This is not my first rodeo. I've been making my own planner for the past 3 years now.
My first year of homeschooling I bought a planner. Rather I got one for free! Which by the way you can do do coming up here during the summer months. Lakeshore Learning offers a free Lesson Plan Book (a $6.99 value) with a $20+ purchase with coupon code:
But after that first year things seemed to get more complicated as we started Calvin into school on days when he was not in preschool. And when he was in school with us last year all year round there were times when I thought I was going to lose my mind.
Y'all goin' make me lose my mind, up in here, up in here...
Not so much them (well yeah, them) but the whole coordinating two schedules and two learning styles and two curriculums together.
Not cool, man, not cool.
Fortuntely I persevered, figuring if brave Momma's could homeschool 6 children all at the same time then by golly I've got to be able to figure this out.
And so I did...well, kinda. Enough that I can squeak by.
This year was like every year and about May I started itching to get planning for the next school year. See, it's not enough to just plan but I wanted it down on paper. I wanted to know how many days we were going to do school and when. How I was going to break up the lessons each year.
I'm not going to lie, this year has not been pretty when it has come to school. There were stretches of weeks that we simply didn't even do school. Yikes, that was a scary sentence to write. I counted watching Bill Nye, the Science Guy, as our science time. Listening to our memory work CD in the car on the way to the doctors office counted as history. I would call it bottoming out for us.
But we've made it, we are back on track as we are nearing the end of our homeschooling "adventure" of the year and I am bound and determined to succeed at this next year. And for me...that means having it all planned out.
Last year I started planning and then got all groovy-hippy about it. Saying "it will all work out man" or "we'll plan as we go."
Ya, no. So I am ending the year because of that with March Shamrock numbers still on the wall calendar and still having to look at my cheat sheet of what goes in what bin because I made their workboxes so dang complicated.
Oy' with the poodles already!
But anyway, I've made a planner, which was what this post is supposed to be about. My son has ADD and occasionally I get some on me and get distracted.
As I was saying...I made a planner. And I wish I could share it with you except it sucks. I mean, bad sucks. So if you are wanting to make your own planner, my advice to you would be to go to Microsoft Word and make a chart. Then twist and turn and configure those little squares until you get it to look like you want. That's what I did. I then printed 40 of the first page off. We here in Indiana have to have 180 days of instruction. That equals out to 36 weeks of 5 day weeks to you and me. I make a few extra for wonky weeks and such. I then take one of those out of the pile (that's the first week) stick the pile in the printer and print the second page on the backs of them and on one blank piece of paper.
This year was very bare bones. I made the weekly planner pages and printed off about 8 pages for notes. I found this really cool template to print from Erica at Confessions of a Homeschooler. You can print it off from her blog planner here!
Does anyone else follow her? I just love her, she's always so cheerful and helpful in her posts. She definitely inspires me to be better when I am having a blah homeschooling week. If you haven't read her blog you definitely should start!
I use these pages just to jot things down randomly...books needed, notes, things to buy, etc. It's nice to have paper to just scratch your notes on.
Every year I make a different cover for my planner. I found this one on Pinterest. Isn't it just the cutest? I'm thinking of writing a verse with a gold paint marker on the front but I just haven't decided which one.
I'm sure you're all on the edge of your seats about that, right?
To make sure the quality is good for the cover I have it printed at Staples on cardstock.
When all of that is done I take the rest of it to Staples too and for about $3.00 they bind it, put a shiny protective cover on it and a heavy plastic back on it. It's really nice. I would love to give you the exact amount but this year their computer kept eating my order but sending me an email it was ready. So after the third time it finally worked and they gave it all to me for free due to inconvenience. Isn't that just the sweetest thing? Whatever the amount, it's pretty cheap.
Whenever I bring my planner home it feels like a big day! I always get special pens for the new notebook and start filling her in. I'm sure it's a very secret system I've got going on here but Blue is for Cal's work, Pink is for Emma's and black is for things that they both will do together. I should make cipher's right? :)
The way that you fill the planner in varies from person to person. For me every year I've filled in the first couple of weeks and then left it blank. I figured life would happen and I'd have to move everything anyway so I might as well not even bother filling it in.
But this year I decided enough was enough. No more having 30 lessons of grammar and 27 of math left at the end of the year to try to get done during the summer.
So I figured out the number of school days I needed, printed off a calendar (which I should have bound into the sucker but it's fine...I'm just taping it in the front of the planner.
This next year we are going to do year round homeschooling. So I mapped out the entire year with at least a day off every month and holidays and other dates noted.
I then (and still am!) took the children's lessons for various classes, figured out how many they need each week to be done by the end of the year and marked them in the book. For the children's grammar I figured out I need 3 lessons a week to finish in 36 weeks so I was able to figure out where those were.
The kids have piano lessons and a three hour gym class every Monday so that is what I have made a super light day...no math or grammar needed on those days I now know is needed and that will make it a lot easier to get through everything needed to on those days.
Basically every year I have tried to start my year off on the organized foot but never this organized. I always have good intentions and then it seems to slide backwards into a living hell of chaos and confusion.
But this year I have decided never again. I am over planning and planning and planning some more. By doing this I am ensuring that I have everything in place for each week and that I have fun lessons and projects planned for each subject every week.
I hope that that helps to explain how I do things around here with my planner. I do have a few links you can check out that will be helpful in constructing your own planner:
Be sure to check out my Pinterest Board: Planner DIY!
Real Life at Home has some good planning posts
and while this isn't entirely about a planner Meet Penny has some amazing planning posts!
I hope this was all helpful! Please let me know if you have any questions about what I have done. I'd love to hear what you do for your planner every year. Happy planning :)