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Friday, February 22, 2013

Confessions of a Homeschooler's 2013 Blog Planner Review

Before our "official" reviews begin for the brand new Mosaic Reviews, we were asked to do a dry run with our choice of several different blog planners.  All are free, and each one offers different features and layouts.  The one I chose is offered by Erica at Confessions of a Homeschooler.

Isn't it pretty?  Erica is amazingly talented!  I first "met" her when we were both on the same review team, and I can tell you that once I saw all she has to offer, her printables quickly comprised most of my youngest daughter's kindergarten school work.  Although I'm a huge fan of her printables, I chose her planner because it just made the most sense to me.  She thinks like I do.  There is a page at the beginning of the planner that offers a year at a glance.  And the planner comes in two formats-- one with the monthly post layout calendar and one that offers post layout in more of a list form with the dates followed by a blank line that you can use to fill in the details.  These post layout pages all include small boxes that you can check for Facebook, Twitter, Google +, and Pinterest, so you can keep track of which social media sites you have posted to.  There are also small boxes for you to check if you've scheduled a post for that day, and if you have a giveaway/winner for that day.  Each month also has a Blog Notes page for recording all the details for reviews/give-aways, post ideas, and monthly stats.  The color schemes are different for each month, but you can get a good idea of the colors used in the planner from the sample pages in the picture above. 

The pros:  Did I mention it's pretty?  I HATE planning.  And I do a ton of it for the schooling of 4 children, so the last thing I really want is to have more planning to do for my blog, of all places, which is supposed to be a creative outlet, not drudgery.  But the reality is I have long passed the point where I can keep track of everything in my head and never have one of those "oops, I forgot..." moments, so I really, truly needed a planner.  And I knew I'd be much more likely to use it if it was pretty and made me happy to look at it :-).  This one is and does.  And I have always been a "month at a glance" sort of girl.  Always.  So it just clicked with me to have my planner work that way.  I love the Notes pages that give me a place to  record more info about reviews and giveaways when I need to, and give me a place to keep post ideas where they are easy to find again.  And as I branch out into other forms of social media, it's definitely nice to be able to check a box for "yep, I shared it there" instead of trying to remember them all each time.  This planner is just perfect for me!

The cons:  Remember how pretty it is?  Well, you can only appreciate that if you print it in color.  That could be a con if a) you don't have a color printer or b) you don't want to spend about $11 to have your free planner printed at a print shop.  I do have a color printer, but chose to have it printed because I had free credit to use.  And since I was having a printing place do it, I had it bound too.  The whole thing cost me about $13.  I probably would have just done it at home and stapled it if I didn't have the credit, but I had it and it was literally expiring in a few days, so I made use of it.  Other than that, there's not a single con I can think of.

The bottom line:  I'm very happy with my planner.  It provides me with everything I need, laid out in a way that makes complete sense to me.  And it's pretty ;-).  Oh, and did I mention FREE.  So if you need a blog planner, I would definitely recommend the 2013 Blog Planner from Confessions of a Homeschooler.

Erica at Confessions of a Homeschooler also offers tons of other free printables from pre-k worksheets, to journaling pages, to short unit studies...and everything in between.  You can check out her blog and find all of her printables at Confessions of a Homeschooler.

After March 1st, you can read all about what my fellow Mosaic Reviews members thought of the planners they reviewed by clicking on Mosaic Reviews.

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Glenda Cates said...

I am so glad I found your site through the post HSBA did on the top 10 blogs as I needed a homeschool planner. I hope you will visit me as well. If you have time come and do a guest post for me. I love when I have visitors on the blog.

Peggy Dalley said...

Great Review! Good point about color printing.

momma24 said...

good job!

Jen (aka: Photojenic) said...

Love that you included pro's and con's based on your experience. Well done!

Christephi S said...

I think this planner is laid out so "me" too! Great review! :-)