It’s the beginning of a new year and it’s time to work on my homeschool planning. And I literally mean “work” it. I did all of my mid-semester planning throughout the kids’ winter break, which gave me a head start for getting things back into gear this past week. We started school on January 4th and for the few days school’s been back in session I see some noticeable improvement in the flow of our school days. I’ll show you what we’ve been up to and how my planning strategies have proven quite effective so far!
Use a Notebook To Plan Monthly or Quarterly Topics
I promise you, this was the most important part of my planning for Semester 2 of this school year. I wish I had done it better last semester. This one step has already wiped the cobwebs of uncertainty out of my mind about how I am planning to teach each topic and when.
On this page, I planned out our history for the next few months (for my 2nd grader). I did this for each subject, including language arts and science. Notice the red arrows. This is my rudimentary homeschool planning stage where I hashed out possible topics (based on our state’s standards) to cover this semester. Then I separated these objectives by the month.
Again, it’s a simple notebook paired up with a compiled list of our state standards for history. It just made my life 100% easier to know what our local schools typically cover and how I can ensure that our homeschool charter is receiving portfolio samples from us relevant to their needs. At this point I hadn’t quite figured out the “how” of it all. I was simply just getting my ideas down on paper.
(And in case you’re wondering, I had a huge homeschool planning session over the summer to prepare for the fall- but things changed when I enrolled the kids in Classical Conversations. Because we enrolled last minute, my planning strategies weren’t very effective and we didn’t accomplish much of what I had set out to before we enrolled. So, that’s why I needed a re-do.) So far, so good.
So, my original planning all started with a simple 3-ring binder notebook. In it I write down objectives, standards, and plan by short hand. I also include my teen daughter’s Classical Conversations yearly schedule so I can begin planning around that.
Invest in a quality planner (or create your own)
My Well Planned Day planner is the best purchase I’ve made for my homeschool planning endeavors. I ordered it right before Christmas and it has been the key to getting my 2nd semester in order.
I have used a variety of planners over the years, but I’ve really begun to enjoy Well Planned Day by HEDUA. I’ll give you a peak inside and you’ll see why I have fallen in love with this planner.
So, my next step after writing out each child’s objectives in my notebook is to transfer the main important info into my planner. This is the key to my staying organized each week.
I start with the teacher schedule page. Mondays and Tuesdays we do school from the early a.m until around 2:30. Thursdays are blocked off for our Classical Conversations community day. Wednesdays and Fridays we cut the day short due to doctor appointments. And, of course, I add in my devos/God time before school time.
Keep God’s Word a Priority in Your Planning
One of the neat features of this planner is all the bible verses throughout. Each week there is a bible Q & A to get my wheels turning.
I also love the monthly planner view, and the fact that each day there is a daily verse printed. I use this liberally. In fact, the daily verse becomes my devotional for the morning
Here is one of my hacks to help with flipping through the pages: I simply add in some stick it notes and dividers so that I can easily flip back and forth between sections of the planner.
Plan Weekly, Not Yearly!
If you want to be sure not to experience planning burnout, be sure you’re not overwhelming yourself with minute details of lesson plans for months in advance. Sure, a nice general plan for the months to come helps, but allow yourself the freedom to fill in the details weeks or days at a time.
Here is how the weekly layout looks in the Well Planned Day planner. This is the secret sauce to my homeschool planning. After my initial semester planning in my binder I realize how overwhelming all our plans look from a semester glance and with all the objectives and standards in place. So, transferring it over into a week-at-a-time glance is much more doable for me. And I only plan one week at a time so I can tweak and make changes as necessary over the course of each week.
I love that the Well Planned Day includes a space for weekly priorities, dinner menu, and other household tips on the sidebar. I take advantage of these spaces to fit in long term weekly goals.
Here is another up close view – and of my daily planning. Notice the check boxes. This helps me to notice when a goal has been met for the day. At the end of the day if I see a lot of unchecked boxes, it helps me tailor the next day (or week’s activities.) It simply means I’ve overplanned. So, the following week I can include less on the schedule…or I can simply move those lessons over for another day or week.
Teach Your Kids To Use A Planner
Kids can start using planners as young as you want them to and they’re ready. Teens, especially, can benefit from their own planner as they start to take more responsibility for their education.
Along with my planner from HEDUA, I purchased the student planner as well for my teen daughter.
Perhaps in another post I’ll go into more detail about how I plan our schedule and routine with my teen daughter.
That’s it for now. I hope this post was helpful to you if you’re also in the middle of planning (or re-planning) your school months ahead.
Write and let me know how this has helped you!
Happy homeschooling 🙂