I am an organization junkie. (Is that an oxymoron?) Anyway, I do love organizing around the house, and I love to make sure that my days, weeks, and months are planned out ahead of time. That’s why I am so excited about the new Schoolhouse Planner from The Old Schoolhouse magazine. It is an amazing collection of useful planning forms for your home AND your homeschool. This dual nature is what sets it apart from other planners. It is not just a homemaking planner or a homeschool planner, but it integrates both into one package.
The first 122 pages have single-page calendars for 2008 and 2009 as well as a two-page calendar for each month of this school year. (July 2008 – June 2009). For each month, there is a theme. For each of these themes, there is a fact sheet, a resource list from the The Old Schoolhouse, an article by a homeschooling expert, and two recipes. (These recipes don’t actually follow the theme, but they are somewhat seasonal to go with each month.) For example, the month of January 2009, has an article by Terri Johnson (www.knowledgequestmaps.com) entitled "Must I Teach Geography?". There is a fact sheet listing all the states, capitals, postal abbreviations, and date of statehood. In addition, there are links to various resources to aid in your study of geography and recipes for Easy Taco Soup and Homestead Originals Chicken Soup.
The next section of the planner contains the homeschool forms. There are 41 different forms. These range from Annual Plans and Yearly Goals forms to a 12-year plan form. There are forms to record grades and a form for unschooling records. Also included are forms for co-op planning, field trip planning, nature study, science labs, books read, and memory work. The Old Schoolhouse has really gone the extra mile creating a place for recording items that are often overlooked.
The final section of the planner contains 32 forms for household management. These include several varieties of chore charts and menu planners as well as a page for important phone numbers. Some of the more unique forms are a garden planning checklist and garden plans, a loaned and borrowed list, directions to new places, and a pet’s health log.
I would consider this planner a hybrid between an on-line planner and a paper planner. It can be used completely as a paper planner. Just print the pages you need and write on them. However, the designers have made this planner so that you can easily add your personal information. For instance, you can type in important dates on the calendar before you print. You could make a complete customized grocery list by typing in your staple items to the grocery list form. There are so many possibilites for making this planner your own.
I have just started putting together my own personal planner using the Schoolhouse planner. I am excited about combining the tools I need for my two biggest jobs – educating my children and managing my home – into one convenient notebook. I think the additional organization will help me to run my home and my homeschool more efficiently. This product would be a benefit to the organizational junkie and the organizational newbie alike.