Custom Homeschool Planner
I am going to share with you how I created my custom homeschool planner – but before we get started I wanted to tell you that I sat down and made a list of what I wanted inside my planner before I even began searching for the sheets. I recommend you do the same. This kept me on track, and helped me avoid getting a lot of unnecessary things. I used what I was already using as a guide.
I suggest by starting with what your state requires you to report. Attendance? Grades? Etc. Arkansas does not require us to report grades so we do not keep track of grades. (Also, my children are all in Elementary so I feel it is unnecessary on a personal level, but will record them in High School). Arkansas also does not require us to report attendance, but for my own personal records and to get in the habit, I started recording attendance this year. I have a feeling that Arkansas will require more in the future and I wanted to be prepared. What that in mind, I wanted to keep it as brief as possible but include as much information as I could.
My previous “custom homeschool planner” consisted of a three ring binder filled with plastic sheet protectors. Fancy, eh? I kept our attendance records inside one, calendars inside another, unit study worksheets in another, etc. It wasn’t very convenient as I would have to remove all of the pages from each sleeve in order to find what I needed. My weekly schedule was kept in a composition book.
A few notes before I begin.. I printed mine at the library in color and black/white, but you could save money by printing it at home (I just didn’t have any ink). $9.85
I laminated my front and back cover. $1.25
I had my spiral binding done at Staples for less than $5.00
I only used free printables.
Inspiration and Ideas:
I began searching the internet for ideas. I found Tina’s 7 Step Planner and used it as a guide for my custom homeschool planner..
I also spent countless hours watching youtube planner videos to see how they set theirs up, and what they included. After I had a general idea of what I wanted, I listed the pages in the order I thought I wanted them to go and began searching that way.
Using Tina’s 7 step planner guide, I went through the list and chose the printables I wanted for myself. I chose this homeschool curriculum planner cover and this back. There were different back options, but I liked that one. It is suggested that you use that particular one that I used as an inside title page though. I did laminate my cover. I would have printed it on card stock, but didn’t have any on hand. Staples added a nice clear plastic sheet to the front though, so I am not too worried about it.
I have a blank page of paper separating my cover from the start. I would recommend using card stock, but I didn’t have any on hand. After that blank spacer page, I have a Goals for the Year page. I went with this option but have not put it to use yet. I like the layout, but am not a fan of the background design. I find it too distracting for my own personal taste. I haven’t decided if I want to keep this page or tear it out. We don’t really make Health goals as part of our homeschool plan, so this page might not be useful for us. I wanted to leave that option open.
Next is a list of Curriculum Resources. It is another one that I am not sure if I want to keep or get rid of. I liked the idea of it and listing my curriculum in one place, but it just isn’t suiting our needs. I will probably make my own for the 2015-2016 school year. I think it would be very useful to be able to have a copy of all of our books/resources on one page in our homeschool planner.
Calendars, School Schedule, and Attendance:
I then put a list of Holidays. This list covers 2014-2018, though I will not be using this same planner that long. I added my children’s birthdays to the list, but might find this one being redundant also. I tend to use my personal planner when looking at days/appointments/etc and it always lists these same Holidays, but I thought we could make a special effort to plan school activities on these Holidays that are listed.
I could not print double sided at the library, but if I could, I would have printed this year at a glance calendar on the back of the holiday list. – We begin our homeschool year in August so having the entire year of 2015 was a bit overkill. I will make sure that I have an August -July calendar for next year. I chose this one though because I liked the key, and considering it is already January, I am not too worried that it doesn’t cover our entire year. Even though I couldn’t print double sided, I chose to turn this page backwards so that I could see it and the Attendance record at once. I was previously using an Attendance record that required one page per child. I like that I can fit all of my children on one and that it starts in July – even though we start in August. I am keeping a running total of the number of days at the bottom of each column and only marking the days that they all did school (Losh likes to do a lot of extra).
After my Attendance record is another blank spacer page. I chose a bright color for this one – one that coordinated with my monthly calendar and I am glad I did. I can find it easily just by flipping through the book. I had plans on adding tabs, but with the way the color pages easily separate my sections, I might not. I ventured away from Tina’s website to find my monthly calendar. This one from Shining Mom starts the week on Monday, which is an adjustment from what I am used to, but it isn’t a problem. I was just used to writing our focus topic/unit on Sunday. The way this calendar is set up makes it seem as if our focus is going to be for the following week, but I will know looking at it that it is for the week prior. I didn’t want a particular color theme for my planner, so I chose a multi colored calendar. This is also one that I wish could have been printed double sided, but I am glad I have the extra blank space on the back of each month to journal, or take notes.
Weekly Planning Sheets:
I have another brightly colored, blank spacer page right after my monthly calendar. I wish I had included a copy of our typical Weekly Schedule of what subjects we do on each day, but I will just make a note of that for next year. This weekly schedule is just one I made myself using Word. Right after the spacer page is a unit study planner. I only printed off the first page of this pdf and I only printed one copy. I plan on using this to plan and take notes for future unit studies and will just make copies as needed instead of writing on the one in my planner.
Right after the Unit Study planner is our weekly scheduling sheets. I chose this one from One Fun Mom. While I like that it is blank, I do not like how small the squares are. I would also prefer this in a landscape option and will probably look for one for my next planner. Because I started this planner in January, I didn’t need an entire school years worth. We only have 20 weeks left of school, so I only printed 20. I also wish I could have printed this double sided. (Next planner I will print at home so I can save money and print double sided!) As with my monthly pages, I don’t mind the extra space on the back for notes.
After the weekly scheduling sheets, I have another bright, blank paper. This is followed by Arkansas’s Refrigerator Curriculum. I have one page for each grade from Kindergarten to 5th grade. These pages go to the 8th grade, but my highest student is only in 5th right now. I like to include these as guides in my custom homeschool planner. These help show me what my children should be learning during each grade. Optimally I would only include the one’s for my children’s current grade level, but considering my 4th grader works at a Pre-K to 3rd grade level doing special education, I included all grades up until 5th grade. It helps me stay on track and we can go over anything they may need help with from the previous grades. It isn’t a complete list, but it definitely helps. These will also be double sided for the 2015-2016 year.
The last sheets in my planner are our Reading Logs. I printed off two, but am still deciding if I want to combine my younger two onto one and give my oldest his own, or continue using the one my oldest has been using this year. My oldest is reading by himself and keeps track of the books he has read himself. For my younger ones, I keep track of some of the books I have read to them. They always pick out no less than 10 books at the library, so we only write down the educational ones.
And finally, my back cover page. Again, they had other options and I may go with a different option next year. It really didn’t matter anyway, as Staples added a back cover to mine when I took it to be bound. It is just a solid back. I do like that I can write my own quotes onto this one.
As you can see, there are already some changes I will make to next year’s planner. Instead of waiting for the new school year, I went ahead and made mine now so I could see what was going to work for us and what we might want to change. One additional thing I wanted to include but was unable to find was a one page list of the basic homeschool laws and rules for my state. I wanted to keep it handy for my own personal use as well as a “Here is the law” if we are ever in need of it. I wasn’t able to find one already made, so that is on my list of things to make. Shrinking about 10 pages worth of information to a single page is going to be quite a job!
Overall, I am pleased with how mine turned out. I made sure to keep a copy of all of the sheets I used on my Google Drive so I can use the ones that worked for us again next year.
Did you purchase a pre made Homeschool Planner, or make one yourself?
If you don’t homeschool, do you use a daily life planner?