Coming up with a yearly homeschool planner each year is a challenge every homeschooler faces. Online options are tempting but often expensive and not quite right. Developing your own planner can be daunting, and depending on how much you love sticky tabs, colored markers, and interesting dividers, expensive as well. The key is to figure out how you think about things and how you remember things. You’ll also want to factor in when and where you will need your planner.
Old School Homeschool Planners
A three-ring binder, some divider tabs, and a three-hole-punched calendar insert will work for just about anyone. This is the most labor-intensive option for a planner, but it is also the easiest to personalize. Use the calendar and additional notebook pages for you to “pencil plan” for the whole year or just month-to-month. Include doctor appointments, birthdays, and other things you need to remember while you are attending to school matters.
Behind the calendar, have a section for each of your students with a reading list and anything specific for that child.
In the next section, add printouts of ideas you want to try in the next few months. Behind that, include ideas you would like to incorporate in the next few years. If you are moving a lot, consider including sections for yourself – master grocery lists, menu plans, books to read, etc.
You do not have to write everything out as it happens. Check marks are fine. Depending on your state’s regulations, simply add a folder to show samples of your child’s progress in each subject to the binder. This makes getting ready for the year-end evaluation simple.
High Tech Homeschool Planners
There are a few online homeschool-planning programs. Homeschool Tracker is probably the oldest of the bunch. The biggest drawback to these programs is the need to update frequently and the lack of customization. However, if you are simply looking to track your child’s schoolwork and if you are disciplined enough to enter information every day, or at a minimum, every week, one of these programs might fill the bill.
Another option is to set up a little website or blog to record in writing, video, and photography what you are doing each day/week/month. You can set the privacy levels to where only you can see things or you can let in family members or friends who are interested in your kids’ progress.
Middle Ground Homeschool Planners
Many entrepreneurial homeschool parents out there have created planning material for other homeschool parents. Some, like Donna Young, offer their stuff at no charge. Print out what you need and put it in a notebook. Others have created e-books and “real” books that you can use. What works for you will depend on the number of children you have and the type of homeschooling you have chosen. A few suggestions:
- The Well-Planned Day Series
- Plan to Be Flexible
- Homeschool Teacher’s Plan Book
- Homeschooler’s Book of Lists
Use the internet, talk to fellow homeschooler,s and decide what works best for you. It might take a few tries, but you will ultimately arrive at a system that best serves you.