A while back, I got an email about my Homeschool Planner (which I affectionately call my ‘Brain’). Someone (like me) who happens to be a visual learner wanted to know what tab sections I keep in my planner. I use my planner for Lesson Plans and a personal planner (like a ‘Day Planner’ that has journaling/appointments and more). When I keep it updated and use it consistently, it really does keep me in line. However, there are some weeks when I slack off and forget everything (even to open it!). One of those such weeks happens to be this past week… causing me to forget a friend’s son’s birthday party. It didn’t help much that I was also disconnected from the internet, either. It pays to keep an updated calendar and schedule.
Here below is the tabbed layout of my ever-evolving Homeschool Planner for all of you who might have wondered about it…
DAY PLANNER (Personal) SECTION
This is just a thick white plastic cover that protects the pages from being bent.
I wish I was organized enough to use this resource, but sadly… I hardly ever look at them. I got this idea from FlyLady. I do think typing them out is helpful, even if you don’t regularly glance at them. It will give you an idea of where your time is going if you write down what you do all day.
I also keep inspirational and personal goals in this section. If you come across a good article that helps inspire you to set goals, simplify, reduce stress, be a good steward of your time, prevent burn-out, or keep your priorities straight… print it out and keep it here for reference!
I use a ‘by the week’ calendar. I use mine for an ongoing personal list of to-dos, a journal of the day’s events that I want to remember, notes for tomorrow that I need to save, and birthday reminders for family and friends. At the end of the year, I look back over the notes for the year and create our family’s annual Christmas letter from the highlights I have jotted down. I keep these stashed in a scrapbook folder for ‘whenever I have time to scrapbook‘ (which for the past few years is NEVER).
In this section I keep a sheet protector page that is larger than the actual pages of the calendar (so that it sticks out as a place-marker). Inside of this sheet protector; I keep a monthly calendar (which I make in MS Word) on one side, and a quick reference of my daily school schedule on the other side (if only I would look at it!).
This is in the back of my calendar area and includes things such as: time zone map, birthdays list for family & friends, school holiday list for our local district, 4-year overview of family events, world holiday list and important notes.
This section includes things such as: budget, proposed budget, debt chart, creditor name & numbers, financial bible verses our current weekly bill chart so I know what upcoming bills are due with our next paycheck.
Probably my least used section; this section is only there to collect dust. I had good intentions, but I rarely get far ahead of myself enough to put this to good use. Lately I have been scribbling down a quick menu for a week in advance on paper and leaving it on my fridge with a magnet. I may begin to use it; but if not, it will eventually get removed from the ‘Brain’. I also have a chart in this section that tells what foods freeze well, a list of lunchbox snacks (which I don’t need any more since my kids are eating lunch at home), some blank menu calendars, a pantry inventory and grocery list, and some favorite meal notes.
This section probably goes without saying. I don’t know anyone who has a day-planner without a ‘rolodex’ section. Maybe the only unique thing about mine is that I have a excel spreadsheet that I keep up with family and friends and I print this and hole punch it to fit in this section of the planner. I also keep notes of how to get to people’s houses that invite us over, a map of our city and downtown, a co-op phone directory, doctor numbers, and representative addresses (government).
LESSON PLANNER (School) SECTION
I use plastic pocket dividers (transparent and colored) in my lesson planner section so that I can put things in the pockets that I often need to remove.
I keep a hole-punched section of my curriculum (KONOS Volume I, Attentiveness currently), the corresponding KONOS book list, and clear sheet protector as a bookmark. I also have a poem about parenting and papers relating to our unit in back and front pockets. I sometimes keep my lesson planner I am currently planning for in the back pocket (see this file), but lately, I have been using a computer generated weekly planner that I created.
SCHEDULES – ROUTINES/RECORDS – ATTENDANCE
In this section, I keep my current year’s planned school schedule, my current year’s planned KONOS schedule of units, an attendance sheet (which I fill in as the year goes by in pencil), the local public school calendar (printed from internet), a list of items we need to accomplish on a given school day, a weekly schedule that tells what subjects we need to get done, a few schedule-related emails from other KONOS users which I found helpful, and my ‘LEFTOVER’ list for items we don’t accomplish in a particular unit (so we can go back and re-visit in free time or summer).
PLANNING – GOALS – CHECKLISTS
Some of this section is similar to the above. Like I said, my planner is always evolving. I merged some topics simply because I only had a limited amount of colored dividers. You should take this planner and make it your own – let it fit your own style. Here’s what I have in this section: a simplifying homeschooling essay, weekly planning checklist (that I don’t use anymore), printed copy of “KONOS Planning for Dummies” from my blog (in case I forget and need some of my own advice), planning section from my KONOS Compass (for Jessica Hulcy’s advice), a ‘Redeeming the Time’ essay, and family chore ideas.
BEHAVIOR – CHARACTER
I use this section daily because I keep my daily family prayer list in the front pocket. I also keep these helpful items in this section: Doorposts biblical behavior scripture charts, ‘Scripture in Discipline’ article, other behavior articles, stickers for behavior charts (which we aren’t using right now due to me adding behavior to their chore charts), and a list of Bible verses that deal with different behavior problems which I let the kids copy if they get in trouble.
ELECTIVES – REFERENCE – CO-OP/SOCIAL
Here’s what I keep in this section: local co-op group information (meeting minutes and field trip plans), a ‘Family Fun Craft Reference List’ which I made using all my bookmarked magazines, our local Gym pool and athletic schedule, and any other elective information, brochures about community events we plan to attend.
In this section keep my library book print-outs (list of checked out books), library calendar and information brochures (with internet access info), book lists, and a WISHLIST that I can take with me to the annual homeschool book fairs.
FIELD TRIP – INFO
In this section, I am keeping a list of future field trips (info I print from the internet), state homeschool laws and tax laws. In the back pocket, I keep a teacher’s calendar that has teaching ideas for holidays, etc. You can print those calendars off at Teacher Created Resources by month.
This is the section I keep my school district forms in. In Texas, I never had to worry about this section, so this is a fairly new section. Here in Arkansas, you have to fill out intent forms and waivers (and take annual tests from grades 3 and up). I keep copies of all of those forms and website date information on hand in case I need them.
I also keep business card holders (clear baseball card holders would also work fine) with library cards and local business cards (and doctors cards) behind this section.
Blank notebook just in case I need to jot down some notes while I’m out and about.
How’s that for a detailed list? You must understand (as you gasp in amazement that I seem so organized)… I am NOT always organized. I go through phases with using the different sections of the notebook and rearrange them as I need to. Sometimes I do things on the computer and print them, and sometimes I jot notes on a blank piece of paper. I’m erratic in my scheduling and planning – and that is why I have to try so hard and pray about it all the time. I find that having this planner helps me to stay on track more often than not. It is really nice to cart along with me (albeit heavy) because I know that no matter where I go, I can always have the things I may need handy. I enjoy spending time updating and browsing through it (especially when I am idle at doctor’s appointments, park visits, in the car waiting on my husband to come out of Wal-Mart, or at hotels when we travel). I may rearrange it and tweak it, or even add new sections/separate some into more defined areas… but I love the planner and won’t abandon it entirely.
I pray each day to be more consistent and organized… to be ORDERLY (like God who Ordered the heavenly bodies)! God is everything constant, orderly and organized. He is my hero; the inspiration for my paper ‘Brain’ and the creator of my REAL BRAIN. May I learn to number my days and do everything in an orderly fashion as the psalmist wrote. I pray that each of you will find your own FIT with your calendars, binders, planning and curriculums as well. May God lead and bless you and multiply your efforts! In Christ I can do ALL THINGS (even homemaking and homeschooling simultaneously!).
KONOS Planning for Dummies (more about my planner)
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