We are THIS CLOSE (y’all can see my fingers nearly touching, right? :D) to wrapping up our final week of the school year. Whenever we approach this time I’m so relieved to pack up the books and paper and take a breather for a while. This year we are quite literally packing up the books as we move in less than 3 weeks!
Though we never fully and completely take the summer off from school (we do like to keep up with our math a few days a week, as well as enjoying some different nature studies and of course, as much reading as possible!), it’s so necessary for all of us to just relax from the break neck pace of the school year and enjoy simply being together.
Once we’ve had a chance to catch up on some sleep, rest and reset our brains, and are finished with sitting around and doing almost nothing (I’d say about 2 days into summer break – amiright? :D) we dive into some fun summer activities. Along with actively enjoying the outdoors and time together, my brain already starts getting back into planning mode. And what does every homeschool mom need but a fantastic planner as her accomplice.
Homeschool Planners for Homeschool Moms
With the advancement of technology, making and keeping lists and schedules has become quite a handy and convenient task. Though I will admit that more times than not, I’m a pen and paper kind of gal, there are definite benefits to using an online planner / list maker / scheduler.
For one thing, having your plans mapped out online makes it pretty much impossible to lose them. For another, you can set reminders and not have to worry about forgetting a class or appointment unless your phone or computer dies. Also? It tracks everything for you, to infinity, and beyond! Or at least, for as long as you’re using the program.
In this post I’m going to outline a few of the best options (in my opinion) for homeschool planners for moms – including both pen and paper and web-based options. I’d love to hear what your favorite planners are so be sure to let me know comments!
Online Homeschool Planners
I consider myself a traditionalist. I’m resistant to change and prefer to take the traditional route with many things (like making bread from scratch, making our own wipes, gardening – oh wait, I hate gardening :p).
What does this really mean? I’m stubborn and like to do things the way they’ve always been done :D
This is funny because my husband is in technology advancement and likes to technologize a lot of our life. Which has been really great, helpful, fun and convenient in so many ways! But when it comes to online schedules, planners, lists and tracking, I’m a bit of an ornery old woman about it.
That said, I’ve had some time to check out a few online planners, and slowly but surely, I think I’m beginning to see the light and understand the draw. With 4 children who are or will be homeschooled, having a self-populating schedule that tracks everything (including my student’s completed work) is mighty tempting.
Not to mention as our kids get older we’ll have the need to start keeping track of marks and work that has been accomplished for their high school transcripts (yikes!).
All of this is enough to make my head swim! So though I’ve not converted (yet!) to using the online homeschool planners full time, these are the ones I would definitely recommend if you’re considering going this route.
As far as homeschool planners go, Homeschool Planet is one of the easiest I’ve seen to set up and learn how to use. At the beginning it may seem a bit daunting, but when you think about the big picture of what you’re accomplishing using an online daily planning tool, whatever effort you put out will be returned a hundred-fold.
Why? Because instead of being lost in your lesson plan, you’ll have the plan accessible to you wherever you are. Instead of spending hours scheduling or rescheduling, at a click of a button (on the simplest scale of how it all works), your schedule is done for you. Assignments, grades, chores, appointments – everything in one place, anywhere you are, tracked for all time (ok, that’s a little bit scary, but I think you see my point :D).
Plus, it allows you to combine not only your school schedules, but your regular, church, work and activity schedules as well!
Scheduling options with Homeschool Planet include customizing the classes, students, assignments (repeating or individual), days and times at which they occur. If you miss a day you can easily drag and drop it to another time, or combine lessons together.
Calendar and schedule views can be daily, monthly, weekly, or by groups of months together (plus, they’re also fully printable for us traditional folks who like a paper copy :D). Your students can also login and access their calendars, and mark assignments when completed.
Even though our kids are still pretty young, they love getting their assignments graded – as long as they get everything right, otherwise they’re quite upset! Yes, we’re still working on accepting and learning from our mistakes :D Using Homeschool Planet makes it easy to determine and keep track of their grades.
This is another great option for an online-based homeschool planner. We did a full review of Homeschool Minder‘s program a couple of years ago. It was a little more than what we needed to use at the time, but if you’re planning out multiple schedules in a week and keeping track of grades, this is an awesome program!
In a nutshell, Homeschool Minder allows you to set up separate students with their subjects and required work to be completed on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, then keeps track of their grades and scores as you enter them. Drag and drop subjects onto different days as needed, print reports of your students’ progress and a calendar of any upcoming events. Each student can also login to see their own schedules online and check off their work as it is completed.
These are your pen/pencil and paper, old-school options for writing and erasing those schedules! While they may be cumbersome and there’s the potential to lose your planner, they are also gorgeous accessories (and what woman doesn’t love accessories?!) and just plain straight up easy to use.
My mom always had her planner with her everywhere she went (and she still does!). With 4 kids, work and homeschool schedules to coordinate, she was the queen of organizing our routines!
I, on the other hand, have hummed and hawed over so many different kinds of planners for years but have never made the jump or decision to just purchase one. I think this year it’s time to make a change and get everything out of my head and on paper.
By far the prettiest and maybe coolest planner I’ve seen is the Erin Condren Life Planner.
There are so many options to choose from with Erin Condren, you really can’t go wrong! The layout of the planner is customizable, leaving you plenty of room to add multiple events and notes to each day.
There are also many options for color coded page and planner accessories, which are especially helpful if you’re coordinating multiple schedules.
Aren’t the covers just loverly?!
If you order the 2016 planner now, you’ll get the rest of 2015 included for only $5 more!
While these planners are a bit more on the expensive side, I’ve heard nothing but good things from the busy moms who use and love their Erin Condren planner, so I do believe it would be a worthwhile investment for decluttering your brain and keeping your schedule straight.
Debra Bell Ultimate Homeschool Planner
Another traditional planner I’ve heard talked a lot about is Debra Bell’s Ultimate Homeschool Planner.
This planner takes the daily/weekly schedule to a whole new level for homeschoolers! As any homeschool mom will tell you, one of the beauties of homeschooling is flexibility. But as a Type A homeschool mom, changing and re-changing the schedules, or crossing out / moving activities or subjects that weren’t finished to another day is enough to make you want to cross your eyes, stick your tongue out and cackle madly (please tell me I’m not alone in this feeling?).
Thankfully, Debra’s planner allows you to easily change and add things as you go along, so you don’t have a complex if you get a week behind in your school because someone got sick.
She also includes a student planner to help your children stay on track and not have to worry about them constantly asking you the next thing to be done. Independent learning training is so important!
For our very basic homeschool planning the last couple of years, we’ve been using Homeschool Creations weekly homsechool planner. This planner is great because it’s both an editable PDF, or you can print the blank sheets and fill them in yourself (best of both worlds!).
It also includes preschool planning sheets and ideas, as well as attendance, to do and shopping lists, field trips and test tracking. If you need a basic, straight-up simple planner, this is the one you want!