Monday, June 15, 2009

Product Review: The 2009 Schoolhouse Planner

They say that curiosity killed the cat. I know that at times it has killed my budget. The latest, greatest homeschool product hits the shelves, and I, being the school-supply addict that I am, just have to buy it. I want to see if it is as great as everyone says.

When TOS Magazine's Schoolhouse Store released The 2009 Schoolhouse Planner, my curiosity was once again piqued. Every time one of their ads or newsletters hit my inbox, I wanted to click and buy. I kept telling myself not to do it. I had determined not to spend money this year on anything other than curricula.

However, when I was given the opportunity to review this product as a member of the 2009-2010 TOS Homeschool Crew, curiosity won out. I just could not resist the opportunity and had to see the planner for myself.

WOW! Really, that is all that needs to be said. Nonetheless, I have given my word that I will write thorough and helpful reviews, so allow me to elaborate.

The first 145 pages contain a wealth of helpful information. This first third (approximately) of the book is divided into twelve sections, one for each month. Each section begins with a month-at-a-glance calendar, and there are easy-to-follow instructions on printing these pages and binding them.

Each month's section also offers information on a different theme. This information is presented in short, easy-to-read essays and charts. Some could be used as the basis for thematic units. Others provide mentoring. The sections are written by some of the most trusted names in homeschooling, such as Dr. Jay L. Wile, Amanda Bennett, and Molly Green. Themes covered range from "Weather" to "What's So Great about Dead Languages?". There is even a section on "Getting into College" with a month-by-month checklist for tackling this process. What I found most helpful was the page full of links to other resources that ended each of these sections.

If that weren't enough, there is a recipe for each month. These are not "theme-based" recipes, like cloud-shaped cookies for "Weather". These are melt-in-your-mouth, fill-up-your-crew recipes like "Ginny's Crockpot Beef Stew". If that doesn't have your mouth watering, keep reading. The best is yet to come.

As I flipped (clicked) through pages 146-374, I could not believe my eyes. What I saw was page after page after page of forms that I need, forms that I dread having to make myself, forms that I know I will use time and time again. There is a form for annual planning, goal setting, logging hours, evaluations, reading lists, menu planning…. If there is a form that a homeschool parent needs to stay organized, it is there.

Best of all, The 2009 Schoolhouse Planner is a downloadable e-book, easy to save to your hard drive, disk or flash drive. Everything you need to keep your schoolhouse running can be contained in one file and in an easy-to-print format. For those you who like to keep hard copies, you can print the entire book and easily organize it into a three-ring binder. When you need a form, pull it and photocopy. However, you can also print just the page you need in the quantity you need.

Priced at $39, The 2009 Schoolhouse Planner is quite a bargain. Some of the forms contained in it are ones that I have spent hours finding and compiling from other sources or making myself. Some are ones I know I will need in the future. Some are forms I wish I had found when I was starting out as a new homeschool mom. I would pay $39 just for these forms and the saved time. The additional charts, links, calendars, recipes and wealth of information simply make it a deal that should not be passed up.

I have to say that this time curiosity did not kill but instead saved the cat. If you are curious as to how the planner can help you, click here for more information or to purchase a copy of your own.

Check back soon as I continue the "Plan-It School" series. I will share more with you on how I am putting my new BFF (a.k.a. The 2009 Schoolhouse Planner) to use.


Kelli said...

Great review! It is so funny for me to read that most everyone's initial reaction was "wow!" LOL

Chris Worthy said...

I enjoyed your review and I can't wait to come back and see how you are using the planner!

Heather said...

Great Review. Because you are my trusted friend, I put even more stock into what you say. I will definitely consider purchasing this product. You know my obsession for organization. And you know I'm new at this homeschool "thing". Thanks for an insightful review.

Mrs. White said...

You did a great job on this review!
Mrs. White

Heather said...

I can see why you were chosen for the "Crew"!

Christy@MercyEveryMorning said...

You did a great job, Dawn! :)

Gingerbread Mommy said...

Great review! Can't wait to see what else you get to review. This'll be a fun journey together!

Sarah .aka. mamalotsoftots said...

hi! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the Planner. I'm excited to use it! I am trying to gather lots of different ideas for how people use it. ;D

Sheri said...

Very good indeed. I must boast here for a second-my mother in law gave the Mexican Lasagna recipe to me and now it is in the planner-we're sorta famous, but not really...LOL...but it is a family fav.
Welcome to the crew dear. I can see you'll be (are) a great asset to TOS!