Plan a School Year in Five Steps

Planning our homeschool journey is by far my favorite thing to do each year. There is something heavenly about dreaming of the future. What goals do we want to achieve as a family, for each of my children, and for goals do I have for myself?

Every year I build a planner for the year. When I first started homeschooling, I simply printed a monthly calendar and made notes at the bottom of each month. Over the years I graduated to printing planners and placed them in binders or purchasing one that was ready to use.

Planning the year does not have to be complicated. You need a calendar that covers July to June so that you don’t have to change to a new calendar in January. You want someplace to list goals, keep track of events, activities, field trips, etc. I liked to put together a year at a glance so that I could plan how I was going to cover all the math lessons, science lessons, or writing activities before the end of the year. I also wanted a weekly calendar so that I could go into more detail of what I hoped we would accomplish during the week.

Over the years, I also kept a list of books we read during the year, community service hours, a record of major milestones, scores on standardized tests if we took them that year, chore charts, fitness records, or anything else that I wanted to keep track of.

  1. I’d start with a yearly calendar and mark the weeks that I plan to have school.
  2. I’d write down some goals for each child.
  3. I’d pick appropriate curricula for the goals.
  4. I’d work on portioning out the curriculum throughout the year.
  5. I’d consider what grades I needed to keep track of and create a system for that.

The beauty of these planners is that after 20 years of homeschooling, I still have each of the planners I made. I am notorious for sticking various pieces of paper in my planners. I have tickets for field trips we went on, pictures that my kids drew for me, a scripture verse that we were memorizing, a graded math test here and there, and maybe even a paper one of my kids wrote that I thought to keep or maybe forgot to give back to them.

Now, these planners are a time capsule. I can look back at what we had done each year and reflect on all that we accomplished so that I can plan for the next year. Remember that you control the planner, the planner doesn’t control you. Sometimes you realize that you aren’t headed where you wanted to go. Then it’s time to adjust the plan and aim again for your desired target.