How you plan out your homeschool week will depend on many factors. The curricula you use, your educational methods, your personality and your kids’ personalities will all affect what your weekly planner looks like (or if you use one at all).
I’ve always considered myself a planner connoisseur (yes, I’m aware I’m a nerd). But when it comes to our weekly school planner, I’ve found just using a very basic spreadsheet for each of my kids works best for us.
I used to make one for myself, too. But I got sick of writing everything twice (once in the kids planners, plus again in my own). I found I rarely even looked at mine throughout the day. The kids and I just referenced theirs to see what was done or left to do.
At the beginning of the year, I print out enough blank week-templates for the whole school year and have them spiral bound into a planner for each of my kiddos. During the school year, I take about 30 minutes each weekend to fill out the To Do Lists for my kids for the week ahead.
I’ll apologize in advance… this post doesn’t have very interesting pictures (unless you like looking at the same sheet of yellow paper from different angles). Nevertheless, here’s a detailed look at my weekly homeschool planning process.
How to Plan Your Homeschool Week: A Step-by-Step Guide
The first thing I do is write what week it is (we typically have 36-week school years). The kids like to keep track of it plus it helps me plan lessons. You can see more about how I plan out and number the weeks in this post.
Easy peasy, right? We’re off to a great start!
Before I add any school work, I check our family calendar and add in any activities or events for the week. This helps me see which days are already busy so I don’t try and pack too much into one day.
Mondays we have our full-day co-op so I don’t schedule any other school work (apart from music, reading and Bible).
Checking my calendar, I see we also have a park date with friends on Tuesday afternoon, so I’ll try to make Tuesday a lighter day so we’re completely done before lunch.
Wednesday and Thursday we only have evening activities (soccer, AWANA and band) and nothing is planned yet for Friday. So we’ll have more time for school work during those days.
Now for the actual school work.
We’ve already got the basics on our template. Things like “5+10” (that’s 5 minutes of Bible reading together, plus 10 minutes of individual Bible study) or piano and drum practice, happen every day. The rest changes each week so I write it in by hand.
Once I have the groundwork laid, I add in the most time-consuming subjects first. For us, this means history and science. Each of these are subjects we all do together, usually two times per week.
Note: I learned early on that disaster ensues when we attempt to do every subject every day. So, mainly to preserve my sanity, we started focusing on these time-consuming subjects for longer chunks of time but fewer days per week. We’ve had much smoother sailing since then!
Filling in our history and science work is usually pretty straightforward since I complete my lesson planning over the summer. I create a spreadsheet with the details (books, activities, supplies needed, etc.), so during the school year I can just “open and go.” You can get a glimpse of my lesson planning spreadsheet in this post where I share how I plan Story of the World history for the year.
This year, we’re also doing creative writing units together and they can sometimes be lengthy. So I add this subject to the list next in case there are any bigger assignments for the week.
At this point, the planner page looks like this:
Once I get to this point, I’m usually pretty happy since the hardest part is over. All that’s left are the subjects that are quick and/or that my kids can work on independently.
Our read-aloud right now is Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder, so I just add that in on days when I think we’ll have time.
Math is another super-easy subject to plan ever since we started using CTC Math. It’s an online program and I let my kids pick which lessons they want to work on. I just write “CTC” and they know that means to work on the next couple lessons. On Fridays we do a review quiz and they print it out for their binders.
Subjects like Spelling, Grammar, Vocabulary and Logic are very easy to plan since we just do the next lessons in our curricula. I shift these around depending on the overall busyness of each day, but there’s not much more to it than that.
My oldest is using Fix It! Grammar (IEW) and it’s worked well for us to assign it at the beginning of the week, letting him decide which day(s) to work on it (that’s what the little arrow means in the picture for Tuesday’s grammar). As he gets older, I plan on doing this for more subjects so he can start organizing his own time. Life skills for him, less work for me… win-win!
If you’re curious about what curricula we’re using this year, check out Our Curriculum Choices – Year 7 for more details.
Once one To Do list is done, it’s pretty quick work to fill in the other kids’ lists since half of it is the same – I can just copy from the one I already did.
Finally, I gather any worksheets or supplies we need for the week. By using strategies like notebooking/journaling (for science) and pre-printing worksheets over the summer (for history), I’ve been able to drastically cut back on the weekly prep work I have to do.
After everything is ready, I pat myself on the back and go have a congratulatory bowl of cereal. By planning the school week in advance over the weekend, I’ve helped make future-me a less-frazzled mom.
Even if your planner doesn’t look like this one, or even if your family’s list of subjects isn’t the same as ours, this general strategy can still work for you.
Start with what you know (the week number or date, and your planned activities). Then add in the big ticket subjects first (the ones that take up a lot of time). After that, you can fill in the remaining work.
Get your homeschooling ducks in a row before your week starts. “Future You” will thank you!
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