Review: Homeschool Planet by Homeschool Buyers Co-op

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I have been on what has felt like the never ending hunt for the PERFECT homeschooler planner for years.  I prefer a digital planner.  I hate erasing or crossing things out on paper, so messy!  I’ve found things before that worked for a season but nothing that was ever just perfect. I came to believe that I’d never find a perfect system.  However when the opportunity to review a one year’s subscription to Homeschool Planet by Homeschool Buyers Co-op came along I figured I’d give it ago.  I’m a digital planner junky! I’ve got to try them ALL! 

Trying to keep life together while homeshcooling 4 children, running a home, a co-op, a business, blogging, and serving in ministry is just about impossible.  There is just too much to keep track of.  I don’t need to tell my blog readers that.  You all are trying to do the same thing.  Personally I manage to do an okay job of keeping most of all of these juggling balls in the air.  Maybe not all at once but in general most everything gets done… at least eventually.

Homeschool Buyers Co-op is an amazing source for low cost curriculum and homeschool related materials. They are the largest buyer’s co-op for homeschool curriculum.  In order to use Homeschool Planet you’ll need to create a free account with the Homeschool Buyers Co-op.  You can sign up for a free 30 day trial, no credit card needed.  This is an online cloud-based planner.  You’ll need a computer with an internet connection to operate this program.

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This planner is feature rich.  It does nearly everything I’ve ever wished a digital planner would do.  To get the most out of it I recommend you spend some time in the library of tutorials located in the help section.  I would say this program is pretty clean and straight forward, however there are just so many possibilities for use that I can see someone feeling overwhelmed as they begin learning.

I like how the little touches offered in this program.  I was able to select a pretty background and upload little photos of my entire family. Every family member has his/her own profile where I can create settings just for them.  I can select little widgets (or side windows) where I can keep things like a grocery list, a weather report, and a scripture verse front and center.

There are multiple views.  We can view our plans in a calendar format or a planner format, by the day, the week or the month.  We can view a child at a time, multiple children at once, or absolutely everyone all together. We can import our appointment calendars from Cozi (my favorite) or Google Calendars.

When creating lesson plans we can create subjects, classes within subjects (multiple classes if we’d like) and you can color code everything! You can create multiple lessons within one class within one day!  You can create multiple classes within a subject in one day.  You can create a custom schedule and determine exactly how often you’ll have any of your classes.  (Just to make it clear… we have the Subject of Math, my son uses Math U See every day (that is one math “class”) and he uses Life of Fred 3 times a week (that would be another “class.”

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Lesson Planning Page… my lessons are relatively short but you can include several paragraphs and you can link resources including webpages.

You can assign one class (or assignment) to multiple children.  There are even features within the program to help you shorten your key strokes.  For example, you can tell it to auto fill Lesson 1.. Lesson 2… Lesson 3 etc and then you can add more text to each lesson.

If you would like you can setup each of your children with student accounts so they can log in all on their own and see the assignments for the day.  Then they can even check them off as they go!   If you enter your cell phone or email information you children can even send you messages about their work.  You cannot reply but it can still be a help!  I’ve had my son text me to remind me to adjust his assignments.  I can even text my husband (or myself) to-do or shopping lists straight from the program!

The rescheduling features are AMAZING!  I’ve never found a program that so easily allows you to reschedule or insert assignments.  If you are in the calendar mode you can simply click and drag classes and assignments around.  If you are in the planning pages you can do the same OR click a drop down box to help you choose rescheduling options.  Each day when you log in a box appears letting you which assignments haven’t been marked done.  You can reschedule them, mark them complete, or do nothing.  It’ll even prompt you to enter grades.

I’ve used other digital planners before that fell short in this rescheduling area.  Either they lacked the feature entirely or it wasn’t intelligent enough for my purposes.  I used one program that left me in tears as a tremendous amount of hard work was distroyed.  I had used the bump feature wrong and my plans were so jumbled it was a loss!  I had to start again.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve rescheduled with Homeschool Planet.  Not even once was an assignment lost nor was anything ever jumbled.  It all works PERFECTLY!

Rescheduling Helper

Rescheduling Helper

The one area that I constantly fall down on is homeschool record keeping.  It might be because we live in a state that doesn’t require me to turn any sort of records in to anyone.  However I know the responsible thing to do, just in case, is to document what we are doing every day.  It can be difficult though as our schooling is fluid.  We will linger on topics that interest us or need more of our attention.  We love love to make the time to take rabbit trails and veer off our planned course to study some concept in more depth than I had originally planned.  It can be difficult to keep up recording or even planning what we’ve done when the unexpected but worth while comes along.

Homeschool Planet helps me keep perfect records.  I can create a custom grade setup for each child and each subject.  I can also choose not to grade at all.  Each thing we do gets checked off and recorded.  It is easy for me to make space for our rabbit trails without messing up my plans.  Attendance records are done for me.  If we needed to I could even keep track of our hours of homeschooling.  Homeschool Planet is the PERFECT record keeper!  It has made life so much easier.

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Attendance Tracker

There are a number of ways to get creative as well.  If you are a blogger or have any sort of ministry or business you can create a profile just for that and keep track of deadlines and assignments under that profile.  You can also create a recurring house cleaning schedule, or family menu.  The longer I use it the more possibilities I keep dreaming up!

Homeschool Planet by Homeschool Buyers Co-op really does it all!  In fact I’ve probably just scratched the surface.  As I was clicking around making sure I covered as much as I could for this review I found a feature I had never seen before.  CLASS NOTES!  I can keep notes on how my children do on each assignment?  Who knew?  Of course those, attendance, grades, and transcripts are all available in the reports section as well.

Oh! I just heard that if you go to this link… http://homeschoolgiveaways.com/free-homeschool-planet-membership/…. you can get a THREE MONTH trial version of Homeschool Planet for FREE!

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Homeschool Planet Review
 

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