Day 17: A Kid’s Bullet Journal for Records #Back2School in #31Days

B2S Day 17 kids bullet journal 1

Have you ever tried to plan the day for your kids full of wonderful activities and outside-the-box fun that ended up driving everyone crazy?

I have had to change in significant ways in order to plan wisely and differently for my children’s schedules.

Creating a working schedule is important because so much depends on me, as a homeschool mom.

For the longest time, I would swing from one side of the spectrum to the other – treating my children as wonderful, lovable tiny-bosses to mommy-tyrant treating them as soldiers needing to fall in line.

The day-to-day with this swing wasn’t fun. You’re in charge, no I’m in charge, now you’re in charge…

It was not productive. It was emotionally confusing. For all of us.

Until I went to hear John Rosemond speak at a convention. (Again with the GHC, I’m not even going to spell it out. I mention it so much I don’t want you to roll your eyes at me. Okay, roll quickly. But I really think you should go to one!) 

I’m glad I did because he corrected this swing behavior in me for good. He showed me that I was creating the madness in my home by not owning the responsibility of being the one in charge. All the time, not just in reaction to days gone bad.

I now live with free and full authority in my home – able to love and provide for my children more because I don’t resent them for walking all over me and my plans.

And that’s what I want to talk about more today: planning their schedules.

I have earned everything I’ve learned about planning my own schedule through failure. I have done too much and too little – from resenting my responsibilities to idolizing them. So if there’s one thing I want to recommend over and over again it’s this:

Don’t try to copy what works for someone else in planning.

Not even me. Learn from the how’s and why’s but take time to process what it will look like for you and your kids.

B2S Day 17 kids bullet journal 2

8 Steps to setting up Bullet Journal’s for my kids:

  1. Get a notebook: I bought the 2 composition notebooks (pictured above) for 75 cents each and they match the color code I’ve started for my children this year (more on how I color code their “stuff” later this week).
  2. Number the pages in advance. Yes this took me 20-30 minutes. I did one after bedtime and the other during nap time.
  3. Section the Index and make that the first entry in the Index.
  4. On the first free page, write out the state requirements and plan for meeting those requirements. Include some information on their interests from each child’s advisory meeting here. (More on advisory meeting later this week too! It’s going to be a good week on The Home Learner.) B2S Day 17 kids bullet journal 4
  5. Make a KEY. I don’t want to have to explain myself every single day with notes for “you must wait to do this assignment with me” or “please show me this lesson when you are finished” or “this task needs to be done at a specific time.” I just want them to see the 2-letter key or the symbol and know what is required.
  6. Don’t do this all at once. But do, do it for each school age child.
  7. Start with a month-at-a-glance and a week-at-a-glance for their reference. Maybe you have a child that likes to keep track of calendar events and asks constantly, “When is the birthday party for so-and-so?” Now, the answer is “Go check your month page.” B2S Day 17 kids bullet journal 3
  8. Count 10 pages from the back cover and section this off as their Book List. Put a Post-It tab on the first page of this section of the journal for recording what they’ve read. I’ll have my kids write: Date, Title, Author.

After these steps, I’m all set to plan their days.

I’m learning from this example how much to schedule daily. (I like how she notes the items on their list that need her review with a second box to check.) She also explains why it is so important to plan the night before – which echoes Day 2 of the Make Over Your Mornings course. (Going on sale soon! Don’t miss it.)

One thing I know planning their day will challenge and correct is my failure to follow through on working along side them.

Last year, we had a good routine for when they would work on their independent lessons, but working together wasn’t consistent. I would say, “we’ll read history after breakfast.” Well, then one child wouldn’t finish breakfast until nearly 10am, and I would feel pulled to start my chores for the day so I would adjust and say, “we’ll read it after lunch.” And on and on, I would push these important things back.

In addition to planning their day I’m correcting this by:

  • Working on setting meal and snack times – I have grazers, which I love – but for the love, I cannot be making food for someone every hour of the day
  • Practicing planning the details for myself – the night before – following Day 2 in setting up a good before bed routine.

This method of planning and recording their days will also help us value our communication. Having their tasks written down will help both of my school aged children.

I have one child who wants me to say the fewest words possible to her and one who wants to rehearse and retell every single instruction to the fullest – ten times.

Writing their days in list form has helped us in the past. The first child likes to know what’s required without having to talk about it, and the second is corrected from wasting time by talking too much about the schedule.

By making and using plans, we are setting up good habits for personal discipline.

I’m looking forward to using this simple tool to plan their days because I know it will provide the accountability I need, the communication I want (since I won’t be repeating the plan verbally a dozen times throughout the morning), and the progress of which we are capable.

One question I’ve already received is: what are you planning do use for your “Home School Records?”


In my mind, home school plans and home school records are 2 different things. So I will keep my plans in my Bullet Journal and the plans I write in the children’s Bullet Journals will serve as our official records.

I’m open to answering more questions about this! So leave them in the comments or contact me personally.

Also, I realize that I sound like I’m blazing a new trail by creating my own course in homeschool planning, but I’m not. I’m following the example written in this planner, and guarding my record keeping by checking out this record book for reference. I’ve already been tempted to separate my Bullet Journal from these and add in a blog planner too! (Heaven help me!) But for now, I’m still all in one place, and I’ll be sure to let you know if and how that changes.

Good reads on how to process your own way of planning:

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This is Day 17 in the #31Days to #Back2School series; check out Day 1 and the Index by clicking here.

My favorite eCourse is going on sale again soon! Check it out now for more information: Click here for details.

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4 thoughts on “Day 17: A Kid’s Bullet Journal for Records #Back2School in #31Days

  1. I could KISS YOU!!! I have been scouring the internet trying to decide if/how to bullet journal for my homeschool planning/documenting, kids’ planners, etc. I have handled dozens of planners, bought a couple, nothing is “doing it” for me, and I keep coming back to bullet journaling, but trying to figure out making it kid-friendly, a system they will use (ok, I will use), etc. I am just thrilled to have stumbled across you and your website/blog. Thank you! Looking forward to reading more. 🙂


    • Oh I’m so happy! I will be doing an update post in September too – showing how things are going, what we’ve adapted, and what works (along with what doesn’t work). So stay tuned – I’m glad you found my little corner. 🙂


  2. Cara, and also Kim, the commenter above, did the bullet journal system end up working well for your kids? I’m asking not for homeschooling reasons (although it may come to that and I’ve dabbled with afterschooling and summerschooling my kids), but because I have a daughter going into 8th grade for whom the school’s organizational systems never seem to work. I want her to try a bullet journal this year instead (I have just started using this system for myself and excited about it but still not quite there with making it perfect for me). She did use one over the summer a little bit for our summer homeschooling projects, color coding with different pens depending on which subject she was working on. But I don’t think she’s passionate about it the way a lot of bullet journalers are–yet I think she could be if she saw the full value of it. I’m wondering if you have any thoughts or reflections about this, now, a year later–what did your kids think, and what motivated them to stick with bullet journaling, if they did? Or was it just mom saying, “do it” and they did? Thanks!!


    • Bonnie,
      Yes, the bullet journals ended up being the best tool for our homeschool last year. We have modified the actual journal this year and I’m using more of a blank calendar. It serves the same function for us.

      My kids are 4th and 3rd graders though, so we don’t get fancy with color coding – but I’m sure you could find loads (too much) advice for how to best do that for your 8th grader. But I would caution and say to only color code if that’s helpful for your daughter. I know I can get overwhelmed if I try to color code. It’s too much to remember for me and when I forget to use a specific color I feel like I’ve “ruined” the whole thing.

      I would say that for an 8th grader it could be tricky to try to expect her to do all the work of planning, writing, indexing on her own – but if you had weekly or biweekly check ups to see if she’s keeping up – that could work well! She’s probably at the age where she *can* do it on her own, but she still needs help to be consistent.

      My kids did just do it because I told them to 😉 But they are a lot younger yet. But since last year, I’ve seen them appreciate having a journal with all their plans and calendar inside. They think it’s “normal.” And that’s the goal.

      Best of luck to you!


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