Homeschool planning – the time when all of my favorite things come together: planners, education, organization, checklists, and planners. Did I say planners twice? Oopsie. Read on to see my monthly and weekly planning rituals… erm… overview.
Homeschool Planning Series
Part 2: Monthly and Weekly Overview
Welcome to Part 2 of a three part Homeschool Planning Series for the 2017 calendar year. For more info on how I utilize my horizontal planner see Part 1:Converting a Horizontal Planner, Set Up with Annual Planning and Trackers and Coming Soon Part 3: Weekly Homeschool Plan With Me scheduled for January 23.
A little about my plans:
I do quite a bit of planning for homeschool. It keeps me organized. I also love that I have a record of curriculum and pacing, additional materials, printables, and all of my other lists like passwords and expenses in one accessible place. With two future kindergarten homeschoolers coming up, I hope that my planner will be an easy point of reference for years to come.
Our state does not require this type of detailed record keeping, and it might be overkill for some readers. This is just what works for us. I enjoy making plans on paper. It helps me stay organized and keeps us all on track. I hope that I can give you some useful ideas about your planning and record keeping, too. Especially if you are new to scheduling and lesson planning.
A little about my method:
Although I plan on a monthly basis on a Monday – Friday schedule, our plans are flexible. The monthly plan is more like a goal for the pace of our various curricula. There are times when we move much, much faster – flying through material that really creates a spark of excitement! There are times that we move slower or even pause all curricula for a few days or even weeks. Homeschooling is flexible that way.
I usually complete my plans sometime between Friday night during the kids’ movie night and Sunday afternoon. I only lay out one week at a time, either matching the pacing to our monthly goals or revising as needed. I’ve been known to cross out days of curricula and just call it “Reading Day” or “Art Day” or “Pajama and Milkshake Day” because… well because we can. I do find it grounding to come back to the curricula that we enjoy, and planning gives me a starting point.
Oh, the stickers:
I won’t ignore the fact that I am a grown woman playing with stickers every week. I love it. The stickers I use are free printables and fuctional for my planning. I am a visual person, and I like to see at-a-glance what we are using, where we are going, and how many times I forgot to add art and music! For me, planning with stickers is relaxing, organized, and makes looking back more enjoyable and memorable.
If you’re not and adult who is not incredibly and bizarrely motivated by stickers, here are a few alternatives that you can use with this style of monthly/weekly planning:
– Color coding with pens or colored pencils
– Using highlighters to differentiate between subjects
– Using pencil to plan and erase or add more to record exact progress
– Black or blue ink bullet journal-style with checklists and coding
– Listing subjects daily long-hand
– Designating certain areas of the planner (boxes, lines) for specific subjects
Find all of my sticker links and resources in the first post of the series, here.
Monthly and Weekly Overview
A Closer Look at the Pages
Monthly Planning Page
When I set my monthly curriculum goals, I first look at how many full, seven day weeks there are in the month. Those are the weeks I will map out here. Any full weeks that I am not planning I cross out with washi tape. Partial weeks, like the last week in January (below) will be planned in February – where the weekly spread is also located.
Next, I check our family calendar. What is coming up? We usually sign up about one month in advance for classes and co-op dates, and our library schedule is available a few months out. I try to limit our scheduled outings to two per week. We go to parks and playgrounds a few times a week, too. I have a habit of overscheduling, though, and have to reign it in at times. I plan around these classes and field trips. Making lighter days or taking the day off from curriculum entirely.
After I know how many days we’ll be using curriculum, I set up a general plan for Language Arts, Math, Handwriting, and Phonics. More about our curriculum choices here. I use the Sunday boxes to jot down goals for LA week number and Math chapter/lesson numbers. I write down the page numbers and skills for phonics and handwriting on each box.
In the notes section, I add topics and skills that will be addressed for LA, Math, Handwriting, and Phonics. I also add any additional topics that I’m planning for – Science, Writing, Art, and Music, for example. This completes a basic overview of my monthly goals.
Books and Materials List
When I have my month laid out, I make a master list of books and materials that I will need throughout the month. This makes it easy to make sure everything I need is pulled out, reserved, or ordered and will be on hand when I need it.
Books from our LA curriculum along with any supplemental books, Science books, and readers I want to use are listed. I mark books I’ve reserved with (R) and check off the books as I add them to my homeschool shelf.
All printables I need are listed here before I print. I coordinate, for example, cut and paste sheets with our phonics skills, coloring pages with our Language Arts continent, etc. I print these before the month begins and add them to a folder and check the printable off when it is ready to go.
I list the media – movies, shows, playlists, and apps – that we will be using here. I usually have a good list of media resources, but I don’t always use all of it. I try to plan movies for Friday nights that go along with the current continent we are studying. For example January, we’ll be learning about Africa, and this week we’ll be watching The Lion King. I code these with (R) reserved from the library, (N) on Netflix, (P) on PBS Kids, or (A) on Amazon Prime. I check off the media we can stream and movies when I pick them up from the library.
I begin my monthly spreads by laying out my stickers. I refer to my month view for dates of outings and pacing of subjects. Next, I lay out my subject area stickers keeping in mind how much time we’ll have for curriculum each day. There are certain subjects we’ll try to get to every day, other subjects I plan for depending on our schedule, interests, and goals.
Basically, I make myself a checklist for some subjects and leave others blank to record as we go. I refer back to these pages throughout the day, making notes about progress, any changes, and adding to our reading list and any other educational activities and teachable moments that we stumble upon as we go.
Above is an example of a finished week – complete with sick day! Next week, I’ll share more about my order of planning and using curriculum to lay out our weeks and how I utilize my planner to guide our homeschool day.