Tips for Planning Your Homeschool Day

After managing a homeschool community for a year now, I have seen many homeschool questions.  The one that seems to make it around with much concern is “how do you plan your homeschool day”?

tips for planning your homeschool day

Here are a few tips I hope will help … work from a very large lens and continue to focus smaller.

  1. Decide your schedule. Will you homeschool 4 or 5 days?  For K & 1st we homeschooled only 4 days (sat down and opened books), for 2nd and on we have schooled all 5 days.
  2. Decide your calendar.  Will you homeschool thru the summer? During holidays – school 6 weeks with 2 week breaks? Your calendar should fit your family. It is miserably hot in central Florida in July & August – we gladly stay inside and jump into our new year earlier than some and take a “Fall Break”. Knowing how long you will school will help you plan how many lessons you need – or if you need to find supplements.
  3. Decide which subjects you will teach which days. Most curriculum offers a flexible schedule M/W/F or T/ Th plans.  Organize which subjects will fall on which days.  I am a stickler – Math, Reading, and Language Arts are scheduled all week with Science, History, and Spanish alternating.  I printed out a cute planner so my son didn’t have to keep asking, “what are we doing today” or “what’s next”.  Laminate it and add a dry erase marker — he could happily check off when that subject was completed.
  4. Find a document / planner that you enjoy using. I’m a pencil and paper gal – I like to hold our schedule.  But there is something about a ton of blanks and boxes that scares me and I do not feel comfortable planning out an entire month.  I fear commitment!! I prefer weekly calendars – you might prefer monthly or even 3 months!  I like to keep things flexible because if my son is into a lesson and wants to do another page – I’m not going to make him stop.   Once the weekly calendars are completed I transfer the information into a monthly calendar that is later printed for his portfolio and end of year evaluation.  It sounds like more work – but I’d rather be comfortable than stressed!
  5. Decide on times. I’m not big on ringing a bell and starting class at a specific time each morning  – but I like to plan out which hours of the day will be at the table so I can say “no” to other things that pop up during that time frame. (It also helps to plan the harder subjects during little one’s nap time)  This past year I had to put a time limit on Math because my son was taking entirely too long.  If he didn’t finish an assignment after 30 minutes – we moved onto the next subject and he could go back and finish his work later during his “play time”.
  6. Write everything in pencil. Do not print a calendar full of lessons unless you have a bottle of white out.  I would print out months of scheduled work on calendars and after 2 days would have to trash it because we were usually a head of what I had planned.
  7. Don’t hate your planner. Planners are to help keep you on task and organized not to make you feel shackled.  If a schedule is not working and you are not sticking to one – its time to find something else that works.

Two of my favorite sites for planners and scheduling resources are Donna Young and Homeschool Creations (both free)!  If you are computer savvy create your own excel spreadsheet. Or if you want “someone else” to track your lessons use Homeschool Tracker (basic edition is free).

If you would like something with a bit more muscle I suggest purchasing Homeschool Creations Reusable Homeschool Planner.  Not only have I been scheduling curriculum but field trips, chapter books, chores, and menu planning!  You can pay a membership fee to join List Plan It – and access their Home Education Planner.

The main thing is to use what you are comfortable using! My first year homeschooling I mimicked a friend’s plans, lessons, curriculum, and homeschool classroom.  She’s a wealth of homeschool knowledge, but I was miserable.  It took me the whole year to realize God created me differently – and He chose my son to be in my home – with my weekly planner!

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  1. Camille says:

    I just wanted to add that the Well Planned Day planner is excellent (retails for $24.95) Goes from July to June. The planner can be used for multiple kids, though last year I was only home schooling one kid, this year I will have a kindergartener and a first grader.

  2. Thank you for this post! We’ve been doing a year-round school year with a lot of flexibility…but I still need to PLAN things, something I dread! I finally have gotten some health issues under control that have made doing ANYTHING difficult, and while I feel like I SHOULD be able to focus, think and plan better, I’m actually afraid that I still can’t…isn’t that crazy! I made my own planner last year, and loved the concept, but still ended up with a bunch of pages I didn’t use…which is why I didn’t want to buy a planner in the first place. But, I can look back over last year’s planner and pull out what I DID use to make this year’s. It will be a bit challenging, as I have a 3 yr old son who is VERY busy plus I babysit another 3 yr old girl so I will need to plan on some activities for both of them as well as my 11 yr old dd. I know that I need to improve in certain areas…guess that’s what scares me, what if I can’t!? Your suggestions have taken some of the angst out of the necessary planning that has been looming over my mind lately. I’m going to consult this as I plan for sure!

  3. kara dawson says:

    I love the idea under #3…I am not seeing that on the homeschool creation website…guide me please!

  4. For organization that would go from your computer to your handphone, I’ve been having fun with Evernote. Directions to the places we’re going, recipes, meal plans. I’ve yet to break it in for homeschool but i’m cooking up ways to use it.

  5. I’m trying to find the subject planner under #3, too. I am not finding it at Homeschool Creations. Would you pretty please share a link with us?
    Thank you!!

  6. So sorry to tell you this but when I clicked on the link in green that says Educating Layton (to learn about your book) from your bio, it links to a site I know you are not wanted to be connected to. “Stef is the wife of Thad and mom to two energetic superheroes in Florida! Stef is the author of Educating Layton and co-founder of The Homeschool Village.” I hope you are able to correct this! 🙁

  7. Nice post. Its the most important thing to schedule the day when we homeschool our child.When there are no strict schooling rules , it becomes more important to utilise the time in a productive manner.I also used to homeschool my son. Later I enrolled him in an Online School so that he can get the flexibility and the quality education at the same time.Thanks for sharing your ideas.It will help many people struggling with the problem of time management.

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