Review: Apologia Debra Bell ULTIMATE Planners

Review: Apologia Debra Bell ULTIMATE Planners

If you are homeschooling, you will want this planner.

If you are teaching in the classroom, private or public education, you will want this planner.

If you use a planner at all, YOU WILL WANT THIS PLANNER.

When I was sent Debra Bell’s The Ultimate Homeschool Planner and its companion The Ultimate Daily Planner for Students from Apologia, I’ll admit it. I wasn’t too excited about looking at a planner. After all, I just left the classroom, and the only student in my foreseeable future is just learning to wave “Bye-Bye” and sign “milk” and “more”. Why would I review this planner for homeschooling, especially since I’m not sure I’ll even go that route when my daughter is older?SAMSUNG

The moment I opened these planners, I took it all back. I ALMOST – almost – wanted to be back in the classroom so I had an excuse to be actively using these planners. They are awesome, in so many ways. Quick summary:

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Lets start with the Pictures and Pros:


Let’s start with the parent/teacher planner.

Things that I LOVE about this planner- It has a lot of fantastic features that you can choose to use or lose. It’s so customizable.SAMSUNG

Like to have the big picture far in advance? You can have a very simple day/day plan with this one year planning grid.SAMSUNG

Setting individual goals for your children or students, both character goals and academic. As a former English/writing/reading teacher, I loved it when students could apply what we were doing with a book or writing to their own lives- that’s what good readers and writers do to make it meaningful. And often they can use that to set character goals as well as academic. Could you imagine having students set SMART goals at the beginning of a year or grading term and letting them keep referencing them throughout the year to help achieve those goals? LOVE.

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I also love that you can put the days/weeks/months/years into the monthly and daily planners. I am one of these people that always had good intentions, but I constantly had to readjust my plans because my kids needed more time or less time to complete our units.

SAMSUNGAnd I love these inspirational quotes and scriptures on the pages.


Of course, as this is an Apologia product, there’s the nice touch of your “spiritual” battle plan. SAMSUNG

The reading teacher in me LOVED this reading record list. I used to do this with my students every year when I was a Public Ed. teacher.SAMSUNG

At the end of the planner, you have some great tips/lists for things like “Raising Independent Learners” or “Helping Reluctant Readers”.


Now for the student planner:SAMSUNG

Several features at the beginning help the student with understanding how to use their planner and set up their own goals of where they are now and where they’d like to be in the future. Fantastic!


I think these features would be perfect if you as the teacher or parent can sit with your student(s) and talk over these goals and ways to make the most of their education. 2013-04-09 14.24.42

Again, like the parent planner, these are very customizable by date- no need to waste pages because you skipped a week (or forgot to write things down… because what student EVER forgets to write down their assignments? LOL!).2013-04-09 14.25.15

There are also more scripture quotes and fun facts for students to utilize- I love this trivia!SAMSUNG

Plus all the fun extra useful pages of information such as grammar and good writing tips, US facts, maps, and measurement equivalency charts?! I might make a copy of this page and carry it around with me in my pocket since I’ve forgotten most of this. 😉

The Cons:

First, the price can be a turn off- especially for multiple students. The parent planner is $28.00 (though in searching I was able to find it in a few places for a slight discount) and the student planners are $19.00

With all the extra features, both planners are no lightweights. They are fairly bulky and would definitely take up room in any bag/purse/backpack. I would not have wanted to cart this back and forth from the school- I’d probably leave it at school during the week and bring it home on a “planning day” or weekend.

Lastly, if you do have an environment that is purely secular, I could see how many of the scripture quotes and references to “Battle Plans” could be a major turn off, particularly because that takes up a large section of the parent planner.

As you can tell, I really loved reviewing this product and highly recommend it. I feel the pros definitely outweigh the cons, but needed to be mentioned. If you do get this planner, I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!

About Elisabeth

The joyous and sometimes odd adventures of a former English teacher and her trusty sidekicks, Jared the Hottie Husband and her two Italian Greyhounds, Stinky Stevie and Bonnie Boo. Recently the adorable baby, Princess Evelyn, has joined the clan to shake things up!

2 Responses

  1. I enjoyed reading your review 🙂 I am not big on using planners, but I do have to say that your review did compel me to place this in my ‘possible future use’ file.

  2. Pingback: The Ultimate Homeschool Planners from Apologia