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Homeschool Crew Review: The 2009 Schoolhouse Planner

 

For years I’ve made and refined my own planners, but the current one is no longer working for me.  Off and on, the past few weeks, I’ve pondered how to design something that would work at this stage of my life as a home schooling, gardening, homemaking, blogging, living mom.  I wrote down, in my dysfunctional little planner, that I should find a better planner, and voila!  There it was!  Seriously.   Up on my computer screen popped an offer to review The 2009 Schoolhouse Planner!  What a perfect way to start the Homeschool Crew reviewing adventure

  

 

 

Summary

This planning e-book is HUGE!  It contains 375 pages of information, mini-studies, and forms of all sorts. The household and home school forms—all 224 pages of them—can be filled in on your computer and then printed out with your information on them.

 

 

Details

The 2009 Schoolhouse Planner: Making a Plan for School and Home is an e-book.  You buy it online and can then download it to your own computer immediately, which is very handy.  It begins with a six page table of contents, making everything easy to find. 

 

Next come twelve monthly sections, each containing an article by a well-known home school author, a useful information page, a list of related resources from The Schoolhouse Store, and two recipes. The articles are on topics such as:  “The Thirteen Colonies,” “Weather,” “Jesus’ First Miracle,” and “The Basics of Getting Into College.”  The information pages range from a list of Jesus’ parables and miracles to a multiplication table, and from emergency preparedness to a list of basic lap book supplies.  The full-page resource lists are linked to The Schoolhouse Store so it is easy to learn more about each resource.  The recipes look yummy, quick, and simple, just what a busy home school mom needs. 

 

After the monthly sections comes a quick list of lists: countries and capitals, kitchen and measurement conversions, U.S. Presidents, History Timeline, Famous Artists, and more.

 

And then comes the meat of the book: the forms, divided into one section for home school forms and one for household forms.  Both sections begin with a helpful set of instructions, full of hints on how to use the different forms. Each of the forms can be filled out on the computer and then printed containing your own information.  Note, however, that individual pages cannot be saved; to save what you type in, you need to save the entire planner.

 

Home school forms

 

There are planning, goal, and curriculum forms;  evaluation, grade, progress, and transcript forms; daily and weekly schedules of all sorts and for various numbers of children;  memory work, reading, craft, video and field trip forms; nature journals, co-op planners, book reports, community service logs, and penmanship pages, and more.  There is even a form for mom to list the encouragement she received from support group meetings, conventions, and books, as well as a detailed school supply list.

 

Household Forms

 

This section, too, is full of helpful forms.  There are health forms, home-keeping forms, and home improvement project forms; daily schedules, grocery lists, menu planners and food inventories; chore charts for readers and non-readers; budget forms and gift lists; prayer journal and Bible reading pages; forms to organize your garden, remember birthdays, inventory your appliances, plan vacations and parties, maintain the health of your pets and your vehicles, and to keep track of passwords, borrowed items, directions, and addresses.    

 

More information is available here.

 

How I’m Using It

 

This planner is so thorough, you almost need a plan to use it!  This is what I did:

-print the table of contents,

-print the two sets of instructions for the forms

-look through the entire book on the computer, using the forms instruction pages to understand each form

-mark the margins of the table of contents for information and forms I’d like to use

-print out the forms I want as I need them

-print out all the monthly calendars (next week’s project)

-make a note on each monthly calendar to check the planner to see what forms I will need that month (next week’s project)

 

I plan to use various parts of the information section, and we will make Canadian pages corresponding to some of the specifically U.S. pages, such as “U.S. Presidents” and “States and Capitals,” and “Branches of Federal, State, and Local Governments.”  We’ll use the original U.S. pages as part of a study of the U.S.  The advantage of the information section is that we can print only what we need for each child, and everything is nicely organized with no effort on my part.

 

The recipes, although not gluten-free, can mostly be altered to suit our family.  They look like the kind of recipes our children will love to eat and to make, and we will be trying many of them, month by month. 

 

I’ll be able to use quite a few of the forms.  What I like is that my own new weekly to do pages will fit in one section of my binder, and the Schoolhouse Planner forms in another.  I also store the table of contents and the forms instructions in the binder, ready to use.  Some of the forms, about the dogs and home repair, will go into our family’s filing cabinet rather than stay in the binder I lug about with me. 

 

So far I’ve used the goals sheet, listing summer goals for each child on one page.  I’m so glad I did, for otherwise some wonderful summer projects would have been forgotten.

 

I am also using the Home Improvement Project Outline to help me plan how to plan the school year!  It’s a lovely form for all sorts of projects, with space to list the different steps you want to take and the supplies you need to price. 

 

And then, of course, there are the different home school planning sheets.  Although some of them don’t suit our educational situation exactly,  I’ll be able to use the Planner forms as examples to help me make my own… and that is a whole lot easier than trying to set things up from scratch!  Of course, we can use most of the forms as is.

 

It will be wonderful to have access to all these forms as we re-organize our home and school this summer, fitting in both a second high schooler and the Homeschool Crew reviewing, as well as streamlining all the other things we do. 

   

My Opinions

When I first tried to work with the 2009 Schoolhouse Planner, I was disappointed because it is not possible to save each page individually after filling it in.  (You need to save the whole planner to save a single page.)  Now, however, after studying many of the forms, I’ve come to realize what a wonderful resource this is.  Whether it is worth the cost for you depends on how well your current planner is working for you, how organized you are already, and how much room there is in your home school budget.

 

And, yes, as a do-it-yourself mom on a budget, I could have put much of this planner together myself.  The thing is, I just never thought of most of the forms—just like no one but Columbus thought of crossing the Atlantic.  Unless you have oodles of time to reinvent the wheel, or are already organized, I recommend buying the Schoolhouse Planner.  It is inspiring and will help you plan your year any way you wish.  

 

The increased organization in your life will save more than the cost of the planner—perhaps by avoiding late fees for library books, remembering to use books you own vs buying new ones, organizing home repair projects yourself, avoiding one unnecessary meal out, using the budget forms, or any number of other ways….  What’s more, you will be able to use most of the planner for years to come. 

 

Purchase Information and More Reviews

The 2009 Schoolhouse Planner e-book is available here for $39 US.  If you order before July 12 you also get the 2008 planner excerpts free.  

 

If you wish more people’s opinions on this planner, check out the TOS Homeschool Crew’s blog. At the bottom of the overview is a huge list of reviews which will help you decide whether or not the Planner is for you.

 

Added July 13, 2009:  I just found out that there IS a method to save individual pages, described between the second and third pictures of Hillary’s review.   

6 Comments

  1. SevenSmiths says:

    I really like how you wrote this. Very informative, very easy to read. I agree with what you've written! Great job! If I didn't already have one, I'd want to buy one!

  2. proverbsmama says:

    What a fantastic job you did on explaining the details of this planner! I have wondered for a long time if I should invest in one, especially being that we only have one child. I still think I'll hold off for now, but it did help to see what all they have to offer.

  3. LarabaK says:

    Thanks for the review!

    Do you think this would be more helpful for older children? Our eldest is only 9. I'm moderately organized but not incredibly organized. I should pray about getting this…

    Laraba

  4. LarabaK says:

    Hi AnnieKate,

    Just wanted to let you know I sent you a private message through the homeschool blogger system.

    God bless, Laraba

  5. AnnieKate says:

    Hi Laraba,

    I think the planner is more geared to younger children than older ones. If you study the table of contents link in the blog, you'll be able to see how much of it would benefit you, compared to what you already have. If I recall, you have the Marylin Rockett book, and I think it has forms as well. You may already have what you need for now.

    By the way, you strike me as being quite organized already, but I only know you through your posts, so I can't tell. 🙂

    Blessings,

    Annie Kate

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hi Annie Kate,

    Your review looks GREAT! Very informative.

    Thanks for letting me know my blog is loading slowly for you. It's doing it for me too but my computer is having problems right now, so I thought it was just me. I'll have to look into it.

    Also sorry it took me so long to reply to you. Like I said my computer is on the fritz. I really need to get it up and running better before all the reviews start in earnest.

    Tricia from the TOS CREW

    http://www.hilltophomeschool.blogspot.com/

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