I’ve tried planners, notebooks, scraps of paper…while I like those neat planners with the little lines and grids, nothing ever seemed to quite fulfill our unique needs. I guess I’m just not very good at fitting into little boxes.
So I got into the habit of just writing out our plans on a legal pad. But things got lost in there. Important things. Then I tried using multiple colors of ink. Colorful, but frankly a little confusing. Then I tried using a separate page for each kiddo. Then added a page for our together stuff. Then added a page for all the things I had to get done around the house…my disorganized self was really not becoming much more organized. Just more cluttered.
But all this made me realize what I needed in a planner and why those great planner pages everybody’s designed don’t work for me.
I need a 2 page spread every week that can cover all my kiddos…and ME! Life isn’t a bunch of distinct events to note down, but a subtle tapestry of thousands of threads all woven together. So, while trying to get the baby to sleep, I’ve been designing some planner pages. And I thought I’d share them with you (on the off-chance that there are 2 people in the world who can benefit from them).
I’ve tried to give you some options and some flexibility here, so you don’t have to use them the way I do.
Here’s how I use them (you will, of course, use different names):
This is a 2-page landscape spread. Columns are labeled with the days of the week we do formal studies. Each horizontal section is color-coded to make it easy to zip my eye across the page (I have a black and white version, too). There’s a line on each page to put in an abbreviation key for your books.
The 1st page covers household and other stuff I need to get done, and group activities. The 2nd page covers the kiddos’ individual work. The little boxes are for checking things off as you get them done (it feels good to check things off!). There are days at the top and the bottom, just helps me keep my brain organized.
You’ll notice: no subjects! This is a hurdle for me with other planning systems. In Maryland, we are required to cover 8 subjects! And this doesn’t included things like Catechism, Latin, foreign language, etc. Now, we don’t cover every single subject every single day, or even every single week, so a planner with subjects printed out would waste a whole bunch of space and leave me with itty bitty spaces to pencil in what I actually need.
But, if you use subjects, go right ahead. I have this planner available for free download as xls files (color or black and white), and also as pdf files (color or black and white, and with or without day titles). The xls files can be edited by you as much as your heart desires. The pdfs you’ll have to print and fill in (the left column is blank).
I only ask that you use this only for your personal use. If you wish to share with someone, please direct them to this page so they can download it.
Here’s what the black and white pdf version with no days looks like…the possibilities are endless:
You can download these files from Google docs:
Note: The font used for these is Lucinda Handwriting. You’ll notice if you look at the xls sheets in Google docs that the font is not rendered correctly (it converts it to a default). The download itself is fine (I tested it). And, of course, you can change it to whatever you like.
Let me know what you think. And I might be posting more planning sheets later (I have a bunch that I created that didn’t quite work for me, but they may work for you).
Update: I tried opening the Excel files in Open Office---success! The conversion is not perfect, but very very close. Absolutely usable and attractive. I'd recommend trying it if you'd like a free type-in planner and don't have Excel. You can download Open Office for free here.
More Planning Pages: