All across the web you can find homeschool planners of every stripe. You can find week at a glance, subject at a glance, full page, two page spreads, and on and on. I’ll tell you a little secret that will have every Type-A homeschool planner gasping for breath:
I don’t use a single “planner” for our homeschool.
Whew. It felt good to get that cat out of the bag!
I prepare our entire school year at one time, then we simply keep moving through the curriculum. Here’s how:
Step 1: Around April or May, I fill out a curriculum overview for each child for the next school year. This helps me narrow down the noise and concentrate on what that child is going to accomplish over the school year.
Step 2: Once I have filled out the overview for each child, I also fill one out for our group time. (We do Bible/character, history, art, science, and social studies as a group.)
Step 3: I begin to work down the lists and prepare the curriculum for the year. My method is to usually read the main spine or curriculum guide and familiarize myself with the materials. Once I have done so, I will then make any copies, prepare any lap books, pull any pages out of workbooks, print any worksheets or question lists, and sort everything by chapter, section, or lesson. Group materials go into manila folders, and individual materials go into 3 ring binders. I do this for each subject on the list and have a central location to house the materials. Group materials go in one location, and individual materials go on a different shelf.
Step 4: I create a weekly checklist printable for each child that is able to work somewhat independently. I also put together an individual notebook with a section for their checklist, then daily dividers. My older child also has a projects section behind the daily section.
Step 5: All of my preparation for the year is done from May through July, and is ready to go(In a perfect world! 🙂 ) by the start of our school year toward the end of July. At the start of each week, I sit down for 15-20 minutes and arrange each child’s individual notebook for the week. The group subjects are accessible from our table, so I simply grab the next chapter/lesson as we finish the one we are working on.
Why do I do things like this? Well, I’ve found that I have to have lessons all ready in advance, or life simply gets in the way. We have a very active, busy life, and I can’t keep up with planning on a weekly basis. I can easily get backed up on other “life” stuff, and then turn around and we are three weeks behind! I want to make sure we are fitting in the lap books and activities that solidify the learning for them, and I have found I can’t ever get them in unless it’s all prepared in advance. When it’s all ready to go, we get the lessons done and the schoolwork in.
I’m a bit more relaxed in our group time. We have several years until we hit the point where we have to buckle down and complete courses for credit. At this stage (5th, 3rd, and K), we are simply taking our time through history, science, and geography. I’m not boxed into a year to get a certain text done, so we add to the spine of our curriculum. This leads us into going deep into subjects and extending our learning. There will be a day when we are held to a certain amount of time to complete a subject, but we are not there yet. When we do arrive, I will proceed in much the same way, but further break the curriculum down into what needs to be completed weekly and file it in weekly folders.
Now, this is how I plan after 5 full years of homeschooling on a regular basis. It may not work for your family, especially if you are someone who needs a checklist. Find the method that works for your school. I will be completely honest. It took me three years to nail down a system that works for us. Getting bound up in a system that doesn’t work for your family does NOT mean you are a failure at homeschooling. It simply means you need to use a different system. Look at your homeschool days. What works? What doesn’t work? What are your biggest frustrations? When you can figure those out, find ways around them. My biggest frustration was getting bound up in the minutiae of daily life and missing out on focused learning. This method solves that problem for us.
Interested in using this method for your homeschool planning? Download our Year-At-A-Glance PDF set by entering your email in the box below! The set includes Grade Level and Group Summation worksheets, a Master To Do list, and a Weekly Agenda!
What works for your family? What have you found to be the biggest hurdles for accomplishing what you want to accomplish? Tell us below!
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