Using A Bullet Journal to Plan Your Homeschool and Life

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So I have a love/hate relationship with planners. I have collected many in my day. I usually start strong and then fizzle out as it just doesn’t seem to “fit” with all the many aspects of my life.  I also love journals. I fill journal after journal, not with diary type entries, but lists, thoughts, sermon notes, random doodlings, etc. The problem is then I can never find what I am looking for. Which journal did I write down those blog post ideas in? Where was that list of books I wanted to read aloud this year? So that system wasn’t that great either.

Then…. enter the bullet journal….

I’ve been seeing these all over Pinterest and blog land. They always looked so pretty and artsy. Like the person has nothing better to do than make their own planner. So I resisted as I normally do to new things. I bought myself I very fancy planner for my business and blog and I downloaded a homeschool planner, printed all the pages and hole punched it into my brand new pink binder. Then 2 weeks into the school year, I thought I was losing my mind. I missed an orthodontist appointment, a chiropractor appointment, and felt I was spending TOO much time writing stuff down and then looking for the stuff I wrote down. I knew those planners were NOT going to work for me.

I was at Walmart in the school supplies section and saw these beautiful journals on sale for only $4.98. Of course, I can’t resist a good journal. It sat on my desks for several days, before I decided to take the plunge. I knew it would take some research on my part to figure the whole bullet journal thing out. So one rainy day, I put on the Princess Bride for the kiddos and sat down to create my own bullet journal. I knew the moment I started, that I was on to something. That this was the start of a beautiful process. I am sharing my process here. Of course, there are MANY ways to do this, so I encourage you to check out other resources and see if you find one to meet your exact needs.

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Who is a bullet journal good for?

I think this systems words well for anyone wanting to incorporate many aspects of their life in one place. The journal can be your everything organization system. You do need to like creating things, but you don’t need to be artsy. These can be VERY simple lists. No need for embellishments unless that brings you joy (I do like things to look pretty, so I love me some fanciness).

What makes a bullet journal different from just filling a notebook?

The key to the bullet journal is the INDEX. Don’t ask me why this never occurred to me in my many years of filling up notebooks, but it never did. The index is what enables you to find that random list you wrote. Mind blowing, people!!!

What supplies do you need?

  1. A journal- the one I bought for $4.98 at Walmart has 400 pages.
  2. Pens, maybe some colored pencils if you want to add some color
  3. a ruler
  4. a couple hours to set it up (remember the Princess Bride?)

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How to get started:

  1. Number all the pages. (This seems really tedious, so once again do it while you are watching a movie and have nothing else to do) You can’t skip this step as it is vital to the index!!!!
  2. Label the first two pages index
  3. Now comes the fun part: Decide if you want monthly calendars, weekly, daily, etc.

I made monthly through December to get me through the first half of the school year and then I did weekly pages for each month. Add all that to the index.

4. Add in any fun pages you want: I did goals, lists of books I want to read, etc.

5. Now you are ready to go. Each day, list your tasks and check off or move to the next day and you are going to be a productive machine!

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What if I get a random inspiration?

Oh this is the beauty of this entire system. I get random thoughts ALL the time and need somewhere to put them. Now I can add them in my bullet journal (even in the middle of a month if there is a blank page) and add it to my index. Voila! Never misplacing those ideas again. (Picture me doing a happy dance over here) Here is my planning page for the Gentle Feast Curriculum.

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How do you use this for homeschool and life?

I have the top part of each week for school and the bottom half for life. I added in the extra page in the middle of each week, which has been fantastic. It gives me space to write a shopping list, plan out my homeschool week, and anything else that pops into my head for the week. On the daily plans, I write down what we actually DID for school that day using my handy-dandy key. I then can take a picture of the finished week and email it to myself to keep for my records. I only write down what I do with my youngest children as my high schoolers write down their own plans in their own planners.

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So that’s it. If you want to watch a video on the bullet journal, HERE is the one I used to get me started.

Do you use a bullet journal? Got any tips for me?

Thinking about starting a bullet journal? Let me know your thoughts or questions.

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