Need a shot in the arm for your homeschool?

Get Thrive Together, a monthly email that brings you:

  • the best of the homeschool blogosphere,
  • current happenings in education-land,
  • and great quotes that will refresh your homeschool mama mind.

Yes, I want Thrive Together!

* indicates required



Recent Posts

Some links on this site are affiliate links. A percentage of qualifying purchases support this site. 

HFC is powered by SiteGround.

Subscribe to our Mailing List

Get the news right in your inbox!

Privacy Policy

Bullet Journal Homeschooling: Why and How-To (With Examples!)

Bullet Journal Homeschooling: Why and How-To (With Examples!)

This post covers why I do what I do in terms of tracking our homeschool in my bullet journal. Don’t forget to check out my original post on Going Analog.

The Bujo is Different

First, it’s important to note that the Bullet Journal is briefer than normal journals. It uses bullet points, not big, full paragraphs. If you stick to this philosophy, your bullet journal will save you time. If you illustrate your bullet journal, you’re likely to spend a lot more time on it than I do. Mine is pretty minimalist except for the occasional copied quotation.

***As you read through this page, you may notice the actual digital bullets aren’t what I use in my physical bullet journal. This is the key I really use:

How to Start

I start by writing the date and abbreviating the day of the week at the top.

03/11 Mon

Then I write out that day’s events and appointments. Next I write that day’s main tasks. 

  • PT 1pm
  • Groceries
  • Laundry
  • Balance checkbook
  • Apr. budget

I try to give myself only about 5 main tasks/events/appointments for the day before the homeschooling stuff. This is not a brain dump. This is a plan of action for the day. I know from experience that I can only usually get through a few important tasks in addition to a full homeschooling day.

LAST is when I write a bullet point for homeschooling, then nested homeschool tasks under that. 

  • Homeschool
    • Parables from Nature: Active & Passive
    • Story of the Greeks ch. 70-77
    • Sea Around Us finish ch. 9
    • Handicrafts: knitting
    • Island Story ch. 43-44
    • And so on…

I like to write my tasks, events, and appointments first. That leaves the rest of a blank page for homeschooling and limits my focus. We may have a huge homeschooling day, we may not, but doing it this way allows for freedom to go with the flow.

You can do your homeschooling tasks either way: plan ahead or plan from behind. 

Plan Ahead

This is when you write what you plan to do before you do it. It’s hopeful. But recognize, you will likely not finish everything. If leaving a task undone at the end of the day makes you break out in hives, I suggest the “Planning from Behind” method. I typically plan ahead is when I notice a number of subjects or books falling through the cracks. If I want to make sure to get to that subject or that book that day, I’ll list it as a task before we start our homeschool day.

Plan From Behind

This is when you write what you’ve accomplished after you’ve accomplished it. This is what I typically do, with a twist. Since I have a lot of balls in the air (two full-time homeschoolers, one part-time kindergartener, a preschooler and a toddler as of this writing) I like to write down what we’re working on in the moment, not always after we’ve completed it.

The student and I agree on a task for the next 15-30 minutes, and I write it down before it’s completed. That way, when I’m pulled another direction I can always come back to my bullet journal and remember what my student was supposed to be working on. This helps with my “mom brain,” and if we all get off-task, it helps me not forget about readings the kids have done and still need to narrate. It’s kind of a running snapshot of what we’re working on at any given moment of our homeschool day.

Daily Log Examples

Here’s a typical day, with events and tasks listed before homeschool tasks. I’ve experimented with how I want to track the same subject for multiple students. This example shows math and writing in a vertical format, but I’ve also put bullets for each student on the same line to save space. Vertical is certainly easier to reference later.

You could even use your bullet journal to capture quotations, or nest Morning Time as a separate section under your homeschooling tasks. We don’t do Morning Time every schoolday, so this makes sense for us. It’s also an easy way to record what you all covered together as a family.

This next spread shows more planning ahead, thus the readings are nicely nested under subject headings.

The Full Term Spread (Front Page)

I use take Ambleside Online’s PDF schedules and alter them, substituting some books, sometimes noting how long I’d like each subject to last or how often I’d like to touch on a subject every week. I then simply print the pages and tape them in my bujo with a different tape for each kid, and a tab along the side to find the pages quickly.

This is the big picture spread for our AO Year 6 kiddo. I have a copy, and our kiddo has a copy. I only write a line through an assignment when the student has BOTH read and narrated it.


The Full Term Spread (Back Page)

For the second page of the term’s assignments, I altered the Ambleside Online checklists to add circles. These track the number of times per week I’d like us to work on a given assignment. Blank boxes mean I’m good with once a week. This layout is a flexible way to track what we’ve done, and see the big picture all at once.


You could also put 5 circles in each box, one for each day of the week, and then skip tracking most school things in a daily log entirely. I’ve thought about doing this, but haven’t yet because I like a little more detail in my daily log.

This next photo is our Year 0 kiddo, so we’re not really doing school yet. I do want to start getting her used to spending some time on school, mostly to Year 1 a smaller transition for her next Fall. I’m really fine with not actually accomplishing much here, but it’s gratifying to see what we’ve accomplished.


Dealing with Mistakes

You can see I started the term using checkmarks and then switched to filling in circles on the Term pages. Don’t be afraid to change it up.

Your bullet journal DOES NOT have to be perfect. It has to be useful.

For a long time I resisted using white out because I wanted neatness, but I found that was getting in the way of simply getting stuff done. Don’t be afraid to use white out!


Remember, the point of the Bujo is to increase productivity and focus. One of its greatest strengths as an organizational system is that it’s flexible. Use that flexibility to try out new things. If you don’t like it, turn the page and try something different!

Rhiannon Kutzer

All posts

2 Comments

  • elevation August 10, 2019 at 4:36 am

    WOW just what I was searching for.

    • Rhiannon Kutzer August 10, 2019 at 11:19 am

      Glad to help!

    Leave a Reply

    Nice to meet you!

    I’m Rhiannon.

    You can call me Rhi for short (as in “rejoice”). I’m a fiercely independent homeschooling mom of five, a Navy wife of 13 years, and a creator of various things: articles, a semi-regular newsletter, quilts, furniture, and the occasional knitted scarf. This is the site where I write about our homeschool journey and news and happenings in the homeschool world. more about me.

    Rhiannon

    Subscribe & Follow

    Popular Links

    Let’s Thrive Together!

    Need a shot in the arm for your homeschool? Get Thrive Together, a monthly email that brings you:

    --the best of the homeschool blogosphere,
    --current homeschool news,
    --and great quotes that will refresh your homeschool mama mind.

    Latest Posts

    Instagram

    • Morning Time Details! E. (12), S. (almost 8), and L. (6). Our Morning Time morphs as the kids grow and change. It usually includes a combination of memory work and reading aloud. We try to cover a WHOLE LOT of things: Shakespeare, Bible, poetry, catechism, hymns, timeline, art study, composer study, and Ambleside selections for nature study, tales, and church history. This term I’m adding Plutarch.
.
The hard part is figuring out where I want to aim, with the 5-year gap between E. and S., and then L. being a newbie to full-on school. Having moved twice in 2019, I nixed MT and just focused on individual work. That came with costs. Shakespeare, Plutarch, art study, and composer study suffered. Memory work barely happened at all. I was BUSY. We missed out on discussing things together. Now that we’re settled, it’s time to restart MT.
.
This term I’ve decided to aim Shakespeare and Plutarch at the oldest, while the girls listen in and do handwriting/drawing/fine motor. I won’t ask them for much narration. Our reading schedule for these is AMBITIOUS. Maybe crazy. Then we’ll do all the memory & read aloud stuff that suits everyone. These lessons are SHORT. Then E. will go do his individual work while I read aloud w/ just the girls.
.
Also, “Morning Time” is a misnomer, considering we break it up throughout the day. It should really be called Morning/Lunch/Nap Time. I need a new name. Circle Time? Except we don’t sit in a circle. Together school? Except we’re together doing school all day. I don’t think English has the word I’m looking for. Maybe Tertulia or Salon?
.
Our actual coursework is: the Scottish Play, Plutarch is Alexander the Great’s life, our artist is Gustave Courbet, composer is Paganini, Bible memory is Psalm 46, Hymn is Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me, read alouds will rotate from Burgess Bird Book, Trial and Triumph, Blue Fairy Book, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Vanderbeekers, & picture books. Timeline is from Classical Conversations. Poems are Charge of the Light Brigade, Winter Night by Teasdale, and The Land of Nod.
.
Whew! It’s gonna be a fun term! What do you guys do for Morning Time?
    • #homeschool #family #weekend projects. Oldest got through a CPR course, curtains are hung, first batch ever of hard apple cider is bottled (a big learning experience!), and Morning Time for the next term is planned. 👊🏻 Time to call Dominos so these people can get fed 😂
    • Oh Halloween. That day when I pull costumes out of thin air at T-minus one hour ‘till trick-or-treating. Then one kid melts down in the middle of the fun, and is carried screaming to the car, with me hoping all the while that no one thinks I’m abducting a child. And, my favorite non-PC thought: one kid suggests we should have dressed as hobos, since we’re going around asking people to give us free candy. Phoned it in this year, Kutzers. 🤦🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️ #gladitsover For the record, we had a soccer player, an archer, Spider Girl, a princess, a tiny farmer, a witchy mom (Is that even a costume or just a Thursday?), and Bat Dad.
    • We may not get school started until 8 or 9, but we eat well while we read. “Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life.” I think the house smelling like bacon counts as atmosphere. 😂🥰
.
#homeschool #charlottemasonirl #homecookedmeals #livingbooks
    • A husband out to sea. A solo drive to and from MT. A freak snowstorm in September. Unpacking, appointments, and homeschooling, cooking and cleaning, laundry and loneliness without my better half and my biggest helper. All so that a grandson can learn from and adventure with his grandpa. I call it a RAGING SUCCESS.💛🥰 #family #navywifelife #homeschool #worldschool #bravewriterlifestyle
    • #pcs day 5 = #HOME (hallelujah!) 😊 and delicious homemade chili from the amazing @mythirdacrelife It was a long 3000 miles, but everyone made it here alive, if a little less sane than when we drove out of CT. #navyfamily #navywife #roadschooling #homeschool

    Follow @rhikutzer

    Twitter Feed

    ×