There is little doubt that one of a homeschool mom’s most valuable tools is her homeschool planner. Finding the right planner, though, can be a tricky thing.
How do you go about choosing the right one, figuring out what you need to put inside of it, and then translating that into a workable daily system that will make your life easier?
After all, that is what a good homeschool planner is all about — workable systems that make life better. Here are the steps you need to follow.
Decide on the best homeschool planner for you
You need to take a number of things into account when trying to decide what kind of planner you want to use. The first thing to consider is finding one that works with your personality type. I have found that trying to use something that won’t mesh with the way I operate just means that I spend money and time setting up a planner that isn’t going to work.
Some people will go for a traditional planner (the one I am going to focus on most here), others will want to go with an online homeschool planner, a digital planner, or some may try a less-traditional set-up like a bullet journal homeschool planner.
If you are unsure, try a few options on the cheap (print out our free planning pages and put them in a handy binder, save some files to Evernote, make a bullet journal in a spiral notebook you have lying around, try a trial period of an online planner) until you figure out which one is going to work with you.
Resources about choosing the best homeschool planner for moms:
- The Best Homeschool Planner for Your Personality Type
- Evernote for Homeschool
- How to Create a Bullet Journal Homeschool Mom Planner
- How to Use a Happy Planner to Organize Your Homeschool
- Happy Planning Your Homeschool Year
- The Best Planner for Homeschool Moms is the One that Works
- Guide to Online Homeschool Planners
- Rock Your Homeschool Planner Facebook Group
- Your Homeschool Planner Pinterest Board
Choose your homeschool planner supplies
For my money and use, nothing beats a traditional homeschool planner kept in a three-ring binder. I love the ease of use. I can print only the planning forms I want and include them, but then it also gives me a place to put other items I don’t want to lose track of.
I also love the flexibility. I can add and delete sections, change out forms, add photocopies of supply lists or table of contents from curriculum publishers — anything!
Resources to make a traditional homeschool planner:
- Sturdy binder – This is no place to save money. I go for a durable binder that is going to take the wear and tear of daily use. I also like one that is pretty in appearance, but you can go for a standard view-front binder and add a printed cover as well
- Dividers – Once again, I try to go a step-up over paper dividers and office-style tabs. I like plastic dividers with pockets, but also love the look of making custom tabs with a label maker, tab punch, and pretty scrapbook paper. If you are going to use a ton of page protectors, you will want these wide dividers that stick out past the page protector.
- Page protectors — I don’t put all of my planning pages in protectors but do like a few in my book near the back. You might choose to put all of your pages in protectors for added durability. You can even get protectors that are hole-punched so the pages do not stick out past your standard divider.
- Drilled paper – Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus and he makes paper that comes already three-hole punched and will run right through your printer. Cue angels singing now.
- Pens – I love a variety of pens so I can color code.
- Stickers and Washi – Don’t forget the fun stuff. Just because it’s a homeschool planner it doesn’t mean that it can’t be pretty if that’s your thing.
Wilson Jones Durable Hinge Poly Binder with Removable Ring, 1 Inch, Brown (W31922)HP Paper, Office Ultra White, 20lb, 8.5 x 11, 3 Hole Punch , 92 Bright, 500 Sheets / 1 Ream (113102R), Made In The USAAvery 74102 Top loading non-glare poly sheet protectors, heavy, 100 per boxAvery Big Tab Insertable Extra Wide Dividers, 8 Clear Tabs, 1 Set (11223)Platinum Art Supplies Micro-Line Ultra-Fine Point Ink Pens (Set Of 16)We R Memory Keepers Tab Paper Punch, FileTab Stickers-FileWashi Masking Tape Set of 24, Decorative Masking Tape Collection,Tape for DIY Crafts and Gift Wrapping Office Party SuppliesBusy Mom Collection for Calendars, Planners.Doodlebug School Paper Pack, 12 by 12
Once I have all of my supplies, I print out just the pages I need to create my planner. One of the things I love about a printable planner is that I use only what I will use with no extra, strange pages that just don’t seem to fit me.
Resources in this section:
- Seven Things I Keep in my Homeschool Planner
- Why I Print My Own Homeschool Planner
- How to Print Your Homeschool Planner on the Cheap
Decide what information to keep in your homeschool planner
The answer is anything you want to, but in case you are looking for a little more guidance, we have a few ideas. Essential items include a copy of any legal paperwork, a copy of your state requirements (if any), and attendance records. From there, you can include anything else that is helpful. For me, this includes a copy of my vision for our homeschool and goals for each child.
The ultimate homeschool planner is useful in that it includes everything you need, but also is streamlined enough that you can find things. Dividers and a table of contents page will help with that.
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It doesn’t matter how cute your printables are if they don’t do the heavy-lifting of making your homeschool-life easier. A good homeschool planner starts with creating a unique plan – one that will work for your unique family. It needs to be relevant, flexible, and thorough.`
My goal is to spend a few hours planning in the summer in order to put my plan on auto-pilot. The less decision fatigue I have to deal with during the school year, the better.
Here are some of my best resources for planning:
- Why Buying Another Planner is not the Answer to your Problems
- Ten Steps to the Perfect Homeschool Plan
- How to Avoid These Six Homeschool Planning Pitfalls
- The Most Important Person in your Homeschool Plan is Not Your Kid
- Warning: Your Homeschool Plan Isn’t Going to Work
- Best Tips for Creating a Homeschool Daily Schedule
- Planning for the Non-Planning Homeschool Mom
Choose a daily lesson planner for the win
Once you have created a plan for your year, then you still have to know what to do on Monday morning. The key to successful homeschooling is to try and eliminate decision fatigue and teach kids to work independently as they get older.
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Reducing decision fatigue is exactly what creating homeschool procedures is about. I create these in the summer and store them in my binder for easy access.
Resources for making your homeschool mom life easier:
- The Hack That Will Simplify Your Homeschool For Good
- Organize your Student’s Day with Clipboards and Checklists
- How to Take Charge of Your Homeschool Day
- How I’m Using Spiral Notebooks to Simplify Homeschooling
- Teaching Students to Work Independently
- Weekly Homeschool Checklists in Trello
Those four simple steps will help you create a planner that will work to make your life easier during the school year.
Whichever kind appeals to you I urge you to choose one, make it your own, and above all make it useful. As homeschool moms, we need all the help we can get! 😉