How Planners Can Change Your (Homeschool) Life

“Holding thoughts in your head is like trying to grasp water.”  Ryder Carroll


There are tons of memes that mock all the collections of a homeschooling family: insects, feathers, animals of all kinds, eggs, markers, beans—and those are the “tamer” sets of would-be science and math knick knacks.   I don’t know that I’ve seen a meme that addresses the collections of planners.   As I start to think about this last round of high school (heavy sigh), I dug out several of the older kids’ planners to help with ideas.  These are just a few of the physical, bound planners.   Not included are the online versions, or the Word templates that I have converted.



My personal planning methods went to Hades in a hand basket once I left the corporate world.  I was once a huge advocate for Stephen Covey and the Franklin planner system.  I still teach several of his concepts when I speak to my adult learners about time, work/life balance, and overall productivity.  But the Franklin planner simply did not work for what became my life.   In fact, no one planner worked for the home educator, business owner, college instructor, and homo sapien with a life.  So, over the years, my life became a combination of notebooks, Smartphone saves, post-it pads, and the occasional scribble on a wayward piece of mail.

And it showed.

When the business took on another level last year, I knew that I needed a planner for myself—not 2-3 different planners and places to capture various aspects of my life, but one place.   Prayerfully, that would be a fairly inexpensive place.  (Do you know how much planners cost these days??  WOW!!!)

So, I’m about two years late in discovering the neatest of planning and productivity concepts:   the bullet journal.  As much as I talk productivity to adult learners, I never thought about all that a planner, used an integral part of my daily life, could do.  That includes…

  • Capturing my current and future plans, both personal and professional
  • Storing my mental collections and even my ramblings
  • Housing the daily things for which I am thankful
  • Listing concrete plans for relationships in which I want to invest
  • Capturing the monthly budget
  • Serving as a place for personal reflections (including blog posts)

Rather than preach a sermon, I will just allow you to hear from the bullet journal system’s creator, Ryder Carroll.



The beauty of the bullet journal is that, as much as its many avid enthusiasts promote the more expensive notebooks with thicker paper that promises no marker bleed-through, the system is flexible enough to begin with any notebook and pen or pencil.   So, what else does a homeschool mom do?  She begins with one of the many partially-used $0.20 composition notebooks she has laying about the house.  And then she screws up royally, but she thanks the Lord for a plan—and for post-it notes and washi tape.



Then she begins to have fun.




After a couple of months, she is having so much fun (and getting so much done) until she downsizes—and upgrades—the quality of her notebook.



Then, she becomes increasingly excited about spring (though she still screws up), and the year in general, and aaaaaall that she is going to get done.




There are others who are farther down the path of planning, and specifically bullet journaling, than I am.  An internet search will be a feast for the eyes, as some are so creative with how they have expanded on a fairly simplistic idea.  Here are a few posts, though, that might help connect the dots regarding how effective this system can be for homeschooling parents and students alike:

(For parents) How to Plan a Homeschool

Possible Layouts (spreads) for Students  

(Where my obsession fascination began) 30 Ways to Use a Blank Notebook


I get paid nothing for speaking about the bullet journal; I am simply sharing a fantastic new tool–for me.   However you do it, do you.  Happy Planning!!

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