Behind the Blog

What’s happening behind the blog?


I’m deep into planning here – books, papers, laptop, printer, pens – how about you? How is your planning coming?




We found a bumble bee. Perished. On the driveway near the crepe myrtle. We love bumble bees. And so…




Bumbletree at Apple Tree Lane

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Erin Condren Life PlannerΒ in action – read more herecoupon here

Behind the blog right now is a whole lot of planning and a little swimming! I love summer!

If you want to see more behind the blog – follow me on instagramΒ for little snapshots!

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  1. Would you be willing to share your planning documents shown above? I would love to use them as a template!

    1. Already on my list, Tiffany!! I’m planning on updating my entire printables section and I have some planning grids that I’m building in Word so that they’ll be totally editable! I HOPE to have that project underway just as soon as I finish up my lesson planning for the kids! So keep an eye here…I’ll announce it when I get them finished! Can’t wait to be able to share them with all of you!

  2. It all looks so pretty, Jen! πŸ™‚ As you go along this year using your teacher/lesson planner from Erin Condren would you please keep us updated as to how you like it? (Especially with the new changes you made, uncoiling and recoiling the pages where you wanted them.) And thanks, as always, for so generously sharing your work with us! Planning here too…..though not making quite as much headway as I’d like. ha! Enjoy the rest of your summer!

    1. I’d really like to do a video showing some of my past EC teacher planners and how I used them, as well as how I’m setting up this years!! Fingers crossed! I’ve done a couple of sample layout pages in my new EC planner already and I LOVE how I uncoiled and moved lesson plan pages around! LOVE that!

      Good luck planning! I had *planned* on planning last week! LOL! But that just didn’t work out so rather than force the issue, I rolled with it, got a couple of my home projects done, and started again this week…and this week I’m ON F-I-R-E so far!! Woohoo!! Hopefully your “on fire” week is coming soon! πŸ™‚

      1. Ohhhh, a video would be wonderful!! Get right on that! πŸ˜‰ LOL!

        Thanks for sending a little “on fire” my way. It’s gotta happen soon! πŸ™‚

  3. Your plans are so lovely! I was wondering…what are the names of the fonts you are using on the plans? Thanks.

    1. I love this question!!! It’s EXACTLY the kind of question I’d ask!! πŸ™‚

      The majority is in Josefin Sans in various sizes and weights. I like it because it’s readable for the kids and has a slim weight line. I love the light italic weight and most of the font is in this light italic. The text in the detailed week-to-week boxes is in light italic Josefin Sans 8 pt.

      The only other font I use is Tangerine – that’s what the word “notes” is in at the bottom of one of the plans!

      The lines that are drawn on my plans are in a bright blue using Adobe Caslon Pro font in 7pt using a repeat of the underscore – this –> _______ <-- not all fonts will connect the underscore dashes to form a solid line, but Adobe Caslon Pro will. Have fun picking fonts, Traci! I'll share some template grids soon I hope!

  4. It looks like you are planning for AO Year 3. So am I! I worked quite a bit yesterday on the term charts. I start with the AO chart then make the changes I need to make for us. πŸ™‚ I noticed you added a bit of color to your charts. I also add in some design elements to mine that make it more visually organized for me. For example, I make one solid row that’s lightly shaded in grey for the subject headings. This just makes it organized better for me. πŸ™‚ I’m intrigued by the little bubbles in some of the squares on your charts. I’m assuming those are to indicate how many times to work on that particular subject for the week and then you can check it off. I like that idea! I’m thinking of taking my revised chart once it’s done and then typing up a weekly plan sheet for each week. I didn’t do that last year. Anyway, I look forward to hearing about how you are planning your AO year. πŸ™‚

    1. I started a response to you, Karen, and somehow lost it?? And I have no idea where it went. I had so many tabs open yesterday…I might have been responding and then just closed the tab I had open with your response. LOL! πŸ™‚

      So…yep…I do begin by looking at AO’s plans, but this year my plans are so modified and subbed I only ended up keeping 3 of the books on their schedule.

      I have always color coded my lesson plans – it’s a HUGE visual help for all of us – pink is for Katie/Y3; green is for JP/Y6; blue is for Mark/Y10; and when Sarah was still homeschooling (she graduated 2 years ago) she was coral! Adding color is a big deal for us! I color code clipboards, notebooks, and pens, too. They all follow the same color assigned to that child. I can look out across the table, kitchen counter, through a sea of books…and see pink and KNOW that those are Katie’s plans, and so on.

      And you guessed exactly right – I use capital letter “O” as a bubble indicator on my schedule when I’m not scheduling a specific assignment, but want to leave a little placeholder to say, “hey, do this today.” So if there are two: O O – that means I plan to do that particular thing 2x/week. I need little visual tags and placeholders to keep me accountable and pointed in the right direction. Capital O. πŸ™‚

      More later…happy planning to you!!

      1. I’ve modified the AO plan too. Dropping some books, adding a book and such. I started Our Island Saints last year and wanted to finish that this year. So that’s a book added. I’m using a different book for the American history strand. And I’m not for sure just yet if we’re going to continue with Our Island Story or use a different book for that. I’ve had to edit that book quite a bit as I read it aloud for the Year 2 readings. I have The Story of the World series (we used it also this past year with great success) and I’m contemplating just using the third volume along with our American history book. I’m not for sure just yet. Anyway, that’s just some of the modifications I’m looking at right now. πŸ™‚ Are you planning to share your final schedule charts? I’d love to see what you’ve got planned for the year!

        1. Yep. I plan to post them when I get to sit down and re-organize all my printables.

          The printables section of my blog is bothering me so much. I worked hard last year just to get everything up there (my PDFs were at the now-defunct Adobe site) after moving to self-hosted, but I didn’t really organize it well. So hopefully I can get to that soon.

      2. I had to come back and tell you that my plans are not much of AO anymore now either! By the time I made my tweaks and modification, it really wasn’t AO at all. πŸ™‚ In fact, when I realized that, I decided to just switch gears altogether and focus on American history this year. Interestingly enough, I was looking back over my notes from my research in CM’s writings, and remembered that she actually focused on national history in Form I. I plan to look more at those notes this week. πŸ™‚

        Anyway, I can’t wait to read more about your plans for the year. I love your blog and always look forward to reading your new posts. πŸ™‚

  5. Where did you get the cart you have pictured above with your EC planner on it?

    Thanks so much!

    1. It’s an old audio/video cart rescued from a dumpster. You can still find them on Craigslist. The info on its label is: Pixmobile; the advance products company; model AV-445. Hope that helps!!

  6. Jen, I am also looking forward to your new files! I would love a video in which you show us all of your planners and paper stuff and how you organize it all. A long shot, I realize; just throwing it out there πŸ˜‰ Also, in that second picture (of your desk) where did you get the standing clip holder next to the laptop? I am not sure what is called or how to search for it, and it is exactly what I am looking for! Thank you for your help!

    1. Nicole, I’d love to do some videos on my planning and papers and organization. Fingers crossed I can get some time. Duties first – which would be these lesson plans! And then…rubbing hands together…I’ll see what I can get together!

      The little standing green clip holder thingie!!! Isn’t that darling!!! It was a Christmas gift (I might have heavily hinted for;) )from my mom and it’s a perfect fit for me – practical and pretty!!! I found it at Magnolia Market (huge fan of the Gaines’!) – it’s a photo stand: $14!!! I have another on my Feast Table that I use to display liturgical art. I could spend gazillions of dollars at Magnolia Market. THAT is my style! So excited that I could link that for you! Have fun shopping! πŸ™‚

  7. Oh my word – to live in your world! I *so* like to have things organized, but I am really struggling this year. I help homeschool my grands. (That’s grandkids.) I had off last year, but daughter has decided (well, I’m thinking she will make this decision) to return to homeschooling this school year. So, it will be one 9th grader, and two 5th graders (grandtwins.) I’m out of practice getting it all organized. If daughter does decide to homeschool, she is changing curriculum for 9th grader & I don’t know it. So, as I have watched you on FB, and now here at the blog, this planning seems to be plotting the lessons, not necessarily going through the books and getting ideas for activities, etc? (That’s where I’m at right now. And I think part of the problem is, I’m not really as into it because it’s not a for sure decision yet.) Now that I have my Payroll days (I’m self-employed) out of the way this week, I can have these next few days at home (have to split the time between household, Payroll-I have just a couple things to do, and homeschool! So I hope to put some things to bed. I’m just so scrambled & love coming here and seeing your well-put-together plans! πŸ™‚ Thank you for sharing!

    1. You’re right, Denise – my planning consists of books and assigning (pacing out) pages and chapters. I DO NOT coordinate and plan activities. Or, I suppose, I should say that I rarely do that. On occassion I do – like here when I built these Physics lesson plans: with coordinated Physics explorations. But that’s an exception, not the rule. For my lesson plans –> I start with a booklist, build a yearly plan from there, then move everything into three containers – the three terms of the year, and then into weekly containers. It’s just a scaffolded stepping down of details – start big, work your way inward until you get to something you can manage on a daily basis.

      AFTER all that is done, I do some pre-reading of books – a lot of it is heavy skimming and note taking. I keep notes in a notebook that I use as my reference through the term.

      It’s definitely hard to think about planning if you don’t know if you’re going to be helping with homeschooling…or not. Prayers for that decision and your path forward from there!

  8. Thank you for the kind words about my desk! I love it!!!

    I do have a few planning posts around here, Emily! Some of them go way, way back!!! Planning for the kids when they were so little! πŸ™‚

    Planning: A Beginning:
    Planning Again: A Year Considered:
    Planning In Pretty Notebooks:

    And probably the most popular post here with the most details and nitty-gritty is A Considered Booklist:

    And from there, you could check out the many, many planning posts here…

    You might also be interested in the Morning Basket posts, too. There is some planning stuff in those – here’s the first Morning Basket post: but there are LOTS more!

    Hope you find a few ideas – I love new planning ideas, too!!

  9. What is that beautiful stand on your desk holding a grid on the right? Where did you find it? I’m in love…

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