More About My Circa Notebook

So, here we are on the last day of the year and I’ve noticed a trend around the homeschooling set on the internet.

We’re looking to be more organized this year. Lots of people like Dawn, are sharing their planning and organizational tools, so we can try to find a system of our own. Yesterday, I shared my love of list-making and how I keep my lists and notes organized. I admit that I went on a bit about my new Circa notebook.

I’ve spent the last couple of days transferring any notes and lists worth saving from my 2007 notebook into my 2008 book. As I was busily writing, it occurred to me that with the versatility of using a Circa, I won’t have to start a new notebook next year. I can just remove the pages that I don’t need, add some fresh pages and I’m ready to go. Cool.

I’ve just got to admit one thing here. I hate having unused pages in my notebook at the end of the year. I feel like I wasted them. I also hate tearing pages out of my notebook. The paper it leaves behind is too messy, even if the pages are perforated. I know, I know…let it go. I’m trying. But of course, with a Circa I can add and subtract pages all day, without a mess.

So by now, you’ve either stopped reading or you’ve clicked over to Levenger to get yourself one of these Holy Grails of Organizational Madness.

Let’s go on a little tour of my 2008 and Beyond notebook.

Here it is.


It doesn’t look like much, I know. I have terrible lighting in my house and the flash didn’t help. I’m using the “junior” size, which is approximately the same size as a half sheet of paper. What you can’t really see is that the cover is translucent and I have 5 tabbed dividers. I’m planning on finding some pretty scrapbooking paper to use inside the plastic cover to make it prettier.

Here’s the first page of my first section.


It’s the current week’s page from Motivated Moms. I printed a whole page of the half page size, folded the paper in half so that one week is showing on each side, and punched it. The rest of this section will be my everyday lists and reminders, including menu plans and shopping lists.

Section 2 is my homeschool plans.


Here you see my Plan from now until the 2012-2013 school year. Remember, I’m using Sonlight, so this is just an outline of which cores and language arts programs I’m planning to use and when. Next is a list of timeline figures I’m using with my current core. Then is our Catholic homeschool group’s plans for the remainder of the school year. Other things I’ll be including in this section are art ideas, school shopping lists, and anything else school related. When it comes time to review our school year, I’ll write my notes here.

The next section is for thoughts, ideas for blog posts, funny things my children say, that kind of thing. Sometimes I use it to maintain a prayer list.

Section 3 is for projects. Right now I have a list of the try-its our Brownie troop will be working on. All Brownie related notes will go here. I also include non-school related projects here, primarily shopping lists or ideas. For example, if I need a certain kind of yarn or needles for an upcoming knitting project, I’ll write it here.

The last section is for anything else, usually something temporary. Christmas lists, packing lists for upcoming vacations or anything that doesn’t fit into any of the other sections. Here is where the Circa is really going to be helpful. Lots of times I’ll start a list, like to-do lists for a vacation, in a different section. Then the project or the planning grows and starts needing a section of it’s own. Now I can just move the pages, instead of having to flip back and forth between sections. Or the opposite will happen, I’ll start notes in the temp section, only to realize that they belonged with my homeschooling notes.

Well, there you have it. The secret to my success. Or the manifestation of my madness. Whichever. If I’ve bored you to tears, blame Matilda. W-a-y back in June, she asked me about my notebook. I bet she thought I forgot.

More Mac and Cheese, please!


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  • You crack me up! THANK YOU!!!! And I will happily take the blame for this post if you agree to take the blame for the obscene amount of money I am going to spend this morning over at that website you linked to. I love your notebook but I have one question…

    How long has your friend been using one and do the pages really stand up to being removed and added over and over or do the tabs start to get loose? I have never seen one of these in person. What do you think?

  • Hi, Matilda–I am “the friend.” :)

    I have been using Circa for a few years now…it is terrific! I find that the pages hold up rather well over time. If you move a particular page around very very often, the little rolodex-like parts will get a little dog-eared-looking. However, and this is the cool thing, it doesn’t really make them loose or less functional. I’ve never actually had a page loosen so that it was not just as useable as when new.

    A couple of things go into it–first, you have to be using the proper size Circa rings for the amount of paper you have. You can change out to bigger rings if necessary as you go. That’s one of the neat things! You start carrying around more stuff, you can just put bigger rings on your notebook! If you have too many (or, interestingly, too few) pages for your ring size, it’s not as good. If it’s too full, pages can fall out. If it’s too thin for the rings, the pages slide around too much.

    The paper Levenger sells is AMAZING. It’s 60-lb smooth white papery goodness. I use that for my sections where I write stuff in. I have several sections that are stuff I print out from the computer, slice in half with my paper cutter, and punch. I buy good computer paper, but it’s clearly less luxuriously yummy than the Levenger paper and gets dog-eared a little easier. Of course, since it’s computer stuff, I can always just print out another copy.

    This Christmas, I got a beautiful plum cloth cover for my notebook, and I got my hubby a little bomber jacket leather “PDA,” which is a PDA-sized Circa notebook. He had been using the Junior size, like me, but we both think he’ll prefer this. I was using the transluscent covers with a 5×7 pic of my kiddies showing through. I like the cloth cover, but I will miss seeing my kids right through the cover. Now they’re on the first page.

    I’ve also gotten my sister on the Circa bandwagon. She went a little nutso with it. And for Christmas, she gave my brother a Circa planner, and he called her gushing. It’s really too cool. I don’t think you can go wrong with that $40 sampler pack. It is stuff you can use whether you’re new to Circa or an old fan. Especially since it still comes with the $40 gift card. The goodies are essentially free. :)

    And now back to your regularly scheduled programming….

  • Thanks Jenn G.,
    I think I am pretty sold on the idea right now but wanted to know some specifics. I think I am a letter size gal as my favorite organizational tool right now is a calendar. I actually took all of the daily pages out of my planner and just use the month at a glance. Most helpful was your information about the rings sizes. Thanks again!

  • OK…got my sample pack and I am in luh-uhve! Quick question… which punch did you get. The portable is less expensive, but if it is going to be a pain to use, I would rather pony up for the big boy (the desk punch). Then again, maybe portable is better? Any thoughts?

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