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Read Aloud Thursday

It seems like things have gotten a little off track here at the House of Hope in the past week.  I always strive to finish (or mostly finish) Lulu’s kindergarten lessons before lunchtime, but this week it seems that we’ve usually only started the formal stuff (phonics, math) after lunch.  I’m trying to realize that this is a season in my life–one in which I move incredibly slowly and sometimes painfully (I have back issues which have been greatly aggravated by this pregnancy).  This really puts a crimp in my plans sometimes.  Plus, I’m trying to be a more relaxed homeschooler–to realize that no, we can’t do it all in one day, and that’s okay.  Anyway, what this has meant is that we have been doing a fair amount of reading in the mornings on the couch.  While our read-alouds times in the morning usually do have some direction (i.e. either a FIAR book or go-along or something that goes with our human body study), we’ve also been doing a good amount of “free reading.”  We’ve picked up quite a few winners!

Rabbit Inn was almost returned to the library before we had a chance to read it, but I’m so glad I held it out for one more day!  Patience Brewster’s gentle little story is about a rabbit couple who are innkeepers.  When the Mrs., Pandora Lapinandro, learns that some important visitors are coming to Rabbit Inn, she begins to see her beloved home through new eyes:  it’s in disrepair!  It’s in disarray!  Quick, Bob, let’s clean this place up!  The job is too big for just the two bunnies, though, so Bob Lapinandro calls upon the residents at the inn to help them.  They willingly help, two-by-two.  By the time the visitors arrive, everything is in order, and Pandora can relax.  Three things are great about this book: first, it is (unexpectedly, I might add) perfect for the place our family is right now.  (I’ll let you figure that one out!  😉  )  Second, the words and illustrations are so very detailed.  Much of the story rhymes, and all of the animals have funny names.  Third, the fact that the animals all come in pairs made it easy to turn this book into a little mini-math review. (No, I don’t turn everything into a lesson, but some books make it easy, right?)   🙂  This book surprised me, and I’m glad we read it.  You can find out more about the author and illustrator, Patience Brewster, by visiting her website.

I’m putting in this next one not because I think anyone out there might miss Jan Brett, but because I’m still hoping to attend one of her book signings.  Although we enjoy her books at Christmas time, I don’t often check her out at other times during the year (although we did have a books for Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day that she illustrated).  Unlike these holiday books, Berlioz the Bear is illustrated in the way we’ve all come to recognize as her style:  with sidebars and “extra” illustrations to alert us, the readers, to what is going on elsewhere in the story.  The story of Berlioz is a good one, one that really engages young listeners.  Poor Berlioz is a double bass player who is trying to get to the village square for the gala ball his orchestra is scheduled to play in.  He has a problem, though:  his double bass is making a funny, buzzing noise.  Once all the other musicians arrive and they all board the bandwagon, though, his one problem quickly morphs into two problems:  a wagon wheel gets stuck in a hole soon after they begin their journey, and the mule pulling the wagon characteristically sits down in the road and refuses to budge.  Lots of well-dressed animals come to their rescue, but it’s Berlioz’s first problem that finally solves his second.  This one is fun both to read and look at!  I found this page of illustrated notes about the story that makes me like Jan Brett even more.  If you haven’t checked out her website, you really should.  It’s positively brimming over with good stuff:  coloring pages, contests, lesson plans, etc.

I have more books to share, but my girls are up from rest time.  Duty calls!  🙂

What is your family enjoying this week?  Please provide a link to a blog post or simply leave a comment.  Oh, and spread the word!  I’ve recently begun participating in What My Child Is Reading at Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns (when I can remember to link up, that is, since it’s a Saturday event).  I like to get Read Aloud Thursday out there as much as possible–the more the merrier, I say!

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Have a terrific Read Aloud Thursday!

Sick Day

Lulu awoke very early this morning, and after she had been up for a while she complained of having a sore throat.  I didn’t think much of it, really, and by the time this transpired we had already begun our school day.  We begin our “learning time” on our couch (or, for those not from the South, our sofa), reading together.  We read a Bible story, have a short devotion, work on our Bible memory passage.  Then, I usually read at least one book of each girl’s choosing.  Last, I read whatever I have chosen for that day’s focus:  usually it’s something science or FIAR-related.  Today it was more books about the skeleton/bones. 

After this, I usually supervise Lulu’s piano practice (and Louise’s, too–she has nothing formal to do, but she insists).  However, today Lulu just wasn’t up to it.  I gave her the option of watching a short DVD (which is something we never do at this time of day), and (of course), she chose to do that.  I had forgotten that we have a Bill Nye DVD about the skeleton borrowed from the library right now, so Bill Nye it was.  By the time the DVD was over (about 30 minutes), it was apparent that Lulu is indeed sick, so I scrapped the formal plans for the rest of the day.  I read three chapters from our current chapter book read-aloud, The Boxcar Children, and they would’ve listened to more.  Lulu then listened to part of the audiobook Akimbo and the Lions while Louise and I ate lunch since she had no appetite.  In fact, she dozed off while listening to the story.  While Lulu napped, Louise and I made some granola bars (from Family Feasts for $75 a Week, a book I hope to review soon).  When Lulu woke up, I coaxed her bribed her to take some Advil for the fever she had developed.  The bribe?  Watching the Molly movie together.  Now she and Louise are in their room listening to The Rescuers, if she isn’t already asleep.

I’m not giving a play-by-play of our day because I like to hear myself “talk,” I promise.  What I need is some good old homeschooling advice.  When is a sick day still a school day?  I have to keep records of how many days of school we have, and I’m honestly pretty desperate to get kindergarten finished before baby brother makes his appearance.  In fact, I’d like to finish as far in advance of the blessed event as possible.  Today we none of our formal work–phonics instruction, math, handwriting.  However, we have done an enormous amount of bookish things today–more than usual, in fact.  Upon the advice of some wise homeschooling parents over at The Well-Trained Mind forums, I’m counting today, but I’d like to hear more discussion about it.  (It’s really hard for me to silence my internal box-checker!)  If you homeschool your children, how does this all pan out in your school?  I’m all ears.

(If you’re interested in reading how this all turned out, go here.)

Friday Felicities

I’m getting a late start on this Friday morning.  Our schedule is sort of up in the air today due to a wintry mix (rain/sleet/snow?–what we usually get) that might hit our area later this afternoon.  Our homeschool group meeting was cancelled today, so here I sit, with an unplanned Friday ahead of me.  I’m thinking we might do some “catch-up” school and a fair amount of reading.  I also have a lot of cooking and baking to do today for some church events this weekend, so let’s get started on some happies for the last week of January:

  • My girls have played extremely well together this week for at least part of the time.  😉  (I’ll take what I can get!)  One day I even postponed starting school until almost lunchtime because they were having such a good time and playing cooperatively.  Lulu’s in kindergarten, right?  It should be about play!
  • I finished The Hunger Games on Thursday and was blown away.  Wow!
  • We grocery shopped last night (thank you, Lord, for a husband who’s willing to help with almost any chore!), so we have full cupboards, pantry, and refrigerator once again.  Such abundance!
  • Our homeschool group “faculty” met last night, too, to hammer out the rest of the year.  I’m blessed to a part of such a Godly group of ladies who genuinely care about educating our children.
  • I’ve been reliving mine and Steady Eddie’s honeymoon trip which occurred 10 1/2 years ago now through a final post I’m preparing for the L.M. Montgomery Reading Challenge (which ends this weekend!).  Stay tuned!
  • I’ve hit upon a few solutions for our school day that seem to be working (at the moment 😉 ).  One is having Louise illustrate books while Lulu and I work.  Louise can usually entertain herself very well, but during school time she really jockeys for attention.  She loves to draw and write, though, so I staple together several blank pieces of paper and let her create.  Later, she narrates her story to me, and I write it in her book.  She’s written three or four books this week!
  • The other solution has to do with Lulu and encouraging her growing ability and interest in reading.  Up until this week, I’ve kept most of our phonics readers put away so that I can get them.  This week, I pulled them out and put them in a basket in our reading corner where she and Louise can get them.  It’s working!  She has voluntarily read more (and more challenging) books than she has up until this point!

For more Friday Felicities, visit Joyful Mother!

Studypod

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I was sent a Studypod to review for TOS Homeschool Crew.    No, a Studypod is not some strange alien life form that will take over your home and ensure that your students actually study.  🙂  A Studypod is basically a portable book holder.  It holds a book open and in an upright position so that the user(s) can easily see it.  When I first looked at it, I knew it would be a useful piece of equipment.  However, since I have two small children for whom I am the book holder, I wasn’t really sure how I could put it to use now in order to write a review.  Well, I didn’t have to think too hard. Photobucket  I used on top of my kitchen counter as a recipe holder.  (I actually have a cookbook stand, but it is usually covered up by to-be-cooked-soon recipes.)  I really liked the fact that it is so light that it could be moved easily from one side of the stove to the other, unlike my cookbook holder.  I think it would be very useful to use next to the computer, too, especially if you have something long to type. Photobucket  I think Studypod is something that might save my neck (literally) if I had a lot of reading or typing to do.  The Studypod is very simply designed, and it even closes up like a book so that it can be stored on a bookshelf. I like that it includes a mesh pocket on the inside to hold pencils, pens, etc.Photobucket  At only $19.95, I think the Studypod is a good buy.  It is something I plan to keep around for when my girls are old enough to use it!

For more Studypod reviews, visit the  TOS Homeschool Crew blog!

TOS HS CREW long banner

First Week of Kindergarten

mnms

I began this week full of anticipation.  I even skipped out on Sunday evening church last Sunday to stay home and really get in some nitty gritty planning for our week.  Although Steady Eddie and I had spent a whole Saturday a few weeks ago lining out the year and what we hope to accomplish, school room construction (which we’re still in the thick of, by the way) had taken the wind out of my sails.  I stayed up late Sunday night, but Monday morning I was out of bed without too much procrastination because I was excited.

The week has gone smoothly, and it has been so good to be back in a routine.  🙂 

For reading instruction, we have done four days’ worth of lessons in Rocket Phonics, scrapping, at least for the time, our original curricular choices.  Lulu has loved the games that are a part of this curriculum, and Louise has even surprised me by jumping right into blending a consonant and short vowel with no problem at all.  Lulu has duly been introduced to digraphs, and she is currently not a fan.  Ah, but this will change.  🙂  She has only put her blanket over her head once the entire week, and I have only retreated to my bedroom once, hitting my knees with a desperate cry for mercy and help.  We’re doing really well.  😉

Lulu buh over head

Math has surprised me.  It has been lots of fun and easy for Lulu, which is great for the beginning.  That’s not the surprising part.  I’ve been surprised at how unwieldy it seems to me.  I can see that even for elementary school, mama is going to have to do a little bit of homework.  I’m not too good with following the script, so I need to be more comfortable with the philosophy and the nuts and bolts before we start doing something more complicated.  So far, it has been all about quantifying groups of items, sorting, and matching. 

goldfish

We have not begun our handwriting program yet because I failed to purchase the slates we needed.  This is probably an unnecessary piece of fluff, but it seems to me that it might indeed help Lulu with reversals (she has a really hard time with b and d still), and besides that, they will be fun.  Two slates, coming to our mailbox soon.  Then, handwriting.

We round out our academic day with a Five in a Row selection.  This week, it has been Storm in the Night with some go-alongs (a bookish post to come, of course) and activities from Homeschool Share.  The girls love this part of the day, of course, and look forward to it with great anticipation.  I have toyed with our schedule routine a bit and have finally decided that instead of doing this part of our learning time after rest time, as I originally planned, it works better for everyone to do it before. 

This week has brough its own little unexpected delights, as well.  For example, last night the girls and Steady Eddie found a dead cicada and promptly brought it into the house, where we placed it in a sandwich bag to add to our future bug collection.  This morning, we had an impromptu art/nature journaling session in which we all sketched the cicada.  In a fortuitous display of synchronicity, there was a newspaper article in our local paper this morning about these annual cicadas, complete with a picture.  Lovely!  Our next door neighbor is a county extension agent, and the fact that he was interviewed for the article absolutely delighted my girls. 

We have spent some time outdoors, and have even had an alfresco lunch every day this week.  This doesn’t happen by choice too often in the South in August, but we have had a few days of slightly cooler than normal temperatures.

Lulu crepe myrtle

alfresco lunch

I feel really good about where our year is going.  This is nice, especially after experiencing a lot of homeschool angst when public school started here a few weeks ago (and even before then).   What I can chalk this new-found resolution up to, besides lots of prayer from a select few people in my life pertaining to this particular issue, is an epiphany I had.  On Monday, this whole learning time/school day thing felt shockingly familiar.  I heard no angelic choir.  The heavens did not open.  It was then that I realized (DUH!) what I should have known all along:  we have always homeschooled our children.  It’s just that now it’s official.

Thank you, Lord, for this gift.

weekly wrap-up

(I had planned to make this first week of homeschooling a four-day week because we will usually have homeschool group on Fridays anyway, and besides, I want to take advantage of good weather while we still have it by either going swimming or to the park tomorrow.  That’s why I’m posting my weekly wrap-up on Thursday instead of Friday this week.  I will be linking this post to the Weekly Wrap-Up at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers on Friday.)

Kindergarten Plans

 NBTSbloghopI’ve been planning to share some of what we have planned for Lulu’s upcoming kindergarten year, and when I saw that the theme for the first week of Darcy’s month-long Blog Hop is curriculum, I decided to go ahead with it today.  I don’t have anything else to do.  😉 A few weekends ago, Steady Eddie and I spent all day on Saturday at his office with our binder and various books spread out on the conference table.  My goal was to have a rough idea of where we are headed, at least through Christmas, and I am pleased to say that I accomplished my goal (at least on paper). 

We plan to officially begin Lulu’s kindergarten year August 24.  My idea now is that we will be year-’round schoolers, but our summer school will be very light–two to three days a week at most.  I just couldn’t countenance the idea of starting something new in the middle of summer, despite the fact that the public schools start next week in our neck of the woods.  There are still almost two months of good swimming weather ahead of us here!  However, I think we’re all about ready to get into some sort of routine.  Now that we’re in the throes of remodeling and my floors are decorated with highly visible sawdust and sheetrock dust footprints, I think I will say that we’re starting kindergarten August 24, when the school room is set up, or just before I go crazy, which ever comes first.  🙂

And now, without further ado, the curriculum:

Reading/Phonics
I’ve written already about what we’ve already done for reading up until now.  Because I get antsy if we’re not doing SOMETHING structured at all times, we have been using Jump Right into Reading as a review for the past few weeks.  I had hoped to finish it quickly, but because life is a little crazy right now, what with all the extra folks, the drilling, and the banging, we haven’t made much progress.   When we finish that (if not before), we will continue with The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading.  I also have Explode the Code 1 and Explode the Code  2, which I plan to use alternatingly with OPGTR.  Of course, excepting the OPGTR, this is all untried, so this is all subject to revision.  Right now I’m hoping to be finished with ETC 1, through lesson 53 in OPGTR, and through lesson six in ETC 2 by Christmas.  Add into the mix that we will be reviewing Rocket Phonics for TOS Homeschool Crew, and it’s likely that I”ve overplanned.  We’ll see. 

Math

I commissioned Steady Eddie with the job of choosing a math curriculum.  He took his job seriously.  🙂  After lurking on lots of math-related threads over at The Well Trained Mind K-8 forums and perusing several publishes’ websites, he settled on RightStart Math for kindergarten.  Math is the thing I feel the most distanced from–it has been a looooong time since I scraped by with a C in Calculus II as a college freshman.  I also think this might be the subject I’m (secretly) most excited about because I think Lulu is going to adore it.  I think RightStart will be a good fit for her.

Handwriting

After going back and forth about which model of handwriting we liked the best (I can see us now–bedazzled by the thought that we  hold our children’s entire educations in the palms of our hands and have a choice about e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g), we finally decided on Handwriting Without Tears because it seemed like the one that would appeal to Lulu the most.  Plus, I don’t think I’ve ever read anything bad about it. 

Science, History, Geography, Art,  Etc.

This will mostly be approached through little unit studies from Five in a Row: Volume 1.  We enjoyed the books we explored through Before Five in a Row this past year, so I thought we’d continue on in the same vein.  I also hope to undertake a consistent nature study (maybe once a week) by participating in The Outdoor Hour Nature Study Challenge over at Handbook of Nature Study blog.  This is all extra, though–I consider the reading, math, and handwriting our priorities.

As far as Bible and physical education go, I consider them a natural part of our day.  (I do need to be more deliberate about the physical activity part, though.)  We have devotions after breakfast, a Bible story or two at night, and I hope to pick back up our family memorization challenges soon. 

Of course, reading aloud will continue to be a cornerstone of our day, too.

Whew!  After getting this all typed out, it seems like a lot.  I’m really excited to begin this new venture, and my prayer that this year is a joy and delight for us all.  I know there will be some rough patches, but I want us all to look back at this official year with the feeling that we’re really glad we embarked on this journey as a family!

Author/Illustrator Spotlight::Ruth Krauss and Crockett Johnson

Summer has done a number on our schedule. I used to think we would school year ’round so that we could take breaks when we needed them and have a more go-with-the-flow existence than a traditional school calendar allows, and while I haven’t given up on that plan altogether, I am already seeing that what I envision and what actually transpires in this exciting experiment of home education are surely two different things. Summer time just offers too many opportunities for us to be tied down at home every day.

I picked up The Carrot Seed several weeks ago as what will be our last Before Five in a Row selection of Lulu’s preschool.  We will probably pick up the ones that we haven’t done as a part of Louise’s preschool this year and possibly revisit some old favorites, but I’m calling it done for this year with this book.  We will begin with volume one of Five in a Row as a supplemental (read fun) part of Lulu’s kindergarten when we convene school in six weeks or so.  (Why I make the distinction between Lulu’s and Louise’s preschool when there are only eighteen short months between their ages, I don’t know.  It keeps me sane in this thinking about their schooling, I guess.)

With right at 100 words, The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss captures the anticipation and faith involved in growing carrots and believing in dreams.  The little boy’s detractors are his family members, no less, but he continues steadfast in his belief that the little seed he deposited in the earth will grow, and he is rewarded with a wheel barrow sized harvest of one giant carrot.  My girls love this simple little book.  They love the chorus of “it won’t come up” repeated by the little boy’s mother, father, and brother.  They love the triumphant ending in which the little boy wheels away his impossibly large carrot.  The simple illustrations by Crockett Johnson are limited in color to mustard yellows and browns, with an occasional punch of red, orange, or green.   We have enjoyed several other books that are thematically related to this book, so be sure to come back on Wednesday when I highlight those titles!

I picked up A Very Special House at the library without realizing it is also by Ruth Krauss.  When I first began reading it to my girls, I thought to myself that this is the sort of old, nonsensical story that doesn’t translate well to modern readers.  We kept on reading, though, and my girls, especially 3 1/2 year old Louise, LOVED it.  (Of course, since then, she has informed me that she did NOT like this book.  Hmph.  Kids!)  The illustrations in this quirky little book phrases are by Maurice Sendak and won the distinction of  a Caldecott Honor in 1954.

All of this brings me to what is possibly my favorite picture book of all time:  Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson.  I’m pairing Ruth Krauss (author) and Crockett Johnson (author and illustrator) together because they were married!  I kid you not.  It’s amazing what you learn when you just do a little research, huh?  I just love that I started highlighting a Before Five in a Row book and ended up writing about the genius that is Harold. If you experienced Harold and the Purple Crayon yet for yourself, you need to!  The concept behind this book is amazing:  a little boy named Harold creates his own world with his trusty purple crayon, all the while illustrating a clever story that is chock-full of word play.  In a household where the second theings the girls do every morning is make something with paper, yarn, and glue (the first thing is the rallying cry of “Read a book!”), Harold and the Purple Crayon reminds me of the importance of creativity and imagination in children (and adults!).  Our copy of Harold and the Purple Crayon is in a wonderful anthology of picture books that we own.   I’m excited that Harold and the Purple Crayon is included in volume two of Five in a Row, which we should be ready for at least by next school year.  I even found this little animated adaptation of this book that stays very close to the original.  Harold and the Purple Crayon was published in 1955, and it illustrates the fact that simple, good art and childish imagination never go out of style. 

2009 Schoolhouse Planner

2009HSPlannerCoverMDI’m starting my TOS Homeschool Crew career off right by reviewing a tremendous resource for the homeschooling family:  The 2009 Schoolhouse Planner.  When I first receieved this e-book file and opened it for what I thought would be a quick perusal, I was taken aback by the fact that it is 375 pages long.  375 pages!  Obviously, there is much more to this than just a mere calendar.   I should probably admit right at the beginning of this post that I do not consider myself a very organized person.  Although I do not usually miss appointments or forget important dates, I have tried various methods of keeping myself on track with homekeeping, menu planning, and decluttering, only to fall of the wagon when the going gets tough.  I am excited about the 2009 Homeschool Planner because I believe it will provide me with some new tools to help me in doing some of these things in addition to my new responsibility, come August:  being the facilitator of Lulu’s kindergarten education. 

 Okay, so on to the planner.   This is what it includes:

  • calendar pages
  • educational articles
  • recipes
  • miscellaneous educational information
  • homeschool forms
  • household forms

calendar and recipes

It goes without saying that calendars are a very important organizational tool.  Currently, I use no fewer than three calendars to organize my life, from the family calendar stuck to the side of our refrigerator to the desk calendar which holds my menu plans to the Google calendar I recently set up to keep up with future blog posts.  With the beginning of the upcoming school year quickly approaching, now I can add the calendars in the 2009 Schoolhouse Planner to that list!  The calendars in 2009 Schoolhouse Planner include both year-at-a-glance calendars for 2009-2012 and monthly calendars for 2009.  The monthly calendars are designed to open up as a two-page spread (they cover two pieces of paper), so the daily squares are large enough to write in.  The best part, though, is that the documents are all typable. (Is that a word?)  That is, once you purchase and upload this e-book, you can type on any of the documents, personalize them, and save or print them for your very own use.  For someone like me whose handwriting got exponentially worse with every college degree I earned, this is priceless.  I truly love this feature of this resource!

Also included in the 2009 Schoolhouse Planner are educational articles, one per month, covering topics as diverse as lapbooks, getting into college, the thirteen colonies, weather, and more.  These articles are written by names recognized in the homeschool community for their various specialty areas.  The articles are followed by at-a-glance charts full of information about the topic of focus and a fully clickable list of TOS resources that pertain to that topic.    This is a great resource if unit studies are a part of your homeschool because it provides a generous overview of the topic as well as an organized list of where to go for more information.

Have I mentioned lately that I like to cook and bake?  Well, once upon a time before I found my blogging niche, I even used to dabble in posting recipes here at Hope Is the Word.  It follows, then, that the next feature of the 2009 Schoolhouse Planner is one that I love–recipes!  These recipes are from the kitchens of last year’s TOS Crew and other staff members, so they are family friendly and taste-tested.  I love that they are mostly from homeschooling mothers, so they likely pass the dinner-in-a-hurry and budget-friendly tests.  I am eager to try out Daddy-O’s Tasty Delicious Chicken Tacos and Loaded BBQ Potato Casserole.  There are a two recipes per month included for a total of twenty-four recipes.  Yum!

educational informationThe miscellanous educational information is a great resource of just that–miscellaneous charts and graphs full of things you need to know.  Included in this section are U.S. Presidents and their wives, the periodic table of the elements, a world history timeline,  wonders of the ancient and modern world, and more.  The charts that would be the most useful to me (if not my children just yet) are the kitchen conversion cheat sheet and the measurement conversions chart.  I’m thinking about laminating the kitchen conversions and putting it on my refrigerator!  Seriously, the miscellaneous educational information section of this planner contains a lot of useful information in a very compact format.

homeschool formsOh boy.  The homeschool forms section of the planner is right at 120 pages long and chock full of forms that I don’t even know I need yet, I’m so new to homeschooling.  🙂  What I love about this (and the rest of the planner) is that the TOS folks who put this planner together had the foresight to realize that not everyone likes to do things the same way, so they include variations on just about every type of form included.  For example, within this section three types of weekly planning sheets are included:  the first one is a grid of days of the week vs. subjects; the second, a grid of days of the week vs. children; and the third, a simple two-column chart with subjects in the first column and a space for weekly goals/lesson plans in the second.  Truly, they’ve thought of just about everything.  This section is good for the education of preschoolers up through high school students.  I would imagine that this section of the 2009 Schoolhouse Planner contains forms that would meet almost any documentation need a homeschooling family could have.

household formsThe last section of the planner, household forms, is my favorite (well, after the recipe section).  Steady Eddie and I have the same conversation at the beginning of every month:  we need to make a master grocery list so that we don’t have to “recreate the wheel” in preparation of making what we hope is our huge monthly grocery run.  The problem is, we never get around to actually creating such a document.  When I opened up the 2009 Schoolhouse Planner, I was tickled to find two different types of grocery lists, as well as monthly and weekly menu planning charts and a food inventory log.  I’ve already used one of the grocery list forms with great success.   (I mean, I came home with everything I intended to purchase–that doesn’t always happen!)  The neatest thing about this is the fact that you can input your own information into these documents, as I already mentioned.  Also included in the household forms section are also chore charts, budgeting sheets, prayer journal pages, garden planning pages,   gift wish lists–you get the idea.  Just about anything you can think of is included in here, and more!  While my home is usually anything but immaculate and completely organized, I dream of finding that perfect system that enables me to get it all done.   I hope that some of these new organizational tools will help me get closer to that goal.  (A girl can dream, right? 😉 )

I think this 2009 Schoolhouse Planner will be a great help for me as I embark on this new journey.  In fact, there is a 3-ring binder currently on my scrapbooking table which I am pretty-ing up to house some of these organizational tools.  I’m calling it “Amy’s Brain.”  😉  (I’ll try to upload a picture later when I finish it.)  For those who are genetically predisposed to organization, some of these tools might be old hat, but to me, a girl who always carried everything I needed to remember in my brain only until my second child came along, this just might be a lifesaver.  If you just want a plain old calendar, skip the $39.00 price tag.  However, if having all of these great organizational tools and interest-generating educational resources at your fingertips is appealing, purchase the 2009 Schoolhouse Planner.  I think I’ll be glad to have a system in place once the school year officially begins!