I’ve had a lot of questions lately about my planning binder. A long time ago I talked about setting up a planning binder for school, but over the years it has changed quite a bit. Some of those earlier binder posts are linked down at the bottom so you can compare if you are a detailed, list-making, analytical sort… but I figured I’d just tell you what I use TODAY. Since those early days I have simplified a lot. I tried keeping everything but the kitchen sink in my binder – and that broke my back. I tried having a separate school binder and personal binder, but that never seemed to work. Too many things to carry and I always had the wrong binder open when I needed to add information. Worst of all, I was using two different calendars – which was WAY too confusing… and balls got dropped.
SO, this post is about the ‘evolved’ version of my homemaking, scheduling, blogging, business and school planner. It’s everything in one spot – which is why the kids nicknamed it “Mama’s Brain”. Fancy that – my brain looks like a 3-Ring Binder… and is lime green, too!
The first thing you’ll notice about my binder is that it has tabs (see close up of them in the top photo). I use colored tabs with pockets on both sides – plastic ones that are harder to rip. Inside some of these main tabs are smaller, flat, non-pocket tabs for further dividing.
Here below is my ‘Brain’ tab structure:
– Prayer List
– Prayer Journal Ideas
– Back pocket full of notes/scripture cards/Parent’s Prayer
– Front Pocket full of notes/learning style quiz/tips
– To Do List
– School To Do List
– Reading List
– Back Pocket empty
– Routines for Kids
– Educational Objectives (school year overview)
– School Supplies List
– TAB: Attendance
– TAB: Schedule
– Yearly Overview Schedule
– Weekly Subject Schedule/Workboxes
– History Overview
– Science Overview
– Teacher Notes
– TAB: Assignments
– Blank forms
– Science Curriculum copies hole punched
– Front pocket with week’s coupons/product request forms for Grocery Store
– Sheet protector with week’s menu
– Pantry inventory
– Back pocket with meal ideas/grocery list forms/recipes for week
Calendar (see calendar open on desk in photo above)
– Monthly blank calendars (www.calendarlabs.com)
– hole punched items scattered throughout in front of their month (brochures/event clippings/invitations/fliers)
– Book lists for library (has a list of books we want to read and the italic ones are available at the library)
– Reference charts for history timeline and artists
– Notes for book recommendations
– Back pocket with bookmarks
– Blog calendar (blank with my notes) for Homeschool Post
– Blog calendar for Sprittibee
– Author list for the Post
– Homeschool Blog Awards notes and info
– To-Do list and post idea notes
– Back pocket with sticky notes, recipes to post on my recipe site, etc
– Front Pocket with blank sticky notes
– blank notebook paper
– Back pocket with stickers, postcards, stamps
– Photography pricing sheet
– Photography expenses sheet
– spreadsheet for 4 paydays worth of upcoming projected bills
There you have it… my ‘Brain’ exposed. I’m sure there are things I need to add and probably some things I should remove that I don’t use any more.
1. Homeschool Tracker keeps track of my homeschool attendance, so I don’t use that tab at all.
2. It used to contain a business card section that was really handy for local businesses and I kept an extra library card in there, too. I took it out because I had too many business cards and didn’t refer to it that often. I miss having it to refer to, though – especially lately since we’ve been having so many doctor appointments.
3. I have so many notes about the Relevant conference floating around that it would be handy to put this in my Blogging section under a new tab – maps, brochures, budget, phone numbers and addresses, schedules and agendas, etc.
This is the nitty-gritty current state of my organizational ‘Magnum Opus’ (masterpiece). This binder is ever-evolving in to something more simple that fits my needs at the moment. How about you? How to you keep on top of the paper trails, things to do and places to be?
Order of Operations: How I Stay On Top of it All
Homeschool Tracker Software (my record keeping program)
Last year’s review of TOS’ School Planner
Konos Planning for Dummies
Homeschool Planner Setup