Homeschool: Trello Planning


Trello 2018 6th gr

We’ve been using Trello this year with my daughter as her way of keeping up with her assignments for the week. It has been an awesome addition to our schooling day and I wanted to share how we’ve used it and how I’m using it to plan for her 6th grade year. Above is a picture of the main Trello screen. My boards are at the top and her individual weekly boards are separated into the three terms that we form our schedule by. To be honest, we are still trying to figure out how to make the idea of three terms work for us with the rest of our schedule. I am hopeful next year I can do a better job at framing our term schedule into the rest of our commitments in order to have off weeks in between terms and also have exam weeks.

Trello 2018 6th gr

This board is a look at my daughter’s weekly board. I started out this year allowing her to move items around throughout her day. She couldn’t move them to another day, but she could modify where they were in her schedule. A few months into our year I realized that this was not going to work. She (and I) needed a more set schedule; enter the set times. The only thing that she is allowed to move around are the cards from the first column; which contain her reading assignments for the week. While she has a set time in her day where she goes and does that independent reading, she can choose which assignment.

One of my biggest struggles is keeping track of all the things I’ve pinned or saved in Pocket or just found on the Web. I’ve got all the boards set up on Pinterest, I save particular things to Pocket and I even started subscribing and saving videos via the Youtube app. But in the end, it was making my brain hurt trying to remember. I would come back to a Pinterest board or Youtube and realize I had totally forgotten the thing I had wanted to do. The more I learn about Trello, I’m realizing it will be the answer to that problem; especially as I start to plan for next year. I can create a board and include all the books I need to get from the library, all the videos I want to watch for a specific lesson and link websites – in addition to setting up checklists for hands on activities, narration prompts etc.

Trello 2018 6th gr

Above is a look at where I am as I plan for her 6th grade year. As I started to plan for 6th grade, I started out the way I normally do at Ambleside Online.  I went through all the artist, composers and poets I knew we were going to do (some from AO and some from Cycle 1 Classical Conversations), and at that point I went ahead and created checklists for each of those. I attached photos of the works of art, links to composers to listen to on Youtube and any books that I might need to reserve from the library.

Trello 2018 6th gr

We are using Beautiful Feet Ancient History for our history basis next year. So I went through each lesson in the guide and where there were links printed, I went ahead and linked them on the corresponding checklist. I put items on the checklist that I need to prep for and also what her assignments will be for reading.

Trello 2018 6th gr

I’m still figuring out how detailed to get with her literature readings at this point. I’m not sure if I will just use these boards as general information for each book and various activities or narration ideas or what. And I know that while all the information will be on the screen in one spot, my general outline will still be in the paper spreadsheet form that I used this year.

A little bit about us: The advent of May means the end to our third year of homeschooling our 5th grader and our first year of homeschooling our 8th grader. This means next year, I will have a middle schooler and a high schooler in the house. (enter shrieking). We are Classical/Charlotte Mason homeschoolers and I try to frame my day with a Charlotte Mason style outlook. We participate in Classical Conversations and enjoy immensely the community it provides us. My son is finishing up Challenge A and is entering Challenge I in the Fall (yes he is skipping a level – just email me if you want details on that decision). My daughter is entering her last year of Foundations/Essentials and we don’t know where we are going from here with her. To add to all that, I am going to be a Challenge B director next year (taking on the class that my son is leaving.)

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Organizing: Calendars

This Fall is going to be full of some big changes in our house. The boy is headed to 6th grade (middle school here we come) and the chick is staying home and doing 3rd grade with me. That’s right. We have entered the wild world of homeschooling. Because I’m going to have to balance my work time at home with school time with her, I had to come up with a better system for planning.


 Enter the doctored up planner. I have a planner from Plum Paper which I do really like. I can’t say I’m 100 percent sure I’ll reorder another one from them for 2016 (I’ve kind of got my eyes on this one), but if I do I know some of the changes I’ll make (such as ordering a family style layout instead of breaking the day into morning-afternoon-evening). I knew I didn’t want another planner or anything else to carry around with me for school planning. I really wanted it to fit into this book too. But the spiral rings were throwing me for a loop with trying to figure out something to fit in there. I did a bunch of searching online for how to attach page protectors and discovered these little gems.


They are called sticke clips and I found them on etsy. I actually had these smaller sized photo pages from another project (score!) so once my clips came I was ready to go.

my insert pages for planner

My planner is set up with one month page at the beginning of the section and then a group of weekly pages. Into each week, I will stick that weeks homeschool plan. I drafted up this planning page (which I’m sure I’ll have to adapt more once I’m actually using it) and I have one printed for the next week slipped in on the other side. Untitled

I also made this little bookmark with my goals for the week. I know I could write these on the side (and I might do that) but for some reason having this little extra bookmark in there makes me more likely to actually focus on those things (I’m beginning to understand where my child gets her ADD from). I actually made this by just cutting on of those photo pages off. The bookmark just slides in there and I haven’t had any issue with it falling out yet.


One other thing I need to work on in the next year is blogging. Come August I have an awesome blogging related announcement, but I also wanted to get back into a better rhythm of just writing and posting in general. I found this gem of a planner here and I shrunk it down to fit into one of my photo pages and I’m planning on keeping it at the beginning of each month’s section.

Here’s a copy of my weekly planning page if you are interested.


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summer ART school {picasso}


This summer we are working our way through different artists and recreating some of their art work or art traditions they inspired. Picasso was the first artist my rooster picked. To begin with we looked at some of Picasso’s art online and the first project was making portraits inspired by Picasso. I found the idea here and honestly it stressed my children out (as it did hers).

My son is a perfectionist and at first he thought this activity was fun. When it wasn’t coming together (aka matching up perfectly) he became really frustrated. We talked about how Picasso’s art isn’t “perfect” but very mismatched. He didn’t even finish it and honestly I didn’t push him. It’s summer.

2012 summer art school: picasso portraits

My daughter is all about lovely and pretty things. Picasso’s portraits aren’t lovely and beautiful. She ended up going with it (with an agreement that she could add a penguin and some flowers to decorate it!)

picasso projectpicasso project

Next up we talked about Picasso’s blue period. This activity came from the art book, Discovering Great Artists. The idea is that you take one color and mix different shades of that color and then paint a picture using those shades. This was really hard! We had a lot of fun mixing the colors and finding different shades, but when it came to painting with them it was difficult!

Here is a glimpse at our results
our picasso projects

Picasso was ok, but honestly he is totally not my favorite.

Next up Degas…he makes the ballerina in my little chick very happy!

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a schoolish post

It’s been a while since I’ve shared any learning/schoolish posts. We aren’t “homeschooling” anymore, but I’ve become a very firm believer that even though my children are primarily educated at school, we are still partners in their education and our house is going to be a house of learning too. We are getting ready to embark upon this science book starting in February. The Rooster is all about fish…he’s like a walking encyclopedia of fishing lures, fish types etc and is about to DIE that we are going to take a Netflix fast and he won’t be able to watch all his Discover Channel, Animal Planet and whatever else fish shows! Hopefully we will be using all the time on our science studies. The goal is to finish it by the time school starts up in mid-July (our system goes year round) and culminate our study with some sort of dissection of a fish. We have also adopted a couple of spots on a stream through Tremont and hopefully that will play nicely in with our swimming creatures study. I’m so excited about this spring!

In the meantime, I’ve started to do some kindergarten work with the Chick. She is in a preschool program, but it’s a blended program with students who are considered at-risk, learning English as a second language and typical preschoolers. That said, she is ready to start doing some Kindergarten work and while she gets some at school, I wanted more. So when the Rooster works on his homework after school, we do her “homework” together.

I’ve been struggling with how and what to teach her with and finally decided to use these three things:

Explode the Code: book 1. I love, love, love this series and it was one of our favorite things to do when we were homeschooling. She passed the pretest with flying colors, so we are starting with book 1. We’ll go slow and not push it, but I’m super excited. For someone who doesn’t have a clue about teaching phonics, this is a lifesaver for me.

I’m pulling alphabet review stuff from Confessions of a Homeschooler. Her stuff is amazing! For now, we are working on the A-Z Beginning Sounds Game.

I actually printed these at half size (I’m a stickler on making my colored ink last). Looking at the little letter dots I realized they would fit perfectly under these clear glass gems I had in my craft stash.  A little modge podge later and voila! Fun little letter gems.


We are also starting very slowly on learning our kindergarten sight words. I found this awesome group of printables from 1+1+1 (which is also a phenomenal blog) and made a special reading notebook for the chick. She has about a 5-10 minute tolerance for this, but I really didn’t expect more than that. Each list of 4 words has a great variety of activities and is easy for a momma to get together.


As we get into our science work, I’ll be sure to post some updates of the fun things we do.

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learning the abcs

I’ve been way to lax on working with the chick on her letters. She knows them all and can write most all of them, but she needs to work on learning the sounds. I’ve seen tons of activities like this all over the web, but most recently saw it in Small Magazine and it finally got me motivated. I knew the little chick would get into it because she loves to have her picture taken.

Here’s the process we took:

1) I had her write down 5 letters. I was going to go through some dictated order, but decided that giving her more “control” might be spur her along a little more…it did.

2) After writing the letters, she picked one and we talked about it’s sound and words that start with that letter. Then she had to go find an object that made that sound.

3) We took pictures of her holding or doing that letter.

4) I made little cards for our first group of letters and put them in a special book for her.

After we get through all 26, I’m thinking that we’ll go back through and add the short or long vowel sounds that we were missing and maybe we’ll add sight words or something like that too.

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