Thursday, August 4, 2016

*Update* Using an Erin Condren Teacher Planner as a Homeschool Planner

I have wanted to do an update on using my ErinCondren Teacher Planner as a homeschool planner for a while now, and could not seem to manage it!  However, I have received several requests recently for a peek inside the planner, and more information about how I use it for homeschool planning, and I decided now, at the beginning of our new school year, was the best time.


I first need to tell you that I purchased this Erin Condren Teacher Planner last year during one of their sales, so it is not the newest version of the teacher planner.  But, I don’t think that much has changed besides some of the design elements.  The actual bulk of the book is unchanged.

I also want you to know that I am slow on actually getting everything into the planner, so you will see some pages are done, and some are not done – like my yearly scope!  I am still hard at work trying to figure out which month everything will fit in. 

I do not really use the first few pages of the planner.  I know that some people will convert them into something else, I honestly don’t have the time for it, so I am going to start with the Happy Birthday section. 


I am using this section as my yearly scope.  I know this sounds funny because there is an actual Yearly Plan tab, but I like the layout of the Happy Birthday section better for my scope.  I am a list maker, and there is a little bit more space in my mind for a list – which is exactly what my scope is, just a list of what I plan to do each month.  I have only gotten through a couple months at this time, because I’m not sure how school is going to go with both Emma and Jack doing school five days a week and a very rambunctious Lucy added to the mix.

The next section is the Absent section.  There are three two-page spreads.  Currently I am using them as book lists.  I did this last year as well.  I like that I have the space to write out the books that each kid is reading – so Emma and Jack both have one of the two-page spreads specifically for what they read.  Then one of the two-page spreads holds the books that we read to the kids as well as audio books they listen to.  This does not have to be just “school” read alouds, my husband reads to the kids every night, and it is usually some random book that they pick together.  Recently it has been Aliens Ate my Homework…


The next section is graph paper.  I mainly use this for lists or extra paper.  Nothing spectacular going on here!

Then comes to the Yearly Plan section, which was obviously put in for the yearly scope, but I use this as more of a monthly theme section.  Last year I decided I wanted to do themes each month and have the kids work on projects around those themes, that didn’t work as well as I hoped.  So while I am still planning on keeping themes, I don’t expect that they will be doing a specific project based on these themes.  It is more for the extras that I like to add in monthly, and gives me an idea of how much I can actually plan for us to do in the month.  If there is a big field trip to the state museum for one of their special presentations, I might spend a little more time on that bit of science for the month rather than our particular science curriculum.


The next section is the monthly calendar pages.  This is the one space that I am not as excited about this year as I was last year.  With my first Erin Condren Teacher Planer, the monthly calendar pages had 6 rows, started with a Monday instead of a Sunday, and the weekend was combined into two smaller boxes at the end of the week.  I much preferred this monthly calendar – especially for a teacher calendar – but obviously I can make a regular monthly calendar work as well. 

One thing that I didn’t get with this planner was the daily dots stickers which have the numbers on them – I think I was supposed to receive them, but because I wasn’t planning on using the planner immediately, I didn’t actually look through the planner and notice that they were not there.  I probably will need to order some from a shop on Etsy so that I don’t have to write in the numbers. 

The calendar pages are used exactly how they are meant to be – as a calendar!  I write down anything that has to do with school in these monthly calendar pages.  I like to have the information all in one spot – anything school related, piano practice, field trips, sports practices, sports games, and I also put a little check mark for each day we do school.  This is so I can easily count up how many days we have done at the end of the year – we need to school at least 175 days throughout the year, but there is no requirement on which days need to be school days, so if we have a big field trip on a Saturday, that can count as school.

There is a lined page at the beginning of each month as well, and I use this for any notes I am making about the month, supplies I need to purchase for science experiments, if we need new curriculum or books etc.


The next section is the real reason I chose this particular planner – the Lesson Plan section.  It gives me plenty of space to write down what I need to do with both Emma and Jack throughout the day and week.  I like to have the information all written out right in front of me in this format – I put our main subjects across the top as well as a Fine Arts/PE column and an Extras column.  Fine Arts and PE are pretty self-explanatory, but this is where I write down what we are doing for music/art/PE.  It is generally the same every day, but I am hoping to add in a bit more for music appreciation this year.

The Extras column is not being used yet – we ease into our school year.  But, I plan to use this column for Emma’s health class we are planning this year, as well as some of the other extras they would like to work on this year – sewing and cooking/baking.  I’m planning on using this column as a catch all for the little subjects we don’t do every day, or even every week, but still need a place for a little planning.

I color code everything as well, purple is what I do with both kids together (science text/history/read alouds), then Emma is pink and Jack is blue.  It makes it easy for me to see which each child needs to work on throughout the day.


The final section is the other reason I like this planner, it is the Checklist section.  You can purchase extra sheets in this section (I wish that option was available for the lesson plans as well!), and I do purchase extra sheets.

Last year I wasn’t quite sure what I would do with the pages, and then right before we started our school year I realized that I could use them exactly as they were designed, as a checklist. 

I write the dates of the month down the side where it says name, and across the top I write pretty much everything the kids ever do – morning routine, school subjects, extra subjects, library trips, sports practices, evening routine, chores.  I am then able to check off each day that they work on that subject.

As I have gotten more into bullet journaling this year, I realize that this is just a monthly habit tracker.  It gives me a good overview of what we are doing each month, and is an extra layer for my planning, if I see that we haven’t done health in three weeks, I will know that I need to make it a priority in my planning.  I also like to see all that the kids do each month, it makes me feel better!

As a homeschool mom, I am constantly questioning whether I am doing enough, if the kids are learning enough, if I am too lax, always second guessing.  Having these monthly trackers and those little boxes checked off every month gives me a bit of a boost in confidence, and honestly I definitely need that many months!


This is how I am using my Erin Condren Teacher Planner this year.  If you are interested in purchasing a planner from Erin Condren, you can click on this link (affiliate) and sign up for an account with Erin Condren – then they will e-mail you a code for $10 off your first order. 


How do you plan out your homeschool year?  Do you have an Erin Condren planner?

20 comments:

  1. It sounds like you are very organized. I wonder if my kids teachers at school are as organized as you are.

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    1. I definitely try to be organized! Of course my laundry never seems to be put away because I am "planning" for something else :-)

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  2. I want an Erin Condren planner so much! They look amazing and I need something to keep me organized.

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    1. They are really great! You should check your local staples to see if they have any 2016 planners left at deep discount to try out.

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  3. I've never heard of this but it looks like a great way to plan for homeschool. I hope it works for you!

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  4. I have heard a lot of cool things about this planner. I can see why you like it. It does look like a nice one to invest in. Of course, I'm a planner addict too. Thank you for sharing this review.

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  5. I used to teach when was younger; from tutoring private school kids in English to being a Nursery assistant, Special Needs teacher and more, I did a lot of teaching growing up. I don't teach anymore but I do proofread peoples thesis's and dissertations. This planner would have been brilliant to map out lessons and I wish I knew about Erin Condren beforehand!

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  6. Thanks so much for showing us! I homeschool too and it's a task to try to find a perfect planner. I'm actually creating my own, lol. I love the checklist part, that is a perfect place for daily habits!

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  7. Planners really help to keep you organized. Thanks for sharing, its always a good idea to use one.

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  8. I love love love planners! I wish I had known about this one when I was a teacher! Homeschooling isn't for me, but I could see myself using this as a family planner!

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  9. I love the idea of planners! I just never use them consistently. My daughter on the other hand uses them constantly. I think your idea of using the teacher planner for homeschooling is apropos because you are a teacher. =) Hope you have a successful year.

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  10. I do not homeschool, but I can see great benefit from doing this, even for organizing activities or chores at home.

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  11. some people are really into fancy planners! i love a nice one and i do have a mommy one and blogging one and dance teaching one, but i see so many posts and videos about planners. i always admire moms who homeschool! hard work!

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  12. I love Erin Condren planners. I won a giveaway where I could customize my own, and love how colorful and fun they are.

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  13. As an educator, I understand the importance of having a good planner and lesson plan book. I'll have to look into these for the new school year.

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  14. I'm not a home schooling mama but this planner does look fab!!! I'm all about planners for everything in life! Safe to say I'm planner obsessed

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  15. Erin Condren planners are fantastic! I've used one in the past and it was so great. I love your method of organizing. It's so efficient!

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  16. I absolutely love my planner. I don't know what I did without it! It has my life in it for sure!

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  17. That planner looks amazing! I don't think I'll homeschool my kid, mostly because I don't think I'm disciplined enough to sit him down to get him to study. But I would love to have a look at that planner, because I'm a nerd who collects planners and notebooks. =D

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