Custom School and Life Planner

Well, it seems like just yesterday I was posting the last installment of my Life Management Binder, when in reality it was over eight months ago.


And here I find myself at a juxtaposition.  I still really like the binder I made, the system worked great for me, and I LOVED the size – especially when it came to stashing it in my purse.


Here’s the problem I faced, as a homeschool mom, I had no where to plan lessons, keep track of school related to-dos, projects shopping lists, or anything like that.  I ended up creating a separate three-ring binder for my lesson plans, and by the end of the school year last year found myself totally disorganized regarding school related items.


So, I wanted to combine the two… I started shopping.

I’ve said before I love the look of Erin Condren Life Planners – but man, the price tag – and it still wasn’t customized really.  Personalized yes, but customized no.

Somewhere in there I also realized that what I needed was a school planner, not a life planner.  I needed a place for school stuff!  I did more research and actually bought a copy of The Well Planned Day, a homeschool specific planner. 

When it arrived, I opened it up, and it dawned on me – it didn’t have a “normal” calendar area.  DUH!  This was a teachers planner, not a life planner that included teacher stuff.

I shipped it back.

I did more research.

I forced to conclude that what I wanted doesn’t actually seem to exist anywhere.  I wanted a full and total life planner.  I wanted something that would combine my daily calendar and my lesson plans.  Extra awesome bonus if it looked pretty, and free cookies to all if it also included areas for my cleaning lists, notes, birthday lists and other stuff.

Yeah, no such thing exists.

So then I came to the conclusion, if thats what I wanted, I’d have to make it… 



Then began the hunt.  I started going back through my Pinterest boards, looking for stuff I’d pinned when planning my Life Management Binder, also looking for homeschool planner stuff.

In the end I found two things that really helped – extra bonus they had free downloads too.

First I found Mama Jenn and her Homeschool Planning Pages.

I love that her pages have a system that easily translates into planning out Inara’s workboxes, as well as divisions in the actual subject areas for two part lessons.

Next I needed a day planner.  Something with a full week, space broken down for scheduling during the day, a to-do list area, and a place for small notes (like what Inara’s AWANA verse that week is or something similar)

Enter Miss Allison’s Art, and her homemade planner. Extra bonus here, the download documents are totally customizable, and she shows you how she put hers together.


Downloads in hand (or on disk) I spent some time customizing the planner sheets to include what I wanted.

Then, I printed.  I printed one set of each download and did some tallying.  I figured out how many weeks of active school we have, and thusly how many homeschool planning weeks I needed.  Then I subtracted that figure from the number of weeks in a year.

I figured out I’d need 33 sets of school planning pages and 19 sets with no school planning pages.

Off I went to Office Max.  The nice guy there helped me figure out the self-serve copy machine and I made back to back copies of what I needed.  As I flip through my book first I see the weeks day planner (our normal family planer), then when you turn the page it’s the weekly homeschool planner.




Next I needed to figure out what the rest of my planner needed.

In the end I had six sections that would need to be divided out.

Off I went to the craft store next, on the hunt for “pretties”.  I hoped to find a nice card stock scrapbook page for the cover, but nothing caught my eye.  Instead I found a “normal” type scrapbook paper with fun rainbow style diagonal lines.  I took the theme and ran with it.

I bought the scrapbook page, and also sheets of solid colored 8.5×11 card stock following the ROYGBV color pattern.  I also grabbed some extra purple (my favorite) for some decorating.

I trimmed the rainbow sheet and glued it to the red card stock.  Found a template for a marquee shape and using MS Word, that template, and my extra purple sheet I created a design for the front cover.


On the inside of the cover, I printed out and glued on a basic at a glance style school year calendar and also used the same (although much smaller) marquee for a name plate.

IMG_8746I like a bold outline, so using a sharpie I outlined the marquees and the calendar, I added it to the pile to be laminated (more on that in a second)

Right after the cover is my cleaning list areas.

I used my trusty FlyLady plans and printed out my daily routine, weekly plan, and detailed zone lists, all of which would get laminated.

The next section went behind the orange sheet and has about a dozen pages copied back to front for notes.


Next up, behind the Yellow divider is my first school specific section.  Here I included the curriculum shopping list for the year, our school supply list, and a school years worth of monthly reading logs.

IMG_8751 IMG_8752 IMG_8753


Behind the Green divider is a copy of our school’s academic calendar.


In the Blue section is my family birthday and anniversary list


And then lastly behind the purple section is where my actual calendar and planer pages are.


After I had everything copied, printed, organized, and planned, I went to our local teacher store and laminated what I needed laminated.  I laminated the cover to try and keep the pages glued together longer, the cleaning pages so they could be used as checklists with dry erase makers, the school academic calendar for longevity, and the same with the birthday list.

After everything was laminated, I went back to office max (or maybe it was Office depot the next time) and had them bind it for me.  I chose a black plastic spiral binding, and also paid the extra couple bucks to add a nice sturdy clear plastic cover over the front of the whole thing, and a black plastic cover on the back to add stability.


All in all, I spent several hours of my time, and somewhere between $40-$50 for supplies, laminating, and binding.

In the end though, I have a 100% customized whole life planner for the school year that I LOVE.  In the month since I finished it I’ve used it lots, and can’t wait to see how it holds up over the course of an entire school year.  The only thing in hindsight I didn’t include and wish I had was an area for menu planning and shopping lists.  But now I know that for next year. 🙂



Confession  I started this post back in November, and never finished it.

HOWEVER, I think this covers the final pages of printables for our life management binder, at least for a while, or until I update the printables with 2014/2015 info.  In this post we have downloads for holiday lists (including a place to keep track of school holidays or inservice days), To-do lists, a weekly menu plan, and easy baby sitter info pages you can fill in and hang on the fridge before you leave your little one(s).


I am planning one more post to show you the final product, and have a Q&A if anyone’s got comments/questions/suggestions.  I do hope you’ve enjoyed this series (although it has taken six months for me to make four posts – at least I did it all right?) and here’s hopping it makes your life a bit more manageable in 2014
holidays copy

holidays customizable word docx

holidays pdf

todo copy

todo pdf

weekly menu copy

weekly menu pdf

BabysitterInformation copy

BabysitterInformation customizable word docx

BabysitterInformation pdf

Looking for other installments in the Home Management Binder series?  You can find them here:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Life Management Binder: Part 3

I didn’t forget about you!  I’ve just been crazy busy with the start of school.  This year we are sending Inara to a new University Model school, so on top of the normal back to school stuff, there have been parent/teacher trainings and figuring out our homeschool day and lots of stuff like that – but I’ll save that for another post!

Last time I showed you pictures of my binder and the basics of how it was put together, with the promise that this time I’d start giving you pages for download.

Let me start with the super basic:

a 2013/2014 year at a glance monthly calendar.

-2014ATAGLANCE copy


This PDF (link ^^) downloads a single standard printer page with both a monthly 2013 and 2014 calendar that you can cut in half to fit into your mini binder.  I recommend printing this out on cardstock for durability.

Simple enough right!?

OK, the next couple are pretty basic and standard parts of a home management binder, but they get a bit more complicated simply because I’m giving them to you in multiple download options.

Step 1)

Family information sheets:

Document1 copy

You know, the pages in the front of every planner that no one ever fills out?  Yeah these are those.  Except, here’s the thing.  They really are important.  This set of downloads contains sheets with the following information:

1) Family Contact Information (as seen above): a place to write down the contact information for each member of your family

2) Family Medical Information: space for name, date of birth, medical conditions, allergies, current medications, and blood type.  Depending on your family members this may be basic and have little to list, or, if you have family members like me, it’s long and contains tons of info, all of which you never know when you may need.  In the event of an emergency it’s always good to have this written out, it prevents you from forgetting anything, or circumstances may mean that you can’t tell the doctors/emergency medical personnel yourself, but hey look, there it is right there in your binder!

3) Emergency Contact Information: write out your address, subdivision name, directions to your home from the closest highway/major intersection.  Leave this with the baby sitter, or make sure your kids know where to find it in case anyone needs to call 911.

4) Emergency phone numbers: Medical, Fire, Police, Poison Control, pediatrician, doctor, dentist, pharmacist, all in one easy to find place.

I’m giving you this set in two formats, the first is a PDF (Document1), it will download and print with blank lines (like in the picture) for you to handwrite everything in.   The second is a customizable word (.docx) file (Document1) that you can download, open in MS Word, and customize by typing in your information.  I recommend printing these on cardstock for durability as well.

The second set of documents I’m going to give you will either require the most or the least amount of customization on your part, it’s my cleaning control journal.  I have always had the most success in keeping my home clean when I use FlyLady‘s methods.  Over the years I have stopped and started routines of keeping my home clean more often than I’ve stopped and started diets.  Each time I’ve learned something, and this latest control journal is the culmination of my lessons to date.

newcontrol copy

Now, here’s the thing odds are everyone’s cleaning routine is going to look different.  So, I again have made mine in two formats.  If you just want a place to start you can download the PDF (newcontrol), if you’re looking to make something your own go for the MS Word version(newcontrol) and customize to your hearts content.  These printables include:

1) Morning, Afternoon, and Evening Routines

2) A Basic Weekly Plan

3) Zone cleaning checklists

4) Seasonal and Yearly reminder lists

I recommend printing these on standard paper, but then putting them in sheet protectors.  That way you can use a dry erase marker and cross off things as you accomplish them while still being able to reuse the same lists.

Everyone’s homes are going to require something different, but this is my latest installments.  If you’d like to look at FlyLady’s original Control Journal guidelines, you can see them here.

Looking for other installments in the Home Management Binder series?  You can find them here:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Life Management Binder: Part 2

Last time, I introduced my planner, and gave you a list of supplies.

Today I’m going to show you my planner and give you a list of alternatives and examples.

Next time, I’m going to start giving you the pages to download. 🙂

Yes, I’m taking this super slow – that way I hope not to burn out half way through and never finish (I’ve been known to do that more than once)


This is my binder, and gathered supplies.  You can see: standard printer paper, mini binder filler note paper, the actual binder, a whole punch guide, the cover from the calendar I took apart to make my planner (it looks pretty, didn’t just want it to go to waist), sheet protectors, scissors, single hole punch, dry erase marker, pencil, dividers (I made my own), my planner/calendar pages and dividers.


Basic structure, start with an empty binder (I also have this handy Post-It stick in pocket/pouch thing in mine it’s not required and since a friend gave it to me I don’t even know where she got it)


I knew I wanted my calendar pages in the back, so I added all the pages and 12 monthly dividers first.



I then added my other dividers in front of the planner section.


Lastly I chose to take the cover from the calendar I took apart and put it in the very front of my binder, it’s nice to look at, adds a bit of color, and also adds a layer of strength/protection to the front so I’m not opening directly up to my tabs and information.

That is it for the basic set up of my binder.  As for what goes behind those tabs in the front, we will get to that starting next time, for now I’m just giving you the nickel tour of what my binder started as.

Now, if you want other options, inspiration, or  a single downladable bundle (and are willing to pay for that) here are some of my favorites from around the web (I have lots more pinned on my Cleaning and Organizing board on Pinterest) in no particular order.


Love the color combination of these customizable PDF sheets.


The Project Girl has LOADS of printable organization tools in her downloads section!


I like the simplicity of this side by side (a single large sheet is also available) daily planner from Andrea Dekker.


Simple Mom’s Daily Docket.  She has an original, revised, and smaller version available (the smaller or Pocket Docket would actually work perfect in this sized binder) which are all available in her downloads section on her site.

This is a sweet, simple printable set from Blooming Homestead with a very calming color scheme.


If I were willing to pay $40, this is the kit I would buy.  It’s formatted for a mini binder (just like we are working on) I LOVE the color scheme, and she has great instructions on how to make the finished product durable and professional looking.  But I’m not willing to pay that much for something I can (obviously) make myself – especially since her bundle is simply the downloads, you still have to print, assemble and pay for all the components as well.

Looking for other installments in the Home Management Binder series?  You can find them here:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Life Management Binder: Part 1

As promised, I’m starting a series regarding a home management binder, that I recently put together. Before we get started, let me make the following disclaimer: I am in NO way any where near an expert in organization, home management, cleaning (HAH!) or anything in that realm. I can only speak to what I’ve found to work or not work up to this point in my 30+ years of life and 9 years of marriage.

So, as I said before – I know there are a ton of buy/print/make/customize binders and planners out there, let me say when I chose to make my own:

1) I wanted my calendar/planner and my home management/emergency binder all in one place
2) I wanted it to fit in my purse

#2 created the biggest issue. There are so so so many printable for making your home management and emergency binder, and it’s easy enough to toss a calendar in with it – however they all seem to be designed around a standard letter size (8.5 x 11) paper. That doesn’t fit in my purse so easy.

So, here are the supplies I rounded up to put everything together (aka, what you’ll need if you want to follow along at home). I got almost everything I needed from Staples (if I didn’t already have it on hand) but I’ve linked to Amazon links because, well, because I did. 🙂


1 “mini” 3 ring binder (measures 5.5 x 8.5 inches rather than the standard 8.5 x 11)

Some sort of divider/index tabs.  For my binder I needed a set of 12 month, and one set of five un-printed dividers.

Some options:

Pre-printed 12 month set

Write on dividers

Insertable dividers

Make your own tabs

OR cut sheets of colored card stock in half and punch holes in it to insert between sections

You will also need:

a printer

standard printer paper

a whole punch – either and adjustable 3 punch or a single punch

Suggested: white card stock


Binder pockets

Business card sleeves

Sheet Protectors

Dry Erase Marker

You will also need a calendar/planner or some sort.  You can go about this several ways, you can buy a refill set designed to replenish a day runner style planner, you could print your own, or you could buy an inexpensive planner and take it apart.  Personally, I did the last option, I bought a spiral bound 5×8 planner that covered the remainder of 2013 and 2014 (18 months) and took out the months I wanted (July 2013 – August 2014).  If you like stickers for your organizer either a) buy a planner that comes with them or b) buy an add on set.

Allright, that’s it for the supply list.  I’ll be back to get things started next time.

Have a great weekend!


Looking for other installments in the Home Management Binder series?  You can find them here:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4