If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the best homeschool planner is, then I’d recommend the Well Planned Day Homeschool Family Planner as the best one.
Homeschooling has been around for centuries, but it was only in the 1970s when it started to pick up. The number of homeschooling families has steadily increased every year. In 2016, there were approximately 2.3 million homeschooled children and this number has dramatically increased in 2019. This is because of the current health crisis and the mandate to stay at home.
More and more parents are taking on the role of teachers to their children. This is a huge development that has brought benefits to families all over the world. Homeschooling is a fulfilling, joyful privilege for both parents and children. It helps build stronger and deeper relationships as family members learn and grow together. But it does come with some challenges, especially for first-time homeschoolers.
Planning is a crucial part of homeschooling, but one most overlooked. Having a homeschool planner that meets your needs and fits your lifestyle is a good investment that will benefit you and the whole family.
Here are the Best Homeschool Planners we will be reviewing:
- Well Planned Day Homeschool Family Planner
- Erin Condren 8.5″ x 11″ Teacher Lesson Planner
- A Simple Plan Undated Spiral Homeschool Planner
- Maalbok 8″ x 10″ Academic Lesson Teacher Planner
- Ashley Fox Versatile Journal Homeschool Portfolio
What is a Homeschool Planner?
A homeschool planner is a tool used by a parent or teacher to organize all aspects of homeschool life. Being in charge of the child’s education, parents have the sole responsibility to ensure that everything is planned, recorded, and reported. This includes curricula, resources, lessons, grades, and legal documents. Having the best homeschool lesson planner will enable parents to document these important things.
This is also where a family’s homeschooling visions and goals can be written. Every family needs to identify this and abide by their set goals. This will help keep them in the right direction towards what they want to achieve as a family. Lesson plans and activity schedules, as well as essential data like grades and portfolios, can also be noted in the homeschool planner.
How to Use a Homeschool Planner?
The 2 aspects of homeschooling where a homeschool planner is most useful are planning and record-keeping.
Planning is one of the cornerstones of homeschooling. This is ideally done before the school year starts to give ample time for research, reflection, and preparation. When everything is planned well and given much thought, a child’s learning is facilitated. Established routines give parent-teachers and the children a sense of order. Many fail to understand this, and it leads to frustration and a waste of a lot of time, money, and effort.
Here are some of the main things to plan for in the homeschool:
Plan Your Curriculum
It is essential to first choose a method or curriculum that you want to use in your homeschool. This will determine everything else from schedule to lessons to resources to activities. Some famous methodologies are Montessori Method, Charlotte Mason Education, and Classical Education. I’m sure there are more, but what’s important is to choose one that you strongly believe in.
Once you select a curriculum, examine it side by side with the learning competencies set by your state and the Board of Education. This will help you properly plot out your child’s education (for grade school or until high school). It does not have to be exhaustive, a general overview is enough. A comprehensive list of learning standards per state can be found here.
Resources can then be identified and planned after. There is a wide range of educational resources available both in print and online. This can become overwhelming. Knowing what your child needs to learn in one school year will help you pick the materials to use. This includes books, manipulatives, websites, and programs.
Having daily lesson plans is good for structure and pacing. Lessons, supplementary activities, and comprehension assessments can be done daily.
Plan Your Schedule
One of the advantages of homeschooling is schedule flexibility. Homeschooling can be planned around the family’s lifestyle. It is important to schedule lessons with family events and occasions in mind.
- Annual Calendar – This will give you an overview of how your school year would look like and how many school days you’ll have in total. You can also plot your holidays and breaks and consider these as you plan lessons.
- Term or Quarter – You can divide your school year into 3 terms or 4 quarters. A term has 15 weeks whereas one quarter has 10 weeks.
- Weekly – Plan rotation of subjects, as some need to be done more often in a week than others.
- Daily – This can be scheduled according to your preference. Some options you can consider are morning lessons, afternoon lessons, time plotted schedule, block scheduling, and loop scheduling.
- Time plotted schedules have specific times determined
- Block scheduling has chunks or blocks of time like 20 minutes or 30 minutes per subject
- Loop Scheduling uses a list of subjects that need to be covered in a day. There is no specific time identified. Students start with the subject on top of the list and move down as they finish.
A good schedule provides order, discipline, and stability for your homeschool.
Record-Keeping ensures that a child’s learning progress and performance are registered as mandated by law. It is efficient to have one place where everything is kept to make it easier to pull up during submission time. Documentation comprises the following:
Portfolio and Grades
The portfolio is a collection of all the child’s written work, performance tasks, and quarterly or term assessments. Extracurricular activities like sports, music, and arts also need to be logged.
Learning can be measured in different ways. The 2 most common ways are by checklists and by rubrics. Checklists are lists of skills that you want your child to learn and are usually used in the early years. Rubrics are guides to score performance or learning. A rubric should have criteria and a rating scale.
A good rubric has 3-5 criteria that will specifically identify different levels of learning. An example of this is Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Implementation, and Analysis. The rating scale can be in number format (1-5) with an equivalent level of performance/mastery. The final grades and progress reports go into the homeschool planner.
It is the parents’ responsibility to comply with the legal paperwork for the children. Knowing the requirements of your state is crucial. This involves documents, mandated subjects, assessment requirements, and immunization requirements among others. If you decide to put your child back to regular school, having complete documents will make the transition process less stressful. Thankfully, the Home School Legal Defense Association website lists all you need to know about your state’s homeschool requirements. You can check it out here.
What to Consider in Choosing a Homeschool Planner
Every family is unique and this is also true in the area of homeschooling. Planning and organization differ to suit family dynamics and situations. These are 4 things to consider in choosing the best homeschool planner:
What do you want to achieve as you plan your homeschool? List the things you want to do. This may turn out to be a long list but you can narrow it down by selecting your non-negotiables. What is essential for you? What do you think are unnecessary and you can live without? Do you intend to use your planner solely for homeschool or will it also serve as a family planner?
Once you’ve identified your goals and non-negotiables, choose what features are necessary. Some planners have spaces for curriculum planning, reading lists, and lesson plans. Others may include an attendance tracker, progress report, grades, and record keeping. More comprehensive planners have pages for meal plans, chore assignments, and family schedules.
Knowing what you need will not only make decision-making easier but will also help you become more efficient as you do your tasks. It is also important to consider the number of kids you will be teaching. Some planners are designed for only 1 student. If you are teaching multiple kids, the flexibility of your planner is a major consideration. Will you be able to add inserts and more pages to suit your needs?
With the countless options available in the market, you have the freedom to choose what fits your personality and lifestyle the most.
- Print vs Online. Even though most planners are in print, there are also plenty of apps and programs for organization purposes. Some examples of digital planners are Notion, OneNote, and good old Microsoft Excel. While these are free to use, one is more prone to distractions as other apps or websites can be easily accessed. Print planners are handier and can be retrieved by other family members easily. Some parents prefer print, some prefer digital or online and others prefer to use both!
- Planner Sizes. This can range from pocket-size to size A4
- Vertical vs Horizontal Layout
- Decorative vs Minimalist. Some planners have themes and decorative fonts while others are plain and simple.
- Blank vs Pre-filled. Do you prefer planners with pre-filled dates and sections? Or do you want blank pages that you can customize according to your needs?
- Binding type. You may think this is silly, but the homeschool planner binding type matters. Ease in writing, durability, and flexibility can be affected by the type of binding you choose. These are the different types of binding:
- 3-Ring Binder – often customizable and can be DIY’d
- Spiral Notebook
- Disc – This type uses solid, disc-type binding. Samples can be seen in this helpful video.
- Bound – This can be sewn or glued and can either be softbound, hardbound or cloth-bound
Getting a homeschool planner does not have to cost an arm and a leg. What’s important is that it meets your needs and serves its purpose. It is worth investing in.
The Well Planned Day Homeschool Family Planner comes with a burst of surprises! One of the more detailed and nature-themed types, it is of great use for moms as it covers both home and school life! There is ample space for planning for up to 4 students in this planner. It also includes a monthly calendar, weekly lesson plan pages, attendance tracker, and grading logs.
The basic subjects (Bible, History, Language Arts, Math, and Science) are pre-listed. If you want to add more courses, extra spaces are available. This planner also contains pages for weekly menu planning, family activities, and to-do lists. Managing the home becomes easier and less time-consuming!
- The size of the planner is 8.5×11 so there is more than enough room to write on
- There are 256 pages and covers July 1st to June 30th
- Weight and thickness are just right, still making it easy to carry around
- The planner has convenient tear-out chore assignments and grocery lists
- Includes Christmas holidays planning pages
- This is a detailed and decorative type of planner, and may not be suitable for minimalists
- The pages have relatively dark colors
- The paper is not very thick and may not be apt for fountain-type pens as the ink may bleed through the paper
This beautiful, spiral-bound planner features 210 pages of homeschool organization tools that parent-teachers will richly gain from. With an overview of the year and 12 dated calendars, planning can be done from the yearly perspective down to the weekly lessons. There is also a wide array of attractive cover and interior designs available that teachers can choose from.
With a size of 8.5 x 11, there is more than enough space on each page and a provision for progress reports, communication logs, and lesson planning. Each planner comes with extra features like checklists, motivational quotes, productivity pages, and sticker sheets! Having these makes planning and organization not only efficient but also joy-filled.
- The high-quality paper is thick and resistant to ink bleeds
- The coil is made of high-quality aluminum
- The pages are designed to be personalized and customizable to fit your preference
- The planner has a pocket folder for notes and inserts
- The space between lines may be a bit small for some
With a modern farmhouse design, looking at this planner gives a sense of warmth and affection. The classy spiral coil and heavy-weight cover made of metal make it durable. It is a no-nonsense planner that has the basic things you need to plan school life. The tabbed sections include general family information, planning pages, and monthly calendars.
Families homeschooling multiple kids can benefit from this planner which is designed for up to 6 students! There are sample pages to give you an idea of how to maximize your space. Since the pages are designed, you have the freedom to decorate and embellish with your materials, like washi tape, stickers, and colored markers!
- The planner is basic and simple
- Has inspiring Bible verses on the inside cover
- The tabs make locating information much easier
- The planner is a bit wider than the regular US letter format with a size of 9.25 x 11
- The calendar pages don’t have enough boxes for months with 31 days
This dainty planner has a soft, flexible yet durable cover and is spiral bound with twin wires. It features a yearly overview, a general information page, special dates pages, monthly and weekly planning pages as well as motivational quotes. It is great to be able to plot out important events for the month and then zoom into the weekly schedules.
The 2-page layout gives a good preview of the weekly lessons and activities and has provision for a “brain dump” and important notes to be jotted down. The planner is stylish yet functional and meets the most important needs of any homeschool teacher.
- Each weekly layout has a place for notes, a 3-month mini-calendar for reference, and holiday reminders
- Features monthly and weekly pages for easy academic planning and scheduling
- The monthly view pages contain marked major holidays, note sections, and inspirational quotes
- Features weekly view pages that offer ample lined writing space from Monday to Friday for more detailed class planning
- It contains subject and timesheets of 9 colored columns for you to record your lessons daily
- The cover is soft to the touch and smooth interior pages are comfortable to write
- The planner does not include a grade recording section
- The monthly tabs do not stick out
Specifically designed for homeschool planning and portfolio recording, the Ashley Fox Versatile Journal Homeschool Portfolio is perfect for keeping track of tasks, projects, classes, co-ops, and activities like field trips and sports. It also has a section for reading logs, which encourages students to read books other than their required readings. What’s unique with this planner is that a section is provided solely for the student’s sample work and portfolio! This helps keep track of completed activities and learning progress.
- Features a flexible 12-month attendance tracker
- Features a two-page spread with space to track eight subjects and list materials used throughout the year
- Includes holidays, birthdays, and important dates conveniently next to your attendance log
- 8 subject spreads featuring Curriculum Checklist, Assignments & Assessments tracker
- Includes four additional lined pages to extend the work sample section, track additional requirements
- Includes a Child Work Samples section that features a variety of lined and unlined pages to keep your child’s completed work, photos, and notes
- The binding is not very secured because it is a paperback
Homeschool planning does not have to be a chore. It can be done excellently and successfully, and at the same time fun and joyful! Having a homeschool planner that meets your needs and fits your lifestyle is a good investment that will benefit you and the whole family.
The best Homeschool Planner I’d recommend is the Well Planned Day Homeschool Family Planner. Being able to do planning and organization for the home and school in a single planner is brilliant! This saves time and effort not only during the planning stage but more so during the daily grind when the hustle and bustle at home happens.