About 2 months ago I was given the chance to try an online homeschool planner from Homeschool Buyers Co-op. I was given the product for free in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not required to post a positive review.
Here is what I found.
Online Planners Make it Easy to Customize Each Day
Scheduling is good. Having rhythm is good. While there are some things that happen at the same time everyday, there are others that only happen on certain days.
Wednesday is library day, Friday is cleaning day…etc. Using an online planner makes it easy to make each day unique.
When you set up the planner, you can set up each day separately (you don’t have to if your schedule is the same everyday). It takes a while to set up, but once it is, you’re done.
Until you want to change it, which leads me to:
Online Planners are as Flexible as You Need Them to Be
Using the Homeschool Planet Planner, it’s very easy to change what time your classes happen.
There are two times that I have moved the times that classes occur. When I want to change it permanently (like when we realized math would work so much better in the afternoon), and when the day did not start well and we have to shift a subject to free time for later.
When you want to change the time it’s as easy as click, drag, drop. When you do this it will ask you if you want to keep that change just for today or from now on. I love the flexibility to easily move things when they aren’t working and see how that affects the rest of the schedule.
Online Planners Work for Any Homeschooling Style
I’m actually multiple styles. Because my kids are so different. With Grace, I decide when she does school and give her choices on what she’s going to do. We also go through time periods where we are unschooling. Her lessons are rarely planned in advance and normally for only a week at a time. I love how I can set up the time and leave the lesson blank. When we are unschooling, I go back and write in what we did, so I use it more like a journal than a scheduler.
Ben is a more traditional student. I assign him lessons 3 weeks in advance and we go through them. If a lesson takes longer than I thought it was going to, I can split the lesson. Or if the lesson was too easy, I can combine lessons.
Online Planners Make it Easy to Track Multiple Students
One of the biggest challenges with a paper planner is fitting all of the information on one page. Not a problem with an online planner.
It’s such a simple thing, but this is one of my favorite features.
It takes a while to scroll through the whole day (on my tiny phone at least), but since I am normally only looking at one part at a time, it works for me.
There’s even a way to look at just one person (including yourself) or to select who you want to look at if looking at everyone is too overwhelming.
Online Planners are Portable
That is, if you have a smart phone or tablet it is. We rarely homeschool in the same room as the computer, or someone is using it. It was so convenient to be able to check the schedule and mark off done items on my phone. I did it many times. Warning: it was a little too difficult for my children to check the boxes. They found the mouse much easier to use.
You can also email an older child the schedule for independent learning. We are going to start training Grace to do that this summer.
Print the assignments. Perfect for those people too OCD for paper planners.
Use the Online Planner as a When/Then
I built my schedule with a rhythm with work times followed by free time. When a child asks, “Can I watch a movie? Or. “Can I play on the tablet?”
Instead of a yes or no I say, “Check the schedule, when you are done with the work above free time, then you can have free time.”
There’s still whining, but so many less battles. Theoretically, they will ask less once they realize what their responsibilities are and as I become more consistent.
Use the Online Planner to Keep Track of Homeschooling Hours
This is huge if you live in a state that requires that you prove how much schooling you have done.
After you set up your homeschooling year, you can print a report that shows how many hours you did in that subject (or all of the subjects) for that student. Perfect!
If you don’t have to keep track, like lucky me, it might still be a feature you find helpful. After going two months, it was nice to look at the report and see just how much schooling we did get done.
Why Homeschool Planet Stands Out
Most online planners will have the above benefits. The reason (for me) that Homeschool Planet Planner stands apart is that it offers tracking/planning everything else. It’s so nice to be able to track chores, and library trips, and chores. Did I mention chores?
I have even added meal planning and my blog. Everything on one screen!
Are You Ready to Try It?
You can sign up for a free one month trial here (affiliate link).
I hope you love it as much as I have!