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Schoolhouse Planner = easy homeschool planning

Are you a planner? Are you a wanna-be? You have *got* to check out the new Schoolhouse Planner from Old Schoolhouse Magazine.

(You can get a sneak peek of the Planner, including the full Table of Contents and sample pages, at The Schoolhouse Store,

The first thing I noticed when I opened up the PDF file was the little message at the top that told me I could “add comments and markups to this document.” I was grinning with delight when I realized what it meant–I can personalize the pages before printing them out! (I just now typed my brother’s name and address into the address pages, and… it worked!)

That works so well for our visual learners! They hate a printed form with handwritten adjustments. Sometimes I’ll print a form off the Internet and then re-create it in Word or Publisher just to have it personalized and all in the same font so as not to drive Certain People to distraction! (Names withheld in the interest of peace.)

The second thing that struck me was the sheer size of the document. 247 pages!

(For those feeling overwhelmed right about now: Don’t panic! It doesn’t take 247 pages of work to get organized! *g* Remember that a planner is your helper, not your taskmaster!)

I scrolled through the Table of Contents and my grin grew. There are so many wonderful resources here, tailored to the homeschooling life and beautifully organized for practical use.

You see, the Schoolhouse Planner is organized like a calendar, with lots of resources added. In brief, you’ll find…
– calendar pages
– helpful and informative articles about homeschooling, both learning and life
– recipes
– resource lists (These aren’t like the bibliography in a book where you have to write down the information and then chase down the resource you’re looking for–instead you have clickable links that take you to where you can get the resource!)
– reference charts you can use in your home and homeschool
– even historical documents!

Month by month, from now until June 2009, you’ll find all these gems. It’s sort of like having a calendar and almanac rolled into one.

But wait! (the children chime in. they have seen entirely too much television this summer.) There’s more!

Following the calendar/almanac are two sections of planning and organizing forms, one for your homeschool and one for running your household.

It looks to me like a bunch of homeschooling veterans got together and brainstormed every form that might come in handy for a homeschooling family, and then they designed the forms to be useful and friendly, and included them here. There are forms for planning, for recording information, even forms for your students to use (science labs, for example, and nature notebooks, and more)!

The variety of forms is eclectic in nature; that is, there are forms suited to unschooling, literature-based studies, unit studies, textbook-based learning and probably more than I can think of, what with my mug of tea empty. (Cars run on gasoline, most of them… I run on tea. And sometimes chocolate. If it’s a challenging day, maybe both together.)

You probably won’t need every form here, but there’s a nice selection to choose from, to let you tailor this planning resource to your family’s style and needs. From the first stages of planning your curriculum to the end result, or recording test scores and evaluating your students, with stops along the way for field trips, nature journaling, experiments and activities (just to name a few), you’ll find inspiration and homeschool help at the click of a mouse.

Then there are the household forms!

Here you’ll find just about everything you could think of needed to keep the home fires burning. (In my case, more than I’d thought of. I kept looking through the forms, exclaiming to myself, “Hey, that’s a great idea!” and “Wow.” Just, “Wow,” and a thoughtful nod of the head, or a rueful shake of the head, thinking of things that might have been, if we’d been a little more deliberate in our living.)

I could take a couple of hundred words or more, here, to list all the forms available, from menu-planning to gardening, organizing chores, budgeting… Let’s just say that you’ll find an amazing variety of forms for managing home and homeschool.

There are cute forms with illustrations suited to your very young family members along with the more grown-up forms (*sigh* I still remember when our youngest insisted she was too grown up for pictures on her chore sheet.)

There’s even a plan for reading through the Bible in a year. It starts in July, but don’t worry. It’s never too late to start. You can either jump in at today’s date, or just start checking off Bible readings as you go through them.

I’ll tell you one thing I’m going to do: I’m going to use some of these household forms to train our dc in life skills. There are some great resources here, home maintenance and gardening and budgeting, as I mentioned.

I love the versatility of the Schoolhouse Planner. You can print out all the pages and put them in a binder, writing on them as you see fit, or you can customize pages right on your computer and then print them out, or you can print individual pages as you need them.

In days to come, we’ll be walking through the steps of planning our homeschool year. For now, get a year-at-a-glance calendar that covers August 2008 through July 2009 (you can do this on the Internet, at a site that lets you customize and print free calendars such as — or just print out pages 8 and 9 from The Schoolhouse Planner) and meet me here tomorrow.

(As the Lord allows, of course.)