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The Blaze Academic Planner Review by Heidi MosherSandi Lucas, Stephanie Bullock
The Blaze Planner, LLC
The Blaze Academic Planner is a student planner, but not just a planner. It incorporates a rich, all-encompassing system that helps students "live intentionally and shine brilliantly." Lighthouse and beach photos and art support the theme along with Scripture throughout. The planner is 5½ by 8 ½ inches, about the size of a half sheet of paper. It is bound with 16 rings, which allow pages to be moved or refilled. It comes packaged with care in a sturdy white box and includes an erasable pen. Also included is a one-page "Getting Started: Step by Step Guide." The planner is available with a choice of cover colors: black, yellow, white, and light blue. The cost through their website is $29.99. Refills of specific pages are available, as well as other accessories.
According to their website, "The Blaze Planner is a tool to help you accomplish God-inspired important work. If the Bible is the textbook, then The Blaze Planner® is the workbook." It encompasses many aspects of a typical planner but adds abundant spaces and tools for living a Christian life. The website also states that the system "guides and coaches you page by page on how to align your daily activities with HIS Story."
I used The Blaze Academic Planner to evaluate who it was best suited for in my home. I did not come across a specific age range that this system is intended for, but having children ranging from elementary to college-age, I believe it would work best for high school or college-age students. A mature middle schooler may benefit from it as well. The system would work for students who go away to school or homeschool. My 8th-grade son and graduating senior daughter were both interested and open to using the planner as they enter new phases of their lives. I feel especially good about equipping my daughter with this system should she move away from home following high school.
At the front is a table of contents and another guide for getting started. There are four main areas: Calendar, Ignite To-Do Lists, Blaze Main Tabs, and Blaze in Action Tabs.
Twelve sturdy month tabs come in appealing modern blues, yellows, and corals. The month tabs begin with July and end with June. Each month has a two-page spread with blanks to fill in the dates. This is an essential feature since it makes this planner usable to start in any month of any year.
Next in the calendar section come 52 pages of weekly plan sheets. Each double-sided page contains spaces to record daily lunch plans, gratitude, prayer, Scripture to memorize, homework, and top tasks for each day.
Ignite To-Do Lists
Behind the Ignite tab are pages with small rows. These six pages are titled Thoughts and Ideas, Master Actions List, Pending Actions List, Completed Actions List, and Future Possibilities. Some of these pages include columns for dates and checkmarks.
Blaze Main Tabs
Next, are five tabs labeled Blaze, Goals, Prayers, Sermons, and Ministry. The Blaze tab includes ways to implement the Blaze Lighthouse Process™ to "let God's light and love shine through in every area of life." There are scripture references for guidance and spaces to work out goals, activities, and actions for specific areas of life:
- personal care and health
- global community
- local community
- education and learning
- recreation and rest
The Goals tab offers sheets that support those goals by recording action steps to achieve them. The Prayers tab includes spaces to record prayers in many suggested areas as well as a space to record answered prayers "to remember forever." The Sermons tab has an index to fill in as well as sheets for notes from twenty sermons. The Ministry tab includes pages on sharing the gospel, how to become a Christian, and discipleship logs.
Blaze in Action Tabs
These five tabs are titled Academic, Trackers, Lists, Projects, and Misc.-Other.
The Academic tab has places to record your class schedule, special prayers for the school year, exam schedule, group projects, and extracurricular activities. The Trackers tab section includes spaces to track habits such as making the bed, water intake, and room to include any other habits to track. The Lists tab contains spaces to record birthdays and anniversaries, weekly routines, cleaning checklists, and travel checklist. The Projects tab includes pages to record project management and expenses, and event planning. The Misc.-Other tab simply includes lined pages for notes.
There are so many wonderful pieces to this planner system. The modern layout is professional and attractive. The muted colors are calming. The lighthouse theme is inspiring and fits perfectly with the name and focus behind the planner. The beauty of this planner is the "live intentionally – shine brightly" system it incorporates. It is unlike anything I have ever come across. This system speaks volumes to the meaning and purpose of life. Academics are important, but living life for the Lord is truly the point. The makers took great care and thought to equip users for a God-honoring life.
Some of the more unique features I especially admire include:
- A page for special prayers for teachers/professors, and classmates for each class
- A space dedicated to establishing a morning routine and evening routine- It starts with a few suggestions, like prayer in the morning and outfit selection (for the next day) in the evening.
- Lists, such as "25 Things to Throw Away" and a travel checklist
- Scripture reference lists of "light dimmers" and "light intensifiers" to look up for issues like worry, bitterness, contentment, and forgiveness
- Space on the weekly pages to plan intentional connection and communication via email and call/text
Using this planner to its full potential will be a commitment and take quite a bit of intention. It may be helpful to begin using the planner a couple of weeks before the school year starts to develop good habits heading into the school year, but again, the planner can be started at any time.
Some spaces may go unused; for example, the lunch meal plan on the weekly pages may not be used by a student who does not yet have the responsibility of planning food decisions. However, for a college student, space to record a lunch plan could be invaluable for setting up a life of good habits.
Initially, I wished for more space to keep track of assignments than the seven small boxes under "homework" on the weekly pages. However, after spending weeks in the planner, I understood that the focus of this system is learning to live intentionally for the Lord, rather than only organizing schoolwork. The number of pages dedicated to life versus academics supports the goal. Life is about more than school. This system will teach students to live a life for the Lord in all areas of life, not only academics. If more space for recording school assignments is desired, a remedy would be to use index pages from the Projects tab or notes pages from the Misc.-Other section.
I enthusiastically recommend The Blaze Academic Planner for any student serious about living intentionally. It would be a fantastic aid for a young Christian seeking ways to implement faith into daily life or a thoughtful and loving gift for someone entering high school or college.
-Product review by Heidi Mosher, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, May 2021