Homeschool Planning Series
Part 1: Converting a Horizontal Planner, Set Up with Annual Planning and Trackers
Homeschooling and Planning? Sign me up! This year I’m converting a daily horizontal planner into a homeschool planner. Read on for ideas about how to set it up and getting started with annual planning pages and trackers.
Welcome to Part 1 of a three part Homeschool Planning Series for the 2017 calendar year. Part 2: Monthly and Weekly Planning scheduled for January 16. Part 3: Weekly Homeschool Plan With Me scheduled for January 23.
A little about our homeschool:
This year I am homeschooling only one child, my oldest son who will soon be turning six. We use a variety eclectic curricula and do a lot of learning through homeschool classes, library events, and experiences out in the world! I have two younger children who are future homeschoolers. They join us on many of our adventures, and are just generally underfoot during much of our homeschooling time. They like to be part of things, but I won’t be planning anything structured in particular for them this year.
We are using an umbrella school to homeschool for the foreseeable future. Our umbrella only has one requirement to keep track of: 180 days of attendance. The rest of the tracking and planning is up to me. This gives us a lot of flexibility for what to teach, when, and how. I could track nothing at all, but I am a planner to the core. It helps keep me on track and focused so I can make sure we are getting to the classes he enjoys, the parks he loves, the library and museum often, and we still have time for one-on-one learning. Plus, I hope that I can look back at these plans when the little ones are ready to homeschool and save myself some time!
A little about my planner:
I was looking for an all-in-one spiral planner for the 2017 annual year. I’ve switched to annual from academic year planning this year because it aligns with our family schedule. We aren’t on a school-year calendar with the district anymore, so this just makes sense. Many teacher planners are academic year only. Other homeschool planners just seemed like too much stuff! I wanted to keep this simple.
I chose to convert a daily horizontal planner for a several reasons. (1) There is plenty of space to write out titles and longer notes, and (2) the lined boxes help keep me on track. (3) Our curriculum is somewhat unit based, so I don’t have a need for separate boxes for LA/SS/Sci, for example, because we are using Build Your Library as an our base LA curriculum which covers all those subject areas.(4) I like the flexibility of using the extra space for notes about classes or progress instead of boxes which are dedicated to a subject area. Finally (5) the price. Michaels had this on sale for $12 before Christmas. What a deal! Some homeschool planners run in the $30-$60 range – an investment I might make when I’m schooling all three. For this year, though, simple and inexpensive fit the bill.
This Recollections Horizontal Planner was purchased from Michaels. This variety is now sold out in my area, but I’ve heard they will be available again in June for academic year planning and are still available through Amazon. Other planners with a similar setup that I can recommend: The Happy Planner vertical disc bound planner (which I use for daily planning) and Horizontal Erin Condren spiral planner (which is extremely similar to this planner – the Recollections is regularly called the EC Dupe in planner circles).
Setting Up Our Homeschool Planner
with Annual Planning Pages and Trackers
A Closer Look at the Pages
I used the 2017 annual calendar for attendance tracking. By law, I am required to submit attendance. How I count it is up to me, but I do like to keep track of our 180+ days. Using the annual calendar give me an easy reference at a glance.
The key I use is very simple – a line through days we will not have school, a blue dot for school days, and a blue dot with a slash on days I’d planned to have school but other things came up.
2018 Future Planning
Since it is still January, I haven’t done much with my 2018 future planning. When I do need to make a few notes about our next calendar year, a 2×2 Post It Note fits perfectly over the mini calendars.
This was originally a contacts page. I covered the contacts header and all of the contacts info (name, address, email, phone) with bright white label paper from Avery. I added our list of curriculum and materials along with all of the sticker icons I will use when planning. (Sticker Index below.)
Each month is labeled in the planner with a different color flag with seven lines below for planning. I’ve used this page to lay out a general curriculum map for the year as well as add in any family plans (vacations, camp, breaks, field trip weeks). This gives me a good reference for my monthly planning. In parenthesis next to each month I’ve notes how many full weeks I’m planning for the month.
I used the first two-page spread in back of the planner for homeschool expenses. I kept with the rainbow theme with rainbow washi and coordinating quarter boxes for totaling up expenses for each month.
Memberships, Co-Ops, and other Clubs & Classes
This lined page will keep track of all of our in-person classes and memberships. I used an hombre checkbox at the bottom to remind myself of a few details to add about each entry: website, main contact, price/expires, schedule, subjects.
Online Resources, Passwords, and Information
A place to keep track of all the online materials and subscriptions we’ll be using this year. This is an easy way of keeping track of all our resources in one place (instead of on three tablets, a laptop, and my phone!) and a great reference for when the younger two are kindergarten/first grade age. I made a column for user and password with washi tape and added a rainbow checklist as a reminder to add the following details: website, user/pass, price/expires, auto-renewal info, subjects, purpose/application, type.
Sticker Index with Links
A quick reference for printing stickers without searching online (again and again) and to easily check where stickers are from for tagging on social media.
Oh So Lovely Blog
Ketchup and Mustard
Owl sticker purchased in a pack from Michael’s.
For tools and tricks about using free printable stickers check out this post.
I hope this post has given you some ideas about how to customize your planner! Check out Part 2 of my series: Monthly and Weekly Planning – scheduled for January 16th.
Follow our homeschool adventures on Facebook and Instagram. Or if you’re into planners, check out my planner-only Blackline Masters Instagram and YouTube channel for weekly Plan With Me videos and all things planning!
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