A Homeschool Planner is an important tool for the homeschool teacher. Since you will be using your homeschool planner all year long, it is important to choose a planner that suits your needs and personality. This one stop guide will help you compare homeschool planners, teacher planners, print your own planners, online planners, and creative planners.
Pre-Printed Homeschool or Teacher Planners
If it is your first year teaching, you may want a planner geared for homeschoolers that gives you a little guidance on how to fill in those big blank pages. You may want to check out three of the most popular planners that are made with homeschool families in mind.
The Well-Planned Day If you are looking for one planner to plan both your homeschool and home life, this planner has you covered. So much is done for you that you just need to fill in the blanks. This planner is dated, so make sure you buy the planner that corresponds to your school year.
The Ultimate Homeschool Planner If you want a homeschool planner that integrates journaling--especially faith based journaling--into your planning, you may want to check this planner out. This planner is also undated, so you can start using it the week it comes in the mail.
A Simple Plan Of the three homeschool planners I have mentioned, I have only used A Simple Plan, which is an excellent quality planner. The paper was nice and thick and it had a sturdy cover and dividers. It has a page for everything I could possible want to record and plenty of open ended note taking pages, too. As far as I know, it is only available on the Mardel site. This planner is dated, so make sure you buy the planner that corresponds to your school year.
As a side note, each of these planners comes with a coordinating student planners, too.
You can also adapt a teacher planner for your homeschool, which is what I am currently doing. I like planning in a book, but I find that I can save a little money and shelf space by using a thin teacher plan book. I am currently using a Blue Sky Teacher Planner which I got on sale last year at the beginning of the school year. I like the colorful pages and slim design. It also has a nice pocket to store the unique record pages that I need to homeschool in my district and the pages that are unique to my family's homeschool. The cover and dividers are nice and sturdy without being bulky. As another benefit, it also has zero pages that I have to tear out because they are specific to public school teachers. I will probably purchase it again next year.
Build Your Own Homeschool Planner
The internet abounds with free printable resources and you could search and find and print what you need for the cost of paper and ink. After printing your planner, you would just need to bind your pages in a binder or have it professionally bound at a print shop.
The idea of building my own teacher planner appeals to many because they like the idea of having unique, custom made planner.
However, if you don't like the bulk of a binder and don't like the idea going to an office store to have my planner bound, custom making a planner probably wouldn't work for you. I know that I would probably have all the pages printed up and ready to go at the beginning of the school year and by the end of September they would be a mess. So, while I am playing around with designing my own weekly planning pages that would work with my homeschool, unless I really love them, I know that I will probably buy another Blue Sky Teacher Planner or invest in a homeschool planner like A Simple Plan again.
Use a Bullet Journal and Customize as You Go
I have to admit that I am very tempted to buy a large dot journal and create a planner as we journey through the year. The idea of getting out my markers and washi and making a weekly layout appeals to my creative side. I love my bullet journal for my personal life. It is flexible and fun to use and really doesn't take that much time to set up.
One of the benefits of bullet journaling is that you can have everything in the same spot and plans, reflections, and lists flow together very organically. When I flip through my bullet journal, it is a very accurate reflection of my days.
However, I learned the value of having a pre-dated and formatted teacher planner ready to go this year when we had a major family emergency. I was so glad that I everything was ready for me to just fill out. My record keeping didn’t suffer because everything was laid out. I simply had to fill in the blanks and it only took minutes.
You can read more about using a bullet journal for homeschooling here, here, here, and here.
Read about more strategies that save me in difficult times in this post: Homeschooling on Autopilot
Digitize Your Planning With an Online Planner
Some homeschoolers keep their plans on their phone calendars so they always have their plans with them. This works great for homeschoolers who are always on the go and need to always have their lesson plans with them. There are also several online planners that you can subscribe to.
Planning online helps to keep your paper clutter to a minimum—and in the event of a fire or flood, your records would be safe. Online planners often let you print out assignment sheets for each student and keep records for you also. If you are interested in researching online planners, be sure to check out Homeschool Tracker, Homeschool Skedtrack, Planbook, and Planboard.
You can also use an notetaking program like Evernote or Microsoft OneNote. Here's a nice overview of crafting lesson plans on Evernote and another way to use Evernote as a lesson planning tool. Here's an overview on using OneNote as a planner. One of the benefits of using Evernote and OneNote is that you can link to videos, images, website, and sound files directly in your lesson plans.
If you are in a state or district that requires that you turn in records annually, using an online planner will help you turn in records that look professional.
No Matter Which Planner Type You Choose...
Don't forget that the most important part of choosing a planner is choosing a planner that you want to to keep records in. It may take a few years to find the planner that works for you.
What kind of planner do you like to use?