Google The Unplanned Homeschooler: How to make your own homeschool planner on CreateSpace

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

How to make your own homeschool planner on CreateSpace

It seems like so many people today are dissatisfied with the homeschool planners on the market. Yes, the most popular planners work for many homeschoolers, but for others they are a nightmare. Bulky books full of pages you don't want to fill out, blanks you'll never use, and price tags that make you wonder what exactly you're really paying for.

That's why the free, printable planners found online have been such a tremendous hit. Because you can customize your planner, with just the pages you want and for just the number of students you have. But those can also be expensive, after tallying up the cost of printing all those pages and having them bound.

It occurred to me this spring, after publishing my first book, that CreateSpace would be the perfect place to print planners, too. Professionally bound paperback books in a range of sizes, easily formatted to include just the pages you want, printed and shipped to your door for a fraction of the cost of most planners on the market today!

Here's how to publish your own homeschool planer on CreateSpace in a few easy steps.

Getting started

First, you need to create an account at CreateSpace. It's easy, just follow their directions.

Once you are logged into your account, click the "Add New Title" button and give your project a name. You can edit the name up until you actually publish the book.

Next, choose the guided process and click "Get Started" to begin making your planner.

Once you begin, you'll be able to choose from many options, such as the size of your book, the type of paper, the style of your cover, and more. You can even use the free Cover Creator design tool to create a cover very easily if you don't feel comfortable designing one completely on your own.

Completing the interior

The interior of the planner is yours to design any way you want it. You can use other planners as inspiration to decide what elements you'd like to include, and what you don't. Of course, you need to make sure the material you include is either your own creation or part of the public domain, to avoid copyright infringement.

First, download the interior template for the book size you chose. You'll need that to make sure all your elements are sized properly for printing. Then, you can begin putting in the text, tables and graphics you choose. Black and white printing is cheapest, but you can go for full color it you like.

I used Microsoft Word to create both monthly and weekly calendars for The Unplanner, as well as attendance sheets. If you have experience working with tables, these are really easy to make. There are even calendar templates you can just resize to fit your book.

Publishing your planner

Once you have finished creating your planner, you'll need to submit the files for review. This takes about 24 hours. The reviewers will make minor corrections for you, and will alert you if there are other changes that need to be addressed.

If you need to edit and resubmit your files, it will take another 24 hours to get them back, so make sure you have done all the necessary changes before you hit the button to upload your files.

After the book is reviewed, if no further changes are needed, you can approve a proof, either digitally or with a printed copy. Once you approve the proof, your planner will be published!

Just for you, or for everyone?

The best part of creating a planner on CreateSpace is that if you love your planner, you can share it with other homeschoolers. Once it is published, your friends can buy a copy, too. If you choose to distribute the planner on Amazon, even strangers can find it and buy it, and you can reap the royalties.

However, if you want to keep the planner all to yourself, you can just order a proof copy and never actually publish it for the public at all. That means, you could include your own personal important dates on your calendar, your kids' names on their attendance sheets and other personal details that you want to keep private.

Does it all sound too complicated?

Yes, this is more complicated than buying a ready-made homeschool planner, or printing pages online and having them bound. But it's a lot of fun, once you get the hang of it, and you can have a great looking, professionally bound binder unlike anyone else's.

Or, you could just get a copy of The Unplanner for the low price of $7.99. That wouldn't hurt my feelings one bit.

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