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Friday, August 15, 2008

The Schoolhouse Planner

Once upon a time, there was a mom who seemed to thrive by flying by the seat of her pants when in reality what she really craved was organization and order. The problem was that no matter how hard she tried, she never seemed to be able to break things down into small enough pieces so that the whole idea of organizing didn't overwhelm her. She yearned for order, but it eluded her at every turn. Especially when it came to organizing her home and homeschool.

Does that sound familiar to you? I will willingly confess that that "once upon a time" is now, and that mom is me. No matter how sincere my intentions, I seem to get overwhelmed almost before I begin, and before I know it another homeschool year has flown by and I'm no close to having...or sticking to...a plan than I was a year ago. This year I have set my mind to be different, but knowing I've never made it on my own before, I knew I needed help.

Enter The Schoolhouse Planner.

Put out by the folks at The Old Schoolhouse magazine, this planner has the best of everything. It sells for $39, but its organization value is priceless. And lest you really organized people think this is not for you, let me just say that this is THE resource that offers a place for everything and everything in its place. It's the framework that people like me need to begin, and the amazingly detailed lists that highly organized people crave. Best of all, it comes in a downloadable format offering you the flexibility of printing the pages you need and binding them (or not) in the way that suits your needs best.
The first part of the planner offers calendars of 2008 and 2009. Then there is a two page spread calendar for each month along with a "homeschool-must-know" list (for example, October's is Countries and Capitals) and an essay by well known authors in the homeschool community on topics like Unit Studies or why homeschoolers should learn a foreign language. And best of all there are recipes each month too. I can't wait to try some of them out!
More than just a planner, this is an excellent resource too. Beyond countries and capitals, there are lists of the period elements, holidays, famous artists, and famous composers, just to name a few. It also contains the full text of important United States documents complete with links to other sources. Well beyond what most planners offer, but so nice to have consolidated in one place and at your fingertips if you need to look something up.
My favorite part though is the forms. There are forms for everything! For "school" type stuff, there are annual plans, yearly goals, curriculum planning, educational objectives and so many more it's impossible to list them all. Some don't apply to my homeschool now, and some may never apply, but that's the beauty of this electronic planner... you can print what you need, and save yourself the cost of pages you don't need. My favorite form, given that we have spent many years as unschoolers, is the "Unschooling Record Form". Only TOS could find a way create a record form for unschooling, and it's really good! Also, there are forms for books read, websites visited, field trips, extracurricular activities, crafts done, and science labs, just to name a few. And record keeping pages like nature study pages. There is truly nothing that they have not though of.
Finally, there is a section for home as well. And again the forms are amazing and comprehensive. You know all those ting you should keep record of but don't? Things like warranty info and household inventory? Well, there are forms for all that. And garden plans. And lists of things loaned and borrow. And it just goes on from there. I'm telling you it's crazy that they could even have thought of all this!
Our church is finally done building out our first building, and I can finally turn my attention to planning my homeschool year. I don't have much time, and normally I'd be in panic mode. But I have never been so excited about doing planning as I am now that I have The Schoolhouse Planner in hand.
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4 comments:

Randi Sue said...

I might need to check that out again.

DebiH. said...

Last year I used Amy Knapp's Homeschooling Organizer. I relly liked it and planned to order it for this year. The 2008-2009 palnner is not available until August 18th , I think, so I have been planning to order it this week. But, I think I will check out the Schoolhouse Planner first! Thanks for sharing.

DebiH. said...

I really do spell better that it appears in the previous comment :) When reading my comments, just assume I am typing with one hand and nursing a baby:)

5Gustos said...

Thanks for the review. I've actually had my eye on this planner. Now I'll just have to wait for funding, and jump right in!