Hot off the presses I received the new Hey Mama! Print Schoolhouse Planner 2016-2017 to review. The Hey Mama! planner is from the people at The Old Schoolhouse (TOS) ~ those geniuses behind SchoolhouseTeachers.com, Molly Green, and of course, The Old Schoolhouse magazine! I've only had the planner in hand for two weeks, but that is enough to know I will enjoy using this year's version as much as I have past years' versions. This will be the fourth school year I have used the Hey Mama! planner from TOS, but this year I will be adapting it a bit unusually to fit our changing life.
Spring turns to Summer and students' thought turn to vacation, Mamas' thought turn to the next school year. It's not that we overlook vacation ~ far from it ~ we LOVE time off of grading math tests and doing grammar exercises, but we realize that a change in our daily education routine gives us more time to plan for what comes next. Because our family's next is going to look so very different from the past years, I'll be doing a different kind of planning than I have in the past.
Before I tell you about our adaptations of the Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner, let me cover the basics of what's inside so you can start thinking about how YOU will use it! We will focus on the print version of the planner, but if you prefer the additional customization available from a digital version, keep reading, as we will talk about that a little later! This year's version of the Hey Mama! planner is 192 pages, has a pioneer theme, is printed in sepia tones, and has a double wire binding. The color scheme of sepia, black, and white is relaxing to look at, but a little hard to take a picture of . . . sorry if my photos don't do it justice. I really like the upgrade to the wire binding over the traditional plastic spiral binding that has been used in the past. It is sturdier, and easier to differentiate from all the other spiral bound books on our bookshelf. (Not that it will spend much time on the bookshelf until next July-LOL!)
The 2016-2017 Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner dates from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017. This works well for us as our state records days of attendance for the school year from July-June. The planner begins with an introductory letter from Gena Suarez, who along with her husband Paul, are publishers of TOS. Next comes the table of contents, and then one page calendars for 2016, 2017, & 2018.
The first major part of the planner is the two-page monthly spreads. Before each month's spread, there is an encouraging Hey Mama note, plus a whole page to write down general notes for the month. One of the things I have always enjoyed about the two-page monthly spreads in the Hey Mama! planners is the simplicity. Large boxes without lines, and a really wide left margin for jotting notes . . . or putting your post-it notes on. In past years' planners, I've used the left margins to record passwords for short term or two week trial online programs so they are easy for the girls and myself to access. Our days can be busy, and I need to be able to see all the major events at once. This two-page spread with the large boxes gives me enough space without having to cram things in.
The middle bulk of the Hey Mama! planner is comprised of the Week of:_______ pages. Each week has a two-page spread that is designed to record up to five students' daily assignments. The Week of:________ pages cover 36 weeks, and are undated, allowing you to begin and end your school year on your schedule without wasting any pages. I also like how the undated pages make it easy to put in a week of vacation when you need it. If you follow a traditional school-year calendar, or use a version of sabbath schooling, this should be enough pages to cover your whole school year. If you school year-round, keep reading, as we'll talk about other options for you!
Pages 146-192 are filled with planning, recording and help pages for Mamas. Some of these types of pages have 5 copies, some only have one. Is there any U.S. home educating mama out there without access to a copier ~ probably not. The planning pages include: Monthly Goals, Semester Goals, Yearly Goals (with spaces on each for Educational, Spiritual, Physical, Personal Talents, Life Skills, Financial, and Relational goals.) Next up are 5 Attendance Chart pages with 180 boxes to fill in. The boxes are numbered, making it easy to see how far along you are in the school year. Depending on your state's requirements, you can either check the boxes, or enter the dates in them. Next you will find four of the Books Read This Year book logs. Arlene says that is good, because she always needs multiple sheets ~ she reads a lot! Five Curriculum Planning Sheets and a Homeschool Contact List page finish the planning and recording section.
The Mama helps pages include: 36 General Writing Prompts, 35 Story Starters, The Thirteen Colonies by Date, Timeline of Inventions, and U.S. Presidents and Their Wives. The last part of the helps section includes pages on the Branches of Government, U.S. States and Capitals, two pages on creating a High School transcript, and two pages for recording skills learned and courses taken by younger students.
All of this is packed into a manageable 8.5" x 11" size, still portable, but also a decent size to leave open on your desk for easy reference. Mine will mostly stay open on my desk, so everyone can walk by and see what needs accomplished each day.
For those of you who school year-round, or who have more than five students still at home, you may want to consider the digital version the Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner 2016-2017. This hulk of a PDF allows you to print off as many copies of each page as you need. Want more Week of:_____ pages? More book logs? More blank transcript copies? You can print as many or as few of the pages in the planner as you want. I used the digital version of the Hey Mama! planner a few years ago, printed the pages I thought we would utilize, and took it to our local print shop for spiral binding and a pretty cover. If you like the look and feel of the printed planner, you can simply print out the extra Week of: _____ pages to cover your extra weeks and paperclip them in to the back of your print planner.
If you have a membership to SchoolhouseTeachers.com, you already have access to the digital version of the planner, if not, you can purchase the downloadable version for $19 form The Old Schoolhouse Store.
The print version of the 2016-2017 Hey Mama! planner is normally $29 for US addresses, and higher for other countries. Right now, you can use the coupon code: CREWCODE for a $10 discount off of the print planner!
But wait, before you head over to get your own copy of this year's planner, in either a print or digital format, I want to tell you a little about how we're adapting the planner because of our changing schedules. Emily will be graduating in December, leaving me with only one full-time student at home. Do I still want to use a planner? Oh yes!!! While waiting for my newest planner to arrive, I pulled out my older copies and started thinking about adaptability. For the Fall semester, I'm still going to need to keep an eye on Emily's assignments as well as the planning for the hands-on time I'll be spending with Arlene as we dive back into math, and add a rigorous WorldView study, besides her regular science and electives.
Because I'm a working and homeschooling Mama, even though I don't love to plan, I NEED to plan, or things won't get done! Both girls are independent workers/ learners for almost everything, but still can benefit from a watchful eye to help them plan ahead and manage their time well. Right now they are in the thick of 4-H projects and volunteering at the local Living History museum, as well as co-captaining a spinning (wool, not bicycles) team. Add in church and time with their friends and you can see why they're just as active in the summer as during the school year.
I've already started using the Week of:____ pages, but only half of a two-page spread each week. Since they are designed for big boxes for the day, plus five students, I just moved the day outside into the margin and am using each pages' three columns for: myself (blogging, work, and 4-H Leader,) Arlene, and Emily. We will continue using half of each two-page spread per week through Christmas, then I'll evaluate if I want to change our usage again for second semester when it will just be Arlene and myself.
One last note before you go get your own copy of the Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner 2016-2017. There is a pioneer theme to this year's planner, not just on the cover but inside as well. Interspersed between the Week of:____ pages are short history lessons about the nine items on the front cover: the spinning wheel, cast iron skillet, butter churn, dibber, horseshoes, pitchfork, dolly stick, washboard, and iron. Across the page from each history lesson is another short encouragement for Mamas! I don't know about you, but with this being my 14th year of home educating, I can still use all the encouragement I can get!
I'm really looking forward to using my Hey Mama! planner to keep on top of things for the upcoming summer and school year. For me, it has always been a great resource for general planning, and then recording what actually got accomplished so I can remember it all when its time to work on the transcripts. For Mamas just beginning their home education journey, you may not use every page, but you'll be thankful for a place to record what you did with your children and be able to reflect back on all God has taught your children, and you, each year!
To read how other members of the Crew are using their planners this year, click the banner below!