Updated last 9 September 2020
If you think about the number of ways people have come up with journalling ideas, you’ll realize that each of us see the world differently. Each journal or planner will look unique because each of us organize and plan in many different ways. In this case, what works for each person may not necessarily work for another. However, one thing is for certain, that those of us who use organization tools—whether it’s a bullet journal, Evernote, Trello, Google Keep, Slack, etc.—want to have some semblance of order. Yes, even if it’s just on paper.
How I Got into Notion
Thanks to some techie mommies on Instagram and our little homeschool community for Year 1 students, I was able to discover Notion and all its organization prowess. As of this writing, I have moved all planning, note-taking and scheduling over to my Notion account. Prior to this migration, I have used Evernote, Google Keep and Google Drive together. But Notion has made organization easier because it integrates everything (notes, lists, files, media, etc.) all in one application.
When I saw some of the templates created by other people, I really thought that I was turning into an old dog who was too old to learn new tricks because I didn’t get it. The reason for that, which I have later realized, is that their workspaces didn’t reflect how my mind works. However, I am indebted to my dear friend, Sharmaine, who prodded me to give it another try. So I plopped down one night to create my homeschool planner from scratch and figured out Notion along the way.
Homeschool Planning with Notion
If you are one to put highlights and colors in your organizer, my homeschool dashboard may look all too plain for you. However, the easy and clean dashboard works well for me.
I dubbed it Pilgrim Paideia, reflecting the Classical Christian philosophy and vision for my children’s education.
Because of the nature of homeschooling, and life in general, none of these planners are set in stone. Working with Notion is one big experiment. Likewise, homeschool planning will always remain a work in progress.
Ever since my family and I have started homeschooling, creating routines (and sticking to them as much as possible) have been a lifesaver for us. I use a lot of checklists because I like to see an overview of what’s going to happen for each day. Checklists are my thing. Ticking off a box is a reward in itself. Crossed-out items indicate work has been done and it makes me happy. What is more, I have purposely omitted set times for each item in the list making our homeschooling more relaxed and flexible. I have learned in the first year of official homeschooling that plans get swept under the rug because life happens.
My Weekly Homeschool Grid
Notion has it made possible for me to create not just a daily checklist, but a weekly grid. We homeschool four times a week—Tuesdays to Fridays—and move unfinished business to Saturdays. We cease from all work on Sundays for it is the Lord’s Day, while our Mondays are kept open for chores and errands.
Since we’ve been going through the rhythm for close to five weeks now, my children understand the flow of each day and anticipate what is next.
Basket Time Reads
My weekly planning tab also includes our basket time books which I have named Scholé Reads for morning and evening in order to emphasize the restful aspect of all this learning. Notion makes basket time easy because once I find an open slot, I drag the item to the weekly grid and we’re good to go!
Keeping Track of Memory Work
I have also included Memory Work in the weekly panel which is conveniently connected to the database I have also created. There’s also a dropdown menu in the grid to make sure we’ve reviewed each of the Memory Work before proceeding to another. We practice Festina Lente all the way.
Sorting by tags and changing the views (List, Grid, Calendar, Kanban Board, or Gallery) to make planning work for you is what makes Notion versatile for every sort of planner.
As I have already mentioned, I am fond of checklists. I use the same process to keep track of my children’s progress in memorization. Perhaps if I have more time I’ll include a lovely cover for each of the pages.
Another feature that I quite enjoy is that Notion allows embedding from other applications like Spotify. It makes resources easy to access once you have configured it to be displayed in a certain page. I happily included the excellent catechism reading by Sinclair Ferguson, which will play inside Notion at a press of a button. Oh yes, no more switching of apps needed.
One more database which I have linked to the Weekly overview is the Lesson Plan guide. This is particularly useful for subjects like Science and History where I am fond of referencing to videos and other online resources to help with our learning. Notion conveniently plays YouTube videos within the app. Again, this means I no longer have to switch and open another window to do that.
I’ve recently discovered how to make progress charts so I incorporated that in my lesson planning. With the use of charts, I can visualize how much of the book I have already covered.
Here’s a sample of how I use Notion to teach my children about the Cicadas from Nature Studies for Young Readers by Florence Bass. See how easily you can navigate through embedded YouTube videos, attached photos and links to other resources.
Grading and Portfolio
When portfolio submission is drawing near, I will no longer be scrambling to find the grades because they’re all conveniently kept in the Notion system along with all the files for the Written Work, Performance Task and Quarterly Assessment that we have done or have yet to do, Lord willing.
Notion makes homeschool planning easy. You just have to figure out how to use it first.
Make Notion Work For You
If you have no idea where to start, Notion offers a ton of templates that you could adopt for your own use. But for those who have experience using other organization tools, starting with a template could also be a good way to try out different schemes and things.
I reckon that those who have a bit of background with coding will have more fun with Notion. I quite certainly enjoyed tinkering with each feature in order to fill up a blank page.
Still unsure? Marie Poulin of Notion will get you started with her detailed tutorials.
These are some of the exciting ways that I made use of Notion to work for my homeschool planning and preparation.
Click here to go my post featuring FREE templates (Weekly Routine, Grading & Portfolio, Basic Lesson Plan) which I personally use for my homeschool planning.
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Send me a message or comment below if you have any questions or suggestions.