If you are a frequent visitor of my review blog, you are probably used to my lengthy and somewhat wordy discussions concerning the featured product. Well, pull up a chair and grab a cup of Java...as this is no exception.
Even though I have extolled the benefits of the TOS 2008 Schoolhouse Planner, in a previous post; penning a couple meager paragraphs simply will not suffice in describing all the newest forms, articles, planning sheets, recipes,and the reference charts which simply, simplify a busy mother's life.
What I love about this year's planner, are the multitude of forms purposely addressing the unique situations my family faces when trying to organize our somewhat crazy life-which is difficult to say the least. We have one high school-aged daughter, so we need many of the record keeping forms for her. We have an early elementary aged son, therefore, I need something to schedule his assignments and activities as well. And to top it off, I care for my two year old nephew-which opens up a whole new can of worms for trying to organize his day! Now yes, I could [and have] sift through hoards of Internet sites that correlate to the month's activities, spend way too much time putting together a calendar and planner, and end up purchase a glitzy homeschool record keeping program [I do own one of these, but need to be real honest here, it is a pain! It continually proves to be a major frustration to me-I have come close to compromising my Christianity on way too many occasions due "lost" information, or crashes within the program] to "pull it all together and be organized" with our homeschool records and schedule. The TOS 2009 Schoolhouse Planner is much more "user friendly", so why should I bother trying to accomplish what it already does? I cannot think of a really good reason at all.
Upon inspection of the newest version, I quickly noted that it sports several, beefed-up, and quite helpful forms; which are just about perfect for scheduling and organizing my son's workboxes (now if you are unsure of what a workbox is, please visit my blog What's in the Box? for more information). Right off, I see the Unit Study and Daily Schedule forms will work nicely for putting fingers to 'puter [or I can just print the form and fill it in long hand] to record my ideas, and goals for the workbox stuffings. I wasn't quite sure how I was going to handle keeping track of everything I want to cover, use and implement into our system, and now-I have the means to do just that. These particular sheets address the need to schedule 1, and/or up to 5 children on one form (which is such a blessing to those with a larger brood to educate) and will definitely be used over and over again in our home. More often than not, I will be using the 2 Child Schedule for the little ones, and reserve one student form, for my daughter. This will force me to be much more organized, but I know that is something sorely needed around here; not to mention the fact that it will make our week go much more smoothly. I like that, I truly do.
[This is a sampler of one of the forms. Now after typing it out-I am thinking I will use all 10 spaces to plan for just Buddy's workboxes. That way I have the whole day on one sheet (we usually do just 9-11 boxes right now, and some are just "fun" boxes which do not need "planning" so the 10 spot form will work for me) instead of adding Baby D on there-I can wing his stuff at this point anyway.]
Like those Ginsu Knives commercials from years past, the mentioned forms are just the start! There are Co-Op planning sheets, which will be most helpful to anyone who is involved in them. Having served as a helper in one-I can attest to the need for something to outline the day's topics and projects. I am thinking these will come in quite handy when I start to organize my own little co-op in the future. Yes, I know they will be valuable additions to a smoother running program.
Another interesting aspect of the 375 page TOS Planner, are the articles sprinkled throughout it. These consist of just enough information to peak my interest, and offer more insight, links and ideas about the covered subjects. It is like having a mini-TOS magazine embedded within! Seriously now, I could go on and on, but rather I am urging you to go to the TOS page with the planners description to read about all the great forms included in this year's planner.
Furthermore (as you can probably imagine), I am thrilled to note here that sometimes the squeaky wheel does get the grease. In last year' review, I ended with a short synopsis of what tends to occur all too frequently in my home:
"...I did not see one form that I know I need desperately. So, I guess I will be creating one of my own [ah, but wait, I no longer need to fret!]. Or perhaps I will put a note in the suggestion box at TOS [it went right to the designer of the planner]. I did not see a form in which you could list all of the books in your library. I cannot tell you how many times I have re-bought a book I swore I didn't own; or was dismayed to discover that I did not own a book I swore I did (of course this has always happened on the day I needed the book!). I am sure I am not alone in this shameful practice".
Well, I am quite pleased to announce that TOS took my suggestion seriously by designing clever library forms in which I can (obviously, you too) just type in the information, and print up the page. I will then store them in a 3-ring binder for quick and easy reference. I cannot express the gratitude I have about this addition of the Homeschool Book Inventory form, to the TOS 2009 Schoolhouse Planner, but I bet my husband can! In these tough economic times, I can avoid making costly mistakes, by not purchasing duplicate materials for our homeschool, thanks to this fabulous organization option. Overall, I am quite pleased about owning this snappy planner.
Lastly, I have two suggestions for improving next year's planner. The first is in regard to the unique planning needs of the workbox system. Having some forms specifically designed to address the workbox system scheduling, (not that one cannot modify the existing ones, as I have already pointed out) would be a wonderful blessings indeed. Secondly, when I download the program, it sure would be nice to have it automatically create a short-cut icon to my desktop. I spend more time looking for this, in my huge file collection, than I care to (I am really the one with the problem, not the program, as I am sure there are ways to correct this)-but anything to make it quickly accessible, would totally be the "cherry on top" to an already great product.
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TOS 2009 Schoolhouse Planner
$39.00 E-Book (includes the 2008 Planner Excerpts free if you purchase before July 12, 2009)
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