Diclosure: A Plan a Place offered me a free planner for posting an honest review of their planner. All opinions are mine.
As a person who thrives on planning and organizing, I have a natural attraction to planners. The lists, the boxes, the calendars – all waiting to be filled – draw me in to the pages begging to be filled with well-thought-out plans. However, I find that after the newness wears off, most of my planners fall by the wayside. Perhaps because they require time. Perhaps because I think I can remember everything. Perhaps because using a planner isn’t a habit. Whatever the reason, despite my attraction to them, planners never worked for me until I discovered planners from A Plan in Place. I first read about them online and became intrigued. After perusing their custom options on their website, I decided to give their planner a try. That was 3 planners ago.
If you are new to A Plan in Place, it is a company started by 2 homeschool moms that specializes in creating custom planners. I ordered my first customized planner 2 years ago for the 2018-2019 school year. It was a delight designing a planner just for my homeschool needs. In this post, I’m going to review my Teacher Planner from A Plan a Place. I’m going to explain what my planner looks like, how I use my planner, and why I order year after year.
What My Planner Looks Like
The planner I use from A Plan in Place is their Teacher Edition. It is a slim, spiral bound book that is a mainstay in our homeschool classroom. The planner comes with 3 sections and an optional 4th block calendar section. Two of the sections are standard – “Goals & Planning” and “Record Keeping & Notes.” The third section is the “Weekly Schedule,” which is the heart of the planner and the customizable part.
The “Goals & Planning” pages are in the front and provide space to plan for the upcoming year with a mission statement, brainstorming boards (pictured below and one of my favorite pages), curriculum lists, long and short-range planning, and more!
The “Record Keeping & Notes” is in the back of the planner. It has pages for important dates, spending records, resource lists, and lined note-taking pages (super handy for homeschool conferences to jot down notes!).
The middle section is the “weekly schedule,” and here’s where you can customize. You can choose a one or two page spread for your weekly schedule. I started with one-page my first year and have been ordering the two-page since for more room for my growing number of homeschool children. You can see all their options for a weekly schedule here and see mine below. (You will not see my option on the website as they fulfilled a special request from me when designing mine. That's how stellar their customer service is!)
How I Use My Planner
My planner gets daily use during the school year. In addition to being close at hand while I'm teaching, it accompanies me to all homeschool conferences, the library, and vacations. It is the hub of my homeschooling planning. When I sit down to plan for the upcoming week, I lay out my planner and all my teacher’s manuals. As I look at each subject, I jot notes for each day in my planner what we will do for that subject. Many manuals have detailed plans and maybe even a weekly grid like the planner, but the planner brings everything in one place. Sometimes, it may just be writing down the lesson number or page for the day. In addition to writing down plans for each subject, I have boxes for each child everyday. I write down lesson numbers and any special instructions or plans I have for them for that day. As I’m looking at the upcoming week, the “notes” box on my weekly schedule gives me a place to record any supplies I’ll need or things I need to remember. I keep track of library books I need to check out or reserve in the back section of the planner.
On a typical school day, I begin with my planner in hand flipped open to the weekly schedule. At a glance, I can see what the day will hold. Each time we transition to a new subject, all I have to do is check the planner to see what we are doing that day. My children each have independent work and I use my block for them as a checklist to make sure they completed their work. (I'm thinking that perhaps some Student planners from A Plan in Place might be in our future, too!)
Why I Order Year after Year
I’m on my third planner from A Plan in Place, and I plan (hehe) to keep ordering a yearly planner because I use it and it aids without creating extra work. It brings together all my yearly, weekly, and daily planning. Because it can be customized to fit your weekly schedule, it becomes a useful tool rather than predetermined general format. As an added bonus, the company offers exceptional customer support and tips as you create the planner for your needs. They also offer some handy add-ons like pocket (or 2) in the back and a pen-loop.
If you are looking for a planner to fit your needs, check out A Plan in Place today!
Some new life arrives quietly without anyone noticing, such as was the case with the calla lily outside my window. Other new life arrives with much fanfare and excitement - enter 10 new mini schnauzer puppies into the world!
Yes, you read and counted correctly - TEN! Tachi and Cooper had 10 puppies on August 8, 2019. Tachi had an ultrasound during her pregnancy that simply revealed she was having multiples. (It is difficult to count puppies on an ultrasound.) As the pregnancy progressed, I estimated she was having 6 or 7. However, in the last week, based upon her size, I knew it was going to be a large litter. But 10? That's almost unheard of for mini schnauzers.
Here they are with their birth weights and name stories. As holding with our tradition, each of our five children gets to name and claim a puppy as "theirs" while they are here at Russell Homestead.
Chester is a salt and pepper boy that weighed 8 ounces at birth. He is named after Chester the cricket from A Cricket in Times Square (a book we recently enjoyed as a family read-aloud).
Tracker is a salt and pepper boy who tipped the scales at 5 ounces (tie for the smallest in the litter with his brother, Zuma). CJ wanted the smallest puppy, as did his brother, JJ. I told them there are two little "twins" they can have as theirs for 8 weeks. CJ named him in honor of the Chihuahua on Paw Patrol.
Zuma is a salt and pepper boy who entered the world at 5 ounces (tie for the smallest in the litter with his brother, Tracker). JJ named and claimed him because he also wanted the smallest puppy. He chose Zuma in honor of the chocolate lab on Paw Patrol.
Zeke is a black & silver boy who weighed 8 ounces at birth. He is named in honor of Ezekiel, the prophet in the Old Testament. Out of every litter, we choose at least one Bible name to recognize God as the creator of life.
Amelia, the only salt & pepper girl, came into the world at 8 ounces. AJ chose her as his and named her in honor of Amelia Bedelia.
Ivan is a black & silver boy who debuted at 8 ounces. He is named after his sire, who we affectionately call "Cooper Ivan" at times. He is EJ's puppy for the 8 weeks we get to enjoy them.
JD, a black & silver boy, tipped the scales at 8 ounces. Unlike his 3 black & silver brothers, he has no white on his chest at all. He is named after John Dennis in the Great Brain series that we read as a family.
Auggie, a black & silver boy, joined the family at 7 ounces. He is named for being born in the month of August. (Isn't his pink nose adorable?)
Faith, a black & silver girl, came into the world weighing 7 ounces. She is named after her dam, whose full name is Tachianna Faith.
Everest is a black & silver girl who weighed 8 ounces at birth. She was named by MJ in honor of the husky from Paw Patrol.
Tachi's labor and delivery went well, and all 10 puppies looked fabulous at birth. We are monitoring Tachi and the puppies closely. We keep her whelping area as clean as possible by changing the bedding several times a day. We take Tachi's temperature at least twice a day and make sure she is getting lots of food and water. We weigh the puppies 3-4 times a day. With such a large litter, we are ready and waiting to supplement any that show signs of needing extra. Thus far, they are all maintaining or gaining without supplementing. Only Faith dipped a bit under her birthweight, but came back up within hours. All the puppies show healthy signs of swimming (propelling themselves around looking for food and warmth), twitching while sleeping, sleeping in a pile, and making adorable little squeaks and squeals.
Out of the litter, 4 are salt & pepper like Tachi and 6 are black & silver like Cooper. We can tell this by looking at their ears and their sides. The salt & peppers have tan/silver hair on their ears and sides, while the black & silver do not. Below, Ameila on the left is salt & pepper and Faith on the right is black & silver.
We feel overwhelming blessed! Thanks for stopping by and enjoying new life with us today.
The days roll by and blog posts don't just appear here! We are still here at the Russell Homestead, despite the silent blog since Tachi's litter of puppies went home in February. Over the next few weeks, I'm going to endeavor to give several updates from around the homestead - starting with the dogs today! To begin, there's a new schnauzer around here! Truly, she's not new to our family - just new to the website and blog. Her name is Sheerah Grace.
Above is a picture of us bringing Sheerah home as a puppy in January of 2018.
We waited a long time for her after deciding that we wanted a black and silver girl to complement our black and silver boy - Cooper. We searched around for just the right fit, and chose Sheerah's breeder because of her planned breeding of a black and silver male and female. Since both Sheerah's parents are black and silver, their offspring were likely going to be black and silver. We eagerly awaited her birth. When her litter arrived in the fall of 2017, we got a call saying there are 7 puppies, but only 1 black and silver girl. We knew instantly she was meant for us!
We brought her home on icy roads, and she fit right into our bunch - adding some extra spunk to the crew! She is very smart. She excelled in puppy kindergarten and basic obedience - passing both her classes with ease. She is great with our children and visitors.
We get questions on her name and how we chose it. One day, long before Sheerah was part of our family, I was reading from my Bible. (I'm reading through the Bible a chapter at a time.) I was reading in 1 Chronicles 7, trying to stay focused as I read through the genealogy listed there. Suddenly, verse 24 jumped out at me. It says, "His daughter was Sheerah, who built Lower and Upper Beth Horon as well as Uzzen Sheerah." (NIV) This verse struck me as unusual in many ways. First, few women are mentioned in genealogies. If they are mentioned, they are most likely the mother of someone. Sheerah was a daughter - and no ordinary one! She built 3 cities. To top it off, she named the last one after herself. I loved the name, and told my husband, who agreed we could name our next female mini schnauzer after Sheerah in 1 Chronicles 7:24.
Along with adding Sheerah to our family came some paperwork. Our township does not allow families to have more than 3 dogs, unless they are a kennel. (For my long time readers, you know we have 3 mini schnauzers already - Jolly, Tachi, & Cooper.) Since we are a family breeder of mini schnauzers, and not a kennel, our limit was set at 3. We met with our township and explained how we raise our own dogs and our puppies. We explained that our dogs are all raised in our home, trained in basic obedience, and well socialized. We shared with them how we give our puppies the best start in life and find wonderful homes for them. They heard our case and graciously allowed us to add a fourth dog to Russell Homestead.
Sheerah has been a great addition to our family. We've enjoyed watching her grow up, and we are eagerly anticipating her first litter of puppies in late 2019 or early 2020! Below are some snapshots of her as a puppy.
So, that's Sheerah - you can see more pictures of her on her page. What about the rest of the schnauzers?
Above is Jolly - looking stunning at 6.5 years old. Jolly was spayed and retired from breeding last summer after gracing us with lots of all-black puppies. We get so many inquires for black puppies, but we have none to offer at this time. Jolly is enjoying her retirement days here soaking up her role as matron of the pack. We often get complimented on how beautiful she is.
Above is Tachi at 2 years old. Tachi had a speedy and graceful recovery from her Christmas Eve litter, and we are looking forward to her next litter - due in August 2019! She continues to be a mild-mannered sweet presence around the homestead. I often tell people she has a very un-schnauzerlike personality. She's submissive and calm, but yet smart too!
And, we can't forget Cooper! Cooper is doing fabulous at 3 years old. He's quite the love bug and a definite favorite of the children around here.
Well, that's the news from the schnauzer corner of the homestead. Stay tuned to hear about goats, homeschooling, and chickens! Thanks for stopping by!
Vanessa from Russell Homestead. Follower of the Lord Jesus, wife of my knight in shining armor, mother of 5 wonderful children, and joint-keeper of the Russell homestead. Thanks for stopping by!
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