Homeschool Planners

I really wanted to make a homeschool planner because I wanted it to suit me. I hated seeing blank pages. So I made my own. It worked!

Keeping a simple homeschool planner gives focus to your routines and goals. It also aids record keeping and helps your day run smoothly. You can make your own homeschool diary.

How to make a homeschool planner

A Homeschool planner that looks beautiful adds cheer and motivation to your planning.

The first thing you will need is a folder — or  binder. A folder gives you flexibility allowing you to rearrange, add and subtract pages as desired.

Using a three ring folder makes the pages much more secure than using a two ring folder (you might have to buy a three ring hole punch also).

If you buy a clear sleeved folder you can insert paper into the front, back and spine of the folder. This is a lovely way to personalise your homeschool planner. I used paper from a scrapbooking supplies shop, some use children’s art work or their own creation. Choose something you like as you will be looking at it often.

Homeschool plannerHomeschool Documentation

Make notes quickly. Find things easily.

Tab dividers are essential for quick reference in your homeschool and household planner.

Divide your planner into sections that work logically putting the most frequently used pages at the front.

For example: My week at a glance page is the first page in my folder and the yearly calendar is slipped into the side pocket. It’s my homeschool diary.

My first division is Menu planning. My next division is term planning.

Documentation

Handy Divisions

Here are some suggested divisions when you make a homeschool planner:

  • Household forms—week at a glance, chores and cleaning, home repairs, budget.
  • Menu Planning—for monthly menus, shopping lists and recipes (slipped into a clear sleeved folder).
  • Special Events—Christmas planning, birthday lists etc.
  • Term Planning—ideas for next term, student planning.
  • Homeschool Lists—book lists, composer lists, field trips and nature walks.
  • Projects –you might be renovating a bathroom or planting a vegetable garden, so you can keep all your information together in this section.
  • Student Notes—keep track of assignments, skills and make notes for record keeping.

Note: Your homeschool planner is not for storing children’s work but rather a place for planning and record keeping. See our  notebooking ideas for your children’s work.

“A good system shortens the road to the goal.”

Start simply and let your homeschool planner grow as the need arises.

When You Make A Homeschool Planner Add Structure Not Clutter

Do not feel compelled to add forms to your planner just to fill it up. Endless sheets will discourage and decrease your motivation. Don’t become ruled by charts and graphs but rather make the planner your slave.

Keep your planner for planning and resist the temptation to use it as a filing system for bills and birthday cards.

Re-evaluate your system removing unused forms and add systems that work for you.

Remember when you make a homeschool planner only start with the forms you think that you need. You can always add extras later.

The terrific thing about making your own homeschool planner is that you can put what ever you like in it. You can even design your own pages that custom suit your family. I have sections for each of my children. I also include documents that I need for my homeschool registration.

My First Homeschool Planning Attempts

In my early years as a home educator I liked to do my homeschool planning with lots of details and colour coded timetables. But after a few months, I’d be back at the computer revising my plans. I felt I’d failed. However as each year closed, and I looked back at what I had actually done, I realised that I had made progress. Probably not as much as I had hoped but still – it was progress.  I never gave up planning just because I didn’t achieve everything I had hoped, instead I became a more realistic planner. I looked at the rhythm of my homeschool and as I understood my students needs and myself as a teacher I worked with what I knew.

Homeschool Planning Was Fun For Me But Maybe Not For You

Homeschool planning is fun for some people (I must admit I do like it) but for others it’s a great headache. But whether you like it or not homeschool curriculum planning is required when you get registered to homeschool. And even though the prescriptive nature of the Australian Curriculum and other state syllabi can feel very restrictive, homeschool planning can actually be quite liberating and stress relieving. Having a plan is like a compass for your homeschool year. It helps you set a course (or buy one) and it gives you a destination for your studies.

Some of us are natural planners and some of us are brilliant at the spontaneous. For me the plans weren’t the issue, it was my stamina to stay focused and motivated. And one of my downfalls in planning is that I never planned for the spontaneous. My plans were always hopeful that every day would be an interruption free good day  and since those kind of days were the exception rather than the rule my optimism became my downfall. 

After spending a few months thinking that the grass is greener with many different and beautiful looking curriculums, I am desperate to start our homeschool life back in the myhomeschool way of learning.  I have come to realise how thorough, rounded and beautiful your curriculum truly is.

I fell into that dangerous trap of doubting whether I was doing enough and then becoming addicted to all the YouTube videos of Homeschooling mums discussing in detail their homeschool curriculums.

I regrettably jumped on The Good and The Beautiful bandwagon and tried the Language Arts and Science curriculums, and they were indeed beautifully packaged and presented, however the content was too much - I'm not sure 9 year olds should be doing sentence diagramming, or trying to wrap their heads around the difference between eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells!

I then tried Learning Language Arts Through Literature, which was more aligned to your/Emma Serle's PLL. Unfortunately it was too Americanised. I also tried Berean Builders Elementary Science, which we are enjoying, but trying to complete 3 lessons a week, plus experiments was again too much, so we will continue with this programme, but just as a read aloud once a week.

It gets worse!

I then bought some school workbooks for Aus history and geography (ReadyEd publications from Western Australia), thinking I should be keeping up with what the schools are doing. Everytime I opened the books, my son would complain about how boring they were, and I had to agree with him. And don't get me started on trying to work out the coloured parts of speech in Simply Homeschool whilst trying to fit in all the arts and craft projects I'd spotted on Pinterest!

I then tried to fill our already overloaded days with read alouds from Ambleside Online, Sonlight and The Brave Writer. I developed some beautiful excel spreadsheets detailing everything we were going to do each day, what pages we would be reading, what websites to be used etc. Of course none of it worked, as I'd forgotten the most crucial thing of all ... My son is only 9, not 49. He just wasn't enjoying it like we had been last year doing MyHomeschool year 3.

It was too much! Way too much!

So, it has been a great learning opportunity for me. It has made me realise I am doing enough and that simplicity is the key. A powerful key at that. I will revisit your Homeschooling 101 course and learn a lot more about the power of copywork, narrations and dictation.

Melanie from NSW

Homeschool Reviews, Year 3 Curriculum

Make a Student Planning Page for Each Subject

List your subjects and then begin filling in the resources that you plan on using for these subjects. Put all the children under one subject during this phase. Why? I think it helps you find crossover resources and books that can be used for multiple aged children.

Maths is probably the only subject that needs a separate curriculum for each child. In the early years science can often be grouped together.

English can have some crossover content (especially with read alouds) but the mechanics of writing will vary depending on the age and skills of your children.

Review The Plan Before You Buy

Before you purchase any curriculum get some advice from other homeschoolers. Go to homeschool forums and Cathy Duffy’s Top Picks to read reviews.

More Homeschool Planning Help

Like I said, I like planning but it didn’t mean I wanted to do everything from scratch. I was happy when I found a book or resource that fitted in with my philosophy and plans. So don’t be afraid to use curriculum if it fits in with your philosophy of education.

If you are looking for a complete package using Charlotte Mason then have a look at our My Homeschool courses.

Ten Homeschool Planning Tips

There is a knack to homeschool planning and in some ways it’s very much like putting a puzzle together. Here are a few tips that I have learnt that make planning realistic but comprehensive:

  1. Look at curriculum planning as a whole. Let all your subjects meld. Tie in your literature studies with all your subject.
  2. Use a teaching philosophy as your base for preparing your course of study rather than the newest curriculum out. This will tend to make your plans a lot more cohesive. For me it was always the Charlotte Mason Method.
  3. When I surveyed a group of homeschool mums nearly all of us said we only homeschooled four days per week. Day 5 was for all those out of home events that still were ‘educational’ but not necessarily academic. Plan for 3 days a week for Kindergarten to Year 2 and 4 days a week for Year 3 to Year 6. In high school many of us moved to a five day week because our teens were becoming more independent. Here is a realistic guide to homeschooling hours.
  4. Make it simple. Detailed lesson plans and specific time slots often make you feel stressed because you feel like you didn’t complete the lesson or you are running behind. And they are not required when applying for registration.
  5. Go with your heart. This may sound like a funny thing to say but it is actually quite an intuitive method. So often we have a gut feeling about how we want to teach and this can be right on target. But it may also be challenging but ultimately it will give you a greater sense of purpose and motivation when you believe in the way you are teaching
  6. Don’t try to do too much in your academic year. With so many good options it is tempting to try to squeeze too much into your curriculum. That usually leads to burnout. Be realistic with what you can actually achieve.
  7. Don’t attempt curriculum before your children are ready. I’ve made this mistake many times when my kids were little. I bought a history and science curriculum that was really high school level for my kids to use in primary. Consequently the content was mostly inappropriate for my children and I wasted my money.
  8. Don’t buy too much. My weakness is books. I have many that I bought to read to my children that are still sitting on the bookshelf. Over the past two years I’ve been going to my bookshelf FIRST for my read-alouds instead of the bookshops.
  9. Don’t be tempted to throw out something that works just because something else is newer or prettier. No curriculum is a perfect fit and you will always find that certain aspects don’t work. However, chopping and changing all the time can slow down progress in a subject. With one child I wasted a year changing math programs three times whilst looking for a good fit. In the end I went back to my original resource realising that the reason she was struggling was more about her and not the curriculum.
  10. Don’t ignore the failures that happened before. If you are finding aspects of your homeschool aren’t working such as: routine, time allocation, a particular curriculum, or your homeschool set up –examine them closely and see what improvements you can make. Remember the famous quote, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Start Writing Out Your Plan.

You will need to make some decisions on what curriculum you want to use.

If you use My Homeschool we actually have your weekly lesson planners done for you.

Write out a plan for each student referring to each subject. It can be as simple as what textbook you might be using or what book you plan on teaching. If it’s your first time, only plan for one year. You do not need to follow your worked out plan exactly. It is your starting point.

You will find as you homeschool your curriculum planning will change as you work out the needs of your homeschool students. With time you will also become a more confident planner.

Here are some tips for helping you write up a Charlotte Mason Schedule.

Here are some ideas for using loop scheduling for homeschooling.

Decide on Your Subjects

Firstly work out what subjects you plan on teaching. For example, the basic subjects for primary  are:

In Year 7 to 10 English, Science, Math, History and Geography are compulsory but other subjects are electives:

  • Creative and Practical Arts
  • Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE)
  • Foreign Language (LOTE)
  • Design and Technology

You can rotate these subjects around during the year but you need to be doing three extra subjects each year. You may have other subjects you want to include like Bible lessons, add these to your list.

Requirements Differ In Each State And Territory

If there are government requirements you need to comply with, work out what they are.

Australian State by State Planning Requirements

Make A Rough Draft Homeschool Plan

Once you understand the curriculum requirements it is time to start writing up your plan.

  •  Make a Student Planning Page for Each Subject

List your subjects and then begin filling in the resources that you plan on using for these subjects. Put all the children under one subject during this phase. Why? I think it helps you find crossover resources and books that can be used for multiple aged children.

Maths is probably the only subject that needs a separate curriculum for each child. In the early years science can often be grouped together.

English can have some crossover content (especially with read alouds) but the mechanics of writing will vary depending on the age and skills of your children.

  • Write Up Your Plan for the Year

Write up a general plan and booklist.

  • Term Planner

Once you have your general plan then you can write down your term plans. It shows what you are hoping to achieve for each child that term. Although this is quite specific there is still ‘room to move’.

I try to estimate how long it will take for me to complete a resource and then I break down the resource into sections whilst considering my time frame. One resource may take a term, another may take a year, or longer. I type this up as a table and save it on my computer so that I can review my work at the end of term and reuse this document as the basis for my end of term report.

  • Find the template you need for your application and then write out your official plan.

Each child needs their own plan.

Pre-Done Purchased Home Education Plans

If you like planning you might like doing all the research and then you will definitely understand your plan. This process can take a couple of weeks as you sift through your options.

Is there an easier option?

Home education registration

Home education registration applications are meant to be specific for each child and require individualisation.

So even though a pre-done plan may seem like the easiest way out, to make sure you pass your registration it is actually much better to make your own, or individualise the one you get done for you. We suggest if you want a 12 month registration then it’s best to tweak a pre purchased plan and put it into your own words.

APs or Moderators (the people who approve your registration) want the home educator to understand their submitted plans. We have been told by reliable sources that in Queensland and NSW the complete planning services provided by some homeschool resource providers are being rejected or only short term registrations are being given. The observation by the assessors was that the applicants didn’t understand their plan.

We’ve Found A Winning Combination For Plan Creation

At My Homeschool we are committed to helping homeschoolers know how to teach their children and what to teach them. So even though we don’t do your application for you we will set you up well and guide you through the process.

My Homeschool has been the perfect fit for our family. It has provided the "hand-holding" I needed as a new homeschooler while still being flexible enough to be workable in everyday life.

It took the stress out of writing the application for exemption to homeschool as everything was laid out for me, and we were granted 18 months exemption.

I love that it uses a relaxed CM style, can be taught from a Christian worldview and is Australian. The weekly plans are not overly prescriptive so can easily be implemented according to the child's individual interests and pace of learning and whatever else is happening in our week.

Lauren from SA

Homeschool Reviews, Year 1 Curriculum

Grade Documentation Provided

Each purchased grade gives you:

  • A Yearly Plan outlining our curriculum for 12 months (6 months for the Primary Lite). This plan is provided in a Word document that you can use. We include prompts, tips and examples of how to answer some of the required forms.
  • A Scope and Sequence mapped to the Australian Curriculum and NESA Syllabus for the grade you are teaching. This is useful especially for NSW, QLD, WA, SA, ACT & NT home education applications, where you are asked to demonstrate how your plan lines up with the official state syllabus.
  • Term report templates that are mostly done; you just need to add a few details.
  • A week-by-week planner that you can print off, with places to make notes (no need to keep a diary)!!
  • End of year Certificate of Completion for our Full Primary programs and our second semester high school programs.
  • Prompts and reminders to collect work as part of your child’s portfolio for re-registration.

Just to let you know, our moderator here in W.A. absolutely loved the curriculum! Very positive feedback.

We are so very happy with your gorgeous curriculum and look forward to our future years of study!

Rachel from WA

Homeschool Reviews, Year 4 Curriculum

Final Tips For Navigating The Curriculum Labyrinth

Most new home educators don’t know where to look and they can get bogged down in their search. There is no perfect curriculum but some are definitely better and more suited to homeschooling than others.

Homeschool planning is where many homeschoolers become unstuck and give up the idea of planning their own curriculum.

“It’s all too hard!”, they lament.

I won’t mince words; it does require effort and commitment to sift through the options but don’t try to plan the perfect curriculum on your first attempt. Just get started and only try to plan one year and tweak it as you go. Your plans can be flexible. Most of us have made mistakes and wasted money in our first years of planning. Give yourself permission to make mistakes and take the pressure off yourself.

 

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