Wednesday, August 16, 2017

My Multi-Faceted Planning System

Seriously. Are there any others out there who love to plan and organise? I really do enjoy this part of keeping my home, days, weeks, months and of course our homeschool. If you not all that into planning, well I completely understand if you don't read my warblings all the way through :D

I have a multi-faceted system. Each facet supports the whole yet none repeats what is in place. I find those 'repeating' systems just too much to manage. I need my system to support my many roles and responsibilities, not burden me. So let's have a look at the first and most important planning tool I have, my life planner.

This year I've been using this ridiculously small diary, but here we are, 8 months into the year and it's just not cutting it. It looks like a pigs breakfast inside because I have no space to keep my running list of things I need to do each day as well as appointments etc. So I decided to once again invest in an Erin Condren Life Planner. I purchased one in December 2015 and although it was pricey, it met all my needs. I haven't found another planner that does the job quite so well. 

This time around I ordered an 18-month planner which makes the cost a little easier to bear. My EC planner holds everything pertaining to the smooth running of our home. Appointments, that running list of things that need to get done on a daily/weekly basis, anything I need to do pertaining to my yarn business. I also schedule my study times (I enrolled on an online legal secretarial course to brush up on skills I may need after my season of homeschooling). Birthdays, celebrations, seasonal and liturgical observances - it all gets plonked in this planner. 

My planner stays at home on my dining room table so I can refer to it throughout the day.

The second facet in my planning system is the File Crate System, designed by my friend Dawn from By Sun and Candlelight. I've been using her system for many years and I have to say that I cannot picture what life would be like without it - a mess most likely.

The File Crate System (FCS) is a set of 52 folders, one for each week of the year, sorted by season and hung in suspension files. These files become a catch-all or landing space for the paperwork that usually lies about the place (bills, doctors letters, prescriptions, crafts or recipes I want to try out). So for example, in this week's file, I have two recipes that I printed off that I have planned to make. One is a buttermilk pancake recipe that I plan to make for breakfast one morning and the other is a supper recipe I want to try out. I also have some bills that have come in, been paid and now need filing this week and a library return's reminder for a book that needs to be returned. You can read more on how the FCS works on Dawns blog.

The third facet of my system is a monthly wall calendar which I use for my meal planning. My current one has just finished and my new one only begins in January 2018, so at the moment I am printing off meal planning sheets from Mom's Toolbelt for each month. I've printed off enough to see me through to December and placed each of these sheets in the 'week 4' file folder from now through to November. When I pick up each month's final folder I will find this meal planning sheet in there and then do the next months meal plan. I plan all our meals for a month, that way I don't have to think about what we will be eating each day, I just need to look at my calendar and take out what needs to be taken out the freezer. My meal plan also forms the basis for my weekly shopping lists. I will be sure to do a detailed post on how I meal plan later on in the month.

Finally, I have my homeschool planning system.

I have my own homeschool planner as well as a file where I keep detailed lesson plans. The homeschool planner I am using this year is The Ulitmate Homeschool Planner by Debra Bell. I've also purchased her Teens Planner for my daughter. 

Our planners record what lessons we do when. What we cover, read, watch and so on. I will record any test results here, all the nitty gritty day-to-day stuff. Again - I will do a dedicated post on my homeschool planning and one showing you this planner. 

My Homeschool binder is a huge A4 lever arch binder which stores detailed lesson plans and scope and sequences. Stuff I need to refer to when the time comes but not have on me at all times. For example. I have the Scope and Sequence for each of the three A-level subjects my daughter is taking. I know what needs to be covered before she reaches exam time.

I also have detailed lesson plans pertaining to our Bible Study, Nature Study, Composer Study, Artist Study etc. I cannot stress the importance of this file because if I have planned our lessons well I am able to guide, lead and teach my daughter without feeling like I'm scrabbling about. It's like going on a road trip. I know my destination, I know exactly which route to take and how long it will take to get there. There are no wrong turns, perhaps we will take a detour if we come across something interesting that we want to explore but we won't lose our way.

So there we have it, a peek into my planning system. I just want to stress that each of us plans differently, there is no 'right' way. Some people find that such planning does not work for them at all, rather it stresses them out and renders them 'paralysed'. For me, I need to plan because if I don't I am rendered 'paralysed'. Things don't happen when they should, other things get forgotten, having to think about meals on a daily basis drives me mad - I just want to get on with life and not have to get to the end of the day and have to be creative with cooking a meal. So this is how I do it - run my home, run my day-to-day. I feel more in control when I have a plan in place. 

Anyhoo, that's it for this rather long-winded post on planning. Have a lovely day and I shall see you back here very soon. 


  1. Thank you for this Shirley, i love organising things too :) I am always interested to know what people have on their "weekly" and "monthly" to do lists. I would love to know yours if you didn't mind sharing? :) Looking forward to more posts on your planning. I really enjoy it so love seeing how other people do it. I think when you home-educate and run a home you need to be pretty well organised! love Sue x

  2. Sue you're in luck! I have a few planning posts in the works :D
    I will make a note to do a post on those weekly and monthly 'To Do' lists for sure - thanks for the idea :)
    I agree...when you home educate and run a home you need to be on top of your game.


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