July 19, 2009

School Planning Stage 2: Your Binder and Forms

I told you that I had begun my school planning, right? Well now we're in to "PHASE II". Phase I was just closing up loose ends and getting things ready to plan. Phase II is just a fancy way of saying that things are moving right along. Stick with me... and you'll find a way to win 3 blank planning forms at the end of this post! Not just any planning forms... Sprittibee originals!

You see, I'm a list and planning nut. An "Org-Junkie" just like the real OrgJunkie. I am just obviously more challenged than her. Or less gifted. I like to see things with the glass half-empty.

Anyway... I won the TOS planner. And it is great. There are already a bunch of reviews on the planner, so I'll lead you to one I particularly liked... over at Shannon's blog.

There are some GREAT forms in the TOS planner. And recipes. Recipes are always a BIG PLUS for a cookbook junkie like me. I'm just a junkie. Have you noticed that I tell you something new is my favorite thing every day? I think they call that OCD. Not sure. This is a tangent, sorry...

Back to the plannerish stuff.

TOS PlannerHere's what I love about the TOS planner:

1. HOLY COW that's a lot of good stuff in there. Over 300 pages. Saves you a ton of time, but who has the money or ink to print it? Not me. I picked and chose what I needed and left the rest neatly tucked away on my hard drive for a rainy day. And Lord knows we need the rain.

2. It isn't just a planner. It's a brain. It's smarter than you are. Lists of inventors, artists, time-periods, landforms, etc. It has some great unit studies tucked in there and lots of links to more helpful products in their store for each topic. Talk about saving you time! I'm going to use the artists and history timeline lists ALL YEAR. They are going in our school planners.

3. I used their monthly menu planner form already. Great idea!

4. For those in co-ops with the job of field trip planning, there's a nifty form for that. There's even a beginning and ending school page for weight, height, and a cute photo. They thought of everything.

5. Did I mention the recipes? Food is good for you.

6. Prayer list form. Can I just say, "THANK YOU" for making this for me so I don't have to?! This will be a weekly or monthly print-out for their school binders. It makes it official so the kids will be more apt to remember their friends and family in prayer.

I actually threw out my old method of buying a teacher planner this year and am using their monthly big-box calendar insert pages (month-at-a-glance) to do my lesson planning drafts. I also trimmed my big-fat-I-can't-believe-you-carry-that-thing-everywhere binder down, too. If you are using my old binder method, I'm here to set you free: YOU GOTTA LET GO of some of that paper clutter, baby. It was too much. I went from a 7-ring (barely exaggerating there), popping open and stuffed papers falling out, with extra teacher planner notebook ... to a 3 ring binder. 'Simplify' is my word for the school year.

However much as I love the groovy TOS Planner (because they are saving me time this school year), there are a few forms that I make for myself each year. Because I can. And because I am a form and list junkie (I already told you that). I heart Excel and Word. In a past life, I had a love affair with Microsoft Office. Some things are hard to get over. And just for the record, I hate Vista. If you follow me on Twitter, you'll already know that.

So... here's a quick-list of Stage 2 Planning:

* Get your School Binder and kids school binders together (post coming later this week of what's inside mine)

* Make your list of what you have left to do before school begins

* Start printing the forms that fill up the binders (lists, goals, calendars, menus, reference papers, rubrics, charts, etc.)

* Make a schedule of what you want to teach during your day and when

* Get together with co-op friends to discuss planning for the year

* Figure out what days will be school days next year (make your yearly calendar)

That's where I'm at now. The general overview of the year is coming in to focus. The details about what we'll be learning is my next step. Each step is fun, but different.

Are you wanting to start planning now, too? I'm doing a twitter contest to give away three home-made planning forms. They are: A Daily Schedule, a Yearly Unit Study or Year-at-a-Glance Planner, and an Annual Evaluation Form for the student. Every tenth person that tweets the below statement will win a set of forms for free!

@sprittibee is giving away 3 free planner forms for 2009-10 to every 10th RT. http://bit.ly/xNjNN #homeschool #teacher

You know you want'em!

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Alli said...

I twittered it. But even if I don't win, I will be looking at purchasing it. We are starting this year with Real Goals and Time to Learn and a health dose of Flexibility (he's 4 going on 5 but gobbling up the learning). I appreciate your planning posts as it gives me an idea of what I need to be looking towards. And I too am a list maker. It is a genetic trait!

Karen said...

I'm also in the planning mode right now. I have been getting lesson plans done for our first semester. At the end of the semester, I'll evaluate where we're at and then plan the remaining school year over Christmas break. I am almost done with the planning part! Yay! After that, I will work on getting resources together to go with the lesson plans, print materials, etc.
I enjoy the planning part. I guess I'm a planner by nature.

Hope you have a great week!

Traci Best said...

I love the TOS planner too...I bought it even before I knew I would receive it to review for the Crew. BUT just like you...I still make up some of my own forms! LOL I hope I get to take a peek at yours too!


Jeanne said...

Okay, I tweeted. Let it be me! Let it be me!

BTW I am not a planner. I am a thinker, but I don't write it down. I do do it though...does that count?

Anonymous said...

SO COOL! :) I tweet'd




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