Build the Perfect Homeschool Planner in 8 Steps

What’s in the perfect homeschool planner?

It’s more than just a lesson plan. A homeschool planner will include everything from quizzes to assessments.

Some people love organization. Others dread it. But even if you aren’t a teacher by trade, creating a homeschool planner doesn’t have to be taxing.

You’re already better organized than you think. Waking the kids up, getting them dressed, making breakfast, planning their extracurriculars — you’ve got this.

Creating your homeschool planner is much the same!

Different types of homeschool planner

Before we get into this, let’s note there are different types of homeschool planners. Some homeschool planners encompass entire curriculums, including lessons, assignments, and quizzes. Others are more like a simple calendar of things a student will need to know by a certain point — like milestones.

You can build out your homeschool planner in a lot of different ways. Think of it like bullet journaling for your child’s education.

When your child is young, your homeschool planners will be pretty simple: Just a series of checkboxes for milestones, really. But as your child ages and starts learning a more in-depth curriculum, your homeschool planners and tracker will become essential tools.

It’s better to start early.

8 steps to create your perfect homeschool planner

Regardless of the subject and curriculum, creating a homeschool planner happens in much the same way. A homeschool planner is an organized list of what you intend to teach your child, generally organized by subject.

Homeschool planning is complicated. But by lesson planning beforehand, you can chart out the goals you’ll achieve together.

1. Figure out your homeschooling style (or “mission”)

Okay, so before you start planning, take the time to think about what type of homeschooler you are.

Are you more structured or relaxed?

Do you prefer single-subject teaching or multi-subjects?

And how does your child best learn?

Having a sense of how you want to homeschool will help guide the creation of your planner. But don’t be afraid if you don’t know those answers yet, because many of them will grow with you and your child.

If your child is in high school, the homeschool curriculum will probably be more rigid. For a kindergartener, you need a well-planned day, and that’s kind of it. A high schooler may need a monthly calendar and a weekly homeschool planner, interactive planning pages, assessments, and activities.

Example: You may prefer an unstructured approach of hands-on lessons followed by necessary assessments. Or, you could instead prefer standardized classwork and a lot of quizzes. You could find that your student learns more the more time they spend in school — or that there are diminishing returns after a few hours a day. All these things will impact your plan.

2. Set academic goals that make sense for you and your student

Setting goals will help keep you and your homeschooler motivated and on track with their new homeschool plan.

Make sure the goals are realistic and measurable, like reaching certain levels in math or completing a project by the end of the year.

Every child learns at their own pace. You may need to adjust these goals over time.

And remember that not meeting a goal isn’t a failure; it’s a learning experience. If you and your student don’t meet your goals the first time, it just means that you either need to adjust your goals or the goals themselves might need to change.

For some kids, there’s often something particularly hard that just won’t click. A kid could fly through trigonometry but get tripped up on basic pre-calc — or could love English but struggle with grammar.

Part of being able to homeschool your children means being able to adapt to them!

Example: You might decide that you want to set a goal to meet a 6th-grade English assessment. So, your homeschool lesson planner would target getting your student to a 6th-grade English level by the end of the homeschool year. Every assessment should cover specific core competencies that have to be learned.

Wait! What’s the difference between a homeschool planner and a homeschool schedule?

A planner outlines your academic goals and when you want to meet them — whereas a homeschool schedule outlines your day-to-day activities. Ideally, you need both!

Your planner could say that you need to cover “sentence structure” by March 15th. But your schedule might say that you need to spend 4 hours on studying English every week. That’s the difference — one is targeted toward specific educational goals and the other is targeted toward a daily schedule.

3. Link in academic standards from your state (if needed)

Depending on your state’s education requirements, there may also be academic standards that you’re required to follow. Consult with your state’s Department of Education to ensure you are on the right track.

For the most part, state academic standards tend to be fairly lenient, but they can be a good way to determine where your child stands academically compared to their peers. And your student may need to pass them to continue homeschooling.

So, once you’ve determined your goals, you need to link in these academic assessments and ensure you can meet them. You’ve got some places like the HSLDA that provide assessments specifically for homeschooling.

Example: You may have decided your goal is to meet a 6th-grade English assessment — and your school standards may only require a remedial 5th-grade assessment. You don’t need to change your curriculum, but you do need to make sure your student takes that assessment as needed by the state.

4. Set a reasonable timeline for learning

Decide when you want your classes to start and end, how long each class will take, and when the assessments will be taken.

Some homeschooling parents like to focus on one class at a time. Others create a more traditional school schedule. You’ll find what works for you.

But setting a timeline also helps set structure and expectations. When your child has a clear plan, they know what’s expected of them, which can help reduce stress.

This is also when you might want to break your plan into a monthly or weekly planner — even a simple plan can sometimes be broken down into smaller, more manageable steps. You can get an undated planner and schedule it based o your student’s unique needs.

Example: You might decide that you want to focus December on English — or you might decide that December, January, and February are devoted to a mix of English, Mathematics, and History. It depends on your student’s learning style.

5. Prepare your materials — like textbooks, apps, and activities

After you know the academic standards and timeline, decide what type of materials and curriculum you want to use for each subject. Consider using a mix of textbooks, online resources, and hands-on activities.

Today, there are a tremendous number of resources available online. You can get workbooks, educational tapes, apps, and more designed to help your child learn creatively. You can even download a complete free homeschool planner online.

Your plan should include the materials you’re using and how you work through them. For instance, you might cover certain chapters in a given order — but replace some chapters with workbooks or activities.

Example: You could get English workbooks, a selection of grammar apps, and a series of great books your child will love. This could comprise an English class’s “materials” section, paired with the relevant assessments.

6. Break everything into scheduled lesson plans

Now is the time. You know what goals you want to meet and along what timeline. So, it’s time to break everything down into lesson plans.

Plan for extra time in case of disruptions or unexpected events, and allow flexibility if you need to adjust the schedule.

When you just get started with homeschooling, you want more flexibility than not. You’ll still try to figure out things like playdates and extracurricular activities. Having a predictable schedule that’s somewhat lenient is better than having a wildly ambitious schedule that you can’t meet.

Example: You know which course materials you use to get to which assessments. Now, break them into weekly lesson plans, alternating between assignments, projects, and quizzes. You can correlate these to the assessments that you picked earlier.

7. Set up a tracking system for your progress

Establish a way to keep track of your progress. You can use a spreadsheet, a calendar, or even an app to help you stay organized.

Importantly, keep this visible to your child. Celebrate wins and identify areas that need some work. Show your child where you are on your learning journey — it will motivate them to move forward and succeed.

Remember: progress is measured in many ways. Progress could be working for a certain amount of time, completing a specific number of assignments, or just being able to pass an assessment.

It depends on you and how you decide to teach.

For instance, you might not need an attendance tracker, but you might still want to track when you skipped lessons or assignments weren’t done on time. It could indicate that you need to change your schedule.

Example: You might have a simple Excel spreadsheet that tracks the quizzes and assignments your child needs to take to ready themselves for the assessments you’ve chosen — or the assessments required.

8. Evaluate regularly

Take time to evaluate your homeschooling plan and adjust it as needed.

Consider talking to other homeschoolers or attending workshops to learn more about making the most of your plan.

Most critical! Talk to your child. Ask them what works best for them and what just isn’t. Talk to them about what they think you could do better.

Your child isn’t the boss — you don’t need to listen to them. But this will give you some great insights into areas where they might be struggling.

Example: Your child might mention that getting up at 7 AM is too early for them or that they just can’t concentrate. Moving the schedule down a bit might make them more successful learners.

Another option is: Get a homeschool planner online

You don’t need to build a homeschool planner from scratch. You can also get them online.

Search for things like “3rd-grade math” or “4th-grade science” on sites like Study.com, and you’ll have an entire curriculum delivered.

You don’t need to follow them completely — they can just form the basis for your plans.

And you’ll still need to create the right schedule for you!

So, what homeschool planner are you working on today?

FAQs

What is the best homeschool planner?

The best homeschool planner depends on your individual needs. For a pre-made curriculum, sites like Study.com offer comprehensive plans for various grade levels and subjects. But if you want something that’s just fast, easy, and flexible, throw it on a spreadsheet. Or a notebook.

What should be included in a homeschool planner?

A homeschool planner should include the following: a schedule, a tracking system, evaluation areas, and specific learning objectives. You may also want to incorporate other items like playdates or extracurricular activities. Most importantly, your plan works with your family’s lifestyle and educational needs.

How do I organize my homeschool schedule?

Organizing your homeschool schedule is about finding the right balance between structure and flexibility. Decide on a schedule that works for you, set up a tracking system to track progress, and evaluate regularly.

How do I start a homeschool weekly plan?

To start a homeschool weekly plan, first, decide on the goals you want to achieve. Then create an outline of activities for each day and week. Consider incorporating academic subjects, local classes or enrichment activities, playdates, outside time, and extracurriculars that match your family’s values and interests.

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