Homeschooling: It's not what we do, it's how we live.

One of these days, I’ll stop ‘getting’ organized and just BE organized.

I am generally an organized person by nature. I know that some of my friends might not believe this, but my mad organizing skillz comes in cycles. I start out super organized and stick with that for a while, then I start slacking a bit, here and there, then feel the carefully greased wheels of my life start slipping out of control and reign it back in again by getting re-organized. Rinse and repeat.

I have also noticed that there are times of the year at which I feel the need to take stock and make sure that what’s on the books is what really works for me and for my family in both our personal lives and our homeschooling one. The process of organizing things is centering to me. It’s empowering because I feel like I am taking control of things and putting myself back in the driver’s seat – being proactive instead of reactive; all good things in my world.

About, oh… 7 years ago or so, I was all church-y and fell in love with the ‘Managers of Our Home’ thing. Between that and FlyLady, I created a pretty in-depth household management journal. I’ve used it off and on over the past several years, most recently when the boys were in school last. When we started homeschooling, we kinda dropped everything and I realized while browsing Pinterest’s organizational awesomeness pins exactly how far we’ve come from being so on-top of things in the house.

Recognizing the lack, I’ve been working on bringing my binder up to date and though I still have some sections to bring current, the bulk of the journal is workable with minor updates here and there. Presenting {insert fanfare}: My updated and newly revised

Household Master Bossy Book!

Isn’t it perty? As much as I wish I could take credit for the ‘bossy book’ name, I must credit my dear friend SFK for this apt moniker. “Bossy Book” has become the nomenclature of choice for all planner-type books and calendars in our circle of friends.

{Quick Page-Border Tutorial}

I created the border by:

  1. Google ‘page borders’ or something like that and finding pictures that I like
  2. open a MSWord doc and set the margins to the ‘narrow’ pre-set
  3. then I paste the picture in, and sized it to the page
  4. then I clicke ‘insert shape’ and put a box over the textable area
  5. right-click box and select ‘table properties’
  6. set the color to ‘no color’ and transparency to 100%
  7. then I right click the box and select ‘add text’
  8. save the document with a descriptive name

I have a folder full of them. When I want to use it, I open the document that has the border I want and add whatever text and pictures, then click ‘save AS’ (very important to choose SAVE AS instead of save – this will create a NEW document in your files) and the folder I want it in. Once the new doc is saved, I close both documents, and when asked if I want to save the changes to to original, I click ‘no’, that way the original border is still there.

And, if you like my page, you can have one of your very own: Household Master Bossy Book Cover There’s no name, so you can run it through your printer and add your own or write it in and make it spectacular.

Back to the book tour:

I wrote that on the picture, then thought about the other kinds of info that might be in the book and decided that I wouldn’t necessarily want my Bossy Book to be open to someone who was babysitting. Then again, if I trusted someone with my kids, surely I could trust them with personal info, right? Of course, we haven’t ever used a ‘baby sitter’, so that’s kind of a moot point. If you want a ‘babysitter info’ page though, there is one  here. There are other printables, too.

The picture on the left is this one, 1955 Rules for a Good Wife. I found it years ago and it’s as funny as it is frustrating/offensive. I’m glad times have changed!

The Daily Routines section houses all of my schedules and master lists of where we should be and what we should be doing.

The routine pages and concept are modified from the ideas at I joined FL for about 3 days, but the program didn’t fit me as it was then. I think it’s changed in recent years, I haven’t been back lately to see the updates. I got what I needed from the site and tweaked it to suit my own needs. If you’re really struggling to get a handle on things, then I would recommend FL – reading the site if not joining. There really is a lot of good motivational and get-started info there.

After photographing, I noticed that there are marker tracks on a lot of  my pages (that’s why they look pink – they’re not). I keep the most often used pages in plastic page protectors and a (red) dry erase marker in the book (clipped to one of the rings). I use the marker to cross off things that are done, or that don’t apply for that day. I love lists, so this methods works for me IN SPADES. Plus, seeing a page full of ‘done!’ gives me a happy.

I used to keep my book open and in a central location. That used to be in the living room, but in recent months, it seems like our center is the kitchen, so that’s where I think I’ll keep it for now. Once it gets cooler and we can be back in the school room, I’ll probably move it in there.

Blank Standing ToDo List

Several of the lists are the same thing, just organized differently. I don’t use every list every day; the main ones I use are the daily routines and the 8-week plan. I didn’t take a picture of mine because the print is too small to show up, but mine is modified from Donna Young’s website; the Housework .doc format that I got from her site is the one I still use and it’s editable. I customized my version, but kept it all to one page.

The eight-week plan is basically one thing each weekday that is a little harder or out of the normal routine (like decluttering a high-traffic area, or clearing off the top of the refrigerator, or cleaning out a closet). At the bottom of the page is a yearly to-do – things like wardrobe inventory, holiday decorating, birthday planning and flipping the mattresses.

Yay for color coding! This is another list that I refer to often. I actually have two of them – one that’s arranged by person and one that’s arranged by day of the week. I do a lot of time-juggling right now, and I know that in the past, I didn’t feel as time-stressed. I am hoping that keeping this in mind will help eliminate that stress to some degree. The links are downloadable and customizable documents so you can have your own micro-management fixation, too.

The AM and PM Chores list is another ‘frequently used’ list. With sections for all of us, and things organized ‘daily, monthly’ weekly and yearly’, it’s a handy reference.

Chores – Instruction How-to List – this is an editable older version of our list. You can download and make changes to reflect ‘your way’ of doing things.

Yay for lists! A whole section dedicated to lists. A lot of my lists have been modified from Donna Young’s website, others from Microsoft Word’s templates and various others from random places on the web that I found eons ago and don’t remember now. I’ve tweaked and edited all of them, or just flat-out re-made them to suit my own needs. If you have time and a printer, you can make your own.

When I was making my book the first time, I kept blank notebook pages with titles on top (a suggestion from FlyLady if I remember correctly) and wrote down things on that page that I though I would use/need/refer to over the course of a couple of weeks so that I would have a really good idea of what worked and what didn’t when I actually made the permanent page. That was a really useful suggestion, and one that I recommend.

My inventory lists are downloadable and customizable: Refrigerator & Freezer    Panty       Household Items

These lists are extensive and not necessarily a list of what we keep on-hand. They’re also older; some of the things we used years ago, we’ve phased out in favor of better/more nutritious/greener alternatives, and some of the things we use now are not on these lists (I work from two computers – different versions of the files are on different computers). My book’s inventory pages are undergoing revision in the coming days and weeks. I’ll try to come back and update this post with my revised lists.

Another thing that I like about having the nutrition information on hand is that when I am dieting, I can easily plan what I am going to order before leaving home. Not all restaurants have their nutrition info available online, but some you can request a copy by mail from and others have sheets available in the restaurant if you ask.

More printables for you:  Family Meeting   Budget Worksheet    Media Out/In Log  (to keep track of things you lend out and thing you’ve borrowed)

Our medial record section has an info sheet (will update this post with that later) that is filled out and printed and kept in a page protector. I use sticky-notes to update most recent visit dates and other info that changes frequently. I punch holes in prescription info pages from the pharmacy and keep them in the binder, as well as all current physician info and insurance info. I also keep a copy of the boys’ vaccine exemption paperwork and notebook paper to log recent health notes for each person in our family. (TX vaccine exemption affidavit request page; for other states vax exemption info click here)

What!? Shut up; I like lists.

So. That’s my book. Any questions?

Now, I showed you mine… {leering suggestively}. But don’t send me dirty pictures. I just wanna see your Bossy Book and scavenge for ideas. Feel free to link to your blog, especially if you have pictures, links and printables!




3 responses

  1. Kim Coreson

    I’m teaching an orgainizing class in a couple weeks. Among other things, I’m going to introduce FlyLady and the control journal. If you have some ideas from others that you think might be a potential help to someone, I’d really love to haer about it. I’m going to use yours as a template (just making blank headings… no screen shots or personal details. I just thought yours was very complete, and a process easy to duplicate and do incrementally. May I reference your website?

    Many thanks!

    October 7, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    • InstinctiveMom

      Hi Kim!
      Sure, you can reference my post 🙂

      Some tips for beginners:
      Start small – don’t get intimidated. My book (and those of most seasoned CJ users) are the products of *years*. It was probably close to a year before I printed everything out from the computer. I started with notebook paper and pencil and tweaked it for a long time before I settled on a style or list that I liked. Even now, it requires updating periodically.

      Don’t be afraid to scrap it all and start over. If something isn’t working for you, ditch it and try something else. Even FlyLady’s methods can be tweaked for your personal style. Trying to shoehorn yourself into a mold that you aren’t going to fit in it a waste of time. That’s not saying don’t try something new – do, just have the awareness to recognize that if it’s not working, it’s okay to tweak it to scrap it altogether in favor of something else.

      Get the family in on it. A house doesn’t just disintegrate into chaos by itself/. Each member of your family adds their little part to it. Don’t be afraid to admit your own part in said chaos, either. Everyone works better when we’re all on the same team – we all screw up, or get lazy – we can *all* improve, and help remind each other to improve.

      Make clean-up times fun – salsa music, games, a reward when you’re done – it doesn’t have to be tedious every single day – mix it up!

      That’s all I can think of off the top of my head.
      If you have any other questions, please ask!

      Good luck with your class!

      October 8, 2012 at 11:41 am

  2. Kim Coreson

    btw… I did not choose that silly creature that is my icon. ?? Weird.

    THANK YOU for the insights !

    October 10, 2012 at 12:40 pm

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