Friday, June 23, 2017

Homeschool Panet Review

I was always a pen-and-paper planner girl. Just like I prefer a physical paperback fiction book in my hands as opposed to its digital counterpart read on my Kindle, I was set on using a tangible planner to organize my days, too. Then two years ago, I was introduced to Homeschool Planet through Homeschool Buyers Co-op and was won over. Much to my surprise, I've traded my paper planned for an online program ever since.

When my subscription expired a year later, I talked to my husband about renewing. He is a tech guru and uses his devices way more than the laptop. He wanted to find a planner that worked well for both of us so he could easily check our calendar from his phone. I agreed to try a few different apps and our search began. Nope, it doesn't have this feature. No, I don't like the format. Oh, that won't work at all. We eventually settled on one that was decent. But I've never loved it. So you can imagine my excitement when we received another subscription! My beloved planner was back in my life.

Homeschool Buyers Co-op is the world's largest buyers club for homeschool families. They are a family-owned and -operated business that is dedicated to supplying quality curriculum at the lowest price. By joining the co-op for free, you can purchase an individual product with thousands of other homeschools and take advantage of the lower cost of purchasing in bulk. They offer great deals, great products, free resources, and a rewards program.     

I've been part of the co-cop since I first reviewed the planner and have taken advantage of other resources they offer since then. It's also where we create our homeschool ID cards to receive discounts at various places. The co-op is easy to use and convenient. I appreciate that they won't sell my information or send me unwanted emails. Within minutes of making a purchase, I receive access to my products and can begin using them.

Here's what you can expect from Homeschool Planet:
  • The calendar view lets you see anybody's or everybody's calendar on the screen.
  • The planner view shows a simple list of all the tasks and when they need to be completed.
  • The resource view allows you to look at any books, DVD, websites, or the like that are needed for lessons.
  • Separate logins can be created so kids can view their assignments and chores and check them off as completed.
  • The Daily Digest email can be sent to everyone with their personal schedule for the day. 
  • Emails and text messages can be sent as reminders.
  • Easy attendance tracking, grading, and transcript creation.
  • Lesson plans can be created with assignments, web links, notes, and more.
  • Shopping lists for individual stores can be kept and either emailed or texted for convenience.
  • Multiple widgets are supplied for to-do lists, daily Bible verse, daily quote, weather, messages, and more.
  • A mobile version lets you view and edit on smartphones and tablets.
  • Calendar sharing allows you to link your calendar with your spouse's online calendar. 
  • Lesson copying lets you copy lessons for later for another student. 

I was excited to log back into my account and get things setup, but when I opened it, I was even more pleased to discover that it saved all my information from before. All of our profiles, anniversaries, birthdays, classes, chores--everything was still there. I just needed to input current obligations and I was all set.

Homeschool Planet has a way to organize and track everything for my home and homeschool. I can color coordinate things birthdays, appointments, church activities, vacations, deadlines, and more and can assign them to specific people. I can input assignments once and tell it to add it to "every day of the week" or "every Monday" or "every first Wednesday of the month" or any other option you might need. I can type in every every assignment the kids need to complete daily, but choose to hide it from my view so the calendar isn't cluttered. I can print individual calendars for my kids so they can easily see what schoolwork and chores need to be completed each day of the week, without my having to handwrite it all daily. If something doesn't get completed, I can quickly reassign it to a different day. Or time. Or just simply delete it without having unsightly scribble marks on my page.

There are so many features included with this planner that it could feel overwhelming. They offer over a dozen tutorials to make it simpler and help you better organize. There are also widgets that you can customize including a daily quote and Bible verse, to do and shopping lists, weather, and more. You can also receive emails to be reminded of the schedule both daily and weekly.

The co-op is currently running a sale. If you sign up now for a free one-month trial to Homeschool Planet, you will also receive a free lesson plan (valued from $5-15) from the Lesson Plan Marketplace. They offer plans for well-known vendors such as Rosetta Stone, IEW, Saxon, Veritas Press, The Magic School Bus, and so much more. The professionally-designed plans can be added to your calendar with a click of a button, and all the assignments, notes, and links to online resources will be filled in.  

I am so excited to be using Homeschool Planet again. I wish they created an app for it though. They do have a mobile version, but I haven't found it very helpful, honestly. I still have to access it through the web browser, which is not convenient, and I'm not fond of the view of it either. If I need Leighton to pick up a few things on the way home, I can text him the list from the planner, but it had an app, it would be so much easier for him to be able to check the list directly there himself. Other than that though, it's still my favorite planner and one that I anticipate using for a long time.

You can connect with Homeschool Buyers Co-op on the following social media sites:

You can see what features of this planner other homeschool families utilize by reading the reviews on the Homeschool Review Crew blog.

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