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Today is the day in my city where MOST public school kids return to the trenches. Some have started already and a few have a few more days, but my FaceBook feed abounds with the classic back-to-school pics for our local set of friends. I have a few tools to share and review to help everyone ease back into school life.
First, I have to remind you of my FREE printable night time checklists that help bring sanity to your mornings. There’s one for parents and another for kids (even non-readers can use it). Don’t head out the door late and screaming (says a mom who didn’t have a kid in school until 2 years ago and yet still knows how that happens)! Use these the night before and have a smoother morning.
OK, the next tool is a planner for homeschoolers. It’s Homeschool Planet (meant to sound like PLAN-IT) and this is a very brief review. I used this the last year I had three homeschooling. I found it really helpful but chose not to renew because:
1. Overseeing two kids seemed way easier than three.
2. It was slightly glitchy for me. And that could have just been me. I WAS able to use it from the ipad or laptop or the desktop, but sometimes making updates was more time consuming than I wanted.
3. I still used this with paper, because I used it to make daily lists for the kids to check off their tasks. I moved to a white board/erasable paper method.
And a Con that did NOT impact my decision, but you should know about:
There’s a lot of work up front. You have to load a lot of info. But once you do it makes assignments much easier!
PROs that I did love:
1. Customer service was great. When I did hit a glitch, they were helpful!
2. It keeps a nice record of what’s been done daily.
3. It was so easy to assign work and to schedule those things I wanted to do weekly or so, but always ended up forgetting. Once I plugged it in, I didn’t have to remember. Homeschool Planet remembered for me.
4. It was easy to print off daily checklists for each kid. You can email them, have texts sent or print on paper.
5. It was super easy to RESCHEDULE things that we didn’t get to or got booted by other activities.
And a PRO I didn’t use but that is really cool is that if you use some of the popular curricula out there, Homeschool Planet is already set up to make assignments based on their lesson plans!
There are many more features I didn’t mention (shopping lists, meal planning, calendar syncing). Go read up about it and see if this might be a good fit for you. While I did not continue to use it, the year I used it, I did so consistently and it was very helpful. I had to debate continuing because it had some great features. It’s $65 per year or $6.95 per month.
Last tool is Kitchen Stewardship’s The Healthy Lunchbox e-book. I thought I had this book because I have everything Katie has written. But I can’t find it in my e-stash (I hope that doesn’t have any negative connotation to which I’m naive)! Maybe I didn’t get it since I’ve never had to pack school lunches? Anyway, I thought I had it and I can’t find it, so I couldn’t take a refresher look. BUT I can say with confidence that Katie does a great job, uses whole, real foods, considers allergies and food sensitivities and you won’t be disappointed. It’s just $9.95 but it’s on sale through Aug 31 for 35% off! Use code BTS2017LUNCH. If your kids eat 1/3 of their food at school, you want that to be good for them!
OK, wait! THIS is the last tool. I will eventually do a full review, but I was sitting here typing when my delivery from Boxed.com arrived. I order from them about every other month. They consider themselves a bulk buying delivery site. This time I ordered because we were almost out of toilet paper. And also because I saw I have to bring snacks and drinks for my daughter’s cheer team later this month. AND while I don’t pack a lunch daily, once a week I pack a family lunch for when we go to homeschool co-op. It’s usually leftovers, but I usually like to do add something “fun” in, like a single serving bag of chips or a fruit snack. They have a good selection of organics, too! So I eliminate the trip to the store and have those items delivered and then on-hand for awhile. I always get a few free samples from them AND a hand written note. Here’s the one I got a few orders ago.
So there you are! A few great back to school tools to help you start off the year with sanity and the illusion of control 😉
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