An Evernote Workshop: (1) Creating Family, Personal and Homeschool Journals

I’ve had a BIG IDEA bouncing around the inside of my head for the past week or so. I’m so excited about it that, instead of sleeping, I’ve been lying awake in bed at night, refining it. Suddenly, after a quiet blogging period, I feel inspired again!

So what is my BIG IDEA?

I’m going to put together an Evernote workshop for creating attractive digital journals.

Creating Evernote journals? Homeschool record keeping? Perhaps you’re not as excited by my BIG IDEA as I am. I agree, keeping records doesn’t sound like much fun. But I’m not going to be talking about a boring document created solely for the purpose of homeschool registration. Yes, my journal will fulfil homeschool registration requirements, but it will also double as a family journal bursting with wonderful memories, and it might even have a personal diary section for capturing private thoughts and ideas.

Here’s what I’m thinking:

  • We’ll create our notebooks (or work on existing ones). Perhaps we’ll discuss such things as clipping articles and links from the Internet, importing images and icons, and adding video and audio.
  • Then we’ll share ideas on how to make our notes look attractive. We’ll talk about layout options, fonts, and such things as coloured backgrounds. (I worked out how to make coloured background templates for Evernote!)
  • We’ll also talk about the content of our notebooks. What unschooling learning experiences can we record? And what is the most effective way of recording them? What family memories do we want to capture? How can we write interesting and valuable personal journal entries?
  • Perhaps we’ll learn some new skills along the way. I’d love to introduce you to some tools, software programs and techniques I use together with Evernote. Maybe you have your own favourite tools that you’ll share with me.
  • And if you’re wary of digital records – will our notebooks disappear into the ether and never be seen again? – I’m going to show you how we can turn our Evernote notebooks into paper ones.
  • As well as writing blog posts, I’d like to make a few screencast video tutorials. Sometimes seeing is better than reading. And then there’s Facebook. My Stories of an Unschooling Family page might be a good place to share screenshots of our notebooks and other relevant info.

What I’m not going to do:

I’m not going to tell you how you should set up your notebooks and what you should include. I’m only going to present some possibilities, share some things I’ve discovered since I started using Evernote. And I’m hoping, in return, you’ll share your own ideas.

Want to know more about Evernote?

If you aren’t already using Evernote, you can download it from the Evernote website for free. (You might have to sign up for a paid plan if you want the freedom to upload a lot of notes. The upload limit for the free one is quite small.)

If you’re not familiar with Evernote, you could take a look at a few videos to see how it works. You’ll soon realise there is a desktop version and online and mobile ones too. For this workshop, I’m going to be using the desktop version.

One last thought:

What if you’re using a digital note-booking system other than Evernote? What if you’re keeping paper records? Well, maybe some of the workshop posts will still be useful, especially our discussions on journal content. Or I might convert you to Evernote!

Well, I think that’s all for today. Next time, we’ll look at the various options for setting up our notebooks. (And then we can get on with the fun stuff!)

Will you join me?

PS: If you know of anyone who’d like to know more about using Evernote to showcase unschooling, please share my post link!


I have made a preview video of my Evernote Workshop. Please take a look if you’d like to know more!

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    • Kathryn Coard
    • March 20, 2017

    She, I love this idea . I will be joining you .

      • Kathryn Coard
      • March 20, 2017

      I mean ” Sue” autocorrect .

      1. Reply


        I’m so glad you like the sound of the Evernote workshop. I hope you’ll share your own ideas as we work on our notebooks together.

        My autocorrect is always making mistakes for me. No problem. I understood what happened when I saw your first comment!

    • Anna Vaschina
    • March 21, 2017

    Oh yes, a great idea! Want to join in too.

    1. Reply


      Wonderful! I’m so glad you like my idea!

    • Alison
    • March 24, 2017

    I am so excited about what we’ll all learn together! I love all the ideas you’ve mentioned. I had been wondering whether my Evernote records would ever disappear. I’m glad to hear they won’t.

    1. Reply


      I am so glad you’re excited about my workshop. I hope we’ll have lots of fun together as we work on our notebooks. And yes, we’ll learn how to save our records in a secure way! Perhaps we’ll chat together and share ideas once I begin the workshop properly. Thank you for stopping by!

    • Susan
    • March 26, 2017

    I am IN!! I so hope I can find a regular time to be involved. My first question… and when do you set aside time in your day/week to enter info into your evernote??

    1. Reply


      Wonderful! I spent this afternoon creating screenshots for the next post. It’ll be online soon. I look forward to sharing it with you!

      I usually make my Evernote notes on the go as we do things. If we watch a video or read an article, I’ll clip the links straight into the right notebook. My girls clip notes for things they’ve watched/read/listened to on their own. I share each of the notebooks with them so they can help with the record keeping as well as access the notes for later reading etc.

      I use odd moments of time to add notes for such things as conversations. If I don’t do it quickly, I forget what I want to record. I do a lot of copying of notes which saves time. For example, I copy music lesson notes from week to week. Also, books that take more than one week to read. Using templates saves time. If I haven’t got my computer open, I use Evernote on my phone. I might spend a few minutes at the end of the day updating my notes. Certainly, at the end of the week, I make sure I’ve added everything. My written notes are always brief so it doesn’t take me long to make them.

      This would be a good topic to discuss. Perhaps other homeschoolers have valuable hints. I shall remember to write something about it and hopefully, people will stop by with their suggestions!

  1. Reply

    This is wonderful, Sue! Thank you for this excellent idea. Your style of explanation is so clear and elegant and appeals to me immensely. I couldn’t help but notice on a recent podcast that we have the same M-B type. You have an INFJ sister friend on the other side of the world.

    1. Reply


      I’m so pleased to have you as my INFJ sister! And thank you for your kind words about my style of explanation. I love thinking up new ideas. I enjoy them, even more, when other people want to join me as I put them into action!

    • Mary
    • March 30, 2017

    I am very excited about this! I downloaded Evernote on my iPad last year and have never used it. I love the idea that f making family journals out of homeschool records.

    1. Reply


      Thank you for being excited about my idea. I’m happy you are going to join me for this project!

    • Elizabeth
    • June 7, 2017

    I just came across your website last night and it has helped me feel so peaceful about unschooling. Just downloaded Evernote and have already gotten started!

    1. Reply


      I’m so glad you found something helpful on my blog! I hope you like Evernote. It’s perfect for recording unschooling learning experiences. If you have any questions about Evernote or anything else, please ask. If I know the answers, I’d be happy to help!

      Thank you so much for stopping by!

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