Prince may party like it’s 1999 but we are knee deep in planning like it’s our 2011-2012 school year! I’m very excited for this upcoming school year. We are really starting to find our homeschooling groove and what works for us as a family, and as individuals. My biggest hurdle this year, and the previous year as well, was finding a simple way to plan out our year. I’ve tried online planning methods before through Homeschool Tracker Basic. While it works for many out there it just didn’t do it for me. While I’m all for techy stuff and online goodness, it became too much of a hassle to go in and update. As well as plugging in all of our curriculum materials and our goals.

I then tried making my own lesson plan book using Donna Young printable planning pages, but the binder turned into a headache when I needed to take it with me on the go, plus having to frequently print off pages made it seem like a total waste, and just unpractical for a family with limited space, which is something we have to deal with.

Then I thought about the agenda books we had when I was in middle school. These were geared more for documenting homework assignments and paperwork that needed to be signed off, but I really liked the idea of each child having their own individual planner. So I spent a good month hunting around the net for something that would meet this need. First I tired going through sites that actually sale agenda books for schools. Sites with books I liked all had minimum purchase requirements, so as a homeschooler with only two students instead of a class of 45 I couldn’t purchase the books. Unless, I wanted to blow an obscene amount of money on something I may not even like at the end of the school year.

After knocking those off my list I hit amazon in search of agenda books/student planners that would allow for smaller purchases. I found a few but, most where religious themed with bible verses on either every page or in every daily block, way too much for our secular family. I could see ignoring a few verses every now and then, but this was overkill. The secular ones I found didn’t fit our schooling schedule since we homeschool year round (July-June), and they were geared towards the traditional schooling schedule.

I finally decided to search for a homeschool student planner just to see what it would bring up, and low and behold there is a student planner for homeschoolers called The Homeschool Student Planner. I wasn’t all gung-ho about getting it at first. I’m big on seeing what I’m going to buy, there are actually items I won’t purchase because, the website doesn’t have enough detail for my taste. So I did some searching for reviews on the product and while none actually showed off any pictures I decided to take a leap based on what I had been able to find. Factor in the money back guarantee and I felt confident in making the purchase.

I bought two planners so each child can have one, which came to $40, but considering the cost of printer ink and paper I think I’m coming out ahead compared to our previous method. I’m not having the boys fill these out themselves yet, I’m not sure when *or if* I will turn over the planning to them altogether. For now though I’m using it to plan out our school year, so we have what they each are doing in a place they can both easily access. It also helps keep both their work separate so I can be in the zone planning and working through the work for one child, then close up and move on to the next child.

The planners easily fit into T.B.M.’s book bags as well, allowing for us to school on the go, which will be very handy when we head to the states for a nearly two month visit in a couple of years. Allowing them both to do their work while we are either in a plane or a car, ensuring we meet our schooling goals while getting in plenty of time with family and friends, while limiting the amount of stuff we have to lug around the planet.

The planner breaks the year down by quarters which I really like since I set our goals by quarters (seasons), so this flows right into what we are already doing. I can also write in the dates, and while I did that this year I don’t foresee me doing it next year. I realized after filling in the dates and nearly the first quarter lessons when it hit me that I have to work in the breaks as well. So for this year I’m going to finish out the planning, and then when we take our breaks I’ll push back the work for that time period and pick it up when we resume.

Next year though I’m going to fill in the day of school on the left hand margin (first, second….etc. day of school) and then fill in the week of school when we get to it along the top. This will allow us to take our breaks as needed and then pick back up without any erasing in the planner on my end. :) The only negative with the planner so far is that the quarters are a typical nine weeks long, and our quarters are 13 weeks, but each planner comes with extra pages that I can make copies of to use so I can print out enough to cover the whole school year. I’ll just staple them together and paperclip the bundle to the quarter they belong with. This will still allow me to have all the items right there at hand, instead of pulling planning papers out of every nook and cranny in our home.

Each quarter also has an envelope to store paperwork, I’m not sure if we will use this feature this school year, but I can see using it when we have to do some carschooling, because it will allow everything to stay safely put away. I’m hoping this planning method pans out better than the previous ones; I have a good feeling about it since I don’t dread doing the planning, unlike when I was planning before. Here’s hoping!

So what are you using for your planning purposes?

Copyright(c)2011 Rayven Holmes


  1. HI there! I just found your blog today and signed on as a follower! Love to connect with other homeschooling families...especially the dysfunctional ones, because I have more in common with them :)
    Have a great week!

  1. Thanks for this post--I always find it helpful to hear how other families plan their year. I've tried different systems, and there are pros and cons to each. Not sure what I'll end up with next--we're still knee deep in finishing up this school year!

Post a Comment

Share your thoughts, but be warned if you are here to be hateful no one will see your comments...unless I'm in a foul mood at which point I will let my minions loose on you. Muwhahahahaaa. ;)