Monday, June 2, 2014

Bullet Journaling

I'm a planner and a list maker. However, I have a little problem with following through. :)

Over the years, I've tried a lot of planner methods but none have fit me quite right. It may be because my head is a swirling mess of stuff. I think of things at all times of the day and night: things that need to get done; ideas that I want to pursue; bills that I need to pay; things I am thankful for; etc. I've never found a system that addresses my unorganized way of thinking...until now.

About two months ago, I read a thread on The Well Trained Mind forums about the Bullet Journal system. I'm pretty sure I heard angels sing and that I saw a rainbow and a unicorn. Finally, a place and a structure to have a "brain dump" that resonated with me.

I bought myself a gridded Moleskine notebook and headed to Pinterest for some ideas. My favorite ideas came from Aprons N Pearls.

I've been using my journal for about 6 weeks now and love it! I am forgetting fewer things and getting more accomplished. The format suits my scattered brain so incredibly well.

Here are a few photos of mine that show how I am using it. I have veered from the original video but use the same concepts and it is so functional for me:

These are the pages right after the index. I got this idea from Aprons N Pearls and love the at a glance look of the year.

 A little closer view:

Here's one of my weekly spreads. It works so well for me as a week at a glance. I still keep all of my times sensitive appointments in Google Calendar.

These pages are at the back of my journal. They are the blogs I read where I become inspired.

I have plenty of blank pages to keep lists of anything I can imagine: places we want to explore here in the Northwest, movies I want to watch, etc.

I'm so happy to have found something after all these years to help keep me on track and productive. And, that feeds my love for paper and pen!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Homeschool Resources for Pre-School and Elementary School

I began homeschooling in 1999 with a second grader and a pre-schooler.

As I type today, that second grader is in his third year of college and that adorable little pre-schooler will be graduating from high school next month and moving across the country to college in a mere three month.

Next school year will be my first year to be homeschooling just one and he will be in 3rd grade. 

And now I have a lot of friends whose first child is coming upon school age and I thought I would share a few of my favorite resources for pre-school and elementary school. This list will not be exhaustive. There are so many things out there for those of us who homeschool. It can be overwhelming. These are just some things I found (and continue to find) helpful in my own journey.

General Resources:

These are books on homeschooling philosophy and education.

Teaching the Trivium- This is one of my very favorite homeschool philosopy resources. It is full of things to do with children at which age and why. It is written from a Christian perspective. This book is of particular interest to those exploring classical education but all parent educators will benefit from it.

The Three R's: Ruth Beechick is an educational rockstar. These three booklets (published in one volume) will assure parents that they can certainly manage these early years. They are easy to understand and very easy to implement.

Educating the Whole Hearted Child- This was one of the first books I read when I began my homeschooling journey. It will uplift and encourage you as well as give you very practical help.

Honey for a Child's Heart- I very often give this book as a gift to a new mother along with a couple of board books. It is a treasure trove of literature elements and recommendations for children of all ages. 


At the pre-school age, I don't see the need for curricula but some families like to do something formal. I prefer lots of directed play and will share some of my favorite ideas in the blog section below.

Before Five in a Row- This is a literature based curriculum. It uses outstanding children's books to introduce a variety of themes to the 2-4 year old crowd. I have used it will all of my kids.

Five in a Row- Like the pre-school version above, Five in a Row is an amazing literature based curriculum for the 4-8 to 10 crowd. I cannot recommend it highly enough. There are 4 volumes which will keep you going for quite a while. For K-3, you could easily use Five in a Row adding in math and phonics and have yourself a complete school year.

Horizons Math- This is what I am using for my current 2nd grader. It's is a mastery approach program. Lots of review.

Story of the World- A fantastic historical narrative for elementary aged kids. You will find yourself loving history and learning the things you didn't learn in school!

Apologia Elementary Science- A great science series written from a Christian perspective. These are a staple in my home.

Blogs and Websites:

Tot school:  If you have a pre-schooler, this should be your first stop! This blog is amazing and you will find endless ideas and printables.

Confessions of a Homeschooler: Another great one that I use all the time.

Letter of the Week: I used this a lot when I had a pre-schooler.

No Time for Flashcards: I got many great reading suggestions and craft activities here.

Homeschool Share:  An amazing site with a ton of free literature units and lapbooks!

I suppose that is enough to get anyone started. I would be happy to answer any questions or offer any specific resources you may be looking for.

Happy homeschooling!