I’ve just ordered all our books for my son E’s 6th grade year and I’m just about ready to start planning. While I could do it all on paper, I like to have our entire year planned and saved electronically using an online tracker. I can hear the groaning already, “The entire year?!?!”
Yep! I’m a planner and a list type of girl, but I like to combine (to me) what is the best of both worlds. An online tracker for our year and then a paper planner (made from Pam’s awesome forms found in Plan Your Year and Auto-Pilot) to hold the current week of lessons in a list format.
We may not get to everything, and we adjust when needed during our weekly reviews and as we get to designated checkpoints during the school year, but our 6th grade year will be planned out and ready to pick up and follow (on autopilot), easy peasy.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. While I like the look of all those fancy, artsy planners, they just didn’t work for me. I’m not very creative. At the same time, writing a year’s worth of lesson plans in said planner wasn’t going to work either and I needed them to be on my computer. If I need to edit or move something around, it’s easy to change a date in the program and not have tons of cross-outs and rewrites on paper.
Planning the entire homeschool year doesn’t have to be complicated!
There are a number of steps before you get to lesson planning in the book and/or course but this post deals with the lesson planning portion. This is what I’ve found to be the most time consuming step, but also worth it because it truly puts my year on autopilot. I use Homeschool Tracker for my lesson planning, but you could use any online tracker or even an excel spreadsheet.
Pam talks about The Easy Lesson Plan List. The curriculum we use provides a weekly grid for the entire year. I love the grid as an outline but some of our lessons need to be broken up into multiple readings during the week. I take each resource and either put it into its own lesson plan or group them together by subject, i.e.: Spanish or history gr5. You can put as much or as little information as you want. I usually go detailed indicating what week it’s scheduled, the topic covered and the chapter/pages to be read.
This is an example of this year’s Spanish…
Once everything is arranged the way I like it in the calendar, I print off our daily tasks and use that in my paper planner to keep track of what assignments we’ve done.
Homeschool Tracker gives the option of printing by date or by subject. For our week, I print it out by date, and the assignments are listed in the order I have them set. It’s easy to give it to my son and he can check off what independent work he has done for the day. If something comes up and we have to stop, it’s easy to come back and we just do the next thing on the list.
At the end of the week, during my weekly review, I can go through the list online and check off everything we have completed. Then I download the completed list by subject to my computer for our portfolio.
Despite what you may think, using an online homeschool planner is flexible.
While I do have the subjects listed by date, we’re not tied down to it. We check them off as we do them and if something gets moved forward I’ll make a note of what date it was completed on our paper tracker. When I go back to the online tracker, I can just check it off as done, or easily drag and drop it to the date and block we did it in and check as done there. It can be as flexible as you need it to be.
You can schedule out as far ahead as you want in the calendar but I only do one or two weeks at a time. It’s easier to re-schedule one or two weeks of assignments rather than months at a time.
And that’s it! Our entire year planned, on autopilot and ready to go using Homeschool Tracker. I print out what I need for the upcoming week and into my planner it goes with the rest of the amazing forms that Pam provides with Plan Your Year and Put Your Homeschool Year on Auto-Pilot. Like I said, the best of both worlds.