Friday, August 22, 2014

Making a Planner

I really like planning.  I like organizing and making lists.  And, call me old-fashioned, but I like pencil and paper!  I just can't adjust to using my phone or computer or whatever for my beloved planning!
I am also cheap frugal, so I am a big fan of FREE stuff, and I usually find myself tweaking or piecing together various things anyway, so I don't like to just buy one thing.  Everyone is so different in what they want out of a planner.  I tend to have some very specific things I want but also get some good ideas from things others have put together, so I've pulled from some great things others have made, made a few very basic things myself, and put them together in what I'll call my "Happy Binder."  

I was just talking with some friends today about planning sheets, and as I pulled out my little binder and started pointing out the different pages with, apparently, more affection than I was aware of, one friend said, "So, if we really wanted to mess with you, we could just take this binder, and that would really do it, huh?"  Yep! :)

I have been meaning to post this for over a month now, but my computer crashed!  I know many are full-swing into a new school year and have already latched onto something that works for them, but I just thought I'd go ahead and share what I've put together for myself, in case it proves helpful to someone else.  The few basic sheets I've made are just that--basic.  They aren't pretty because I tend to care much more about functionality, and I'm not very gifted at making things look pretty.  But, if you want to use any of them or tweak them and beautify them and call them your own, feel free!

I have two main sections in my binder.  One is the basics of our life and scheduling (which includes a bit of homeschooling stuff as that is a bulk of our daily life), and the latter portion is specifically school planning.
Because I am cheap, as mentioned before, and because we live overseas and printing and paper and such can get expensive, I put most of my pages (other than the lesson planning sheets) in sheet protectors and use overhead/wet-erase markers on them instead of printing new ones for each week/day.

For the General Section, I have:

A Weekly Highlight Sheet I made, which has space for a weekly memory verse, areas of focus for prayer, and space for some goals/to-do items for the week that aren't specific to a particular day.  (The link has it as a google doc, in which the formatting looks terrible, but it gives you an idea, and I'd be happy to send you the original document, if interested.)

Weekly Menu Planner from Organized Home
I printed out 2 of these and put them in sheet protectors.

*  Student's Schedule from Homeschool Planner from Our Intentional Life (website seems unavailable anymore)
I do really wish this one was available.  A basic version wouldn't be too hard to recreate, but this is just a simple and pretty one, and I used this to map out the basic flow of our routines for the week.  We are still tweaking ours, as we get rolling with a new year, but I think we have some rhythms that work for us, and we're tweaking the details.

Master To-Do List from Organized Home
I always have things accumulating that I want or need to do that don't necessarily fit in specific times and are likely non-urgent, but I want to keep track of them.  I end up with various sheets and notes all over, so I figured I would just dedicate a simple sheet to it.  I haven't ended up utilizing it as much as I'd like yet, as it is one thing I often just jot down in my phone, especially if I think of them while out and about, but I do like a physical list, so I'm hoping to make the shift in habit.

Daily Time-Blocking Printable from Just a Girl and Her Blog
I print out 7 of these and put them in sheet protectors.  These are my main life planning sheets for the week, and while I don't want to use up the paper and ink to print a new one for each day, I'm actually thinking I'm going to print out another 7, as I frequently do planning for the upcoming week on a Friday and am not yet ready to erase the last couple of days from that week.

Simple 1-Page Monthly Block Calendar from Donna Young
I just record events or dates on these for big-picture (not detailed plans).

School Planning Section

13-Month Ruled Calendar from Donna Young
Last year I put two of these at the beginning of my school section.  One has dates marked that we intend to take off from school, and last year I used the second one to mark the days we actually did school.  Given that we don't actually have to report that to anyone, I realized I have no real need to mark that, so I am not officially recording school days this year, so I only have one of these in my binder this year.

Long-range planning
This is something simple I made myself.  It isn't pretty, but there were just a few things I didn't like in others I found.  I quickly made this one and have used it to get an overview for the year, though I think I'll continue to tweak something for this area.  Google docs messed with this one as well, but it's basically just two columns with about a dozen lines for each month to record the focus areas or themes we are planning for the month.

Our co-op schedule
We are so blessed to be part of a co-op group here with some other incredible families.  We started this on our own and are rather newbies to it (as this is only our second year), but if you'd like more info on our co-op or to see how we've structured our schedule, please feel free to send me a message, and I'll be happy to share.

Lesson Plan Pages from Meet Penny or Homeschool Planner from Jolanthe at Homeschool Creations
I believe the Preschool Planning Pages are free on the website, though I'm having some trouble connecting.
I have used the homeschool planner pages from Jolanthe (which I actually got as part of a big bundle I got last year) and have tried copying them back to back and use them a tad different than I think she describes, but it seems to be working for us.  The way I have it now, one two-page spread shows the goals/topics/activities intended for the week, and then the next two-page layout is where I am plugging them in to actual days and workboxes.  I have a sticky flag to mark the current week so that I don't have to flip through the planner to find it.  I also have one marking my long-range planning to find that easily, as I like to keep referencing the bigger picture and where we are headed.

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