Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.
May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."
Last fall, after much frustration with my hopeless search of finding the right homeschool planner that works for my family, I finally gave up and created my own. And since the new school year is fast approaching (major ugh - I love the slow, laid-back days of summer!), I thought I would share my planning pages on my blog, in case you might be able to benefit from using it for your homeschool.
If you don't homeschool, I suppose this post won't interest you much... Sorry! But stay tuned for future posts that might actually apply to your life!
Since I'm a homeschool teacher who owes much of my homeschool know-how to other homeschool moms, I am all about sharing what works for me to possibly help others. We homeschool moms need to stick together and build each other up for the arduous (yet equally amazing, incredibly blessed) work that we have been called to undertake!
First of all, I made up a 2-page weekly teacher's planner, especially designed to use in a 3-ring binder so that you can see the entire week's assignments when both pages are face open together, like so:
For public use, I adapted my own personal version of this planner into a template with enough room for 4 students' assignments. There are 2 possible ways you can use this planner:
1. When you click "Download" below the page, it will automatically download as a PDF, which you can then print off and fill in the blanks using pencil or pen (pencil is always, always, always preferred because you'll often need to erase and change assignments). This is the more time-consuming method of using my planner pages because you will have to fill in all the necessary blanks each and every week.
2. The more efficient and personalized method: If you have Microsoft Word (or another similar word processor software), you can first click on "Scribd." below the page, which will take you to the Scribd.com website. Then click either "Download" at the top of the webpage, or "Download or Print" to the right of the page. Then choose the option "DOCX" and it will download to your Word software. You should then be able to "Enable Editing", which will allow you to type in information and revise the template however you want to suit your family's needs! So fun, right? Teacher nerd, here. Filling out my homeschool planner is one of my favorite things to do. Don't judge.
FYI: Scribd.com lets users upload, download, print, and share documents and more for absolutely free, no strings attached! Love, love, love Scribd.com.
Next, you'll need the Weekly Planner Page 2:
To use this page as a printable PDF or save as a Word document, follow the same instructions for Weekly Planner Page 1, above.
If you use the planner pages as Word documents, you can type in the subjects into the far left column. Then type in each student's assignments in the rows under each Day, with each child having their own row. As you can see, the small boxes to the right of each assignment "cell" are where you are able to write a check mark when the student completes that assignment. This is an easy way to keep track of what's been done and still needs to be finished during the crazy chaos of each homeschool day. Believe me, you will love filling in those check mark boxes and feeling the sublime pleasure of seeing them all filled in for the day! Because that means it's mom's free time. Whoo-hoo!
Also, if you don't have 4 students, you can delete however many extra rows there are for each subject and then you'll have more room to make the rows bigger or add more subjects.
Or if you have more than 4 students, you can either maintain 2 weekly planners for each week or delete a few subjects, which might give you enough room to add more student rows to the remaining subjects. It's very easy to revise. Play around with it a bit and see what you can come up with! Didn't I tell you how fun this was?!
Once my eldest child started 6th grade, I felt it was time to get him used to completing most of his individual assignments independently. We do a few subjects with all my children together, such as Bible, Bible passage memorization, history, science, health, music theory, and geography. Wow, I guess that's more than a few. Anyway, I wanted my middle schooler to have an easy, organized student planner page that would help him be more independent with his studies.
Here is what the independent student planner page looks like:
You can download this student planner page as either a PDF or word processor document, just like with the planner pages above.
Once again, there are check mark boxes, which the student checks off himself when finished with each assignment.
The first table, "My Daily Assignments", includes the assignments that must get done each day, such as Bible memory work, reading, and piano practice.
What I love most about this student planner is the second table, "My Weekly Assignments", which lists all the subjects that he can work on whenever he chooses, as long as he gets all assignments done by a certain time at the end of each week. Our family rule is that you must get all independent work done by 3:00PM each Friday or you will lose all "screen time" for the entire weekend. I don't even have to tell you that we've never had anyone break that rule.
So for example, one week he might want to do all his math lessons in 2 days, with none to do for the remainder of the week. Or all his grammar assignments in one day. You see, it's up to the student, which will prepare him for the independent study necessary in college. Mom's not helping out with college work. Sorry, kiddos. You're on your own by then.
The third table, "My Weekly Chores", lists that child's chores, when they need to be done, and check mark boxes for each day of the week.
The last table, "My Weekly Planned Activities", is like a calendar showing the child what day their special activities are on. It's especially helpful at the beginning of each semester or season whenever a new sport or class starts, so they won't have to keep asking mom, "What day is football practice again?"
Now remember, we teachers might meticulously write out our plans for each day, each week. But one of the most important lessons I've learned as a homeschool mom is to be flexible. Because life happens. God just may well have a different plan in mind for your family that day or week. As it says in Scripture:
Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.
You or a child might come down with an illness. Dad might decide to work from home for the day (no school work's getting done when fun Daddy's home!). An impromptu field trip, visit with friends, or a last-minute getaway vacation might present itself. And there goes that week's schedule!
That's when the pencil and its eraser come in handy. Use it. Embrace it. Flexibility is one of the best benefits of homeschooling. So don't fill out your planner like you're chiseling in stone. I advise only filling in 2 weeks or so at a time. That way you won't have to erase a whole lot, because what homeschool family is going to choose a day's worth of schoolwork over a spontaneous trip to Grandma's house if the opportunity arises? Not this homeschool family!
Please let me know in the Comments section below if you find my planner pages helpful in your homeschool or if you have trouble downloading or using with it your word processor software. And I'll see what I can do to make any necessary adjustments. Thank you!
May God richly bless your 2013-2014 school year!