Wednesday, August 16, 2017

My Top Ten Homeschool Planning Tips (5 Days of Back to Homeschool)

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Are you here for the Blog Hop! Welcome...This week, in honor of our 10th year homeschooling,  I'm sharing my Top Ten homeschool resources, school supplies and more! You can click here to get schedule for the week. 

It’s Day 3 of the 5 Days of Back to Homeschool Blog Hop! This time around I’m celebrating my 10th year of homeschooling by giving you my TOP TEN lists for a variety of topics.
Today we are talking about PLANNING and SCHEDULING. How do I keep the many wheels in my house a-turning.

Now here are a few things you need to know about me.
·         I am a planner
·         I can be spontaneous
·         Planners make me crazy (and not in a good way)
·         These bulleted points need some sparkle

Yup. I am a walking contradiction. I have been known to completely change course directions after a good cup of coffee in the morning.

“So we’re studying butterflies right now, but momma found this really cool unit on bullfrogs. Let’s do that for a while.” 

But let me tell ya! I sure had a good time planning that butterfly unit!  I had that butterfly unit planned down to the tiniest detail.  But, oh…those bullfrogs were calling!

So you can see that I have had to insert some discipline into my life concerning our homeschool habits. That being said I also appreciate the spontaneity of a homeschool classroom. We are able to follow rabbit trails if the rabbit looks interesting enough.

Are you ready to see how I’ve sorted all this mess out? How I make it through the day? Use what you can and then send the link to this post to your fruity homeschooling friend. I’m sure she’ll appreciate it.

1.       I have discovered the Bullet Journal. I get overwhelmed with most “planners” in general. They really never meet my needs.  Bullet Journaling gives me control over every aspect of planning. I don’t have to fit everything in a neat little box. I can choose to plan daily, weekly, monthly….I am in complete control on what goes down on that page. If you haven’t been introduced to Bullet Journaling yet…get acquainted.  Edie Wadsworth from Life in Grace (LOVE HER!) has an excellent video on bullet journaling. I have one for both my homeschool and my life.

2.       From the time Josiah has been able to read a little bit I have created for him a daily assignment list. It is simply a spiral notebook. Each day I open up a new page. I write the date on the top and list all of his school work PLUS household chores. I not only put independent work on the list, but subjects we are going to work on together. He is the kind of kid who thrives on knowing what comes next. He is more efficient and less likely to whine and complain. Now he has always been a really busy kid (ADHD!), but the assignment list helps him focus on what is expected of him.

3.       I HAVE to follow the rhythms of our church life (we are pastors), but I have also had to become very protective of our school time. This is hard for non-homeschooling folks to understand. I CAN’T drop everything and meet you for lunch. I CAN’T drop everything and have a chatty conversation on the phone. You CAN’T make plans with my son at any time. Just because he doesn’t get on the bus every morning to go a building doesn’t mean he isn’t being educated. I have to guard that school time. Now I’ve made some exceptions. He vacuums the church and then has breakfast with a sweet man from church every Monday morning. I consider that a precious and life building time for him. We simply do our work after lunch. Now that Josiah is older and in High School this means he has to make up the time or work on another day.

4.       I homeschool with a ROUTINE rather than a SCHEDULE.  I can’t watch the clock. The Schedule tells me that we can spend only 10 minutes making a geopolitical map of Greece. I might need 15! But a Routine allows us to adjust to interests, interruptions and downright catastrophes. How does this work? I simply make my list of “to-dos” … we know what subject is next or what needs to be done, but we don’t follow a set in stone time schedule.

5.       Menu Plans help me feed my family. I generally plan on a Sunday night and grocery shop on a Monday morning. I don’t have to be elaborate. Some weeks I plan the same types of meals from the week before. Sometimes all I write down is…”Help Yourself.” Which means the two men in my house have to scrounge around for their own vittles. But! At least I have a plan.

6.       15 minutes. If I am struggling to get something done…be it housework or a project…I set my timer for 15 minutes. I can get a lot done in 15 minutes.  I also use the timer for Josiah. Works like magic!

7.       I HAVE to prioritize my priorities. What is important to me? Am I spending too much time on Facebook or YouTube? Is my husband feeling neglected? Am I making my daily time with God a priority in my life or is He somewhere after all the other stuff I seem to add to my life.

8.       Is there a part of your day or a subject that you are approaching with fear and trembling? Have you heard this one? How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Sometimes you just have to pull up your big girl britches and DO THE THING! If there is a subject, task or project you are dreading….just grit your teeth and jump right in. It probably won’t be perfect. In fact, it probably will be messy and HARD. Just keep plugging away. Try different things. Insert humor or fun into whatever it is you are dreading. It probably won’t bite. Though I have my suspicions about math.

9.       Just because I waffle between the blessed spontaneity of my fruity personality and my love for all things planning doesn’t mean I don’t try and have a little structure. We mostly homeschool year round, but our summers are much, much lighter. I have a definite start date and then a definite end date….though I break up my homeschool plans into semesters. That way I can go back and put in days I know we are going to be out of town, fun days and holidays.  

10.   I try and make time for FUN. It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day routines and forget that we are living a life here. Not everything has to be fun.  But there should be plenty of nature walking days, cookie making days, movie watching and popcorn watching days, science experiment days and music making days. I try and make a seasonal bucket list. Last year we didn’t carve a pumpkin and do a pumpkin study.  We had just moved and I figured Josiah was getting too old to care. I was wrong! He made mention of it several times.  I have had to learn firsthand that we have to take time to enjoy those random, little moments in life.

So now you know all of my secrets. Tomorrow I will share with you some of my favorite ideas for Homeschooling OUTSIDE the home. 

All this week I am joining up with my friends on the Homeschool Review Crew for the 5 Days of Back to School Blog Hop. Check them out! They are so much more organized than I am.

Back to Homeschool Annual Blog Hop - 2017


  1. Love that you have been able to make bullet journaling work for you. - Lori

  2. I think I need to learn more about bullet journaling...

  3. Amen sista! I love your tips and I hear you about people calling during school time. Oy vey!

  4. Great tips! I do many of these myself. Especially the need to guard school time. My daughter is old enough to work very independently but I still need to block out school times during my day and do my best to be fully available for her, even if I'm doing something else at home. If that makes sense. LOL


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