Plan A Homeschool Year: My Simple Method for an Entire Year of Plans

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I’ve been talking with my friends lately about how I plan a homeschool year so that we could have a better and smoother year.

I used to just kind of have a basic idea of what we were going to do with our year and then wing it – hoping for the best. It would work ok, at least for a little while. Then I’d get off track and we’d spend far too much of the year doing nothing beneficial. For the last couple of years, I found a method which has really been helping both me and the kids be more successful at accomplishing our goals and learning plans for the year. I started planning out our entire year in advance.

How I Plan Our Homeschool Year

I know that can sound completely overwhelming, but it doesn’t really have to be. Here’s how I do it.

How to Plan a Homeschool Year: The Teacher’s Planner

First, I get a lesson planning book. The ones I use are typically oversized, landscape sized books designed for teachers. I usually get them from Amazon or from teacher stores like Scholar’s Choice. They have a lot of boxes on the pages, allowing me to personalize the book for our family and plans.

How to Plan a Homeschool Year: The Teacher Planner

Down the left-hand size of the page are the days of the week. I like to number the days, personally because our weeks don’t always run Monday to Friday or we fall behind on something, etc. It’s much easier to think about what day number we are on than feel guilty about what day of the week we are supposed to be on.

How to Plan a Homeschool Year: Inside the Teacher Planner

Across the top are spaces to fill in with the subjects. The one I used last year had 18 spaces across the top! Lots of room to write down everything for everyone. I usually put child’s name and subject in the space at top of each box.

I make sure to include all the every day or multiple times of week subjects with their own box, then have an “other” column for subjects we might only do once a week (like health or art or such).  Then it’s time to start filling it in.

First, I have to decide what curriculum or activities we are going to do for each kid and each topic. Planning this part means some leg work for me as I evaluate what we’ve used in the past and figure out if we are going to use it again or try something new. THIS is the part that takes me a long time. Once that’s been decided, it is time to plunk the plan into the book.

If I’m using a curriculum that is all preset and has a plan of what to do when, I copy it into my book. Easy peasy.

If it’s a curriculum that basically just needs you to turn a page (like our math books), I just write the name of the curriculum in the box. So, our math boxes say “JUMP” in each one and our spelling just has “Spelling.” Why do I even bother? I know that if I don’t make a conscious notation of each of these, I’ll forget about them. So, in the book they go.

If I am designing my own unit studies for a subject, after planning out what we are going to do – I just add them into the planner in the order and days that I want to do them.

How to Plan a Homeschool Year: A Planned Week

Once I have the year planned out, I do all the photocopying / printing that I need and put them into piles with clips or file folders. Some people like to do it by day, but I just like having them by subject so I can just go grab the sheets when we need them.

I put everything I need together – my teacher’s manuals, the printed sheets, etc. – into a bin so I can keep it all organized.

How to Plan a Homeschool Year: The Student Planners

Now that all my teaching plans are set, it’s time to get the kids sorted.

Each of the kids has their own student planner. I got some great ones from a Canadian homeschooling mom in her Etsy Store, Plum Cheeky Solutions. {I reviewed her products a few years ago when they were physical books.} I went to canva.com and designed each kid their own personalized cover, then popped into Staples – where I asked them to print out a copy of the daily planner with their cover on it. To save money, I get them printed in black & white, but that’s just a personal choice. The colour version is so cheery and beautiful – I’d love to use it. I just have to three planners to print out! Next, I use my teacher planner to fill in the lessons into their planners.

How to Plan a Homeschool Year: : Student Planners

Again, I use numbers beside the day name so that we can go by numbers instead of days as needed.  For my older son, I fill out a lot of weeks at once. For the younger boys, I just fill out a week at a time, because they tend to need me to move things around more often.

How to Plan a Homeschool Year: Inside Student Planners

Giving the boys the opportunity to see exactly what they are required to do each day, that they can check off when completed gives them a sense of autonomy and fosters independence because I no longer have to tell them what we have to do.

When everything is all filled out, into the kids’ bins they go and we are all set!

How do you plan a homeschool year?

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