Using a Bullet Journal in Your Homeschooling

Monday, June 27, 2016

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I have been homeschooling for close to fifteen years. It has been quite the that changes with each semester and child. One of the most important aspects in getting homeschooling done is to be organized and to make sure I plan out our weeks. When there is no plan, not much will get done. Over the years I have used all kinds of homeschool planners. They have been good, but I have noticed that they mostly go unused. That isn't to say that I don't plan out each week, but rather that planners tend to have more pages than I would use. This year I wanted to customize my planner and have only pages I would really utilize. So instead of using a planner I have decided to create a bullet journal to keep us on task.

What is a bullet journal? It is a hand-written way of keeping everything organized. Here is probably the best post on the internet on how to set up a bullet journal. Keep in mind that in this post the author is showing you how to set up a bullet journal to replace your calendar or daytimer. Here I am going to show you how I set up a bullet journal just for our homeschool planning...

To create a bullet journal, you need a few items...a journal, some pens, and a ruler. You can get fancier with decorating it, but remember, that beautiful is not necessarily the goal...functionality is. I do add a little color to my homeschool bullet journal with Prismacolor pencils, but that is about it. As far as the journal goes, this one is my favorite, the Moleskine Squared Notebook (Extra Large), because it has tons of space and the paper in it is like graph paper which makes it easy to set up pages.

Here's a quick look at my set-up:

I start with an index page (actually I give my index about three pages). These pages are vital to any bullet journal as this is where you record where things are in your journal. As I write on another page, I make sure I number the page down at the bottom and then record in the index what is on that page.

The next page in my journal is a "Year-at-a-Glance" page. I start it in July and finish it in June since that works better for the school year. This page is great as you plan throughout the year. You don't have to go looking for another calendar as you setting up your months and weeks.

I then created a page that will list the classes or subjects my son will be doing. It will include space to list the curriculum I will be using for each class.

 After that page, I have a page for grades for the fall semester and another page for the spring. Because my son is high school I have to be more diligent about recording how he is doing. Even so, the only thing I really do is create a row for the class and then record the individual grades in that row. When I need an official grade I will average the numbers for that class.

When we start a new month I will create an overview page for the month. On this page I will write overall goals for the month, days when won't do school, and any special events. I will also include tasks I will need to do for the month in regards to our, for example, in July, I will write a list of curricula that I still need to order.

The weekly pages will be the heart of my homeschool bullet journal. Across the side, I list the days of the week; at the top of each column I write the classes (one class per column) and then I can fill out each square on what we need to accomplish in each subject. The weekly spread can be formatted differently if you are homeschooling more than one child or you can create separate weekly spreads for each child. Do what works for you!

So those are some examples of what my bullet journal looks like, but the beauty of a bullet journal is that you can create pages for almost anything! Maybe you need a list of books you are going to read. Or you need a field trip schedule. Maybe you need to have planning pages for a unit study. You can create any type of page you could possibly need!

Freedom in Christ {Think on These Things}

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

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I remember the day I was driving back from lunch with a friend. I was crying; she was listening. I told her, "I want out of this situation!". It was a defining moment for me that would eventually lead to freedom...though it would take months {and years to recover}, I found freedom from fear, legalism, and some abusive behavior by not only removing myself from a certain situation, but also by realizing I was free in Christ. Free...because He covers me. He forgives me. He protects me. He released me from my agony.

We are all prisoners. Some of us are enslaved to fear. Others fight a deep, hidden sin in their lives. There are some who are stuck in life circumstances in which there seems to be no way out. For others, we are trapped in a toxic relationship. Wherever you may find yourself, He is there, and He is all about bringing freedom for you. Maybe it won't totally change your circumstances, but He will develop your heart so you are free on the inside. Then again, He may allow you to walk away from a painful situation. Whatever the outcome, He is out for your freedom.

This month let's take a look at what imprisons us and how He brings about freedom. Pick up your pen to write out the following Scriptures and/or to journal about them as you "Think on These Things."

You can download the file here.

If you would like all the Think on These Things verses or want to know more about it, click here.

During the month I try to post my thoughts on the verses on Instagram. If you would like to follow me you can find me here. Also, if you are posting your own thoughts there please use the hashtag #thinkonthesethings. I would love to read how God speaks to you!!

There are many ways you can use these verses. You can read and meditate on them. You can write them out as you meditate on them. You can read them and then write about them in a journal or journaling Bible. Here are some of the items I use...

A single column journaling Bible...

ESV Single Column Journaling Bible (TruTone, Chestnut, Leaves Design)
ESV Single Column Journaling Bible (Black)
ESV Single Column Journaling Bible (Brown, Flap with Strap)

Some highlighters {These are my absolute favorites!}...

Eco Highlighter Pencils - Set of 5 Colors

Black pens...

Black Ink Pen Set

I love these journals that lay flat...easier to write in!
Studio Oh! Deconstructed Journals

My Favorite Bible Highlighters

Monday, June 20, 2016

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Over the past few months, I have had a few people over social media ask me about the pencil highlighters I use in my journaling Bible. So let me take a few moments to tell you about these amazing tools!

How can a highlighter be amazing? Frankly, because so many of them are not! I have used my share of ink-based highlighters in my Bible over the years, and I have never really fell in love with them. Some of them bleed through. Or they leak. Or the color is way too jarring. And then there is the moment when you least expect it...they dry out.

About two years ago, I came across these pencil highlighters, bought a set, and fell in love with them! They have a natural wood finish and are a little bit bigger around than a normal pencil (which I love). I love the way the pencil color glides onto the page! I originally had bought a set of five colors (pink, green, yellow, orange, and blue). I have to admit that the blue one wasn't my favorite as it was a little on the dark side. Since then I have noticed that the company has also come out with a set that includes purple. I am not sure how the purple looks on the may be similar to the blue, however, at some point I would love to get a purple one as it is one of my favorite colors.

Since these pencils are a tad bit bigger around, it is wise to get a set with the little sharpener (which by the way does an amazing job). However, they aren't so big and chunky that they put too much color or too thick on a line on the page. Actually, I have found them to be the perfect size for highlighting text in my journaling Bible.

So here are the options of different sets along with my a link to my favorite journaling Bible...notice that you can also get the pencil sets all in one color. I have also included the link for buying the pencil sharpeners separately.


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

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Over the past fifteen years I have struggled. You see...I don't measure up. Rejection has slapped me hard in the face several times. Its blow has come from people I loved and who should have loved me. There came a point in my journey that I had to come to grips with the fact that I was not loved. I didn't meet others' standards and expectations of me. I was unqualified.

It has been a long journey towards healing. Can I just admit that I have not arrived? There are times when I am confronted with those that said I didn't measure up. The old panic comes crashing over me. Maybe I really don't matter? Am I ever going to be enough? When will I be accepted for who I am? Frankly, I don't have the answers to those questions.

I have had to search elsewhere for my acceptance. When people have rejected I have ran to the One that doesn't. I have struggled long and hard to accept the fact that people's love and/or lack of it for me has nothing to do with me. The only opinion that matters is HIS.

So earlier in the year I came across this book and the title caught my eye. {Un}Qualified. That's me! And this book was exactly what I needed to hear. I am unqualified which makes me qualified in God's eyes. Oh, how I need to hear the words written within its pages. Steven Furtick, in a humorous and honest style, lays out how we all struggle to measure up. He discusses how are weakness are sometimes strengths in disguise and how...

"God has a habit of picking people who have been passed over." and "He is perfectly comfortable with the messiness that is mankind."

Throughout the book, Steven references the life of Jacob. Frankly, Jacob is one of my least favorite characters in the Bible. Why would God pick a deceiver and a highly dysfunctional person to be the patriarch of His people? That's the point. Jacob is highly unqualified which makes it easier for God's power to shine through.

If you have struggled with your "acceptability", your weaknesses, or where you fit into His plan, {Un}Qualified would be a thought-provoking book to read.  I know I needed it. Yes, I am unqualified, and yet, He qualifies me.

Seven Ways to Do Bible Study

Monday, June 13, 2016

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Time with God looks different for different people. It can also look different depending on your season in life. Over the years, I have changed up my quiet time with Him to keep things interesting and keep myself engaged. Here is a look at some possible options if you are looking to spend more time with God or change up the way you do your quiet time. It is my prayer that I can encourage to find a method you can use to help you spend quality time with Him.

Early on in my Christian walk I relied on devotionals. These days I have moved away from reading them. There may be a time when I decide to go back to reading them again. Here are a few of my favorites:

Scripture Writing
One of the newest trends in Bible study is writing out the Scriptures. I provided theme-based verses each month that can be written out called Think on These Things. So far we have done these themes: New Beginnings, God's Love, Peace, Forgiveness, The Power of Words. There are others that provide schedules for writing out whole books of the Bible. Here are some schedules from His Mercy is New...
Psalm 119
This year I have been writing out the whole book of Psalms. Here is a look at what I have been doing and some tips for writing out His Word.

Women's Bible Studies
I have done a plethora of Bible studies over the years. Here is a post with a very long list of studies to choose from.

Women of the Word
In the past I have done the system laid out in Women of the Word. This book lays out step by step how to study God's Word for yourself. When I followed this method I was amazed at what I learned! Here is my review of the system.

The Bible in 90 Days
I have read through the Bible several times in 90 days. It has been life-changing for me every single time! By reading the Bible in about three months you really get an bird's eye view of God's story. I challenge you to do it at least once in your life! You can buy the Bible in 90 Days which separates the readings out for you or you can download the schedule here.

Praying the Scriptures
I love praying God's Word back to Him. Here are several resources to help you do that!

Journaling Bible
I have had a journaling Bible for little over a year now and I love using it to record notes, thoughts, and ideas in the margins. I use it also for my Think On These Things series to jot down my thoughts as I go through the verses each month. You can see it in action on my Instagram account.

Tips for Staying Sane as a Mom

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

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As Moms we play a lot of roles. We are teachers, chefs, counselors, launderers, maids, etc. The list could go on and on. I have struggled over the years to stay on top of things as I homeschooled my boys, ran an in-home business, and tried to maintain a household. There were times I barely kept up. There were other seasons in life when everything went as planned. It has been a roller coaster ride of ups and downs. So here's a look at how I do it all... or rather here's a look at what I use in my life to try to maintain some sanity...

-Start and end your day right. I am an early riser, not because I want to be, but because of the anxiety I struggle with. Sleep is elusive for me in the early morning hours. However, I have found this to be a benefit. I can have some quiet time to myself for Bible study and get a jump start on housework. If you "awake time" is more in the evening then use that time after the kids go to bed to get some chores done so that tomorrow doesn't look so scary. Even taking fifteen minutes to do one extra item on your list helps. I have noticed that when I get up late and don't have my quiet time in the morning things don't go as well throughout the day!

{My bullet journal.}

-Plan ahead. I have always been a daytimer kind of girl. I have to write everything down or I forget. Recently, I have switched my method of keeping track of what I need/want to do by using a bullet journal. You can go to this post to read more about it. Your method doesn't have to be a bullet journal, but using some kind of system to keep track of what you need to do helps tremendously!

-Streamline Meal Prep. I have been doing freezer cooking for years now. It is about the only way my family has received nutrition over the years! I love how I can prep meals on the weekend and then just pull them out of the freezer during our busy weeks. I have a ton of posts on my site on freezer cooking. You can find them here if you are interested in doing some of your meals ahead. Another lifesaver has been the Instant Pot I recently bought. OH MY! I could literally sell these things door-to-door! LOL! I have loved how easy it makes my cooking experience! It hard boils eggs you can actually eat. It does pasta to perfection. It cooks frozen foods quickly. I just can't say enough about how it has made my life easier in the meal department!

-Take time for yourself. This is so essential! So many times as moms we get lost in the lives of our families and take little time for ourselves. I have found over the years that if I take some time for myself even if it is a little snippet of time life goes better for me. I do this through my quiet time with God, getting together with a friend from time to time, and being creative (I love coloring! Here is a list of posts of great coloring books.) Find something that you enjoy doing and make time for it during your week. You will be a happier mom in the long run!

-Give yourself grace. We all fail. We all have terrible days when we seem to do nothing right. We yell at our kids. We burn dinner. We forget to do a load of laundry and there is a lack of underwear and socks (This is a true confession on my part!). Whatever the mess-up, give yourself grace. You do yourself no good by constantly beating yourself up. Figure out how you can do that task differently next time and let the disaster go!

When You Need Joy...

Monday, June 6, 2016

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This month for Think On These Things we are focusing on joy. It can be elusive especially in a season of grief or stress. Then the question joy even possible when life is not going our way? Where can we find it in the angst of life? Here are several posts...verses, resources, and ideas on joy...

When the grief is great and you need to "count it all JOY".

While this may look like a Christmas post, it is actually 31 verses about finding joy in Jesus.

"J" is for JOY, but where does joy come from? Find out here.

Here is a post from Adventure Homeschool about bringing back joy when life is tough.

A Scripture Memory Booklet on JOY.

How do you maintain joy when you feel like a failure?

Scriptures for serving your family joyfully.