One of my biggest concerns when we were considering homeschool was how I would organize everyones work so that we actually knew what we were suppose to be doing. I am a complete mess when it comes to organizing anything. I organize and then two days laters it’s a complete mess again. I’m pretty sure that’s what sparked the look of complete terror on my husbands face when I originally mentioned that I thought we should homeschool.
I think this is probably a common concern for homeschoolers and people considering homeschool. When I tell people that we are homeschoolers there are a few things that most people ask – “How do you know what you are suppose to do? I could never be that organized!” I’ve heard that so many times since we started homeschooling and my first thought is I’M NOT ORGANIZED. As I was considering that thought this week I had to step back. Once again, I am amazed at what God has done with my fears and concerns. Planning our weeks has become a joy to me. Finding the perfect mix of our curriculum and activities to go along with them that I think each child will enjoy is one of my favorite activities.
The way I organize our schedule didn’t come easy. I tried quite a few methods before I found something that really worked for our family. I will tell you that my way doesn’t work for everyone. The most important part of organizing your homeschool day is finding something that works for your family.
The first thing I do before we start the year is schedule everything on Homeschoolskedtrack.com. This website is amazing. I’m not going to lie, it isn’t the most user friendly site at first. I had to watch all of the tutorial videos to figure everything out. Once you get everything input it’s easy peasy though. There are some amazing tools for tracking your school work, grades, and field trips. Honestly, I don’t use the grading part of the site but I think that will come in handy the older my kids get.
It took me a few days to input everything for 2 children. I created a list of subjects that we are going to work on and then input the outline for each subject. For example, in History we use Story of the World. We do one chapter a week each Thursday. So, I input each chapter in the subject and every Thursday that chapter is listed on our calendar. I don’t type out any details. I just type “Chapter 27 The Rise of Rome”. On Sunday afternoon after I print their schedule, I work out the details of each lesson.
When we complete the chapter I can mark it off and the next one will appear on our calendar. Many weeks we don’t get everything finished so it appears on our calendar the following week. That is the main reason that I love Homeschoolskedtrack. The program makes it so easy to reschedule things if you don’t get around to doing them.
Now, after everything is input for the year. YES! I said YEAR! I input our entire year for most subjects. I know that Lex does 2 math lessons each day so it’s easy to go through the table of contents and list them online.
Each week I print a small version of each child’s calendar so that I can punch them and put them in my Happy Planner. Friends, I love this planner! I’ve used a lot of different planners but this is it! It’s beautiful with thick pages so that ink doesn’t bleed through and my favorite thing about it is – you can buy a punch so you can insert whatever you like! That little fact right there wins it for me. There are lots of different designs but this is my favorite. And these planners are 18 month planners which a plus in my book too.
Each week I print each child’s schedule. Let me pause for a minute to say we do not always finish everything on the weekly schedule. In fact, we hardly ever do. So, on Sunday afternoon I go into Homeschoolskedtrack and check off everything we completed for the week and then print a new schedule for the following week. My youngest is doing PreK and Kinder work so I don’t usually print a schedule for him. I just write his 5 days out and then he does a lot of the work with my older two. For instance, he listens to all of their read a-louds, history and their art and science.
I love this planner because I can use it for every aspect of our family life. See the column on the left? I use that as a menu planner for the week. If it’s highlighted that means I’ve cooked it. (Did we seriously have tacos like every night that week???)
I use the weekly part of the calendar for activities and errand lists or phone call I need to make. I have tons of stickers to use to make it fancy but honestly I found that I don’t really use them much. It would be nice to make it look better but this seems to work for me.
Here is a closer look at the actual printed schedules for the week. The little card on top is the 4 year olds work. At the time we were using EasyPeasyHomeschool but we decided that he was a little more advance than I had originally thought so I moved on to some other work that I had. The page under that is a schedule printed at 65% via Homeschoolskedtrack. The kids love being able to highlight their work when they finish and it makes it very easy for me to check everything off on Sunday afternoons. It also makes it easy to see how much we’ve accomplished with a quick look.