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 write, decorate, or illustrate your bullet journal, you’re likely to spend a lot more time on it than I do. Mine is pretty minimalist.
***A quick sidenote: 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.
Then I write out that day’s events and appointments. Next I write that day’s main tasks.
- PT 1pm
- 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, and 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.
- 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, because that leaves the rest of a blank page for homeschooling. 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.
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, which is what I typically do. The one exception where I do plan ahead is when I notice a number of subjects or books falling through the cracks over a few days and 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.
Now for Some 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 lately I’ve been just putting 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.