I have tried and tried to be a planner girl. I mean who doesn't love all the cute planners and journals out there, not to mention all the pens and stickers available. But I have come to realize that they really don't work for me to plan our homeschool. I have always found digital lists and calendars to be the easiest way for me to keep track of things. I have been using Evernote for years for planning and organizing my thoughts, but I recently discovered another online program that has elevated my planning and organization abilities.
I have been faithfully using Trello for the last four months, and life has become a whole lot easier. Trello is an online program and app that is made up of boards, lists and cards. It is incredibly open-ended, and visually pleasing which makes my creative self very happy. It has helped to organize our household chores and our entire homeschool year in a quick, simple and efficient way.
I first found out about Tello while searching for an online homeschool planner and came across Mystie Winckler's Trello playlist on YouTube. I instantly signed up (for free) and started to figure out how I was going to try this out for my family.
I started out by setting up my girls with their own Trello Boards to keep track of their Daily/Weekly Chores, as well as their Self-Care Routine. When working with Weekly Boards, set up a Master Board and then each week you simply copy it and rename it for the current week. It takes me less than a minute to do this each Sunday, and it has made such a huge difference. My girls wake up and check their Trello Boards right away. They are responsible for completing their lists through out the day, I will provide a gentle reminder and help when needed. But I have found that using this consistently has eliminated the nagging that would always follow when it came to helping around the house.
As soon as I saw how well this worked for my girls, I jumped right into planning out our up coming homeschool year. It took me a little while to figure out the best way to set things up. Trello is so open-ended that it can be overwhelming to set it up, but truly that is what makes it so amazing!
I wanted something as minimal and simplified as possible, and it had to have everything in one place. It also had to have a continuous flow and flexible where I can add things or take them away as needed, and plan as we go.
I started by creating a Board for our current homeschooling year and adding 7 Lists.
- List #1 is for planning and organizing each Unit/Term.
I listed each Unit and date range as a Card, where I can add notes and ideas for each. I also am going to use this List to keep track of current To Dos, audiobook list, nature walk plans, meet ups, field trip ideas etc.
- List #2 is for individual and independent learning and activities for each of my children.
I can keep track of my oldest's assigned reading easily this way, which is what I reference when filling out her planner each week.
- Lists #3 - 6 has been organized by our daily Time Blocks.
- A Block - Math + Reading
- B Block - Wildwood Loop + LA Loop
- C Block - Main Lesson
Within each Time Block List, I have added Cards for each subject/topic we will be learning about. One of the best things is the Checklists within the Cards. I have taken the time to add lesson details, page numbers, links etc. for each topic/subject/book. This is going to help keep me on track and I just check things off as we go. I also use the Description section in each Card to write down notes, ideas, web links and other book ideas.
You will also see I added a cards called "Loop Marker" into the two B Block Lists. Because cards are so easy to drag up and down, this easily helps me to keep track of what comes next in our loop schedules.
- List #7 is for our Flex Fridays.
I like our Fridays to be our flexible day of the week, but the rhythm of our day is very important. I have added Cards for our Friday routine... Poetry Teatime and Weekly Review, as well as creative ideas, hand work projects and games.
I do have to say though, as amazing as I find Trello, it hasn't replaced my pen + notebook for my day-to-day To Dos. For that, I actually designed a custom planner of sorts. I am using it to sort out our weeks for lessons and my personal To Dos. I have had many people ask about purchases my custom planner that I have posted on Instagram. I do have plans to offer more of a complete planner next year, I would like to use this one for a full year before packaging it to sell. But I have decided to offer these pages now to those who want to try it out for FREE.