Showing posts with label homeschool planner. Show all posts
Showing posts with label homeschool planner. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

DYI Homeschool Planner: inserts/pages I am including so far

As I work through this DYI project, I realized I had to break the inserts/pages down into smaller units, so as to not get so overwhelmed. I decided to start with the lesson plans first.  I did purchase a download that I truly enjoy. So far it seems to fit into our needs and draws me to it. You know-so I will actually pen down the info I need there-which is the whole point.  So I went ahead and printed up enough for September through December.  There are a couple other layouts I want to try out before I go any further.  I can easily change up the style for the next semester.  So in February, I am going to work on another option and see how it goes.  If it fails, I will make notes and then try another in March to then make my final decision on the rest of the year's layout.

I had found several various pages that I knew for sure that I wanted to include in the planner.  Some were spot on and others were 'close enough' to what I need.  I am also creating those that elude me elsewhere.

After I figured out how many of the layout pages were needed, and how they had to be printed up, I started thinking of the extra pages I wanted. I don't want to clutter the planner up with ones that are not necessary but I also don't want to forget any others that I may want.

SO-I am thinking of sections (as mentioned above) and so far-this is what I have in my line up. Obviously, I have a lot more to consider and find/create before the binding time approaches.
I may purchase a kit that offers more options or keep creating or finding freebies-not sure yet.

For the Month/Weekly Schedule area:
-Actual weekly plans
-Supply List: any supplies I need for the month, non-specific
-Books Read list
-Art Project(s) page noting supplies I have/need and any additional books I want for it (we cover artists/musicians via the Charlotte Mason method so I need extra space specific to larger projects)
-Archaeology Projects:  here I note any big digs/activities I want to do for that month, this may only be for one semester depending on how far we get this spring/early summer.

**I will not bind until I know for sure what I have to carry over into the new year to avoid unnecessary pages in there. So I may not need to arch pages if we finish the course.

For the Goals/Lists/Overview area:

-Curriculum Must Haves and Curriculum Wants (yes, there is a difference)
-Notes pages: several varieties
-2016-17 calendar for quick reference
-Goals for the year (still not sure what form I want to use)

For the Class Descriptions/Grades area:

-Year Specific Summary of plans and Course Description pages
-Grades tracker (still not sure which one I want to use)

For the Additional Notes area:

-Graph and lined paper 
-Variety of layouts of note paper

Additional stuff:

-Plastic zipper pouch for keeping goodies nice and tidy (using a clear pencil pouch)
-Folder pockets to store papers I need to access frequently
-Note sheets to write down the things I need to purchase-I will keep them in the pocket and use when necessary.  These won't be attached so I can take them with me when I go shopping.
-Various sticky notes for the notes dashboard

I am still pondering the need for a Field Trip page. I think if I do include this, I will be making it more specific to my son's/husband's new hobby: exploring and searching for artifacts in the area (Native American/early settlers) or museums that tailor to that.  I also have to design a record keeping page for his Auto/Small Engine course where they log in the hours spent on hands-on work/activities.  Same goes for the archaeology stuff. 

I know there are more I want, it's just too hard to come up with them all at once.  I literally need to carry some paper and a pen on me so when the ideas pop into my head-I can write 'em down before they become distant memories.  LOL  So as we progress during this current semester, I am sure I will stop and say, "HEY, I need a page for that!"  LOL  

Once I am fully paged out, I will have another post showing the pages with the links for you.  I have created a few of them myself, and if I can remember how to get them into my Scribd or that other site so you can print them if you want, I will do that too.  :)

So onward I go working through this maze of planner innards!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

DYI Homeschool Planner-Thoughts on the Inside Pages

The conundrum continues. Purchase or finish my own planner? I haven't a clue as to why this is such a challenge for me.  Usually, I know exactly what I want.  Ugh.

So, here I am still on the fence-I think. But that fancy DYI cover set and divider pages have been calling me. Saying, "Whatcha waiting for?" I really don't know how to answer that!

Oh dear. So I decided to start downloading and printing pages. I mean after all, I have the 30# paper so why not try a few. Right? Ah hem....a few thick stacks later-and then some....

Hmmm, looks to me as tho I am going the DYI route.  For at least this year I guess.

So here is what I know so far:

*I have been searching and searching for freebies to download-and there are plenty. See links below.

*I purchased one lesson planner download from Etsy-but now I see I could have gotten a complete set from a fellow HSer for the same price-drat!

*I still intend to use the download I bought-if I can readjust or find a different printer that won't cut off the end part of the page (didn't have that issue either when we re-uploaded the printer app or some time about there, the parameters changed.  Now I have to see if my daughter's boyfriend -who is a tech guy-can help me figure this out if option B doesn't work either). I found a way on our other 'puter to downsize-oh yeah!  Already printed enough pages for September to December!  So check and check.

*I need to do some practicing on a few different weekly/daily layouts so I know which one will work best for us, before printing up a boatload of them to put into the planner.

*I have to decide whether I want to be able to move pages about or add/delete when I want to or have it 'as is' for eternity.  

*Due to the aforementioned sitzie, I must figure out if I will jump into the disk planner mode (meaning I will have to purchase a punch for sure [spency] and disks, which are not too spency) or just have it coil bound.  Oh, and there is another one-Pro Click [yah way spency] but you can unsnap and add/delete if you decisions, decisions.

*I need to really think the above issue thru.  If I plan on DYIing it for the next three years, a punch is a must.  Obviously, we can use it for many other things-but that must be added to the initial output cost. Granted, I can also reduce the over-all cost by dividing the amt. by at least, again-decisions....

And there you have it. For now.

OK, so where am I finding these downloads?

Go To PINTEREST and Google 'free homeschool planner pages'
to start! This will be your "honey hole" of links and options.

Join mailing lists in order to get the freebie pages as your gift from the 
blog author.

Shop Etsy stores.  
Search for planner and homeschool planner pages.

Here are some websites with some nice pages
(look through them-not all will apply to your needs)
and download what should work for you.

(7 Planner Steps section)

She has freebies and pay-for-kits
I found the middle/high school planner free and 
it's quite wonderful. Lots of options there.

She has a nice planner for like $5
She has some great HS materials for sale BTW

Great for note pages/graph paper, etc.

Good lists pages

LOVE her layout and color choices-this is one I will
be testing out.  Some pages are dated
 but the weekly planner is not.

I just purchased the $5 layout option. I am currently
test driving (so to speak) this style
to see how it works for us.

That should get you started.  I will do a separate post highlighting which pages I will use for sure, and where they will go in the planner.  I need to test out a few first.  I will also talk about paper quality! Very important actually.  And of course-what works for us, may or may not work for you. So you will need to do your own hunting and gathering.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

DYI Homeschool Planner Covers, Divider Pages and more

As a part of the "get myself organized" goal I have set for the year, I have decided it is time to buckle down and start using a teacher's lesson planner again.  Boy, it has been ages since I used them.  I actually have a hate-kinda love-hate relationship with those buggers. It's just not my style.  Or so I believe.  I totally know a few deep seeded issues contributed to this disdain and anti-schedule attitude. If short on time-skip down about half way to the instructions, otherwise-read on....

First off, when I was in college working on my degree (Early Childhood Development) we had to do a whole month's plan as a part of the course. Yes, you read that right.  A whole month! Perhaps it was because I was taking two of the hardest courses at the same time for two straight semesters that contributed to the stress (duh on my part) but it definitely helped further my disgust of them. Why the need for such craziness? I guess for those imaginary little darlings at some imaginary childcare center for some imaginary reason! Honestly, I think they thought it would be helpful.  It was not.  Every job would have had different standards and requirements and there was no way that could have been implemented (as the instructor suggested) and esp. so because the ages and abilities of the kids would have been different.  I remember too, that those seeking a teaching degree had way more of those little puppies to produce. I bet there are a few of those folks still washed ashore my "For the Love of Miss Beadle-WHY?" Island. With those type of assignments, it set into motion my loathing of them. I get it was necessary to practice, but perhaps a week's worth with comments from the instructor on how to improve or remove non-necessities would have been so much more helpful. But I digress...

It literally took a long time to pull it together too. Back in the old days before the wheel was invented (ya know) we had no internet, no computers like today [insert gasp], so everything was done by actual hands-on research and the old hunt and find the materials manner. And let us not forget the fact that one would have to type it up on the ole typewriter.  So, just to give you a bit more background here-because I am sure many reading this are unfamiliar with that technological advancement. When you use a typewriter, you had to advance the page quite a bit to find the back of the typewriter so you could successfully apply the liquid white out (eventually there came about the whiteout tape) to correct your mistakes. It looked terrible. Or for those like me-you would rip the darn thing out and start all over again. Talk about a time buster! And that is all based on whether or not the typewriter tape functioned, rather than jammed, rendering it completely useless.  So yes-another seed in the garden of disdain.

There came a time when I said, "ENOUGH!" and never looked at the planners until I began homeschooling an older student.  Then I knew I had to try again.  I had transcripts looming and grading accountability to tackle.  I had to do it-I just did.  Well, that lasted all about 10 seconds.  First planner was relegated to a grade keeper only.  Done and done.  Down the road I looked at and almost tried a few.  I couldn't do it. My inner self said that I would waste my time-so I came up with an internal lesson plan maker in my mind which I followed it with a pretty good success rate.  I just did it.  Here and there I would jot notes and keep those about but mostly it was my gray matter that kept account of things. I just knew what had been done, needed to be completed presently and should be down the road. Weird as that may sound.  I had 3-4 students during that time (one of them was a baby-kindergartner during many of those years) and somehow I managed.  But then life got super busy. My mind aged a bit. Things just weren't getting accomplished. Life got more complex and I knew I had to try something. Later on, whilst on a review team, I tried their homeschool planner.  It was OK.  I did use it for a time and at first really liked it-but then old habits trumped my good intentions-I let it slide like cheese off of bacon.

Another annoying thing that could bring me almost to tears, during my attempts to be all scheduley, was how easy and frequently all those plans got messed up because of one or two little deviations. Poof! Hours of work and best intentions screwed up to the point where getting back on track was almost impossible. Even only penning in a week's worth was suspect and questionable at times.  Maybe I just looked for a reason to toss those planners out the window...maybe it was just an excuse or maybe time and wisdom are trumping me now.

I had been slowly sliding into an abyss of barely making it (regarding my personal goals/standards for myself and our kid's education) and knew that I had to do something.  Lots and lots of prayers to the Lord arose like church bells on a Sunday morn. Then tons of research and YouTubing have led me back to where I knew I was going to be stranded forever if I didn't make that change. That place called Going Nowhere.  It was time to make my escape. Thankfully, the Lord sent a rescue boat.  I am heading back to the Land of Accomplishment. I can see it's shoreline in the distance....little by little I am getting nearer and nearer...

SO-one step is to get a lesson planner going that will help keep me accountable and organized. I even dipped my toes into life planning with my brand new Erin Condren planner! Now I can be a well-rounded organized homeschooling mama.

BUT which type of lesson planner do I use? That is where I am stuck.

I have already penned a post and shot a video covering the planner choice conundrum. While I wait to decide, I chose to be proactive and make covers and dividers so they are ready and await my final decision.

I am sharing how I made them, to help inspire those who prefer the DYI version. Here is what I used to create mine:

front and back covers: both sides
(These are laminated so I had to jam them up on the white board to avoid the glare-LOL)

divider pages-front/back views

*FYI:  The laminating items take you to
 under my Amazon Associates link.  

Several sheets of 12x12 scrapbook paper  (larger is better because you can customize better)
Cutting tool -preferably a paper cutter large enough to accommodate the 12x12 paper
Glue stick
Laminator (or place to have it laminated): I use the Scotch laminator and Laminating sheets
Lamination pouches for the machine
Computer program for your title making (MS Word works for me)
Iron/Ironing board
Some type of binding ability-local office supply store or your own binding machine
Printed pages (I found the college lined ones here) for back sides of dividers, if not using scrapbook paper
Post it Notes: if you want to adhere them on the backside of the covers like mine

Options beside scrapbook paper:

*downloaded covers from various sources
*good quality art paper in which your child(ren) have drawn various pictures (remember to ask them to leave white space for labels) for your covers.  Avoid crayons-supply colored pencils, watercolors or markers.

Decide on what size covers you want.  If using your own laminator-be sure to allow for some sealing area all the way around the edge.  If taking it to a store to be laminated, call ahead and ask what sizes are available-then plan accordingly.  I suggest not making it too large. Remember to account for the inside pages which will probably be the standard 8 1/2" x 11" size. You should make the dividing pages smaller than the outside covers to protect them and allow for the tabs.

My covers are sized as:
*Front/Back:  8 3/4" W x 10 14/16" L
*Dividers: 8 1/2" W x 10 3/4" L

dashboard and book marks-front/back views

 the notepad dashboard:
4 1/2" x 9 1/2"
I just used whatever size scrap I had that could accommodate the
sticky notes efficiently

Book marks were simply scraps trimmed to whatever size I wanted

Page layouts Tips:

*Choose paper that is attractive and interesting to you.  Pick a few others which compliment and add accents-mixing it up is a great way to add interest and dimension.

*Layout pages in interesting manners.  I switched from vertical to horizontal lines and tilted a lot of the titles to keep it from being boring/uniform.

*Take the glue stick and lightly smear a wee bit in each corner [backside] to adhere the pages together.  Many people do not do this and it can be troublesome.  Esp. when placing them into the laminating sheet.  It also helps you to trim and line up edges better. Don't go nuts with the glue-it will clump.  

*Decide which way you want your main tabs to run along the page. Cut enough paper (1/2" or so) below where you want to have the title so that you can slide that down between the papers for extra security and strength. Adhere that with a tad of glue as well. Be sure the tabs will fit within the confines of the laminating sheet for extra durability.  If running tabs along the right side, cut the width of the dividers down to allow for the tabs, so that they are not overhanging past the covers, unless that is the look you want. Cut the length of the paper if placing them on the top, altho my measurements allowed for squeezing them in.  

Assemble and then run through the laminator once or twice.  Then set iron at or near the rayon setting and run the tip all the way around the edges to ensure a good seal.  Do NOT let that iron stay stationary-it will melt the plastic or ruin your iron (don't ask how I know this). Move quickly. Once the seal is good-allow to cool and then cut.

Leave a good edge of the laminating sheet free around the edges, then trim if necessary.

Now it is ready for the interior pages and binding. If I choose this route I will have an in depth post and video on those. If not, I still may make a video on the pages I am trying out and a post with all the links. Til then......happy planning.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Choosing a lesson planner that works

I have been in a planner bind (no pun intended) for a bit now.  Do I create my own or do I purchase one that is already done?

I have been scouring YouTube and several blogs to find some sort of answer to that.  I have watched tons of videos on a variety of teacher planners and came away with really liking the Erin Condren version.  I also have debated the cost of that and others issues it will have.

So I watched even more videos on how to make my own. Lots and lots of those.  It's not for the faint of heart.  It does take some time and planning -again no pun intended here.

I just don't know yet.  I can go either way actually.  It comes down to whether or not I am able to snag a planner during the EC sale or not.

So here are some of the pros and cons I came up with for each option.

Purchased Planner -Erin Condren

*Already created/bound and ready to go 
(say for minor adjustments on some pages)
*Better quality paper
*Nice, bright colors and designs
*Several cover choices and additional accessories

*Can be expensive or more expensive than a DYI version-"can be"
*Not designed for our specific needs-esp because it is typical teacher planner that is not tailored to homeschooling
*Will require modifications to make it more usable-which can add to the price investment (stickers, etc.)
*Time will be involved (albiet not too much) to tweak out and modify this to make my own.

DYI Planner:

*Should be cheaper to create than a pre-made version
*Set up to reflect my specific needs
*Created by me so you have more of an inclination to use it
*As colorful or scaled down as needed to meet my tastes

*Can be very time consuming to pull together
*May not be able to find all pages I want or need
*May have to create pages and that is time consuming and somewhat difficult without the right design programs 
*May not be as colorful or jazzy as a pre-made version
*Figuring in the expense of laminating, binding, printing (ink) and paper could be almost as spendy as a commercial planner
*Requires research and downloading (either free or packages I pay for-so again, can be a bit more expensive than originally thought)

So for now-I have decided to download a bunch of different weekly schedule layouts to try out from Jan to March.  That way, if I do go with my own version, I will know which style I like and which ones best suits our needs.  I will also have that time to hunt down more options.  I can then see if I truly like my own DYI option or if I really just need to go with something already complete.

What I do know is I like color. I want to be drawn into it so, you know, I will actually continue using it.  I am also a bit of a paper snob!  I like good quality paper.  The EC has that. I have purchased a higher # paper to use (which is quite nice), but again-theirs is better.  SO I will definitely be needing to post an update.  

I have made a video talking about this very thing-and you can watch it on my YouTube channel by clicking this link. So for now, this is what I have to offer-hopefully, I can make a decision and stick to it soon.