Thursday, August 11, 2011

By Request ::: A Look at My Planner

Tami, a long-time bloggy acquaintance, sent me an email asking me about the planner I use. This is one of those posts that have been on my to-do list for literally months. I love planner posts. In fact, whenever Dawn writes one of her great planner / organizational posts, I save it until I have time to read it and savor it. (Dawn is someone who I consider a homeschool organization mentor because of how useful her file crate system has been for me!)

Anyway, if planners aren't your thing, feel free to skip this. : ) Tami asked what kind of planner I use for my daily / weekly / monthly organization so here are some pictures and a bit of explanation as to what you are looking at. I've been using this system for about three years now, and while I always am bedazzled by the pretty planners in the store at this time of the year, I always come back to this system because it works for me. : ) (FYI, if you click any of these pictures, you can view them bigger on Flickr if needed).


The outside is a binder from Crown Bindery. I have two or three sets of her 8 1/2 x 11 binders and change out the colors as I need something fresh to look at. I love that it uses binder rings. It's not as bulky as a three-ring binder and fits in most of my bags or totes when I need/want to take it with me.

At the beginning, I have several sheets that I refer to frequently in page protectors. For example, below: our daily summer schedule is on the left and on the right is a page of Everyday Life Journaling prompts that Ali Edwards posted on her blog. I guess I need to swap out the summer schedule for our school schedule!


I have several of the printables from Ann Voskamp's blog, A Holy Experience. Good stuff.


Next up is my monthly and weekly planner pages. For each month, I have a two page layout that I designed in Word. I wanted to get the squares as big as possible and wanted lines in the squares. (I need lines - it must be straight!) : )


Here's what it looks like as a whole. Now that I've been making these for a few years, it really doesn't take me took long to make new ones when I need them.



For the weekly pages, I use a template that I purchased on Etsy here. This PDF was well worth the $8 I spent. (I see it's now gone up to $10, but I have MORE than gotten my money's worth out of it.) This template comes with a monthly and weekly layout, but their monthly layout is on one page, and I needed/wanted a bit more room so I made my own. I print their weekly page back to back with a "notes" sheet that comes in the PDF. (I will show you a little more detail on the weekly pages since they are from last month. I figure it's probably not a great idea to post my current calendar online with our daily appointments.) : )


The right is the full week, Monday through Sunday. Love that there are full blocks for Saturday and Sunday and the weekend isn't crammed into a little space at the end. As you can see the PDF is blank so I do have to spend a little time writing in the dates, but it really doesn't take that long, especially if I do it in the evening while I'm watching a movie with T. : )


The left side is for my notes, to do list, and my weekly meal plan. I make a space for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but rarely fill in breakfast and lunch - usually only if we are down to the bare minimum on groceries and I'm really having to figure out what to feed people, or if there is a special event. (You can see we had cinnamon rolls on Monday to celebrate our first day of school).


The last section in my planner is for homeschooling and, I admit, this is a new system for me this year. For the last two years, with only N1, I did all my planning in a simple spiral notebook. That worked great for me, but this year, I have been trying to figure out the perfect worksheet to plan for both the girls so that there was space for both of their individual work and for the stuff that I do with them together AND include it in my planner so it's handy. The form that I am using right now (I make no guarantee that I'll stick with it all year) is, again, one I designed. It's based off one I found in the Schoolhouse Planner that I was sent to review - I believe I added an extra column and personalized it, of course. : )

Here's a shot of this week's plans. After my first attempt at a weekly wrap-up post last week, I'm trying to make notes on my planner to help me remember what we cover and little things that happen.


Up close:


Right now I have a row for Bible, N1 math, N2 math, N1 language arts, N2 language arts, social studies (combined), science (combined), and other. Read-alouds, I'm trying to keep track of on the paper wherever they fit in (and where I have room). I don't keep a whole year's worth of planner sheets in my notebooks. Right now, I have about 8-10 weeks ... up until we take our fall break.

I also keep an attendance form here for each of the girls. (Calendar from Donna Young's website ... an amazing richness of homeschool forms and printables if you are not familiar with her site!)


A few idea pages for the months ahead are also tucked in here although most of those stay in my spiral notebook/composition book.


Whew! Tami, that is probably WAY more detail than you wanted, but I really hope that helps. : ) If you (or anyone) has any questions, or if I didn't make sense about something, let me know and I can try and clarify.

Happy Thursday! : )


  1. *I* like to plan but WOW! You beat me out! =D I bow to your planning skillz. ;)

  2. Wow!!! I love all your ideas. I'll definitely be referring to this post again when I don't have little people demanding my attention.

    I use the same form from Donna Young. Her site is amazing but I have a hard time understanding hear labels and finding what I'm looking for. This summer I read a tip to count down your # of school days on the form. That way you always know exactly how many you have left. So instead of writing "1, 2, 3" I've written "180, 179, 178." It's a little thing but so helpful!

  3. Stephanie,
    Thank you SO much for writing this post and for all of the pictures. The mister and I have been out of town celebrating our anniversary and I came back to this. Wow! So much here. I'll definitely be back to read this post several times over this week and I'm sure I'll have more questions. I asked my husband if he could help me create the 2 page monthly calendar like you have and he sent me to the microsoft website to begin looking. I really have no idea how to create things in word (or anywhere else) and have a feeling that this Momma is going back to school this week. Crash course style. :-)


Thanks for commenting!