A question I get asked the most during this period is “How do you plan your homeschool year? And what types of planners do you use?”
As much as I would love to give you all a universal recipe for this, there is nothing like one size fits all when it comes to planning– just like with picking a curriculum.
Planning is a complex matter that depends on preferences and your own homeschooling style. To help you understand how I plan, I will start a homeschool planning series that will end with our curriculum choices.
So today’s post will be about various types of planning mediums: from your phone, to a dedicated homeschool planner.
There’s no right or wrong way to do it.
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Planning your homeschool takes a lot of trial and error but it almost always begins with the types of planners that work best for you.
Types of planners: Paper planners
These are my favorite, so I will start with them – even though I end up using all sorts of mediums to stay on top of things.
I’ve used a combination of paper and digital planners successfully in our homeschool for years.
Homeschool mom planner
This is a planner created for the homeschool parent and it works great especially if kids are too young to have a separate planner.
My fellow blogger over at Blooming Brilliant created one that’s great for busy moms because it’s more than an academic planner, it can fit it all: your monthly expenses, weekly meal plans, lists, and reminders, and even encouraging quotes throughout.
What’s more, this black and white Home Sweet Homeschool planner also has coloring pages with each quote.
When I received this I was surprised to see how big it was. It’s a 400+ page 8.5×11 inches book. I fell in love with the cute floral cover, so I went with the black and white version, but Christine also has a color version if you prefer that.
This planner is fully dated for the 2022-2023 school year and it covers 12 months from August 2022 to July 2023.
What I really appreciate about this, aside the ample space for planning everything, is the fact that Christine included pages with basic websites recommendations for homeschoolers. Home Sweet Homeschool planner is amazing for new homeschoolers that will surely feel overwhelmed with all the resources out there.
Christine really makes planning your homeschool easier with the Home Sweet Homeschool planner.
Student academic checklist planner
Student checklist planners are great to keep track of work and to teach kids executive functioning skills, like reading a calendar, following a schedule, and keeping a planner of their own.
I have created a planner for homeschoolers which is available on Amazon. It’s designed it especially for our needs as an academic checklist planner because I want M to become more independent in his work.
I will write more about it in the next post about planning.
But know that these types of planners are great to keep track of homeschool work and for kids to have (each their own) so they learn how to read a planner, mark a calendar, and keep track of their work. It really helps them with executive functioning skills.
Notebooks and journals
You don’t need a dedicated planner to plan successfully. You can get creative with a blank bullet journal notebook or just use any composition notebook to create a plan. Which one you choose depends on how much effort you want to put into it.
You can grab any notebook and get to planning your homeschool. It doesn’t need to be pretty, it doesn’t need to be creative or even something dedicated.
Parents have successfully homeschooled with nothing more than pen and paper for planning.
And I am using a plain old notebook to plan my blogging and my articles. It’s been working great so far and for a couple of years, I even used a simple agenda to plan our homeschool.
If you want to download my free notebook-style planner, head over to my Resource Library.
Types of planners: Digital Planners
Because they are easy to carry around and its easier to reschedule, I am also using digital programs.
I will skip the paid versions of homeschool planners because I haven’t used any of them before so I can’t offer you an insight about them.
OneNote is a free option for note-taking and planning that you can use for anything! I have multiple planners opened for various aspects of my life.
The thing I love about this is that I can access OneNote from anywhere! My phone, desktop, or laptop.
I usually save important things there, like websites, passwords or even PDF documents or images. It even has a password option if you want to protect certain planners or sections.
OneNote can also be used as a portfolio space or even to record voice notes and I’ve tried to use it like that in the past.
I just love the flexibility of it, the fact that it’s color-coded and that it has a handy search function to find anything. It feels just like having a dump notebook with you all the time! And yes, I dump a lot of links and notes in there all the time.
I tired my hands at planning a school year or two there, but my favorite medium for school-related planning remains a paper planner. You can see an example of a plan I created a few year back in OneNote.
A free, online version of Excel is Google Sheets. If you haven’t heard of it yet, it’s an awesome alternative to Excel.
I love that it has so many functions and that it’s online, making it accessible from anywhere. So it’s great for homeschool parents that are on the move or that want a free, flexible alternative to digital homeschool planners.
I use Google Sheets to plan our year-at-a-glance and to send the curriculum choices to our advisor every year. You can see a sample of this year’s curriculum choices that I created in Google Sheets. It’s very convenient to share and easy to modify from anywhere.
While I’d love to say I will stick to a type of planning, the truth is I am using every type of planner described in this post.
That’s how I work and I need to have different planners for different aspects of my life.
So here’s a breakdown of all the planners and how I use them in our homeschool and beyond.
- Blooming Brilliant’s Homeschool Mom Planner – I use this for my general homeschool and life planning because it has handy sections for everything from monthly to daily spreads and even expenses and meal sections.
- Academic Checklist Planner – this is the planner we are using for strictly academic stuff and M will be using this after I fill it in every week with exactly the books and pages he needs to finish each day.
- Notebook – I use a notebook for temporary notes or to plan and write my blog posts. So notebooks are an important part of my planning day.
- OneNote – I use this as a digital notebook to save websites (yes, I know I have a bookmark option but I use multiple browsers for various things-long story) but with OneNote I am sure they are easily accessible from anywhere.
- Google Sheets – this is great to make spreadsheets and I use it for curriculum planning and for setting up an outline of our homeschool every year.
So as you see, I am a hoarder of all things planners.
What’s your favorite type of planner? Do you prefer paper or digital? Or are you an eclectic planner that uses everything like me? Please drop me a comment to let me know. I would love to hear how you use planners in your life.
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