“Hey Mama!” Encouraging Homeschool Planner (Crew Review)
About the Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner
The Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner is a softcover, spiral bound book designed to provide a place for organizing your plans for the entire upcoming school year:
- Yearly calendars for 2016, 2017, and 2018
- Monthly Calendars from July 2016-June 2017, each with an encouraging Hey Mama! letter from Gena Suarez, publisher of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, and a place for notes
- 36 weekly planning pages (undated, with Hey Mama! notes and interesting tidbits about various inventions scattered throughout)
- Forms for listing monthly, semester, and yearly goals (5 of each)
- Attendance Charts for up to 5 children (180 days that can be checked off as you go through the year)
- Form to record books read throughout the year (5 copies)
- Curriculum Planning Sheet
- Homeschooling Contact List to record names, phone numbers, and email addresses
- 36 General Writing Prompts
- Story Starters
- List of the 13 Colonies by date
- Timeline of inventions
- List of U.S. Presidents and their wives
- Branches of Federal, State, and Local Governments
- United States and Capitals
- Information about Creating an Academic Transcript for high school
- Academic Transcript form
- Checklist and Skills Learned form
- form to record other courses
For the past several years we have started school in July, so I already had plenty I wanted to start jotting down. I got the 2016-17 schedule for our co-op classes and the fall schedule for our music classes and marked all of those on both the “year at a glance” and the full monthly spreads. Then I used those dates to plan the breaks for our year. (I generally try to take a “Sabbath” after every 5-7 weeks, depending on where holidays and class schedules fall.) That allowed me to sketch out 36 weeks for a complete school year. Because I put in several weeks off, as well as sometimes using two actual weeks to cover 1 “week” of school, I have some wiggle room to adjust things as we go through the year.
I’m not ready to make weekly lesson plans yet, but when I do I won’t be writing them in this planner. There are just too many things that are the same every week, so I prefer to use a digital document that I can just tweak each week and print out rather than having to copy things by hand over and over. Since I knew I wouldn’t be using the 36 weekly planning pages for actual lesson plans, I used them to help me start to sketch out what I want our weeks to look like, making a rough schedule both for weeks when we have outside classes (like in July before everything starts up) and for weeks when we leave the house a couple days a week for other opportunities.
My favorite thing about the Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner, of course, is the encouragement. It’s what makes this planner stand out among the myriad options out there. I had a Hey Mama! planner two years ago, which is why I was so eager to get my hands on one for this year. I try to save each month’s note and not read it until that day actually arrives. Then I find a quiet moment where I can just sit and soak in Gena’s message, considering which parts speak to me the most. Because there are also notes spread throughout the weekly planning pages, I’ll save those for other times when I just need a little extra encouragement.
What I love about the Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner
- The encouragement
- Room to list specific goals for each of my children (though I’m not sure why there are only 5 “Monthly Goals” pages. Thankfully The Old Schoolhouse told the Crew it was okay to copy pages if we needed
- The writing prompts and story starters (Getting my boys to start writing is like pulling teeth, so specific ideas to help them get going are a must!)
What would make it even better
- A “year at a glance” spread with room to write major events rather than just the dates. (I love to be able to visualize my entire year, seeing where our breaks and really important things happen.)
- The cardstock cover will probably get me through the year since I won’t be referencing the book daily for lessons plans, but if I were handling it more often, I would prefer a sturdier plastic cover.
- While I’m dreaming of the perfect cover, a pocket in which to stash important papers would be a great addition as well.
Even though I won’t use Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner for my weekly lesson plans, it’s almost perfect for my big picture, month-by-month planning. For me, that’s the key to a less stressful homeschool experience, and I love knowing that I’ll have Gena’s encouraging words there to help get me through the 2016-17 school year.
Ready to get your own? Use coupon code CREWCODE for $10 off! Happy planning!