but we have a family tradition of going out to breakfast for waffles on the last day of each school year and we talk about our favorite things from the year. I never thought to write them down!

I know that this will become a special keepsake book for each of our homeschooling years. It starts with July…which is when we start our summer learning and ends with June which we sometimes end up going into as well.

I know I have written a lot about this. If you can’t tell I am a planner LOVER and my life goes SOOOO much easier when I have one that works well with my life. I haven’t been able to find one that works the way I need it to since I started homeschooling in the Spring of 2011.

504981: The Well-Planned Day Homeschool Planner (July 2013 - June 2014) The Well-Planned Day Homeschool Planner (July 2013 – June 2014)

By Home Educating Family Publishing

I also know that I am saving money buying it this year. You see, before I decided on this one, I had figured out that I would need two lesson plan books, a book to record grades and attendance, another place to record all the reading each child does, a family schedule/life planner, a notebook for holiday planning, another one for blog planning (which I figured out how to put into this one in a way that works for me!), so in the end I am spending a lot less money and saving a ton of time searching the internet for forms to make my own or the time making my own. I would easily spend more than $40.00 getting everything I needed for this year’s planning not to mention the time involved, so spending just over $26.00 plus shipping to have everything in ONE planner was soooo worth it to me.

And the Home Educating Family Association Website that publishes this planner that has TONS of information on homeschooling and planning and they have other planners for homeschooling moms too…this one happens to be my favorite.

In case you need one for your homeschool students they have those too, but I am going to write another article talking about what I am doing with Josh and helping him begin to learn to use a planner to get organized. I got a little carried away in this one. Oops!

I bought mine on Christianbooks.com which is one of my favorite website stores and I am thrilled to announce that Unwrapping His Grace has been accepted as one of their affiliates too! What that means is that if you buy your Well Planned Day Family Planner using their link in this article or in one of the Christianbooks.com in the side bar, Unwrapping His Grace receives a very small percentage that we use to help pay for the costs involved in maintaining our website. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, you don’t have to go searching for the items and you are helping us continue our on-line ministry.

So now you know. I love planners and I love talking about them. LOL And many of you have asked me what I am using so I thought this would answer all of your questions in one place.

Soooo now it is your turn! What’s your favorite homeschooling mama planner? I’d love for you to share it in the comments below!

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Abiding in His Grace,

Mary Joy

Be sure to check out our newest Sponsoring Partner for the month of July…The Tupperware Chic!!! I grew up using Tupperware and it is even better than it was back then, now! I am amazed at all the cool things she has available and she even has things to help us get organized! She has a wonderful sale going on until July 12th so be sure to pop over and check out her website!

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About the author

Mary Joy

I am a broken daughter of God and a work in progress. I am passionate about encouraging women to embrace God's grace and faithfulness as I discover and share His faithfulness, grace and even joy in the messiness of my journey as a widowed (less than 2 yrs), homeschooling mom with a missionary's heart. I am in awe of how God fills me up and carries me through each day. My Heavenly Father leads me as I continue to parent and home school my two recovering and very active boys and encourage my beautiful teenage step-daughter (long distance) during her first year in of college. In every moment I see incredible evidence of God's healing love, grace and faithfulness. I am so blessed to be the creator, manager, and an author of Unwrapping His Grace as I lean on my Savior to lead us in this special web-ministry.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.surrenderedlivingnow.com/2013/07/02/my-favorite-things-series-this-homeschooling-mamas-dream-planner-a-well-planned-day/

  • Abby

    Thank you!!! I am so much like you….. a “planner junkie” is what I call myself. This is going to be my first year homeschooling three children. I have been searching for a planner that will meet all my needs. Just yesterday I started to look at this one! After reading your review I am sure it will meet my needs and keep me down to just one planner. :) Thank you so much! I will be sure to use your link to purchase it. <3

    • http://www.surrenderedlivingnow.com/ Mary Joy Pershing


      You sound like my kind of woman! LOL I love that “planner junkie” is a perfect name. I am so glad that you were helped my going on and on about Well Planned Day Family Planner. I just love talking about things I find that work even better than I expected…especially planners! ;) It is so great to find one that puts everything into one! Thanks for using our link to buy yours. Every purchase helps us keep Unwrapping His Grace on-line. You are such a blessing!

      Abiding in His Grace,

      Mary Joy