Education Review: The Old Schoolhouse Planner

The Old Schoolhouse 2009 Planner

I’ve often said that The Old Schoolhouse Magazine is my favorite homeschooling magazine and the best homeschooling magazine I’ve ever seen. Even after reading issue after issue for five years now, I still devour each one that arrives in my mailbox. I read it from cover to cover and save every copy to refer to later. It’s that good!

TOS recently gave me a free copy of their 2009 Old Schoolhouse Planner to review. I was able to use the 2008 Planner last year and was excited to have the same opportunity this year. Not surprisingly, the Planner meets all of my expectations and provides even more than I had hoped for.

With 375 pages, the digital Schoolhouse Planner has virtually everything you could possibly want in a planner. (I only say ‘virtually’ because there’s always a chance someone will think of something else they’d like to see. For me, it really does have everything I could want plus much, much more.) The first part of the planner has calendars for the next four years – 2009-2012.

Following the calendars comes a section that I suppose you could call “Resources for Every Month.” Each of the 12 months (running from July 2009 to June 2010) has an education section, a Schoolhouse Store Resource List, and two recipes contributed by homeschooling families. (If you like fried chicken, you might want to try my healthier Oven Fried Chicken recipe which is included on page 78 of the Schoolhouse Planner.)

My personal favorites in this section are the educational pieces. Here is a run-down of the topics for each month:

  • The Thirteen Colonies
  • Ten Keys to Success Learning Math in the Decimal System and a Multiplication Table
  • Weather and Cloud Types
  • House Fires Happen and Emergency Preparedness
  • American Government Basics and Branches of Federal, State, and Local Governments
  • Learning to Spot the Planets
  • Using Letter Writing to Connect the Generations and Letter Writing Tips & Samples
  • The Miracles of Jesus and The Parables of Jesus
  • Dead Languages, Common Latin Roots, and Common Greek Roots
  • Lap Books
  • Getting Into College
  • Homeschooling Around the World and Landforms

The next section has more educational information/resources that I believe were also included in last year’s planner – but they’re still useful, of course. Just to name a few of the pieces:

  • Timeline of Inventions
  • Measurement Conversions
  • Important U.S. Documents
  • Famous Artists

The fourth section is likely the reason most people would buy the Schoolhouse Planner – the forms! Seventy-five homeschool forms and more than 40 household forms. The hardest part is deciding where to begin!

I started out by filling in the Year Goals form for my older two boys. It was hard – what do I want them to learn and accomplish over the next year? – but it will be very helpful for me to see these goals in black and white throughout the year. The Schoolhouse Planner contains useful forms for every style and method of homeschooling – from the strictest scheduled approach to the most relaxed unschooling style, the Schoolhouse Planner has forms to fit your needs. I can’t begin to go over everything you’ll be able to record with these forms, but I’ll name a few:

  • Bible Memorization Record
  • Daily Grade Recording (1 and 2)
  • Audio/Video Log
  • Books Read This Year
  • Field Trip Planning
  • Science Lab Sheet
  • Co-op Information

All of the forms (and other pages) are printable and can easily be printed one-page-at-a-time as you need them. The forms can either be printed and filled out by hand or you can type information into the spaces provided and then print. You can save the Schoolhouse Planner under different names so that you’ll have a copy for each child.

The only thing I wish is that you could somehow save only a page or a set of pages. For example, I filled out the Yearly Goals form and would like to be able to save just that page – with a filename like Nick-YearlyGoals.pdf – to open at a later time. I don’t plan to print the pages because I’m cheap frugal and prefer to use my printer ink only when absolutely necessary. It would be much quicker to open the specific page/file I want instead of opening the 300+ page planner and having to scroll to the form I would like to see. Of course, this may be possible and I just haven’t discovered how to do it.

Just as TOS advertises, the Schoolhouse Planner is much more than just a planner. I don’t think any family could ever use every single form, recipe, and bit of educational information that is included. It’s just too much! But I know that every single family can glean many enjoyable and useful materials from within its pages.

The Old Schoolhouse Planner is available for $39.00.

© 2009, Cindy. All rights reserved.

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