Friday, June 3, 2016

Getting Organized with the Hey Mama! Print Schoolhouse Planner {A TOS Review}

I admit, as much as I have tried to change, I am just not an organized person. Last year I had every intention of working on that, but alas, I remain unorganized. This is really concerning at this point in my life, because I have been having an awful time keeping track of all things related to school. The reason it is so imperative that I change this flaw is because this is the first year that I am supposed to be reporting to the school district. Here we are at the end of the school year and I am scurrying around to get myself organized to send a portfolio to my evaluator. As you can imagine, this can cause a bit of a lot of stress. So, I know I have to change my tactics for the next school year (and beyond). When we were offered the chance to review the Hey Mama! Print Schoolhouse Planner 2016-2017 from The Old Schoolhouse, I knew it was something I would like to use. 

I have tried other physical and online planning tools in the past, and they just couldn't help me; however, the design of the Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner was one that actually worked well for me when I had one a few years ago.  I was glad to see that the format is the still the same.

Here, let's take a look at the features of this planner. 
  • 196 pages
  • Spiral Binding
  • Yearly calendars for 2016, 2017, and 2018
  • Monthly calendars with notes.
  • Hey Mama! letters
  • Weekly Planning pages
  • Goals Pages (monthly, semester, and yearly)
  • Attendance Charts (enough for 5 children)
  • Books Read This Year
  • Curriculum Planning Sheet
  • Homeschooling Contact List
  • General Writing Prompts
  • Story Starters
  • The Thirteen Colonies by Date
  • Timeline of Inventions
  • U.S. Presidents and their wives
  • Branches of government
  • United States and Capitals 
  • Academic Transcript information
  • Checklist and Skills Learned
  • Other Courses
As you can see, there is quite a lot offered to help the homeschool mom.

The planner begins with 3 yearly calendars for a quick at-a-glance look at the years ahead. 

Then it moves into the monthly calendar section, which starts with July 2016 and ends with June 2017. Each month begins with a "Hey Mama" encouraging note. 

On the opposite page there is room for notes. I have yet to decide how I am going to use these pages. 

The monthly calendars are double page spreads which show the month with boxes big enough to write important information. For the summer months I have been able to add in when camp is going to be, plus our summer school and VBS dates. I am also using these calendars to write down review due dates and doctor appointments. I am currently figuring out our summer schedule so I can get ready to plan for next year. 

After the monthly calendars there are the 36 Weekly Planning pages, also double page spreads. There are different suggestions for how to use these pages on the website, such as writing the dates across the top, or writing your children's names across the top. I will probably be using these the same way as a did a few years ago. I will write the dates across the top and then label the sides with the subjects we are learning. Though I have 4 children, the older girls are combined in one level and the younger two are combined in a different level, plus the younger ones join in with the older girls for a lot of our learning. And because we are eclectic review homeschoolers the books or programs we use for a subject may change and I will write down what we are supposed to be working on with our review products. 

For me, the Weekly Planning Pages and the Monthly Calendars are the most important for getting and keeping me organized. I will be able to have a record of what we have to do, plus it will show me what we have done at the end of the year.

As you are going through your year and turn the pages of the planner, you will see that there are more encouraging Hey Mama! notes spaced throughout.

After the weekly planning pages you will find the pages to write down goals for your children. And if, like us you don't have 5 children, you can even choose to use the extra goal sheets for yourself. This will be something I would want to sit down with each child individually to delve into, with daddy present. We will work on these closer to the beginning of school.

Next you will find Attendance Charts. We do have to have 180 days of schooling here in Pennsylvania,so these will come in quite handy. And yes, there are 5 of these as well.

Here in Pennsylvania we need to keep a log of books that are read, so I was so glad to see the "Books Read this Year" forms are still included in the planner. I was a bit confused as to why there are only 4 when the other forms for the children have enough for 5 children. For now, it isn't a big deal as I am only going to be using them for the older girls as they are the two who I have to report to the school district for anyway.

Next there are Curriculum Planning Sheets (yes 1 for each of 5 students). 

This Homeschooling Contact List will be great for jotting down information for friends at co-op.

The next several pages are chock full of helpful tidbits for homeschooling. I am looking forward to using the writing prompts and story starters with the older girls. I may even be able to use some with the younger children. The page about the colonies not only includes the year they became colonies and the year they gained statehood, but what the origin of the first settlers where plus the main religion (you won't find that information in any secular book these days). Additionally, important people are also included. Glancing through the timeline of inventions chart, I know the children will have fun learning this information, especially because some of the inventions are things we have been learning about in our American history lessons. We can focus a bit on government with the President chart, branches of governments chart, and the states and their capitals chart.

For families with older children, you may find the information for creating an academic transcript helpful, along with the actual page for a transcript. I admit, I am a bit unsure how the last two forms are to be used. Though I did find it weird that the form seems to be for one month's worth of skills, yet there is only one form which wouldn't be enough for the school year. 

Now, you may have noticed that there are only 36 weekly planning pages. So, if you school year round you will want to keep that in mind. If this is a problem, they do offer a digital version of the planner. 

I am looking forward to reading all of the encouraging Hey Mama! notes that are sprinkled throughout the planner, as I come to them during the year. I have decided I would like them to be fresh surprises instead of looking at them all now. 

All in all, I am looking forward to really getting in to planning for summer school and the next school year. I am hoping that by this time next year I will be less stressed and more organized thanks to the Hey Mama! Print Schoolhouse Planner. I'll have to keep you updated.

Normally, you can purchase the planner for $29 here in the U.S. In Canada the price is $48.95 and Internationally it is $53.95.  However, here is some really, really good news! As a member of the Crew I have been asked to share this wonderful coupon code with you. You can get $10 off of the price of the planner! Just use the code: CREWCODE
This deal is available through July 15th, 2016.

You can find The Old Schoolhouse on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+.

Don't forget to check out what my fellow Crew Mates have to say about the Hey Mama! Planner. Just click on the banner below:

Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner 2016-2017 Review

Crew Disclaimer


  1. I know your pain about being not organized as much as I would like. This is a great calendar that could be re-purposed as a blog calendar for me. This is a great review that really helps me. Thank you.

  2. Keeping track of activities helps keep you and your family organized plus you can plan ahead knowing when something is supposed to happen, because it's in the planner. This looks like an ideal planner for homeschoolers. It reminds me of the way the old one-room schoolhouse was run. My kids have taken field trips to Hale Farm in Ohio and had to try to write using a feather for a pen, dipping it in ink and trying not to make any blots on the paper or themselves.


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