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How to Tackle Homeschool Planning

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Today I want to talk to you about how I tackle my yearly homeschool planning.

how to tackle homeschool planning

Watch My called to Homeschool Podcast Episode on Homeschool Planning:


I have to tell you that planning is a tough topic for me.  I’m not entirely sure why.  I think it is partly because I am not a terribly organized person and that is directly related to planning.  I will tell you the BIGGEST lesson I have learned in my first two years of homeschooling is to plan ahead if you want it to happen.

The times when I have done well with homeschool planning, things have run smoothly.  The times when I didn’t plan and organize ahead, everything seemed to just not happen.

If my plans aren’t organized, printed & prepared ahead, I waste time & energy on trying to get things together- then I loose the attention of my kids. Or, I would just not have the energy to make it work that day.  So that, to me, is Lesson Numero Uno!!

How I Tackle Homeschool Planning

Choosing the Topics:

I start my homeschool planning by choosing what I want to teach my kids- what topics do I need or want to have in our homeschool.  I write these out for each child. Let them help you choose!

Evaluate What Supplies We Need:

The next step in my homeschool planning is to see what I have on hand that we can use.  What we don’t have, I start searching online for the right curriculum to fit our needs. I start buying long before the next school year, I just purchase a little each month and it doesn’t hurt the budget too much!

I keep a list of what we still need and slowly accumulate those items. I try to do as much as possible in the spring and summer so I have time to get it all done.


Writing Homeschool Plans:

An essential part of homeschool planning is writing out the homeschool plans. Once I have gathered the books that we need, I begin writing plans.  I have tried a few different planners, right now I LOVE the new one I have from Schoolhouse Teachers.

I pull out the books for a subject and PENCIL in the plans.  I try to roughly plan for a month in advance.  If that doesn’t happen, I try to stay at least a week ahead!  🙂

This is my Printable Homeschool Planner!


Gather Supplies for the Daily/Weekly Homeschool Lessons:

Once the plans are written into my planner, I look through the books to see what supplies I may need to accomplish that lesson.  If there are projects or copies that need to be made I gather the needed things ahead of time.  If the supplies are too pricey for a certain project, or I haven’t had a chance to get them, I will try to find a variation that is within our budget or that uses what we have on hand.


Gather and Organize Prepared Homeschool Lessons:

I have a file box on the bottom shelf of my desk.  Here I put the prepared papers and lessons that are coming up filed by subject.  I also put projects in here that I am working on, or other on-going projects we are doing.  This helps keep everything right there ready to use.


Planning Extra Homeschool Activities:

I also write into our schedule the extra classes and lessons that we have each week.  We have a weekly co-op group , PE class, library story time, and music lessons.

These activities need to be planned around, too.  Sometimes we have to shift our schedule a bit on the days that we have these extracurricular activites.


Make A Visual Homeschool Schedule:

Visual homeschool planning is really important. I have a dry-erase calendar that is just for our school subjects.  On this, I write out the subjects that we hope to accomplish each day (math, writing, spelling, devotional, calendar, reading, foreign language)  Then, I have a rotation of other subjects (history, science & geography- 2x a week; art, music, projects- 1x week).

It’s important to see a visual schedule to keep us on track. It also helps my kids to know what to expect each day.  I like to print out their own daily schedule for them and laminate it. See an example here.

When Things Don’t Go As Planned:

Your homeschool planning may be perfect, but I have to tell you that things don’t always go according to plans.  There are always days that things change and life gets in the way. But, I try to be pretty strict about our schedule.

We do have a lot of fun homeschool days, too.  We go on fieldtrips pretty regularly.

Once a month, on the first monday of the month we have named our Read-A-Thon day.  We have a pull-out couch in our play/school room and we pull it out curl up with blankies, pillows and stuffed animals and read together.  I let my kids choose the books that they want me to read to them. This is my kids’ favorite!

In nice weather, we go out to the backyard and read on blankets.  My kids LOVE this day.  I do, too!  The thing that’s always seemed funny to me is that they still choose to read their school books as well as some fun ones. (Maybe they think they have to! I love it!)

Another thing,  I have a very active, very busy toddler.  This is very often a challenge.  He likes to be involved in all of our activities.

So, when we have  projects, we either do it outside (if the weather permits) or when he is napping. I also have to keep him busy while we do our schooling. This is something I need to remember to add into our day, or I tend to get a little frustrated with the lack of progress.

I have some little manipulaties for him to play with during these times.  He likes blocks, the rice box, shape sorters, the counting animals, snacks, coloring, looking at books, wooden puzzles, etc.

Sometimes these little distractions work and sometimes they just don’t.  But, I feel like that is just part of the learning experience for all of us!  It teaches us patience!

See More About Homeschool Planning:

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  1. Plan? Last year I unofficially school my kindergartner. So I would write or print his lesson the night before. This year my husband and I will make a schedule and cover more subjects. I will probably still be writing or printing his lessons the night before.

  2. I Plan for school by laying out all my materials and then picking the order and what I want to cover. Then, I write it out in a manageable schedule. Kind of inefficient, but right now I oly have one school age…the others are babies.

  3. I plan for school by picking up ideas from the various blogs i follow. I pin or bookmark the ideas. then I incorporate them in the basic curriculum structure I have. since my lil girl is only 4 years old this works (for now)!

  4. I grab a bag of Oreo cookies and a pot of coffee and go through about a tablet of paper and at the end of the day I have a stomachache, I look like a mess, but hey, I have my school year planned. 🙂

  5. Late at night with a chai latte! I research online, print, laminate, photocopy, cut, sort and organize. It takes me a little while, but it is fun and worth it to plan ahead!

  6. I’m just starting with my oldest since she taught herself to read. Right now I pull out all the books/materials I have and just sit and write it all out in an excel spreadsheet. I try to plan a reader plus a bible reading, plus 2-3 other things each day (math, crafts, videos, stuff related to the bible reading or the reader, or just other things I want to do with her). Right now we’re just going for 4 days a week, since she’s only 4. I put dates on everything and then mark completed when we do it. If I need to, I just change the dates or even move activities to other days.

  7. The majority of my time spent planning is just on what curriculum to use. Once I get it all, I go through and see hwo many days a week it requires or how to break it up to suit our 4 day/week schedule. Then I’ll schedule all the activities we do together as a group in the morning and the individual activities after lunch.

  8. Once I get all of our curriculum, I go through and figure out how many days a week it requires (to fulfill our 180 days state requirement.) Then I plug page numbers or lesson numbers into a weekly planner MS Publisher form I made. The kids check off assignments as they complete them, and then the sheets become our log (for our state portfolios.)

  9. Sometimes I just wing it! I have a list of subjects I want to cover, a set of resources or activity ideas, and we go through each one, checking it off as we have time. But I love the flexibility of scrapping or adding stuff based on my daughter’s input/attention span/interests over the course of the day…

    janemaritz at yahoo dot com

  10. This year we are studying the 50 states. I planned by making a folder for each state, then I made book lists to get from the library and a few books that we had at home. Then, I made another list for activities and science projects that I want to complete for each state. Finally, I chose what I wanted to do for math and language arts which will be self paced (my son is flying through math right now).

  11. Right now, I often plan the evening before – researching on the net and reading books, then collecting supplies. Hope to have a real curriculum soon and plan a week ahead of time.

  12. This will be my first year homeschooling. So far, I have planned what I need to plan in a composition book and I have the rest of it planned within my curriculum (it does a lot for me). I can write in things I need to. Otherwise, I am using an online tool to program in field trips, etc. I am just kind of picking and choosing what I think will work for me.

  13. We have the regular scheduled classes,then projects, for science one day a week,art project one day a week,We had last year a fitted curriculum– but we really could keep on track,just not enough time in day– so near the end of this last month we did some switching and doing more of units for a week so everything is included–It really seems to work better for our family. We try real hard to schedule,a related field trip to the unite learn and that has really been fun–because we take a camera, art tablets, pencils, and the journal– we spend a full day on the field trip.

  14. Plan?… I have a list of the textbooks I own, correlated by sunject and grade level. I have another list of reading books stored on the Kindle, sorted by theme and grade level. All of my print books are sorted by theme and grade level as well… That’s as planned as it gets around here.

  15. There’s a homeschooling conference in our area that has a TON of curriculum booths – it’s great to be able to directly look the books, etc.

  16. This year we are using My Father’s World which gives me a good outline to work within. I also don’t plan too much more than a month ahead for LA and Math in order to leave room for each child’s learning pace. I loved hearing how you plan!

  17. I’m still quite new to homeschool and planning is not my strong point. I started schooling this week and have next week planned. I hope to get the rest of the month planned by this weekend. I’ll gradually get a system going and some organization, I hope!

  18. Right now, I have all the books for each subject sorted and laid out on my guest room floor. Now I’m going to sit down with each stack and plan out that subject. I figure this will help me gather all the supplementary books I already own into one place and really see the holes that are still there. This is the first year I’m trying this, so we’ll see if it works.

  19. Hi,
    Will you please post a link to your Blog at The Homeschooling Community? Our members will appreciate it.
    Members include: Homeschooling parents, families, experts, advocates and organizations.
    It’s easy to do, just cut and paste the link and it automatically links back to your website. You can also add Articles, Photos, Videos and Classifieds if you like.
    Email me if you need any help or would like me to do it for you.
    Please feel free to share as often and as much as you like.
    The Homeschooling Community: http://www.vorts.com/homeschooling/
    I hope you consider sharing with us.
    Thank you,
    James Kaufman, Editor

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