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Ultimate Homeschool Planner (The Champion Planning System), The Review by Christine Field

Champion Press
4308 Blueberry Road
Fredonia, WI 53021

At Champion Press, their goal is to improve the quality of life for their customers. With that goal in mind, Champion has created what they term "The Ultimate Homeschool Planner", a reusable one-source solution for priority planning.

This is no ordinary planner; rather it is a guidebook to setting up goals and workable plans to meet those goals for YOUR family. The key here is that they have a variety of suggestions, solutions, and templates so that your "planner" is customized to your needs. Using a four point system G-O-A-L (establish a goal, outline a plan, act on it, and revise if necessary) Champion helps you put your priorities in order. Once this is completed, you can choose which parts of the planner to use. Your goal is not to fill every minute of your day with activity, but to maximize your work time so that your down time can be filled with joy.

You may choose to read completely through the information and then begin to use the system, use the "quickstart" program provided, or a combination of both. It is, however, recommended that all users complete the "Student Knowledge Inventory" so that you can have a "picture" of where your student is right now. From there you can begin to chart where you want to go.

The Ultimate Homeschool Planner is divided into 5 main sections. Section I covers that "Student Knowledge Inventory" and the planning process itself. In this section you will find a general scope and sequence of skills in Math, English & Language Arts, Science & Social Studies, Safety & Health, and Music, Art & Drama by grade level for grades 1 through 8. You simply check off where your child is now, and you can see what you need to focus on for the coming year. This is followed by a "character" checklist along with an area called "family contributions." Included here is a blank sheet to record other areas of character and family concern that you wish to include in your goals. There are instructions for creating a plan, plotting the amount of time needed for each task, instructing multiple students and sample schedules. Anything and everything that you may want or need to record in the planning process is covered in section 1 with various blank templates for your use.

Section 2 is titled "Choosing Curriculum and Friendly Finance." This is where you track supplies, needs, and expenses. It has templates for planning your reading lists (spaces to record the vendor and price), a monthly supply list, an expense budget sheet by month/year, shopping list, an order tracking form, and two choices for tracking expenses for the year.

The 3rd section is called "Assessment, Logging Your Learning & Support Groups." The first thing they address is how to find the time to journal your learning. Those of us who live in states that require portfolios can appreciate this added tidbit! There are 6 different suggested ways of "logging" found in this part. Looking at the assessment done prior to the school year and completing an assessment for the end of the term will make your evaluator's job so much easier. You will also be one step ahead of the game next year as you begin a new plan. The assessment itself should take no more than 10-15 minutes to fill out using the forms, which are provided in the planner. Additionally, there is a section on taking a knowledge inventory summary. Finally, this area concludes with comments about and listings of support groups by state.

Section 4 covers the concept of "Unit Studies" while providing many student templates. This includes field trips, nature journaling, etc.

Finishing off the planner, section 5 covers an area we all need to include in our busy homeschool day "Household Management." You won't believe what is in this section...a food log, an "I'm thankful for" sheet (to remind you just why you are doing all of this), a place to write your family mission statement, organizing the home, an idea for chore & reward systems, a chore chart, and summaries of other books published by Champion Press which may be of interest.

Whether you use the whole system or bits and pieces, you will be well pleased with this addition to your homeschool day. Packaged in a sturdy 3-ring binder every sheet can be removed, added, or photocopied with ease. Success truly is your choice with the use of the Ultimate Homeschool Planner. Stop using someone else's idea of a planner and customize your day!

--Product Review by: Teri Lucas, Staff Writer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Another Reviewer's Perspective:

The Ultimate Homeschool Planner: A Reusable One-Source Solution for Priority Planning

Think about the number of things you manage in your life: homeschool, a home, expenses, goals, to-do lists, chores - and more! The reason why so many planners are disappointing is because they do not take into account all these aspects of our complicated lives. The Ultimate Homeschool Planner is a rich resource for our full lives.

Section One is our homeschool planner. It is unique in it's approach. It starts with a student knowledge inventory for grades 1 - 8, created after consultation with numerous state standards and scope and sequences. To use, you begin with your child's grade level and rank each item on a mastery scale of 1 (doesn't understand) to 5 (mastered).

Next, complete a parent knowledge inventory questionnaire that analyzes the student's responses and help focus our efforts. Finally, the student fills out a questionnaire to record their ideas and opinions. With all this information at hand, you are ready to plan a time block - your schedule of what you will work on and when you will do it. The authors give us tips on planning for several students, includes an article by Catherine Levison and ends with a huge selection of planning forms. This is just section one!

Section Two is called Curriculum Planning & Friendly Finance. It covers how to create a budget and choose curriculum wisely.

Section Three concerns how we log what the children are learning. It covers keeping logs and journals and provides forms and ideas for all.

Section Four is about Unit Studies and Student Templates. It contains all the planning forms needed to successfully implement unit studies.

Section Five is called Household Management. It has ideas, forms and some delightful articles, including one on writing a family mission statement. It also has an action plan for success by Debbie Williams, another Champion Press author (Home Management 101).

Finally, there are ideas for children's chore and reward systems as well as charts for implementing them. I am an organizationally challenged mom. This planner gives me the hope and the resources to get my act together.

--Product Review by: Christine Field, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine