Saturday, June 14, 2014

A Place for Everything Part 3: My Discbound Planner

In my ten years of homeschooling I have used all sorts of planners. I used home made planners in the early years. Then I moved on to the Well Planned Day and then the Ultimate Homeschool Planner and then back to WPD with the On the Go planner. I found good and bad in each of the systems I've used. As you probably know, if you've read the previous two posts, I love to plan. I love getting my thoughts down on a planning page, especially if colorful pens and papers are included in the process.

I recently saw a post online about the Discbound system. I'd never heard of this before and I started looking online at this system and how others used it, very curious if it would work for my homeschooling. I was pleased to find a mom on youtube that had used this system for her homeschool planner! It was like she'd spent a little time in my brain and developed a planner around my hopes for a homeschool planning system!

I have a love/hate thing with binders. They are big and bulky and the only advantage they have is that you can move pages around as you need. I like spiral bound books because you can fold it in half and write on the left and right sides of the notebook easily. But they are so... permanent! You can't add pages, you can't move them around. And my Type A, perfectionist side dislikes this! Very much! I want to be able to move things and add things as I need. This is the reason I've not yet made a Tapestry of Grace student notebook! But this year, I get to have my flexibility and the spiral feel to my planner and the student books by using this system! (More on my next blog post about the Student Notebook.)

I went to the Staples site to find this beautiful Martha Stewart planner cover! I did order the larger discs because I knew the small ones that came with the planner just wouldn't last once I added all the pages I had in mind! I also ordered extra pocket pages to use as dividers, and a zip lock page to carry pens and papers. I took the huge plunge to order the hole punch, as well. I figured, if I'm going to make my own planning pages, PLUS use this system to make planners for my son's Tapestry of Grace books (I will post about this in the future as well), I better have the hole punch. I have not regretted that purchase!!

So let me introduce you to my work in progress. I hope you can see from the photo how the discs work. They have a ridge that the page wraps around, which keeps the pages in place. However, they can be pulled out and put back in to another part of the notebook.

I put the zip page in front so that I could put all my colorful pens, Post-Its and other items handy. Normally, I keep my pens and markers in a carry-all (pictured in the previous blog post). But if I'm leaving home with the planner, I like to slide them in the zip page. The planner has an elastic band to keep it closed, it has little slots in the front to hold papers and other items, and it has a pen holder on the right side (back) of the planner. And I just love the color! However, if the color isn't 'you', no problem! Staples has other colors, just look in their search engine for the ARC system.

The pretty, colorful dividers were no longer available on So I made my own with scrapbook paper. You could use anything to divide your sections.

The first few pages came with my planner. They have personal reference information. One thing I like about this is the holidays at a glance pages. I also like the years at a glance that offer years from 2013 to 2016. And it has a Special Dates section where you can jot down anniversaries, birthdays, and appointments for each month. Of course, I had to add a little washi tape to the pages for a splash of fun.

I took my Homeschool Mission page out of my old binder, used the special hole punch, and put it in my new planner to help keep my focus. Right behind this page I have placed my family routine (in a perfect world...)

My first pocket page is the divider for the Month at a Glance pages. I put a sticker tab at the top that I found at a local scrapbook shop. I can use the folder to put any sort of papers in, but if I don't need to use it this way, it still makes a great divider. I placed a page behind this with a Bible verse to help keep me inspired.

I made my own monthly pages and tabbed the top with the first letter of each month. I like to see my month at a glance, jot down events, etc. I start with June since it's my homeschool planner.

At the end of the monthly pages you'll find my 2nd pocket page divider. This begins the week at a glance pages that I created on my computer. Inside this pocket I am currently planning to hold my week of pages from the main Tapestry of Grace binder. These pages are held together with a small brad.

The weekly pages I created have the subjects down the left side of the page, and days of the week across the top. I also have room to plan my meals and write my to do lists for the day. And for fun, I put little glasses of water on each day so I can mark them off as I drink water. Somehow I forget to drink enough water through my day. I have Saturday and Sunday on the far right as well as a small area to jot down my thoughts for the week. What worked? What didn't? What do I need to remember next week? One last thing that isn't in the photo is the small gray paper the size of a book mark. I bought these also from Staples and it sits high enough to act like a divider so I can open directly to the week we are in currently. But it also will be where I write the books and pages my boys need to read for their Tapestry assignments that week. Then I can pull it out and let them use it as a book mark, and they can also place it inside their TOG disc bound student notebook.

My next section is my scope and sequence for the year. I can glance at the page and see what exactly we are covering, and it becomes a part of my record when our year is over. We take every 7th week of from our school work, so by now you've probably come to expect washi tape... I've put washi tape down those weeks to help them stand out. I haven't filled in the chart completely just yet, but I've printed what I had done to show you. I'll pencil in the rest of the chapters we'll do each week when I have time to sit and plan.

This is our family routine. I only wish each day went so smoothly. Remember my post (Part One) that explained my split personality? I am so easily sidetracked that I have to at least have a routine set up, and then if we hit 50% of what I hoped, we're doing great! The older my kids get, the easier it is to be on a routine because they are more self directed. Just remember, no routine/schedule/planner is your task master, it is just a tool!

I have other planning pages like the schedule for Biology, the list of books I already own (comes in handy when shopping at used sales so I don't buy duplicates), and the teacher copies of the maps for Tapestry. I will probably be moving things around as my year goes by, but that's ok! I can easily pull out a page and place it in its new home! Binder meets spiral!

I am eager to give this system a try this school year! I think it just may be the answer I've been looking for all these years. Feel free to ask questions or even add comments below on great ideas you've had with planners! Happy 2014-15 school year!


See also
A Place for Everything Part One
Part Two
Part Four
Part Five


Kelly said...

It's like we're kindred spirits! I feel the same way about the binder/notebook dilemma! Thanks for sharing this, I'm going to have to save up for one of these systems!


ourhearts4home said...

I'm glad you found it helpful! I can't wait to get started using them this school year. Even my sons are a little eager to get their books out! :) You'll have to comment and let me know how it's going once you get started!

Tori Prophet said...

Oh! I want to see these pictures too but they aren't showing either! I also use a discbound planner for my homeschool planning and really love it. My dd9 also has one for her assignments. We really enjoy the versatility and lack of bulk of a binder.

ourhearts4home said...

I'm so sorry it took me so long to get back to this. We have NO idea why the photos disappeared. :( But I am getting photos back on here one post at a time.