Unplanning Notebooks for Strewing and Unschool Record-Keeping


I have an unplanning notebook. It’s filled with all kinds of interesting resources. Whenever my girls are looking for something to do, I say, “Why don’t you take a look in the unplanning notebook? I put some new things in there the other day.”

I use the notebook too. If I feel like watching a documentary, I might browse my notebook and then say, “Hey girls, I found a video about the history of surgery. Would you like to watch it with me?”

An unplanning notebook can be a simple exercise book filled with handwritten notes. But mine’s an Evernote notebook. I like using Evernote because I can clip articles and images and links directly into it from the Internet. It’s easy to follow those links straight back to the original source which is very useful when we want to watch a video or visit a website or buy a book.

My unplanning notebook has more than one use. It’s good for strewing, but it’s also useful for homeschool record-keeping purposes. If we want to be legally registered as homeschoolers, I have to provide the education department with a detailed plan of what I intend to ‘teach’ my children over the next couple of years. How do I write such a plan when I don’t know what my girls will be learning from week to week? Do I write a plan I know we’ll never use? Or will my unplanning notebook satisfy the education department?

A couple of years ago, I started keeping an unplanning notebook, and when our Authorised Person (AP) came to visit us at registration time, I presented her with it. (I told her it was our ‘planning notebook’. She wouldn’t have understood what an unplanning notebook is!) There were hundreds of notes in my notebook covering all the Key Learning Areas of the school syllabus.

“These are the resources we’ll be using,” I said. “We’ll be dipping into this notebook for the next two years.”

Was our AP happy with my unplanning notebook? Oh yes, she was!

But what if my girls aren’t interested in any of the resources in that notebook? Do I have to insist they use them because I told our AP that this is our plan for the next registration period? No. I have provided them with the opportunity to learn what is required by the education department. That’s all I have to do.

I talk about unplanning notebooks, strewing, and record-keeping in this week’s video, Unplanning Notebooks for Strewing and Unschool Record-Keeping. I expand on the details I have shared in this post. I hope you’ll watch!

You might also like to watch my video Unschooling, Strewing, and Unplanning

As I said in this week’s video, please watch this old video with a non-critical eye!

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  1. Reply


    I always enjoy and learn so much from your videos. This one inspired me to get round to setting up shared Evernote notebooks with my children. Even though we don't have reporting requirements I think they'll be useful for strewing. Up until now I've strewed using messaging or email, but Evernote (which I already use extensively myself) will stop things disappearing into the ether!

    I also noticed you recorded the interview all in one take – wow!

    1. Reply


      You are so right: One of the advantages of Evernote is that everything is saved where you can find it in the future, unlike emails which tend to disppear down the feed and are effectively never seen again!

      I don't know how I managed to film my videos all in one take. Maybe I just gave up on perfection. Using only one video clip made editing very easy. I added both intro and outro graphics and it was all done! Thank you for watching!

  2. Reply

    Thank you Sue for a wonderful video. Time to dust off evernote I think!

    1. Reply


      I think Evernote is wonderful, but you've probably gathered that by now! So glad you found my video useful. Thank you for watching!

    • Kelli
    • May 1, 2017

    Do you have different folders within your Unplanning Notebook per subjects?

    1. Reply


      I only have one unplanning notebook for all subjects. I tag each note with its key learning area. This allows me to search my unplanning notebook and find all the ‘English’ or ‘maths’ or ‘creative arts’ etc notes.

      I can’t see how we can divide one notebook into a number of folders. However, we could have a stack of unplanning notebooks, one for each subject. Do you think this would work? Maybe!

      One notebook with lots of tags or a stack of notebooks… I hope this helps!

    • Kelli
    • May 3, 2017

    I think I may have worded incorrectly,, I guess I meant—- do you have different NOTES not folders. I think I understand now…. Because you’d HAVE to have different notes in order to tag them all accordingly. Otherwise if you kept just ONE note within that Notebook you couldn’t tag them each.

    THIS is what I’ve done wrong,,,, just kept one Planning notebook and keep adding links and things for her to look at. (We are very new…. still in the Deschooling phase, I’m just getting things all set up). THANK YOU for responding!!!!

    1. Reply


      Yes, notes not folders! And you are right, I have many notes, one for each of my resources, within my one unplanning notebook. I’m so glad you were able to work things out. It can get very confusing, can’t it? I hope your unplanning notebook is filling up with lots of interesting things that might tempt your daughter!

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