I’ve yet to meet a mother who doesn’t like to use some sort of planner, whether she homeschools or not! This post is a guide to what planners will work best for you as a homeschooling parent.
When you chose to homeschool, one of the reasons probably included the freedom to have more choices in what you do, how you do it, where and when. But, that freedom can get a little chaotic without some sort of guideline or plan to refer to for progress, right?
Homeschooling is a fantastic and important responsibility, so most parents like to have some sort of boundaries to go by for the journey.
Disclosure: I may receive commissions for purchases made through some of the links in this post.
What kind of planner are you?
I think there are three kinds (no judgment!):
- Last-minute, spontaneous wing-it planners (not really planners, right?)
- Weekly planners (you want to have some sort of idea where your week is going but you’re flexible)
- Super-scheduled planners (you want to have EVERYTHING written down, scheduled and planned as far as possible)
I’m always impressed by the super-scheduled because they seem so organized and efficient, but I also find it a little overwhelming. Spontaneity is fun, but I still want some sort of planner, so I guess I’m in the middle. To each their own!
Does your planning match your goals?
I’m not talking about your New Year’s resolutions. I’m talking about your goals for homeschooling your children (beyond passing grades), your personal goals, work goals, financial goals, fun life goals, and spiritual goals.
All of these areas make up your life and it’s important to take the time to reflect on what you’d like to achieve. Who do you want to be? What do you want to create in and with your life? What legacy do you want to leave for others? What would you like to be proud of when you die?
Answering these questions brings on the all-important HOW and that’s what will fill up your planner. For instance, if you’re going to plan to complete a passion project for a personal goal, you’ll need to figure out how you’ll do it and by when.
Your current planner – what’s working and what’s not?
- Do you need more or less space per day/week/month?
- Include more motivational quotes?
- Prettier or more functional? Maybe choose a theme.
- Do you need space for record-keeping, ideas, notes and other content not related to daily planning?
- Digital or paper?
- Day-by-day or a weekly spread?
- Different planners for different areas of your life or all your planning in one?
- How much do you want to spend on a planner?
Different types of planners for homeschooling
Bullet journal – there are so many beautiful YouTube tutorials on how to customize your own bullet journal. It’s a neat way to create a planner that looks exactly how you want it.
Standard daily planner – want something simple and straightforward? Use a standard daily planner like this one. Daily planners have the hours of the day marked for easier time-blocking. (Here’s another daily planner with some extras.)
Standard weekly planner – a weekly planner shows you a week per page, but you get less space per day to fill in.
Want to check out more features and recommended options? Check out Jen McKinnon from Practical by Default’s summary on paper planners.
Google calendar / Apple calendar – the standard calendar used by millions, you can make it as complicated or as simple as you like.
Homeschool Panda – Created by homeschooling parents who are programmers, this app is designed just for you!
Trello – a workflow and scheduling app that works like the digital version of a board with sticky notes. It makes it easy to view progress at a glance.
Printable/customizable paper planners
This category is where it’s at for me. Check these planners out!
Happy Planner – This is gorgeous! You take out the pages you want and rearrange the whole planner to suit you. It’s also super colorful. Cue stationery happiness.
Disc planner – beautiful and all set up with goal-setting sheets, daily, weekly and monthly spreads, habit trackers and more.
Deluxe Homeschool Planner by Jennifer Bly – I recently purchased this one for 2020 and look forward to giving it a shot. It’s got plenty of printable pages offering homeschooling and scheduling in different formats, including one-page planning for more than one child.
FREE Home Management Binder – this is the home management binder you didn’t know you needed and it’s free! You can download it and then look up the additional free Student and Curriculum planners on the page and download those as well to add to the binder. (You can also create individual planners for each of your children with this!)
I plan on combining some of this one’s content with the Deluxe Homeschool Planner.
Final tips on planners for homeschooling
- Make it work for you. Your planner doesn’t have to contain what someone else’s planner does, or look like someone else’s. Your planner is about owning your routine.
- If you have a paper planner with your children’s fingerprints and a couple of random stickers in there, great! If your planner is digital, color-coded and looks like a spreadsheet fit for the bank, great!
- Plan what matters. Plan around the priorities that add to your family’s quality of life. Plan experiences with as much intention as you plan your grocery shopping and meal planning.
- Plan to LIVE. Don’t just focus on numbers, bills, and deadlines. Focus on some fun too.
- Remember, your plan is a guide and a tool. It shouldn’t control your life. You are in control and plans can (and often, do) change. Stay flexible!
As many have said before: your relationship with your child is more important than the curriculum or lesson plan. Happy planning!
What is your favorite planner? What do you like about it and why? Share below.