It’s that time of year again when all homeschoolers around this great nation gear up for the new semester (cue patriotic music)! That means a bit or maybe a whole lot of planning, scheduling, curriculum and the like. Personally, I feel like I’m always in some sort of planning mode. The planning starts in my head at first, the big picture comes to life then I start jotting things down on paper. I look at what worked and more importantly what didn’t work last semester and aim to find better solutions for whatever needs tweaking. To execute the plan, however, I must chart things out on a calendar. This will help me determine whether my plans, goals, lesson plans are idealistic or realistic! After all, there are no more than 24 hours in a day, believe it or not, mamas! 🙂
Ok, I know we’re living in the electronic age but I’ve gotta admit, when it comes to scheduling and to-do lists, I’m still a pen and paper kinda girl. I don’t know why that is. Maybe you can help me figure it out. I just know I like to see my plan in writing. I still do depend on my iPhone for reminders and recurrent events. Alright, so here’s a quick run-down on the calendars I currently use to plan my school year. You may find one that you like.
The Ultimate Homeschool Planner
**This is such a wonderful planner, I plan to do a separate blog post on it, with more details**
This is the first calendar I begin with when I start planning the school year. The month/date fields are not populated so I have to write them all in. The beauty of that is I decide when my academic year begins and ends. Once I’m done filling in the generic aspects of the calendar then I…
- Write in all major holidays and block out days or weeks (Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, etc.) that would affect our school day
- Once I’ve blocked out the major items then I see where I can block 36-40 weeks of school. (I aim for 40 because unexpected interruptions always arise and this gives me more than enough wiggle room; if I “finish” earlier, then hooray!!)
- I also do a six weeks on, one week off schedule. I block out those one week breaks as well.
- I fill in birthdays, anniversaries and other personal celebrations.
- I may insert a little Unit Study during the some holiday breaks just because unit studies are fun! For instance, a Thanksgiving Unit Study, or St. Valentine Unit Study or maybe a child’s interests may lead us to a Unit Study on horses or something. You never know! Tip: Unit Studies are also great when school starts to feel a little humdrum. (My fave website: www.unitstudy.com.
I love my dry erase Neu Year Calendar, it’s BIG, it’s BOLD, it’s in your face!! Ha ya! When I”m done with my Ultimate Homeschool Planner which is like my scheduling “mainframe”, I transfer all pertinent information to my “big boss” Neu Year Calendar so my husband and kiddos know what’s coming down the pipeline. I keep it in a central, visible spot so they all have a quick reference without having to ask me what’s coming up. Although, I have to say now that I”m writing this that I don’t think my hubby checks this calendar at all!! Lol. My boys do though and they use it to set-up their own monthly schedule with their Melissa and Doug Magnetic Calendar.
Melissa and Doug Magnetic Planner
This is really the kids calendar. They prepare the calendar each month, putting in magnets to remind of doctor’s appointments, holidays, celebrations, etc. You can read all about it here.
Where to Buy
- Ultimate Homeschool Planner (buy it here)
- NeuYear (buy it here)
- Melissa and Doug Magnetic Calendar (buy it here or here)
When Plans Go Awry
Ultimately, plans do go awry and although I could not efficiently plan my school year without my calendars, my Supreme scheduler is God Himself. For apart from Him, (I) can do nothing – John 15:5. Sometimes school weeks don’t go the way I envision for a myriad of reasons; the car breaks down, someone gets sick, someone calls on us for help…whatever it is, because we ask Him to direct our path daily, we trust He will put us back on track. My plans are good but don’t you know, His plans are the best!!
*Find more planner ideas and lots more here at Donna Young.
Your school year is probably under way already or you’re getting geared up. We start school on next week. I wanna know, how do you plan your year?