I recently finished my Planner for the 2014-15 school year. Every year, my planner is super practical. Everything I need is there, but it isn't pretty or fun. My planners have always "had a great personality," if you know what I mean.
Just a side note: I tell more about my super practical planners, link to free planner printables, tell the why and how of my planners and so much more in these posts:
Anyway, this year, I decided it was worth the effort and printer ink to make my planner something I actually liked, since I was going to have to stare at it every single day for an entire year.
I happen to like peacocks. And peacocks fit what I was looking for in a planner perfectly, because, I mean, what exactly are peacocks useful for except admiring? They are fairly frivolous and not terribly practical. I need a little more "peacock" in my life. Peacocks in my planner might make it seem just a little less practical.
If you want a Planner that hides its practicality behind a peacock, I'll tell you how I made mine.
First, you will need a 3-ring Binder. Mine was just a simple white one. I got a heavy duty one because it gets a lot of use.
I use a Mac, so I made my cover page and bookmarks in iPages. You could use whatever you have, though -- Open Office, Microsoft Office, or whatever.
I got the images from Graphics Fairy. My Peacocks are all legal and everything.
I just grabbed them and pasted them in my documents. I played around with fonts and colors on my title page. When I had things arranged the way I liked, I printed. Easy.
I made several bookmarks to make it easy to flip from one section to an another in my planner.
Check out the cool peacock feather pocket in the front of my planner! I made it with an 8 1/2x11 sheet of peacock patterned duck tape. I cut it to the size of the original pocket and just stuck in on there. Then I took a leftover strip from the duck tape page and stuck in on the center metal piece of the binder. It's amazing how much that little bit of duct tape jazzed up my planner.
I put a 2014 and a 2015 yearly calendar in a page protector. I mark any holidays, birthdays, special events, standardized testing dates, school breaks, etc. on these, so that I can see the whole year at a glance. I also mark each week that we will be in school (not counting breaks, etc) with a number 1-36, so that I can see at a glance how far we've come in the school year, and how far we have to go. This helps me keep things on track. (Later, in my weekly school plans, I also put the corresponding school week number, so I can see what needs to be accomplished to finish on time).
Next in my planner, I put monthly calendars for the year. Again, I mark all the pertinent things on these calendars, so I can see the month at a glance for planning purposes. This helps me factor church events, appointments and the like into our school days so I can have a realistic view of what we can accomplish.
Notice my cool bookmark. It makes me happy. Calendars do not make me happy. So here I am taking the good with the bad... Also notice that I shifted the bookmark up a little before I punched holes in it. That is so it will stick out at the top and be easier to find and flip to the next section. I printed my bookmarks on card stock and laminated them for durability.
Next comes the meat of my planner -- the weekly plans. I made this in iNumbers, but if you have Excel, that will also work. I made my grid and totally customized it to fit the classes we will be teaching and the basic order we plan to teach. (I talk more about these pages in this post.) I abbreviate extensively when I write in those little squares, so everything fits. When I look at my planner, it's like reading code, so I feel all cool and secret agent-y. (Hey, don't laugh. Every little bit helps.) In designing my pages, I took the ideas I liked from multiple different planners I had used in the past to combine into a planner page that absolutely suited my needs. I don't think I could purchase one I liked better (and believe me, I've tried).
I have the days of the week across the top, and the classes listed down the left side. I adjust the blocks according to how much room I need to write the assignments. For example, History needs a big block for assignments, but Spanish just needs room for a daily time requirement, because we all know what that means. For classes we do together, I just write the assignments. For classes each student does separately, like Math, I write a first initial and the individual assignment for each student. I write everything in pencil, so I can tweak if necessary as the year goes.
And yes, I plan out the entire year. This keeps us on track so that we finish our books without having a big balloon of work at the end of the year. In fact, I plan for that end of the year slump when we would all rather be doing something else. I front load our year a little. We work hard and do a little extra at the beginning of the year when everyone is excited, and gradually taper off during those last two months when everyone is just waiting for it to be over. This seems to help us prevent burn out and keep things interesting.
On the left hand page, I have Monday-Friday. On the right hand page, I have the weekend. Our weekends are packed, so I need to plan them. (We pastor a church, folks. We work weekends.) I also have my Morning Routine and Evening Routine listed there for reference.
The two-sided bookmark that I use in this part of my planner has our Weekly Routine listed on one side and an 8-Week Deep Cleaning Schedule on the other side. (You can see a similar routine here). When we do these chores regularly, the house stays fairly clean and tidy, in spite of all the activity. I cut a little notch out of each punched hole so that I can pop the bookmark out when we change weeks without having to open the 3-rings. It isn't necessary, but opening and closing the rings irritates me. Especially when all the papers fall out. Errgg.
The next section in my planner is just lovely. I have a habit of planning out purchases, events, holidays, school projects, etc. on common lined paper. But not this year. This year, I will jot down all that brainstorming on this beautiful paper:
I downloaded the matching peacock stationary from Letter Parade, pasted it into iPages and sized it to fit a sheet of copy paper. Then I printed and giggled. In over 14 years of homeschooling, I have NEVER brainstormed on pretty paper. Squeal!
The final touch was a matching pencil. I had some of that handy duct tape left over, so I cut out a few feathers and stuck them to my mechanical pencil. Oh, the bliss.
It really didn't take much longer to turn my planner into something that made me happy. Now that it's done I'm wondering why on earth it took me over 14 years to make a pretty planner. Here's to a good school year!
Have a great day!
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