Planning/Reporting Apps 2012-2013

I continue to “test drive” several apps for planning out my year. I seem to change the process each year with additions, subtractions and many explorations.
This year I am using Bento as the base for my planning. Bento is a great database app that has so many ways of using it. In two evenings was able to set it all up and begin filling in the blanks. I like it because it is totally flexible. I set the fields, I choose the way it sorts, I decide what is most important in my planning. 
One of the things that I have always found frustrating with planning was having to tie it to a calendar. We tend to move with the tide of my work schedule and the seasonal nature of curriculum consulting. This means that I don’t like to commit to dates to early on as they are always subject to change. Bento allows me to adjust the dates when I am ready to commit to them and still have the year planned out minus the dates. This is a great advantage. The CM Planner has this same ability and I look in depth at it as well. In the end I chose Bento. A little more work to set it up but well worth the savings.
Last year I purchased IStudiezPro, which was a great app - but it didn’t work because of the fixed nature of the planning. For others it might work very well.
Three Ring

Another app I am trying out is Three Ring. It is a portfolio creator with you adding photos in and then notes, subjects, students etc. Basically it is a chronological way of documenting learning. My only consideration is that I am not sure exactly how to share it with my support teacher.... If I figure that out it will be a wonderful app. 
I continue to use Journler. I love the simplicity of it! It allows me flexibility of adding in photos, webpages, videos etc... Here is my past post on Journler.


I also really like Stickies - this app allows me to add sticky notes to my computer screen in any colour I want and any size I need. This has been very useful for an ongoing to do list. 
I would love to hear about an apps that you are using for planning and reporting! Blessings!

Learning About Homeschooling - Books and Magazines:

There are several books and magazines that I have enjoyed reading over the years that have helped me to articulate what our homeschool needs were/are. These books and magazines challenged me, gave me much to think about and gave me a sense of what I wanted our homeschool to look like. They gave me ideas and practical ways of implementing those ideas. Most of all, the variety of philosophies challenged me to be open. To develop our own way, guided by God and put into practical daily educating. I am going to highlight a few of them here.

  1. One of the first books that I read about homeschooling 16 years ago was John Holt’s “How they Learn”. I went on to read several of Holt’s other books including “Teach Your Own” ,“What do I do Monday?” and “Learning All the Time”. These books, though not from a Christian perspective really challenged me at the time to look at my assumptions about learning, children, school and creativity.
  2. The second book I read when it first came out in 1999 was "The Well Trained Mind" by Susan Wise Bauer. This book remained on my shelf for many, many years. What I like most about "The Well Trained Mind" is the practicality of it. I loved all the suggestions and how it was laid out. It influenced me to thinking how children learn from a classical approach.
  3. I remember reading and then re-reading David Guterson’s book "Family Matters: Why Homeschooling Makes Sense" back in those early days. When he went on to publish "Snow Falling on Cedars" I read that as well!
  4. I found Susan Schaeffer Macaulay’s book “For the Children’s Sake” on a library sale table for .25 cents about the first or second year I was homeschooling. This book has stayed on my shelf all these years and I have read it many times over. It led me to the next book.
  5. "The Charlotte Mason Companion" by Karen Androlea. I have read this book over many times enjoying the aspects of a liberal education that I often loose in all the other educational demands. Art Appreciation, Nature Study, Music Appreciation, Poetry and so many more aspects of a Charlotte Mason education have attracted me. 
  6. Reading "Teaching the Trivium" by Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn was another book that I got a lot of practical advice from. Based on the Classical Education model but so much different than "The Well Trained Mind".
  7. I recently read "Educating the Whole Hearted Child" by Clay and Sally Clarkson. I have read several other of the Clarkson’s books, but this one addresses homeschooling in detail.
  8. I recently re-read "Ignite the Fire" by Terri Camp. This is a very quick read but I like her way of going through the stages of building a fire through learning interests. A book like this reminds me that homeschooling can be fun, productive and that “rabbit trails” can offer amazing learning.
  9. I still subscribe to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. They have however changed their format to digital rather than hard copy.
  10. I have read Growing Without Schooling magazines in the past and they are now all online for free here.
  11. I have enjoyed reading our Canadian Homeschool Magazine - Homeschool Horizons.
  12. In the past I have been very challenged by the articles in The Homeschool Digest. This magazine in not for the “faint of heart”.

This only represents a few of the books and magazines that could guide you in your homeschooling journey. I have a few books on my “to read” list:

  1. "Heart and Mind - What the Bible says about Learning" by Ruth Beechik
  2. "Homeschooling from a Biblical World View" from Israel Wayne
  3. "The Philosophy of Christian Curriculum" by R.J. Rushdoony

I hope that this list has given you some inspirational reading for your homeschool. Enjoy challenging yourself to learn about other philosophies! Further your own education! Learn to take what you need to learn from each book and leave the rest!