Friday, July 19, 2013

Curriculum Planner Tour

Warning: I'm kind of a geek about seeing other people's planners and that's what this one is about. If this kind of thing makes you fall into a narcoleptic nap, I suggest you pay me a visit another day. :)

I LOVE planners. I love calendars and seasonal stuff in general, but I love planners, and paper planners, specifically. I do use an e-calendar, but I don't have a smart phone, so it doesn't travel with me. Also, the nature of my work, homeschooling and managing home affairs, means that I'm not regularly sitting in front of a computer; I don't have a desk job. The e-calendar reminds me of things when I am here at the computer, but it is a general overview. It doesn't hold my life like my planners do.

I have tried using "note" apps on my Kindle (since I don't have said smart phone), as well as calendar apps, but I just don't really like them. They are smaller than I like and I just like paper and pen or pencil. And the apps definitely don't have enough "pretty" factor for me. Pretty makes a huge difference to me and unless there's an outrageous price difference, I'll seek out pretty every time.

Of course, I have spent way too much time looking for - and not finding - the perfect planner for me. Ideally, it's all-in-one. But then it gets too bulky. It can't be too small though, because I want room to write.

The system I have been using lately has been to have a smaller - 8x5 Day Runner - with me for home-related things including addresses, business cards, a monthly calendar, website passwords, etc. in addition to a homeschool planner. The limitation for me a bit with this has been little space in the weekly calendar pages for all of my home-life to-do's as well as menu ideas. I have a notepad in the back, but that tends to get a bit messy. Hopefully, I've come across a new solution with incorporating this missing piece into my homeschool curriculum planner.






I linked to Tina's website a couple of days ago. I am so thankful for the effort she has put into this wonderfully helpful, FREE resource. And it's all kinds of pretty! Tina seems to be a planner junkie like me and she knows how we are. She's got all sorts of pretty front and back cover options with different designs and color choices. AND she's made them all color coordinated with the rest of the awesomely colorful inside forms. It can make the task of planning, which admittedly can sometimes get to be a bit of a drudgery (did I just say that??), a little bit more cheerful.

Some of you may not be homeschoolers though. Tina does not leave you out of the fun! She's got a cool Home Management Binder too that is also colorful and free and has many more forms than I think I'd ever use for your browsing and printing enjoyment. There's one form on there that I may have to try at least once though. She's got a 30-day menu planner. I've never planned my meals that far out, but once I get things lined up for school, maybe I'll see how that works. I imagine it would be especially helpful if you knew you were going to have a particularly busy month such as around the holidays, or if you were in a transition period, such as the first month of school or in preparation to move or were going to be having a guests.

Anyway, on to the main attraction:

Above is the cover I selected. Tina also has back covers to choose from. I was torn between two, so I put one with the lovely scripture verses she'd selected on the back...


 ...and the one with some sayings about home, motherhood, and family on the inside. Some of them are a bit corny for me, but sweet nonetheless.


I don't have quite so much new curriculum to get this year now that my girls are older, so I splurged on a new label maker. Oh, be still, my organizing heart! I had one of these years ago (a birthday gift from my sister who knows me well), but it eventually died and I hadn't picked up a new one. Like my old one, I love it and put it to use right away!


These are the sections I've chosen for my binder.


A note here: Tina does not actually recommend a binder for this planner. She is an advocate of having your planner spiral bound at an office supply store and she has some very good reasons, especially for the new homeschooling parent. So if you are new, or if you just would like some organizing guidance, if you haven't found a plan that works well for you, I'd suggest reading what she has to say.

For me, a half-inch, three D-ring binder was the way to go and I'll share why.

One, I don't need nearly as many forms as Tina offers at her site. I don't plan using a daily lesson plan, but use a weekly plan which has worked very well for me for a number of years. Also, I did want the option of adding and subtracting to the binder. She has reasons for suggesting you not do that, but again, with years of experience behind me, I am not "thrown off" by using this method.

Tina argues that the spiral bound book will lie flat, which my binder certainly does. She also says that the spiral binding proves stronger and I suspect she's right. It's true that I haven't liked the 3-ring system too much in the past, but that has mostly to do with bulk. I purchased just the 1/2 inch this time and supposedly the D-ring style (according to the tag on the front) holds more than the round. I don't know about that; we'll see how this works out. So far, I've managed to get everything into it that I want.

I went ahead and printed some of her monthly pages. I actually felt a little disloyal to my sturdy, red, home planner that has served me well over the past 4 years or so! But I really like the big picture and I don't want to have to rely on having the other planner with me at all times in order to see it. Plus, again, other than the ink cost, these nice calendars are free and it is surprising how expensive some of those purchased calendar refills can be!


Behind the next tab is the new, daily section that I hope to put to good use. I had already printed some of Tina's older, black and white pages when I discovered her gorgeous, new colorful design. So I've alternated them for now. So pretty! You can see there that there is a place fore the daily menu, a small shopping list (not my grocery list though - of course I have another form for that!), a place for random notes, the daily schedule if I need to use it (sometimes I do, sometimes I don't, depending on how many things we've got going on), etc.


 Here's a new form that I've got in the pocket behind my "Lesson Plans" tab.


Tina intends this form to be used only occasionally and that's how I intend to use it too. When new activities are added into our schedule, my head can begin to swim. As our schedules change, I may need an overview from time to time to see where I need to be when. Especially as I will be doing my own schooling this year too, it will be helpful to know what blocks of time I will have available to me to study as well as family time and free (including blogging) time. Often, if I don't have something like this to see, I can be doing one activity and wondering if I should be doing something else. That happens especially when I sit down to relax and just do something for me. Hopefully something like this will assuage any guilt or bewilderment of how I am spending my oh, so precious time.


Below is where lesson plans will go. Again, there's not a great deal of space here, but these days, with PSEO, co-op classes, and some curriculum leading the way with very little involvement from me, I don't always need a great deal of space.

I couldn't decide on which design and color scheme I wanted. She has even more choices than these, but I settled on two and alternated them. :)


The last section I've labeled "Reference." As you can see, I've got extra note paper here in the pocket.


Behind this tab is the overview of the school year. Again, three, pretty colors and designs to choose from. I'll mark out holidays and count out our weeks here, etc. Behind this, I've also got some records I've already got going on the high school credits the girls have earned, volunteering they've done, field trips taken, etc. Tina has all kinds of forms for these too, but mine are from Donna Young's magnificent site. Her forms aren't as jazzy as Tina's but she seems to have a million or more there. Her site is definitely worth checking out too!


And so that's it! I'm looking forward to putting it to good use and it makes me happy looking at it. Perhaps I'll do another post in a few months time once we're into the school year starting at the end of August, giving you an update as to how it's working out. I'm sure you'll all be waiting with bated breath! lol! :)


We're off visiting friends at their farm today, and are staying the night. So hopefully I'll have loads of photos to share tomorrow, but the post will be up later than what I've been doing of late. Until then, enjoy your Friday. We've made it to the end of another week! Have a great day and thanks for stopping by.
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