Saturday, August 9, 2008

Review: The Schoolhouse Planner & Contest

Let me just get this out of the way right now.

I was not expecting to be half as amazed with The Schoolhouse Planner as I am. Not by a long shot.

Why? Because finding the "right" planner for me has proven to be incredibly difficult over the years.

I've looked at countless other planners before (digital, software, 3-ring, spiral bound--you name it), each promising a smooth running household within its pages. Yet none were just right for me or my family. I needed to find the perfect compliment to my Type A personality disorder.

My dream planner would include adequate space to record my children's homeschool information, our budget, phone numbers, chore lists and grocery shopping. I didn't want to have to scour the Internet looking for individual pages anymore, nor keep settling for "close-but-not-quite-but-it'll-do-for-now."

All I wanted was for my brain's stored up, only-accessible-by-me information to kept in a clear, organized fashion. Preferably on the kitchen counter.

After all, what if I... took a 6 month vacation in Aruba became seriously ill? My hubby would need to know when the cable bill was due, who had a doctor's appt, and where the kids were at in their lessons, right?


Enter, The Schoolhouse Planner.

The Schoolhouse Planner, which contains almost 250 pages worth of organizational bliss, opens with a 2008-09 calendar. Each month has its own set of encouraging articles, a resource list of products to coordinate with that month's theme (items can be purchased from The Old Schoolhouse's e-store), recipes, a printable calendar page with plenty of space to write in, and really cool informational sheets.

Examples of these sheets include;

  • List of famous composers and their works
  • Lists of the 7 Wonders of both the Ancient and Modern World
  • U.S. Presidents--their terms in office and their wives
  • Measurement conversion charts
  • Copies of the Bill of Rights, Constitution and Louisiana Purchase (!)
  • And--my personal fave--the Periodic Table of Elements! (Now I can cheat at Jeopardy refresh my memory.)

From there, the Planner goes into a Homeschool Forms section.

This handy section contains any form you could possibly think of to keep track of your homeschool's progress. (I'm not kidding.) Literally, a registrar's office at your finger tips.

Forms such as:

  • Annual plans, yearly goals, and educational objectives
  • Lesson planning and recording
  • Test scores
  • Support group and co-op info
  • End of the year evaluation and report cards
  • Field trip planning and log
  • Science lab data sheets
  • Extra curricular and outside classes logs
  • Nature journal
  • Reading log
  • Curriculum vendors and contact info
  • Even a Continuing Education & Recreation form for the parent(s), are all included.

I was duly impressed with how it also included forms for both Unit Study and Unschooling record keeping. With ours being a more eclectic homeschool, this was especially nice to see.

The final section is all Household Forms. And this folks, is where my list-making addiction soars to new heights!

Not only does it contain the usual lists for grocery shopping, menu planning, chore charts, etc. But it also contains incredibly helpful pages like;

  • Budget planning and bill paying
  • A gift wish list (think holiday time!)
  • Handy food inventory sheet (so you don't end up with 4 bottles of syrup in your pantry--ahem)
  • Babysitter info
  • Pet health log ("When is Fluffy due for her rabies shot again?")
  • Loaned & borrowed list (useful when there's a lot of curriculum or book swapping going on)
  • Monthly and weekly home keeping reminders
  • Garden planning
  • And, something I'd never seen before, a Directions to New Places sheet! (No more getting lost! Ha!)

Oh, and another thing. Because of its handy PDF format, all the forms are interactive. Meaning, you can simply type in your necessary info onto any page, and hit print!

No writing cramps. :o) Neat, huh?

As you can tell, this is one incredibly detailed, and highly functional planner. Honestly, only a group of homeschool moms could have put such a complete directory together. (Talk about your brain-in-a-binder!)

And as promised, one of my lucky-ducky bloggy pals will win their very own copy of this fantabulous planner.

To enter, simply post a comment telling me why YOU need this Planner. No need to be detailed. A simple, "Because I know where you live" works just fine.

The winner will be randomly selected and announced on Wednesday morning. Good luck!

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