I’m starting my TOS Homeschool Crew career off right by reviewing a tremendous resource for the homeschooling family: The 2009 Schoolhouse Planner. When I first receieved this e-book file and opened it for what I thought would be a quick perusal, I was taken aback by the fact that it is 375 pages long. 375 pages! Obviously, there is much more to this than just a mere calendar. I should probably admit right at the beginning of this post that I do not consider myself a very organized person. Although I do not usually miss appointments or forget important dates, I have tried various methods of keeping myself on track with homekeeping, menu planning, and decluttering, only to fall of the wagon when the going gets tough. I am excited about the 2009 Homeschool Planner because I believe it will provide me with some new tools to help me in doing some of these things in addition to my new responsibility, come August: being the facilitator of Lulu’s kindergarten education.
Okay, so on to the planner. This is what it includes:
- calendar pages
- educational articles
- miscellaneous educational information
- homeschool forms
- household forms
It goes without saying that calendars are a very important organizational tool. Currently, I use no fewer than three calendars to organize my life, from the family calendar stuck to the side of our refrigerator to the desk calendar which holds my menu plans to the Google calendar I recently set up to keep up with future blog posts. With the beginning of the upcoming school year quickly approaching, now I can add the calendars in the 2009 Schoolhouse Planner to that list! The calendars in 2009 Schoolhouse Planner include both year-at-a-glance calendars for 2009-2012 and monthly calendars for 2009. The monthly calendars are designed to open up as a two-page spread (they cover two pieces of paper), so the daily squares are large enough to write in. The best part, though, is that the documents are all typable. (Is that a word?) That is, once you purchase and upload this e-book, you can type on any of the documents, personalize them, and save or print them for your very own use. For someone like me whose handwriting got exponentially worse with every college degree I earned, this is priceless. I truly love this feature of this resource!
Also included in the 2009 Schoolhouse Planner are educational articles, one per month, covering topics as diverse as lapbooks, getting into college, the thirteen colonies, weather, and more. These articles are written by names recognized in the homeschool community for their various specialty areas. The articles are followed by at-a-glance charts full of information about the topic of focus and a fully clickable list of TOS resources that pertain to that topic. This is a great resource if unit studies are a part of your homeschool because it provides a generous overview of the topic as well as an organized list of where to go for more information.
Have I mentioned lately that I like to cook and bake? Well, once upon a time before I found my blogging niche, I even used to dabble in posting recipes here at Hope Is the Word. It follows, then, that the next feature of the 2009 Schoolhouse Planner is one that I love–recipes! These recipes are from the kitchens of last year’s TOS Crew and other staff members, so they are family friendly and taste-tested. I love that they are mostly from homeschooling mothers, so they likely pass the dinner-in-a-hurry and budget-friendly tests. I am eager to try out Daddy-O’s Tasty Delicious Chicken Tacos and Loaded BBQ Potato Casserole. There are a two recipes per month included for a total of twenty-four recipes. Yum!
The miscellanous educational information is a great resource of just that–miscellaneous charts and graphs full of things you need to know. Included in this section are U.S. Presidents and their wives, the periodic table of the elements, a world history timeline, wonders of the ancient and modern world, and more. The charts that would be the most useful to me (if not my children just yet) are the kitchen conversion cheat sheet and the measurement conversions chart. I’m thinking about laminating the kitchen conversions and putting it on my refrigerator! Seriously, the miscellaneous educational information section of this planner contains a lot of useful information in a very compact format.
Oh boy. The homeschool forms section of the planner is right at 120 pages long and chock full of forms that I don’t even know I need yet, I’m so new to homeschooling. 🙂 What I love about this (and the rest of the planner) is that the TOS folks who put this planner together had the foresight to realize that not everyone likes to do things the same way, so they include variations on just about every type of form included. For example, within this section three types of weekly planning sheets are included: the first one is a grid of days of the week vs. subjects; the second, a grid of days of the week vs. children; and the third, a simple two-column chart with subjects in the first column and a space for weekly goals/lesson plans in the second. Truly, they’ve thought of just about everything. This section is good for the education of preschoolers up through high school students. I would imagine that this section of the 2009 Schoolhouse Planner contains forms that would meet almost any documentation need a homeschooling family could have.
The last section of the planner, household forms, is my favorite (well, after the recipe section). Steady Eddie and I have the same conversation at the beginning of every month: we need to make a master grocery list so that we don’t have to “recreate the wheel” in preparation of making what we hope is our huge monthly grocery run. The problem is, we never get around to actually creating such a document. When I opened up the 2009 Schoolhouse Planner, I was tickled to find two different types of grocery lists, as well as monthly and weekly menu planning charts and a food inventory log. I’ve already used one of the grocery list forms with great success. (I mean, I came home with everything I intended to purchase–that doesn’t always happen!) The neatest thing about this is the fact that you can input your own information into these documents, as I already mentioned. Also included in the household forms section are also chore charts, budgeting sheets, prayer journal pages, garden planning pages, gift wish lists–you get the idea. Just about anything you can think of is included in here, and more! While my home is usually anything but immaculate and completely organized, I dream of finding that perfect system that enables me to get it all done. I hope that some of these new organizational tools will help me get closer to that goal. (A girl can dream, right? 😉 )
I think this 2009 Schoolhouse Planner will be a great help for me as I embark on this new journey. In fact, there is a 3-ring binder currently on my scrapbooking table which I am pretty-ing up to house some of these organizational tools. I’m calling it “Amy’s Brain.” 😉 (I’ll try to upload a picture later when I finish it.) For those who are genetically predisposed to organization, some of these tools might be old hat, but to me, a girl who always carried everything I needed to remember in my brain only until my second child came along, this just might be a lifesaver. If you just want a plain old calendar, skip the $39.00 price tag. However, if having all of these great organizational tools and interest-generating educational resources at your fingertips is appealing, purchase the 2009 Schoolhouse Planner. I think I’ll be glad to have a system in place once the school year officially begins!