Curious to know how other families use and customise the pages from The Mulberry Planner? We asked some homeschooling + unschooling mothers to share their tips, strategies and ideas.
The other day we got a request from a new homeschooler:
"I'd love to hear someone actually sit down and give a good run down about how they use their planner since there are so many options? I'm a planning newbie - I need help!"
Great question, right? So we asked a few mums who have been using the planner to share their ideas, tips and strategies with us, and here's what they said...
Setting out the planner
Leah, NSW, Australia
Leah made a walk-through video to show us exactly how she's used her planner, complete with audio narration. >>
"We have definitely not used all the pages, and even though we're now onto our fourth year of homeschooling, there's an evolving nature to it so I've used the pages that immediately spoke to me in terms of how the rhythm of our days go."
"I like to use the blank Morning Circle templates and customise them for myself."
"I've definitely used the Mama's book list - love that [the planner] has stuff for mums, not just kids."
This video includes Leah's narration. If there's no sound when playing, click the speaker icon.
Kiara, QLD, Australia
"Setting out my planner I put the vision, snapshot of our family, yearly calendar, and lists at the beginning. Next is monthly calendars applicable for the current term. From there I set out week by week starting with notes, then lesson plans, morning circle, records of learning, reflections and notes. I add the nature finds, notes and quotes wherever I feel I want or need them."
Kama, New Zealand
"I have the homeschool planner in a 3-ring binder. The sections are:
- Preparation - I include Snapshot of our family, Our Vision, Weekly Schedule, Notes, and Mama Time.
- Make a list - I use Mama’s Book List, Teacher’s Book List, Kid’s Book List as places to record books I might want to purchase in the future.
- Resources - I keep notes about resources I’ve seen or copies of articles or book chapters in this section.
- Term Planning - I use the blank templates to print out my own monthly ‘plans’, then I use Day Notes with the current one on a clipboard to scribble notes throughout the day, and I plan to use the Family Learning Summary at the end of each month."
Cherie V, Australia
"The Mulberry Planner has made my home education journey so much simpler, and so far, flow much more smoothly.
In a nutshell, here’s how I use it:
It is my diary, planner and journal all-in-one.
- At the close of each school week, I prep my following week on the ‘plan’, and tabled ‘record of learning’ pages. I store that week’s pages on my clipboard - which sits out, readily available.
- As we learn, I document our journey on the daily ‘record of learning’ and ‘reflection + notes’ pages. I transfer the weekly pages back into my Term folder once complete, and begin a new week. It’s so easy!
Here are some photos of our first fortnight, we are currently up to week three and just loving it!
Hope this helps, it’s hard to condense it down when there are just so many good things to say about this planner! This planner ticks the boxes for learning records for my son, myself AND the authorities. And it’s all in one neat, gorgeous space. I found documenting the planning really overwhelming at the beginning. [We're] two and a half years in now, and it’s definitely a joy, not a labour."
* Cherie was kind enough to create a walkthrough video too (this one just has music, no narration), but is an excellent peek into another homeschooler's layout).
Tara A, TAS, Australia
"So far, really enjoying it and grateful to you for preparing it for us.
- As a new homeschooling family, we bought the planner in advance of the school year and I spent some time laying up the PDF pages in an order that I felt would suit us best.
- Then I had a local printer do the printing for me onto reasonably thick paper and I filed it all in a binder. It's been really good at helping me develop some structure.
- On a Sunday I get my planning pages out for the coming week and sketch up the week in terms of activities, projects etc. I then fill out the reflection page at the end of the week and file those pages.
- The circle planning pages have also been brilliant as this is something I am new to and the rigour offered by the exercise of completing the template has been super helpful."
Bes, Auckland, New Zealand
"It took me while to figure out which pages I wanted to use and to be honest, I still don't know, so I'm changing it up as I need. As unschoolers, we don't plan as such but have found it a lovely way to keep a record of all the awesome stuff the kids say and do, plus all my awesome ideas."
"This year I'm using a plain A4 notebook to stick the planner pages into as it's giving me a bit more freedom to leave blank pages for random notes/ideas/doodling (I have since come across such pages in the planner that I could use in the same but this is working for me for now)."
"Loosely I've set up 'overall year' stuff at the front - year calendar, lists of dates, goals etc, which will be followed by term records - weekly schedule, things we'd like to do and weekly records (activities the kids have done, places we've been, groups we've hung out with)."
"Each week I'm using a record of learning or day notes template to keep notes and the facing blank page to pop pictures from our week onto. It's still a work in progress, but I'm loving the mix of structure and freedom that I can use while keeping it simple."
Kama, New Zealand
"As an unschooler I don’t plan a lot but I like to have all my homeschool materials organised and in one place and the Mulberry Planner has allowed me to do that.
What I like about this planner is there are so many options and you only need to use what works for your family and your homeschooling situation. The addition of the blank templates means you can fully customise the pages if you want to. And it all looks cohesive and stylish!"
How to use lists in your homeschool
Kelly George, QLD, Australia
This homeschool mum with a decade of experience shares how she uses the List templates in her homeschool planning.
"I was very happy to see the new Mulberry Planner has LOTS of list templates, and I’ve been busy filling them out and feeling virtuous about my gorgeous new lists (as opposed to the creased and crumpled bits of repurposed paper I usually use).
I keep a book journal for myself, but I’m using the Mama’s Book List to keep track of the homeschooling-specific books I’d like to read or re-read.
Having a curriculum list means I can keep track of what we’d like to try, what’s good now, what may be good in the future, and what’s not good for us at all. I’ll download and use each sample as we need it, and then either cross it off the list or purchase it."
Kelly wrote a whole article on Using Lists in Homeschooling. Read it below.
How to use Morning Circle pages
Kirstee Raki, QLD, Australia
Kirstee shared how she uses the Morning Circle templates with her morning basket routine.
"Look at your rhythm and find a time suitable for a big, long out breath of activity. Plan out what you are going to do in advance. I like to write it all out on the circle time planning form included in my Mulberry Homeschool Planner. Knowing what you are doing next helps maintain flow. Things fall apart quickly if you have no idea what happens next."
Kirstee wrote a whole article on Morning Circle time. Read it below.
More info on 2020 The Mulberry Planner
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