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A little bird must have told someone that my ratty old planning notebook wasn’t cutting it anymore. That must be why I received a complementary copy of the new Hey Mama! Print Schoolhouse Planner 2016-2017 from The Old Schoolhouse in exchange for this honest review.
I say complementary instead of complimentary, because the latter expresses compliments, as in pleasant and encouraging comments, but the former means free-to-me. In this case, I could have used both spellings and been correct, because the Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner is complimentary in many ways. In fact it is…
More than just a planner!
But before I tell you about the the Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner, I want to address a little schedule issue.
Schedules Are Not Dictators
I love schedules, lists, plans, and what-not, because I like to organize. I am absolutely not a strict scheduler (anymore). I like to keep things flexible, but directed–like a spine.
A schedule is the spine to our week. It keeps things moving in the right direction, keeps a vision in front of us, and serves as a record behind us. It is not a steel rod that says we must do this at this time or get no cookies! With a spine-like schedule, you can always flex enough to still reach the cookies of life.
If you are not a scheduler and feel like you’re floundering or you’re so militaristic that you’re missing out on the beauty of life, maybe rethink your approach–be fleeeeexible…not mushy, not ramrod straight, but flexible with a vision.
About the Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner
Did I mention the Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner is more than just a planner? It is, but first and foremost, it is a planner. So let’s check out some of the planning features:
- Weekly planner (duh!)
- Year-at-a-glance calendars for this year, next year, and the year after–whoa.
- Monthly, semester, and yearly goals (You know I’m all about the simple goals–write it down or it won’t happen!)
- Attendance charts for five kiddos
- Reading logs
- Curriculum planning sheet
- Homeschool contact list
Here’s where the “more than just a” part comes in and why I know that the fax machine was invented in 1843, nearly 40 long years before toilet paper was invented–priorities, people! It also has the following homeschool helps:
- Writing prompts
- Story starters
- Info on the thirteen colonies
- Timeline of inventions (utterly useless, but really, really, really fun!)
- United States Presidents and first ladies
- Branches of the US government
- United States and capitals (Did you know that it’s only spelled “capitol” when it refers to the actual building? True story!)
- Transcript forms
- Skills checklist
- Course organizational form
- Fascinating historical tidbits and images spattered throughout. Technically, they’re probably not spattered, but rather strategically placed.
And here’s where the complimentary with an I comes in:
The planner is filled with encouragement. Filled! On our travels we meet some people that are super encouraging and some people that drain you dry with their negativity and criticisms. This planner is one of the former.
Plus, my favorite thing of all, it tells you to eat cake. I’m going to cross off cake and insert cookies and pie, but still! Dessert, people! It’s pro-dessert!
Yes, yes, I ate all the cake. My planner made me do it!
A Note On Physical Versus Digital Schedules
On the road we’ve taken to being as paperless as possible. It isn’t necessarily to save the trees, although I don’t believe in waste. It’s to save space and sanity. Still, there are some things I need to hold in my hands, like a baby or a cookie or a planner. Digital just doesn’t cut it (for me).
I want to be able to stuff it in my bag, fall asleep with it, peruse it in the bathroom–I’m talking the planner, here, not the baby or the cookie. When I need to jot something down quickly, I don’t want to press power. I also don’t want to be distracted by the gazillions of distractions online.
I don’t mind being distracted by cake.
Additional Thoughts for My Fellow Roadschoolers
No internet needed!
I know this planner is not digital, so you do have to find a place for it, but you never ever ever have to find an internet connection, and if you’re moving every 2-4 days like we are, or if you favor open skies and boondocking, like we also do, then you’re going to appreciate the no-connectivity-needed aspect. I have turned down offers to review digital planners for this very reason!
No evil plastic comb binding!
Plastic cob binding is evil–it breaks, it’s ugly, it breaks, it’s bulky, it breaks, pages fall out, and worst of all, it breaks. Hey Mama! has metal binding and, while the pages could still tear out if you forget to take it out of the bag that doubles as school bag/hiking pack and find yourself spilling your trail mix and water on it at the bottom of Bryce Canyon (been there), it seems remarkably durable.
I was a skeptic until it arrived, but it seems like it will hold up, even without desks, shelves, and normalcy, because, yeah, mine has been stored on the floor, in the book cupboard, in the van, on beds, on the table, under the table, beside the table, and so far, it still has all the pages. Of course, we have barely begun using it yet, since the calendar doesn’t begin until July, but it still seems like it will do the trick.
Look how I snuck a little baby spam in there. Sneaky sneaky!
It won’t hurt your tow weight!
If your tow rating is ridiculously low for a homeschool, business, music mission, giant dog, and family of 10, I feel your pain. This planner is remarkably thin for all it contains and it won’t put you over the top. You’re welcome.
Do your kids really go to school?
When we lived in the wild, wild west, we didn’t keep track of the number of school days we had, because, hey, we were progressing and meeting some goals, falling short of others, and blowing others out of the water, I tell ya! Now that we are legal residents of the Midwest (although still full-time travelers), we have to abide by their slightly more civilized social order, which means counting to 180 every year.
You know as well as I that 180 days of school does not mean sitting at a desk, because there’s a perfectly good education to be had in Appomattox Courthouse and at Pompey’s Pillar and boondocking in Utah and on that little known trail at Arches and at the deer farm in Minnesota and at Bear Country USA, right? Hey Mama! offers five pages of boxes you can check off to “prove” you did your time.
I’m not exactly sure how that’s actually proof, but it gives the government a warm and fuzzy to know we can count to 180. Personally, it makes me feel better, too, knowing that, while we say we homeschool year round, we actually are getting half a year in! Whew!
- Great flex-planner
Discount and a Freebie–Sort Of
If you’re interested in a print planner, you can get $10 off until July 15, 2016 by using the code CREWCODE. If you want the printable version, that is available through this link, or you can get it free with a subscription to SchoolhouseTeachers.com, which I reviewed here.
I’m sure you want to know what other, more stationary, closer to normal homeschoolers have to say about the Hey Mama! Planner, don’t you? Click on the banner below to find out.