How I Plan Our Homeschool Year + the Ultimate List of Homeschool Planners
It’s about that time–planning time for our homeschool. For the past couple of years, we’ve been “in school” from September to June and taken a few months off. This year, I’ve decided to experiment with a year-round schedule for a few reasons:
- We won’t have to worry about cramming everything into 180 days.
- We’ll have built-in time to “catch up” if we need to.
- I really want to cultivate an atmosphere of learning throughout our entire home. I want my kids to enjoy learning and enjoy working hard.
We live in a culture that lives for the weekend, and that makes me so sad. We actually have the freedom to enjoy our lives and the responsibility to model enjoyment for our kids. When we separate fun and responsibility, we rob ourselves (and our kids) of the possibility of a joyful life.
But that’s not what this post is about–back to planning.
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A PEEK INTO OUR HOMESCHOOL PLANNING
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Depending on the method you use, homeschool planning can be detailed or kind of abstract–more of a big picture than a day-by-day plan. I’m going to share how I plan our homeschool–which is not to say this is how you need to do your planning.
CULTIVATING A VISION
I first like to spend some time dreaming up (and praying about) a vision for our children’s education. Things I consider:
- our family’s lifestyle and values
- our children’s personalities and learning styles
- our state’s learning objectives by grade level
For our family, homeschooling is as much (if not more) about character development than fact memorization.
I get my husband’s input and come up with goals we have for each child.
By the time I’m ready to plan, I’ve evaluated the curriculum and resources we’d been using, and I decide whether to continue on or switch some things out.
I get input from my kids, and from other homeschool parents in our co-op and Facebook groups when choosing curriculum or classes.
If my kids hate something, clearly I don’t want to force them to “grin and bear it.” Yes, there are some things you have to do even when you want to, but the whole reason we’re homeschooling is because my kids were not enjoying their learning experience in school.
If something isn’t working, I’m not afraid to stop doing it immediately. I’ve changed curriculum in the middle of the school year because forcing my kids to put up with it was only impeding their learning process.
With four kids, I try to be intentional with what activities they are involved in. We don’t do a ton of extracurriculars. It’s really easy to load up our calendar and then burn out after a few weeks. Plus, they’re kind of expensive.
I’ve seen some families put all of their kids in one sport or activity at a time, like swimming. This is a great way to keep kids active and also not lose your mind.
DESIGNING YOUR DAY
Once we have materials and acitivites lined up, I create our weekly routine. We don’t follow a strict schedule. I decide how often we work on each subject (not every subject has to be done every single day). Then, I add in chores and extra activities. I post our routine where everyone can see it, and do my best to move things along. However, there are days when it becomes apparent that we need to change things up, so I try and go with the flow.
I need a system for handling random questions–my kids will often ask me stuff like “how do you make McDonald’s chicken nuggets?” in the middle of math. I was thinking about writing those questions down and putting them in a jar, then appointing a time to explore those questions.
How would you handle this? Share your ideas in the comments.
|10:00a||Math & Reading||Math & Reading||CO-OP||Math & Reading||Math & Reading|
|11:00a||Science||Social Studies||Science||Social Studies|
|1:00p||PE & Health||Art & Music||PE & Health||Swim Lessons|
|3:00p||Quiet Time||Quiet Time||Piano Lessons||Quiet Time||Quiet Time|
The beauty of homeschool is that you can make it work for your family however you need to. If you’re early risers–start early. If you’re night owls like we are–start in the afternoon. If you work full-time, you can do school during evenings and weekends. There are no rules, just make it work.
NEW YEAR, NEW PLANNER
I’m a total planning geek, so my favorite part of the year is planner shopping time. I haven’t yet made my selection for the upcoming year, so I’ve shared some of my prospects here so we can shop together.
If you’ve got the scoop on a planner that’s not on this list, please let a sister know in the comments!
|This beautiful floral teacher planner by Pretty Simple Planners includes space to keep track of monthly goals. It also features monthly calendars with fun days like National Popcorn Day and a 7-subject weekly undated spread.||GET IT HERE|
|This lesson planner by Blue Sky is super colorful, tabbed, and wire-bound, and includes pages for holidays, activity schedules, calendars, extra notes, and even features storage pockets. It seems to be divided by week per subject, so each subject has two whole pages you can write on each week.||GET IT HERE|
|This Erin Condren Lesson Planner is a popular choice. It comes with 12 months (August to July), monthly, weekly, and yearly spreads. Other features you’ll love are tabbed calendars, sticker sheets, checklists, notes pages, a sheet protector, and much more.||GET IT HERE|
|This lesson plan calendar book by bloom daily planners features 60 undated weekly pages. Extra features include a personal information page with a space to include your mission statement, website login pages, field trip planning pages, 8 gradebook spreads, and pages for important dates. You’ll also get access to additional FREE printables.||GET IT HERE|
|The Well Planned Day was created by a veteran homeschool mom with the homeschooling parent in mind. Inside, you’ll find space for special projects, a cleaning schedule, daily chore checklist, teacher and student schedules, curriculum lists, monthly and weekly calendars, and much more. Check it out yourself here.||
|The Ultimate Homeschool Planner was developed by best-selling author Debra Bell (The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling). Inside, you can track lessons, assignments, activities, academic and personal growth.||
|Keep track of lessons for up to 6 children in the A+ Homeschool Planner by Amy Sharony. The planner comes with a guide on how to set annual goals and track your progress. There are also little notes with tips on managing housework as well as inspirational quotes.||
|The Uncomplicated Homeschool Planner by Rebecca Spooner is a simple black and white, and undated. Keep records for up to 4 children, plus a library book record, curriculum planner, and a place to keep memories of the funny things your kids say each day.||
|The Easy Homeschool Planner by KB Homeschool Planners is simple, with space to set goals, record grades, track attendance, plan your spending on curriculum and supplies, and more. There is a weekly spread to help you prioritize your to-do list, and a separate weekly 6-subject curriculum plan. My favorite feature is the Weekly Recap page where you can note your progress and make adjustments. If you’re a big-idea kind of homeschool parents, you’ll love the ample space for ideas and thoughts. This planner is a great choice for beginning homeschoolers.||
The Homeschool Log by Journals for All is a colorful, fun planner and journal. Post a photo on the information page toward the beginning of the planner, and keep track of your child’s favorite things. Inside this planner, you will also find other popular features such as:
|The Complete Homeschool Planner and Journal is a unique 180-day tracker developed by author and math tutor Larry Zafran. The planner includes an attendance calendar, plus 180 daily lesson planning pages which allow you to track assignments and activities for reading, language arts, math, science, social studies, foreign language, physical education, health, music, art, religious studies, field trips, trade skills, technological skills, community service, chores, electives, and miscellaneous subjects.||
|The Do-It-Yourself Homeschool 180 Day Plan Book by Sarah Janisse Brown is a planner, organizer, and coloring book all in one. This planner is geared toward student use. The layout is simple, and your creative student will enjoy tracking daily plans, assignments, chores, and reading goals and coloring in each page.||
This colorful elementary student agenda by Global Datebooks features dated weekly and monthly calendars, and resource pages for English, social studies, math, and geography. It also comes with a bonus bookmark, ruler, and planning stickers.
Grab the middle/high school version here.
|I love the layout of this watercolor planner by TF Publishing. It’s great for older students, particularly high school or college level. Each weekly spread is divided into Morning, Afternoon, and Evening sections. There’s also space to track mood, activity, meal plans, and weekly goals.||
|This undated academic planner for elementary kids by School Datebooks is super cute and colorful. Teach younger kids to start planning. In addition to weekly spreads, you will get reference pages, spelling lists, rules of thumb, healthy living and character pages.||
|Keep it simple for your kiddos with this weekly student planner by Elan. It’s a manageable 5.5 x 8.5 size with space for goal-setting and weekly reminders. Save space with this undated planner–if you get off track, pick right back up without wasting pages.||
|The spiral bound notebook is perfect for minimalist homeschoolers. Your students can easily track the basics each day, or you can jot down your ideas, plans, and notes.||
|Treat yourself to a bright and perky notebook (with tabs!) The dividers help you keep sections organized, and the fun colors are my favorite way to start our homeschool day.||
|Check out this assortment of stylish 2020 planners by DaySpring. Each 18-month planner is compact and customizable, with add-on packs for devotions, gratitude, meal planning, memos, and sticky notes.||
|Plan your homeschool bullet-journal style with the Panda Planner. It’s customizable enough so that you can add your own notes, but it’s structured so that you won’t have to construct monthly and weekly spreads yourself.||
|If you prefer a freestyle homeschool planner, consider using a traditional dotted grid journal. The sky is the limit, and you can add whatever you want, wherever you want. If that kind of freedom scares you a little, read this mini-guide to bullet journaling.||
MAKING YOUR BEST LAID PLANS
Here’s a recap of what you need to consider when making your homeschool plans:
- Cultivate a vision
- Choose curriculum wisely
- Be intentional with extra activities
- Design your day to work for your family
- Get organized with a planner
Above all else, trust God with your homeschool plans and prepare for an amazing year!