Homeschool Planning Tips

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It’s the time of year when many a homeschooling mama’s thoughts turn to planning and organization. With that in mind, I thought I’d update this post from way back when and share some basic homeschool planning tips with you.

Homeschool Planning Tips

Take teacher planning days. Classroom teachers aren’t the only ones who need teacher in-service days. I try to take at least one day a semester to do some school planning.

Have a basic outline of where you’re headed for the year. Once you have a basic outline of where you’re headed for the year or semester, it’s much easier to figure out how to get there. The book Blueprint Homeschooling by Amy Knepper is an excellent resource for figuring out your homeschooling plan for the year.

A basic outline also makes it easy to see, at a glance, if you’re on target for the year and where you’ll need to make adjustments if you’re not. For instance, you may decide that your student will need to double up on assignments for a few days or weeks or play  catch up on the weekend or over the summer, or that you’ll need to adjust your expectations.

Don’t plan too far in advance. While it has been extremely nice having a general outline for our entire school year this year (thanks to reading Blueprint Homeschooling over the summer), I don’t like to do detailed planning too far in advance.

Because we’re doing workbooks – based on my teens’ request – in English, science, and history now, my planner lists Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, etc. for those subjects and I do more detailed planning on the weekends.

I did write out our entire math plan for the year this year because we use Teaching Textbooks and I have trouble keeping up with which lessons the kids should be on and when the tests are coming up. I have loved having that written out. I have not loved that I wrote in all out in my planner. I’m extremely grateful for erasable pens.

Next year, I want to have all the lessons and tests written out on a master sheet that I can plug into my planner as we go. I think my pens will last longer that way.{grin}

Homeschool Planning Tips

Make plans on the computer so that you can copy and paste and move things around when things don’t go as planned. This was my advice back in the old days of the original post I’m updating, but I’m not going to lie – I really, really love my Plan in Place teacher planner, so I don’t do my lesson plans on the computer anymore. I love being able to pull out my planner and check it even when my laptop isn’t on.

I do still really like the Donna Young lesson plan pages (which I used to store in my Mom Binder). The kids have their own student planners, but we all still like having the Donna Young pages as a handy checklist of their assignments for the week. I think we’ve used those too long to give them up entirely.

Use your overall plan to devise your weekly lesson plans. Once you know where you want to be and by when, it’s easy to divide to figure out what you’ll need to do each day to get there. For example, we typically divide the kids’ reading assignments by 24. That gives us four days each week of a six-week term, leaving Fridays open as catch-up days.

Gather and organize your supplies. As I do my planning, I make lists of supplies we’ll need for the upcoming week. I also try to glance at the next 2-3 weeks, to see if there are any unusual supplies that I’ll need and jot those in my planner.

I make notes of pages I’ll need to make copies of, if I’m not going to copy them right then, and books we’ll need from the library – or, more likely Amazon or Learning Ally. Back when I was mostly using library books, I would look the books up on the online catalog and jot down the title, author, and Dewey decimal number of each so they’d be easy to locate when I made my library run.

I also print out web pages or add URLs to my planning pages and store everything in my planner, so that I can just pick up and go during the week.

Those are the general planning tips that help me. What about you? Please share your tried-and-true planning tips!

This post is linked to Homeschool Blog and Tell and the Hip Homeschool Hop.

images courtesy of depositphotos

Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.

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    1. The Donna Young lesson planning sheets that I use are Word docs. She may have some for Excel. I do use the grade sheets that she has available for Excel for tracking grades for transcripts once my kids are high school age.

  1. I usually write down what I intend to get done at the beginning of the year and then revise it often. I also do write down what we intend to do every week on a daily basis. It’s a good goal for us, even though we don’t usually hit it all.

  2. Thanks for sharing this post with us on the Hip Homeschool Hop! I love to read about how other moms do their homeschool planning. Even after homeschooling for 18 years, I’m always open to making changes. 🙂 I too like to do my lesson plans in a planner/calendar so I can have them handy any time. I enjoyed your post and will check out the resources you mentioned!

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