Plan Your Homeschool Year in 3 Easy Steps

Plan Your Homeschool Year

I had some alone/quiet time on Saturday so I spent some time planning for the coming school year. This time always gets me excited about the coming year and I wanted to share my steps with you.

1. Make a list of your main goals for the year for each child.

There are some great resources for this. We don’t follow a “school at home” methodology, but I do use some grade level recommendations to get a guideline. I consider the level of my specific children, along with the recommendations of what a child “should” learn or know for their age and grade, and I mold that into my own personalized list for each of them. This may not work for everyone, but it works for us.

If you are interested in some sample expectations by grade level, here are a couple of free resources to get you started:

If you’re interested in more resources for this, there are several good sources available on Amazon as well (affiliate links). The main book that I have and recommend for this is, What Your Child Needs to Know When (According to the Bible; According to the State) by Robin Sampson. It’s an older book, but still mostly relevant information, and it’s written like a checklist for each grade and subject, which I find really useful.

Again, I am not saying you should be or need to be obsessive about all these lists. I am just giving these resources to help you get started with your own guidelines. We are very flexible and laid backThese lists are just a starting point for me to make my own in an educated manner.

Once you have your big list, break them into manageable sections. 

You can do monthly, quarterly, every 6 weeks…whatever works best for you.

2. Create a Resource List

At this point, I look at our learning goals and make a big list of the resources we have available already to help us meet those goals (Can you tell that I am a list person??? Yes, I am).

This can be a bit tedious, but it’s so worth it. I can’t tell you how many times I have purchased something that we needed, only to find out later we had something already that would have worked. It’s worth it to make sure you know what you have available, and use it.

This list might include:

  • reading books
  • workbooks
  • printables you’ve downloaded (like those in my shop)
  • ideas for games and activities
  • songs
  • teaching ideas
  • ideas for field trips and events

I organize these things by subject. This helps me know what we have and what I might need to purchase to fill in the gaps, or change my plan a bit here or there if I have something that will work well for a particular subject or activity.

I am not lesson planning for each day or week at this time.

I am making a broad plan for the entire year, and making lists of ideas and resources.

3. Sketch a Calendar

In my state, we are required to document a certain number of learning days each year, and I believe this is true in most states. So, even if you’re a very laidback homeschooler, you’re probably going to want to sketch a calendar of school days. This can be flexible due to family emergencies, etc. But I like to start with a general plan to work from.

Again, I don’t fully plan every single day from the beginning. However, I can use my lists from above to sketch out a plan for the year, including some general info from our learning goals and resources, any co-op meetings or group activities/events, field trips, etc.

Throughout the year when I am planning particular lessons and/or activities, I can look back at this general calendar, our resource list, and learning goals to make planning by the week a breeze.

{Click here for more tips on planning your yearly calendar}

Bonus: Be Flexible!

This is maybe the most important part. Yes, you have your plan and your goals. But, life happens. So, why do we plan at all? I think this quote sums it up best…

“In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” – General Dwight D. Eisenhower

{Ahem} Not that homeschooling is a battle, but some days might feel like it! The truth is, your homeschool year probably won’t look exactly as you envisioned it. But, having those goals is still very important. And it allows you to make educated, intentional adjustments rather than just floating along, being driven by circumstances.

Just remember, your plan is a guide. It’s okay to change it if it’s not working. 

How do you plan for your homeschool year?

Planning your homeschool year doesn't have to be stressful! Use this simple guide to plan your homeschool year in 3 easy steps!

Comments

  1. says

    Plan ahead but also create a normal routine, get in the habit of doing school. When first starting it’s a bit hard to establish that habit and sit down and do it, at least for me!

  2. Paige L. says

    I’m a newbie, so I don’t have any advice for others, but thank you for inspiring me! I was feeling overwhelmed by how to get started with planning my first full year of homeschooling, but this has given me great direction. Thank you!

  3. Kelly Pieschek says

    My best tip for successful planning of our homeschool year is to pray before, during, & after doing the planning! :)

  4. Sal Villarreal says

    I agree w what you have said here, planning for each childs level with certain standards in the back ground and then learning that some things won't find their way when life comes up! Always stick to the basic needs and fire for learning:)

  5. Miranda Gonzalez says

    This is only my second year homeschooling, so I don't have much experience planning my year, but so far I have a list of resources we are going to use.

  6. Miranda Gonzalez says

    I don’t have a lot of experience as this is only my second year homeschooling, but so far I have a list of resources we are going to be using.

  7. Stacy says

    I am absolutely terrible about planning, so my best tip would be to PLAN! LOL! I learned my lesson last year and I am definitely sketching out a plan this year so things go more smoothly!

  8. Alysson Cook Reese says

    I struggle bc I was a classroom teacher for 15 years. Homeschool planning is different. Classroom planning is to make it through the day and year covering all requirements. Homeschool is life—-living the learning and joy and making memories. So I get the curriculum choices out of the way first (which are numerous and overwhelming to pore through sometimes). Then I, too, look at what I already have and make a list for where each resource can be used and for which curriculum goal. Then I look at budgeting and what extra activities like sport or art class each week or botanic garden membership outside of the home we can do. Then I purchase bits I need and organize my homeschool classroom. I wish I could relax more in the planning. When I get on Pinterest and see the amazing stuff out there, I get overwhelmed and second guess everything. I make a rule that I can only choose one new thing a week from Pinterest to try. If anyone is really good at doing homemade resources and trying Pinterest activities and fitting that in to your homeschool curriculum, please post how you do it! Maybe a sample? I need help there.

  9. Kristy says

    You think like I do; I love lists!! I am in the process of planning a few literature units for next school year. We school year round so I am constantly planning and praying. So far, I am not using curriculum, but I enjoy the process and creativity of preparing units and lessons. Thank you for the link to the LifePac scope and sequence. That will help me just stay on track. Thanks for the chance to win the planner. I like the one I am using now, but it isn’t geared towards home school. Even if I don’t win, I now will have an idea of the next type of planner I want to purchase.

  10. Celestine Mouradjian Douglas says

    I've had my eye on this planner for some time now. Winning it would indeed be a blessing to our home school.

    • Crystal Brothers says

      Yes! We do this as well! Either I go out to a local restaurant for a couple of hours or plan at night after they are in bed :) Great tip!

  11. Sheila C says

    If you get any great ideas, write them down or you will forget! Also be sure to “plan” time with nothing planned because life will cause you to need to be flexible. If a great opportunity comes your way don’t be stuck to a plan ~ use it as your flex-time

  12. Heather Aalbers Burgess says

    I have been homeschooling for 8 years and my oldest just graduated this year. My advice is do not let yourself or your kids get behind…. Because even with the BEST intentions you will not catch up.

  13. Angela L Jones Laird says

    My tip is to stay relaxed! When I am relaxed, my son is relaxed and he learns more. I still struggle with this :)

  14. Dawn says

    I will be starting my 20th year of homeschooling this fall with four more years to go. I have used this planner the past couple years and LOVE IT! Wish I had had it 20 years ago! :)

  15. Dena says

    I think it is helpful to copy the table of contents for each of your teacher guides and transfer it into your calendar.

  16. Melissa g says

    This will be my first year homeschooling and the best tip I’ve received that has helped me plan is to have my kids list their own interests for the upcoming year. That way they have a part in what they’d like to learn.

  17. Amber Martin says

    We’re going into our 5th year of home schooling this fall. This year, however, I will be piecing together a curriculum for my oldest two AND schooling 3 of my 5 children. So I’m a little intimidated! This planner would sure be a blessing this year! :)

    • Crystal Brothers says

      Bridget, that is a good idea in some cases, but I would much rather have a general plan to start out with. I have found that even if we venture off the initial plan, I still feel more prepared for things :) We are pretty laid back in our planning, but I do like to have a general sketch of our goals.

  18. Monica Ingalls says

    I like the well planned day planner so I can write in the dates–because I may decide NOT to do school one week or we may be sick one week. Never be so stuck to a schedule that it gets in the way of learning–I also find scheduling an exact time to do school does not work well-

  19. Manda Panda says

    I've never been good with keeping a planner updated, I've been wanting to try this planner for ages but just found it to be one extra expense I just couldn't do. My best advice would be to allow oneself to have flexibility.

  20. says

    In the excitement of the new year, try not to over schedule and then feel like you must complete everything. One of the joys of homeschooling is having a flexible, more relaxed teaching environment. Try to tap into your child’s interests too! I like to schedule “time chunks” for each subjects. This gives us a little margin for unforeseen events and allows us to dig deeper into a topic if we desire. I also don’t feel so pressured. When I first started homeschooling I used a “down to the minute” schedule and found myself overwhelmed constantly feeling behind even though we weren’t behind. Homeschooling gives us the opportunity to adjust the pace for our children. Thank you for the opportunity to win this planner. Some major unexpected events have occurred in my life the last month. I really need to become more organized to keep my sanity through this stressful time period.

  21. Sunshine S. says

    Plan the year in pencil! Flexibility is a must, so hold your plans loosely and keep the eraser handy

  22. says

    Hi I have never been able to keep a schedule but have heard of wonderful things about this Homeschool Planner from people like myself. I guess my advice would be to keep trying and never give up! What a blessing!

  23. says

    Write down your goals and keep that list handy during the whole process. If you are in doubt as to the worthiness of a certain product or resource, just ask yourself, “does this align with my goals?” If it doesn’t, leave it.

  24. Amy Crain says

    Honestly, my best tip is to pray, pray, pray. Last year was our first attempt at homeschooling and I had my heart set on a certain curriculum, but before I could dive in and purchase it the Lord just kept bringing me back to another one. After we got started I knew that my boys would never have done well with the curriculum I had wanted, but were thriving with the one the Lord led me to. Praise the Lord for taking my plan and turning it into what my family really needed!!

  25. says

    This is my first official year of homeschooling, we start this fall. So I have never done it before and actually am really encouraged by the other suggestions and ideas of the other moms on here. They are giving me a lot to think about as I plan our first official year! I would love to have this planner to help make things easier and to keep my son and I more organized as we begin.

  26. Tascia Genson Curry says

    We used a planner for the first time this past school year. My 7th grader blossomed and gained so much independence. I would love to try this planner!

  27. Kim Brown says

    Reading and list making… The more I read through what I want to cover, the more prepared I am. And I love lists!

  28. Jessica Schultz says

    This will be my first year homeschooling my 10 year old – 6th grade – and I could use all the help I can get!

  29. Kerry Feller says

    Trying to talk my husband into letting me home school. This would be a great tool for me to use to show him I can do it.

  30. says

    I plan on using July to research what things will work best for my two kiddos, and then use August as my planning month, and get it all written down on paper. Start in September :)

  31. Jeanna Burt says

    i want to be a better prayer planner this year! i am naturally inclined towards planning the year away, but the Lord is the head of our school so I need to wait on Him.

  32. Carly Schultz says

    I have not had to plan a year yet – this will be our first! So far just reading everything I can get my hands on, and trusting God to provide wisdom when the decisions need to be made. I am definitely going to be using a planner though, just hadn't found a homeschool specific one yet which is what I want. I am a list maker too. I have lists of my lists!

  33. Maria Omli Mills says

    I have struggled with consistent planning. I used a boxed curriculum and marked off what we finished one year. This year I have more students and am not going with a box. Yikes!

  34. Renatta Welsh says

    My best tip is to have a yearly plan of what you would like accomplished by the next year. And, more importantly than that, never go to bed without a solid idea of what you want to accomplish the next day. You will use so much time and energy in the morning trying to think through your day, and really run the risk of getting completely sidetracked and getting nothing done.

    • Crystal Brothers says

      I completely agree, Renatta! That is why, even though we’re big proponents of being laid back and flexible, we still plan :)

  35. Rachel Robert Henneberger says

    I created my own binder and pulled from several resources to make the best planner for our homeschool!

  36. says

    I love planning :) Yup, I need something like an outline for a week or two and also the to-do-list or goals or I'll be all over the place without getting done anything because I would be totally get distracted :D

  37. says

    I just got my new planner for next year. I'm not ready to start thinking about the planning phase just yet, but it does help to keeps lots of lists and to break things down.

  38. says

    This is a very helpful post! My son is getting ready to start 7th grade which I feel a little overwhelmed about. Thanks for sharing and breaking it down!

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