My Homeschool Planning Notebook

by Jimmie Lanley on March 15, 2010

When I shared about how to organize notebooking pages, Mary commented, “I struggle with keeping a ‘planning book.’  What does yours look  like and contain?  Currently I use a regular teacher planner, but it is not ideal. I’d love to know how you do it.”

mom's notes

I’ve got all kinds of things in there. Here’s a list:
planning clipboard

  • blank weekly planning sheets (I write my plan on these each weekend.)
  • book lists for my various curricula
  • teacher guides for various curricula where applicable (for example Noeo, or Winter Promise)
  • one page yearly calendars (from when Sprite started K until 2013)
  • math curriculum focal points
  • Write from History 6 Year Writing Plan
  • timeline figures, printed out
  • table of contents for various notebooking pages sets
  • two math articles that I like to reread periodically (A Generous Education in Mathematics by Alice Horrocks — join this group to access it; A Mathematician’s Lament by Paul Lockhart)
  • list of public domain books at
  • my own year long plans for things like artist study, composer study, and hymn study
  • questions to ask Sprite to get feedback on our homeschool

It’s a hodgepodge of resources that I turn to often. The weekly plan pages go on a clipboard to use all week. Behind the page I add in any other materials we’ll be using that week. I don’t work/teach/learn from my planning notebook. I only plan from it or reference it. So during homeschool time, I rarely take it out.

Do you have a notebook like this? What do you keep in yours?

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Christine Guest March 15, 2010 at 9:22 pm

Mine has evolved, It started out this year as a blank weekly planner that I wrote all our out of the house assignments on. I found that I wasn’t looking at it anymore, or using my real calender, so I was missing things. I went through 5 different ways of communicating to my 6th grade son what his independent work was. Now we are back to cooler middle school looking version of the pocket chart he had as an elementary school student.

My notebook has become a check off chart- just so I know what my goals were and if I met them. We feel better if things get celebrated when they happen, not like we missed the boat because they happened on Tuesday instead of Monday…Especially if they all did get done!



Ticia March 15, 2010 at 9:34 pm

I need a notebook like this, how’s that for an anwer?
.-= Ticia´s last blog ..Science Sunday: Epic Fail Ice Cream =-.


Alex March 15, 2010 at 9:56 pm

I do have a notebook similar to yours…I think I will do a post about it really soon..let you know when it’s done 🙂
.-= Alex´s last blog ..Book Sharing Monday :: The Cobble Street Cousins =-.


Paula March 16, 2010 at 12:10 am

I use a teacher agenda to keep a record since the Ministry of Education of Belgium visits home school families for inspection. Every trimester I review my weekly schedule. I keep an eye on E.D. Hirsch Grade 3 to see if we are on track. I like your idea of a book with inspirational articles that one can re-read. Although it is easy to plan & schedule home education, it is inspiration that keeps it lively.


Kris March 16, 2010 at 2:31 am

I devoted an entire post to my beloved “Mom Binder.” You can read it here, if you’d like.
.-= Kris @ Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers´s last blog ..Review: Artistic Pursuits =-.


Sparklee March 16, 2010 at 11:22 am

I LOVE reading about how others keep their records!

When we started homeschooling (almost a year ago) I actually expected to jot down my plans in my little (purse-sized) daily planner. Yeah, right!

Little by little, I’m trying new things and putting together a system that works for us. Right now I’m using a 3-ring binder and lesson plan pages from MasterPlanner. I’m hoping to find the time to organize and catalog all my curriculum/resource stuff. It’s been on my To Do list for a while…
.-= Sparklee´s last blog ..A really yucky Slushee =-.


aimee March 16, 2010 at 11:23 am

Hey Jimmie
Can you talk more about the Write For History program, I looked through the free e-book. We’re trying to get a game plan for our history and writing as well. Can you talk about what works about it for you and Sprite?
.-= aimee´s last blog ..Oh Baby with Baby(Doll) =-.


Sandra March 17, 2010 at 5:10 am

Mine is a very hands-on, used daily kind of binder. First page is my week at a glance, not so much for lessons, but all the other things like outsides classes, appointments and reminders of things I need to do. Then I’ve got rough yearly plans for each of the kids, one page summaries of some of the philosophies most influencing the way we do things, a rough outline of our year long science plan (topics to cover and resources I may use), a list of books I think the kids might enjoy reading , another list of possible read alouds, a list of ideas for future curriculum (stuff I like the sound of that may fit in our future plans), a list of fun stuff we might like to do ( a reminder to myself that we want to make paper for instance), a list of generic questions for literature discussion, some maths games, any material we’ll be using in the next week (worksheets, notebooking pages etc).


Mary March 17, 2010 at 5:57 am

Thank you so much for such a detailed answer to my question!! You’re awesome 🙂
.-= Mary´s last blog ..Weekly Report 3/8 – 3/12 =-.


Carrie March 19, 2010 at 10:49 pm

Wow, Jimmie! I just discovered your blog … LOVE it!

I love my Mom Binder … it works much better for me than the simple lesson planner I used last year! That said, I’ll probably tweak it even more this summer for next year!

I keep a folder in the front that I use to keep all worksheets, tests, etc. that I’ll use that week. Then comes my master schedule (really more of a routine), followed by my lesson plan pages that I also fill in every week. Next year, I’m going to print my history and science page up for each week and just leave the other page blank because every week I copy plans from one section to another … wasted time! Next is a materials list for science and history divided up by week – it’s a huge help for me to look and see what we need (and most was pre-bought in the summer, waiting to be used in a box). After the materials list, I have a section for all the history lessons plans I wrote out last summer and then the science plans. They are both broken down by week. Then I keep a section for house plans (flylady style cleaning/picking up plans and routines that I don’t do as often as I should!). Finally, my last section is “research.” This is where I jot notes while on the WTM boards, compare prices for curricula for next year, etc.

Thanks so much for starting this discussion! It’s been fun to see what all others do! 😉


Joelle March 20, 2010 at 10:08 am

I do have a binder has well which contains some of what you have here. it does help a lot in planning and keeping all these ideas, curriculum and such in one place.


Tracey March 26, 2012 at 6:14 am

I am revamping mine right now Jimmie~ do you still use this planning book ? have you made any changes since last year? I really liked your list you shared that you add to your binder. I am using WP also and never thought of adding those lesson charts to my binder, great idea! I also add in mine ( now using Holy Simplicity Planner anything for our Bible study ~ I also liked your idea of the Baldwin list too, I always forget about it this way I have it all right there~ 🙂


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