The planning side of homeschooling is admittedly half of the fun for me! After choosing all of the curriculums and resources that I am using for the school year, weekly planning is essentially making it all come together and writing down the game plan for each day in one place.
When and how often do I plan?
I usually have one big planning session a week where I spread all of my resources out and fill up the following week’s planning sheets. This can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours. It depends on how much hunting around Pinterest and Instagram I do to find supplemental resources, crafts, and projects. I usually do this one evening a week alongside my husband with some dessert and a cup of tea. My husband spreads out on the other end of the table doing bills or working on his business. We call it our weekly “table date.”
After school each day I also look over the next day’s plans and revise anything based on what actually got accomplished that day. For example, if my son really struggled to understand the math concept for the day, I may erase the next day’s plan to move on to the next unit and spend another day reviewing the concept. This is why I always write in pencil in my planner! I love using mechanical pencils for this because they write so thin and erase so cleanly.
How Do I Plan?
There are three parts to my weekly planning:
1. Writing out the plan
I use all of my curriculum and guides to write out a plan for each day in my DIY planner (more details about that later in this post). I don’t write word for word what I will say or do in the planner. It is more of a reference of page numbers, titles of poems or books, and general ideas of activities. I also spend some time researching anything I may want to add in like additional handicraft projects or activities not listed in my guides and write those ideas in the planner. I find most of my additional ideas on Pinterest and Instagram.
2. Requesting and gathering library books
I use my master booklist to request the books I need from my county’s library website. It usually takes anywhere from 1-10 days for the library system to have the books that I request on the hold shelf ready to pick up. When I sit down to plan, I request the books that I need a few weeks before I need them. It can get really confusing, that is why having the master booklist is so helpful! Requesting them a couple weeks ahead of time gives the library time to get them on hold for me and once I pick them up, I have some time to look through them before I use them for school.
I also use this planning time to go through my current stack of library books and make a return pile of books we’ve finished.
3. Ordering supplies and preparing materials
After I have written down the plan, I make a daily list of additional materials I need to purchase in my planner. I also write down anything I need to do to prep, such as saving an egg carton, printing and laminating cards from a shop, or buying museum tickets. You can find the printer and laminator I use, as well as more of my favorite lesson preparation materials in a list here in my Amazon storefront. I spend a little time ordering anything I need to, printing, laminating, or gathering things from around the house that I may need the upcoming week.
My DIY Planner
There are so many lovely planners out there, but I just wasn’t fully satisfied with any, simply because I had a very specific format in my mind that was tailored to the subjects we are studying. I also laid the planner out in the order that we cover the subjects daily, so that I can just go down the list throughout my day. The other custom thing about the planner is that I made the boxes smaller for the subjects that I have a full self-explanatory curriculum for, and the boxes larger for the subjects that I need to write a lot of details for.
I originally got the idea from my friend, Sarah at @TheSilvanReverie. She shared her daily planning sheet in this blog post about Morning Time. You can find it in the section titled, “How I Plan Out Morning Time”.
I took her general idea and expanded on it to fit my needs. I created the planner in Google Sheets, printed it double-sided at home. I created a 2-page spread for each week and then got it bound at Staples for around $5.
Here is a little peek inside the planner, blank and filled out for my first week of school!I have created a blank file of my planner for you to download and edit to fit the subjects and order you need. Download the Word Document here or open the Google Doc here. **You will need to save a copy to your own Drive. Click File – Make a Copy. Then edit away!**
I hope this helps you as you begin for a new school year. If you download and use this template, I would love to see and share pictures of your planners, customized to your homeschool. Post and tag me on Instagram!