Monday, June 22, 2009

Review: The 2009 Schoolhouse Planner


I love a good planner.  I have to tell you that the TOS Planner for 2009-2010 is so much more than a good planner.  I was so pleasantly surprised when I paged through this planner to find all of the wonderful extras.  The 2009 Schoolhouse Planner goes way beyond a series of calendars.  Before you even get to the planning forms, you are treated to a wealth of information.

 E-Book: The 2009 Schoolhouse Planner

For each month, from June 2009 to June 2010, there is a unit article concerning a potential unit study for that month.  These subjects can range from, multiplication tables, to weather, to letter writing.  What I loved about these mini-unit studies was that in each month there was a list or chart concerning that subject.  In the multiplication tables section, there is, of course a sheet with a multiplication table going to 12x12.  In the weather section there is a page on cloud-types. These charts can easily be printed for a quick reference or used in a lapbook or notebook.  They are a great notebook page all on their own.  Finally, there is a list of resources available at The Old Schoolhouse Store on the subject for the month.  Using this list, you could build a unit study on the monthly subject with ease.


Still in the month section, we get to my favorite part.  Each month has two recipes for new dinners to try.  So that’s 24 new recipes as part of your planner!  I loved that little added bonus.


If the charts found in the monthly section weren’t enough there is a section called “Educational Information.”  Here you will find all the forms that weren’t in the monthly section.  There is a chart listing US Presidents AND their wives.  There are timeline lists, composers, and important historical documents.  Again, these lists would be great additions to notebooks or lapbooks.  It’s a great resource!


And then we get to the forms.  Oh, the forms.  If you have something to plan, there is a form for it in the 2009 Schoolhouse Planner.  I was so impressed by the forms.  If used thoroughly, this could mean an entirely different year for our little homeschool.  I was drooling over all the lovely printable forms when I accidentally clicked on the middle of one of the pages.  To my surprise, my mouse turned into the flashing line that would allow me to type into the form.  I can’t believe it!  I can type my information right into the forms and print them.  I have visions of a beautifully organized homeschool planner with all of our information typed neatly.  I can print these lovely pages and place them neatly in a binder instead of hastily printing something and scribbling my plans as I go along.  Not only can you plan your year, but there are forms in this section to use throughout the school year to record your days, keep a journal, or log test scores.  This may be my most organized homeschool year ever!


And if you love the sound of the homeschool forms, wait until you get to the household forms.  Our home will never be the same.  Using the forms in this section you can organize everything from groceries to gifts.  And again, all the forms can be printed and written or you can type into the form and then print it.


I realize that this review might seem a bit effusive.  But, please understand, that I love planners.  Up until being given the opportunity to review the 2009 Schoolhouse Planner I have tried to design pages to fit my needs, or adjust pages that I received via other vendors.  This is the first time that I have seen a planner that is so complete.  I loved the extras that you don’t expect to receive from a planner.  The units, the recipes, and the charts were an added bonus to a beautiful planner.  I would highly encourage you to check out the 2009 Schoolhouse Planner.  If you want to read more reviews about this product, go to the TOS Homeschool Crew blog entry here.   And, once again, check out the planner here.   It is very reasonablly priced at $39.00, well worth the investment.  You will definitely find so much to meet your needs and help you organize your homeschool and your home.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

I'm Here

In the past few years, we have been praying about moving our little family from our home in Central Pennsylvania to Northern Minnesota.  My husband was raised in a small town about an hour south of the Canadian border.  We have talked about the move for quite some time and I am at peace with however God leads us.  We recently returned from spending 8 days with family who live there.  It was truly relaxing.  Our trip to Minnesota, however, had God’s hand all over it.  He made points in several places to show me that He was there.

 (Main Street, Park Rapids, MN)


(The Park Theater in Park Rapids)


I did have one troubled night.  After spending the evening visiting relatives I could not shake an anxious feeling.  I was exhausted and when my husband and I went to bed I slept fitfully.  I was awake several times that night with anxious feelings.  I would wake from a dead-sleep with butterflies in my stomach and my heart racing.  Some of it was related to the visit earlier in the evening.  There was some tension and I had a bad feeling about the location.  But laying awake in the dark with my heart racing, it was very difficult to not visit a very fearful place in my mind.  When I awoke in the morning I felt as though I had hardly slept at all.  My stomach was upset, my head ached and I was very emotional.  I found myself alone for a little while and as I did, I cried out to God.  As I began to cry in earnest, I told God, “I can’t move here.  I just can’t live here.”  It really grieved me to say that.  My husband and I had talked about moving to Minnesota and I knew that he was really desiring to be “home” once again.


It was then that I opened the bible we had brought with us.  It usually doesn’t work out very well for me to just open up my bible and have it fall on a passage I need.  But this day was an exception.  I grabbed the bible and peeled in open.  As I did, my eyes fell on Psalm 61.


 1 Hear my cry, O God;
       listen to my prayer.

 2 From the ends of the earth I call to you,
       I call as my heart grows faint;
       lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

 3 For you have been my refuge,
       a strong tower against the foe.

 4 I long to dwell in your tent forever
       and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.

 5 For you have heard my vows, O God;
       you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.

 6 Increase the days of the king's life,
       his years for many generations.

 7 May he be enthroned in God's presence forever;
       appoint your love and faithfulness to protect him.

 8 Then will I ever sing praise to your name
       and fulfill my vows day after day.


It was as though David was praying for me in this Psalm.  I was crying out to God to “hear me!”  When I read “from the ends of the earth I call to you” I almost laughed.  At that moment, Northern Minnesota seemed like the ends of the earth to me.  And my heart was definitely “growing faint.”  But when I read this Psalm I was lead “to the Rock that is higher than I.”  I felt, once again, fortified.


Later that same day, I was out to lunch with my mother-in-love.  While there I noted a large table of women.  They were obviously celebrating one of the women’s birthdays as there was a decorated cake and some presents in the middle of the table.  Before they were served their lunch, every one at the table bowed their heads and one woman lead the group in prayer.  I felt like God was laying His hand on my shoulder and whispering, “I’m here.”


My sleep patterns returned to normal as the week progressed.  I was grateful for no more anxiety attacks.  But I was noting as we drove through town that there weren’t any large developed evangelical-style churches on the roads we were driving.  I was looking ahead to a time when we would be living there.  Where would we worship?  We took our boys to the McDonald’s in town so that I could use their WiFi and check email.  As we sat there sipping sodas, a polite young man walked up to my husband and introduced himself.  He said he was the new youth pastor at the church down the road.  Todd explained that we were currently not living in the state, but this young man took the time to visit with us anyway.  He told us about his heart for the youth of the area.  He spoke of the size of his current youth group and his desire to save the kids in the area from the “bad stuff” happening among them.  He was a lovely young man.  I wonder if he knew that God was using him to say, “I’m here.”


All too soon, our time with our family in Northern Minnesota came to a close.  We all cried as we drove down the highway toward home.  Although the tears ended, we are all still a bit homesick for Minnesota and the family we left behind.  I know that if He sends us, He will be there.  He showed me that already. 


(The Big Dog and his dad with our boys)