Friday, October 29, 2010

TOS 2010-2011 High School Planner

In August, I blogged about The Old Schoolhouse Planner (click here).  This is a mammoth book full of sheets to organize and enrich your life.  TOS is going one step further, and they are now making planners that are specialized to different age groups.  This time I got a good look at the e-book The 2010-2011 High School Schoolhouse Planner ($29.00) for this review.

My daughter Dragonette has started high school and so I have researched what I need to do to help her have a successful journey to college.  Beyond the usual topics needed for a high school diploma, I have to teach  time organization, and how to plan to organize her time.  In other words, teaching not only due dates and not procrastinating but how to use an organizer or calendar for organization, and how to coordinate her paperwork with the things running around in her head.

I think this planner is a big step in the right direction.  There is duplication from the original planner, such as Bible reading schedules and book logs.  But this planner leaves out pages a high schooler would not need.  Along with calendars, organizing sheets, and more ways to make a list than you can shake a stick at, there are articles about planning a high school career while looking towards college.  Included is a parent supplement that is a good starting point for learning what questions you need to ask to home school a child through high school.  And because it is an e-book, you can selectively print the pages you need to create a personalized planner for both parents and high schoolers.

Pages that stood out to me:
High School Transcript
Sample Course of Study for College
High School Plan
High School Hours Tracking Log
Books Read this Year (many colleges ask for a books read list)
Classes I Would Like to Create
Vocabulary Study Sheet
Possible Future Plans
Interest and Career Ideas
Extracurricular Activity Schedule

If you are starting your high school journey and have not done the research, the forms in this book will give you an idea of what kind of records you will need to keep.  High school record keeping is not like elementary school record keeping, unless maybe you live in a state with tough homeschooling laws.  Other than math, we have never used boxed curriculum, and it is not unusual for us to create classes by piecing things together from a variety of sources.  That makes my record keeping challenging, because I cannot just list a table of contents and say we did all of the things this book told us to do.  Not only do I need to make sure I hit all the topics in a course, but I need to make sure I document all of the projects, books, and field trips that went into that class.  And since I will need to create transcripts, class descriptions, a books read list, volunteer and extra curricular activity logs, and a school philosophy for college applications, as well as be a mom, teacher, curriculum creator, and guidance counselor to my daughters, I have got to be super organized as soon as we start high school classes instead of waiting until Dragonette's 11th grade year.

The first thing I did was fill out the "Classes I Would Like to Create" sheet.  Each sheet is an interactive pdf, which means I can type my thoughts right into the form and print it out (much more readable than my chicken scratch).  I have seen sheets like this before, but there was something about the format of this particular one that struck a creative chord and allowed me put on paper some ideas that have been swirling in my head.  This was a double bonus, as I checked this off the To Do list and freed up some brain space!

My next task was to use the information in the planner to guide my daughter.  She is now keeping a calendar with due dates and already has a book log.  We have worked on a tentative High School Plan. Next I think I will bring out the Possible Future Plans list.  I don't want to overwhelm her, but I do want her to steadily take her education into her own hands, as she will need these skills in college.

Every home school journey is different, even within a family.  Once high school coursework starts, a home school mom has to be on top of her game.  Perhaps this is why so many home schoolers send the kids to brick and mortar schools for high school, but that has never been an option at our house.  So I appreciate items like The 2010-2011 High School Schoolhouse Planner, because they assist me in planning and presenting my children's very personalized education in a format that any college administrator can understand.

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