Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Schoolhouse Rocks! and Go Digital

Review for TOS Planner:

Schoolhouse Rocks! The Schoolhouse Planner, that is. Binder queens, this one’s for you. The Old Schoolhouse claims they incorporated ALL requests for EVERY possible type of homeschool and home planning forms. At 247 pages, it’s possible that they succeeded.

TOS recognizes both the home and the school parts of a busy homeschool mom’s life. Many home organization charts and planning schedules are included, from the daily and weekly cleaning charts and grocery shopping lists to seasonal guides to things like gardening schedules and vacation budgets. The school-type forms encompass everything for beginning homeschoolers and veterans, for preschoolers and high schoolers. It doesn’t matter what type of schooling ideology you espouse, there are forms to suit you. Many bonus, encouraging articles and links are included as well. Since it’s in a digital format, you only print out the forms you need, thereby saving paper and shelf space. The best part is that you can personalize every form (including the calendars) before printing it out.

Just a few caveats to be noted: First of all, The Schoolhouse Planner is a memory hog. When I had it open, even in the background, all my other computer programs ran much more slowly than normal. Perhaps that is more a comment on the quality of my computer, but I thought it a noteworthy point. Second of all, the organization was somewhat confusing for online use, even though there is a table of contents. The first part of the planner is set up with monthly calendars followed by themed essays and helps. That’s great if you want a surprise topic every month. It’s not so great if you want an overview of all the different subjects available. An alphabetical listing by subject would be much more user friendly in my opinion.

Overall, The Schoolhouse Planner is a great value at only $39. In addition to the actual planner, you also receive 19 FREE gifts in the form of e-books and downloads from a variety of notable homeschool companies. These forms are a great addition to any binder queen’s notebook. They’ll also give a boost to anyone who wants to become more organized. As a lover of organization and planning, I heartily recommend investing in The Schoolhouse Planner. See more details and order here.


Review for digital version of TOS magazine:

The digital version of The Old Schoolhouse magazine combines two of my favorite things: a full-featured magazine and computer convenience. Digital TOS is exactly the same as paper TOS, so you’re not missing out on anything. In fact, you’re saving trees and making archiving favorite articles much easier. It’s a real flip-page magazine with clickable links (a plus), not a pdf file. There are many product advertisements and reviews so you can keep up with what’s new in the homeschool curriculum world. 12 pages of reader comments satisfy your desire to see your name in print and to hear what other real homeschool moms like you are thinking. The encouraging articles cover a wide array of topics with something for everyone. All of this is from an unabashed Christian point of view. Quite a few authors are household names (at least in the homeschool community), which lends credibility. Still not sure if it’s for you? You can get a FREE peek at a past issue to check out the buzz. At $16.95 for four quarterly issues, plus 19 FREE gifts (e-books and downloads from excellent vendors), the digital version of the TOS magazine is a great deal! See more details and order here.