5 Days of Tips for Homeschooling Parents: Planning

Welcome!  This week I’m joining my Crewmates for a cool blog hop: 5 Days of Tips for Homeschooling Parents.  Each day a bunch of my fellow Crew bloggers and I will be sharing our top tips for homeschoolers–where you’ll find everything from homekeeping and chores, to elementary/middle/high school students, to onlies and many children, to curriculum, and more!


5 Days of Tips for Homeschool ParentsI’ll be sharing 4 tips this week—here’s a list of what I’ll be sharing:

  • Planning
  • Exercise
  • Fun
  • Joy

I’ll be sharing a link at the bottom of the post so that you can see the many tips and topics my fellow Crew bloggers will be sharing, too!  But today, I’d like to share my thoughts with you….about planning, and why I think it’s important.

Why plan?

Unless you’re an unschooler (and maybe even if you are), planning can be a boon to your schooling life.  I’ve always used a planner of some sort.  I’ve used a web-based planner, printable planners, and spiral-bound planners.  The last ones have been the most effective ones for me.  But everyone’s got a favorite.

Planning is important for my personal organization, for ensuring that we cover all the subjects and curricula we need to, and for my son’s permanent schooling record.  I like to use planners that are laid out in a weekly fashion with a page column for each day, like the photo below:

My planner

How I’ve planned:

Are you a highly organized and ordered person, or are you more free-flowing?  This will determine how far in advance you do your planning.  I have used curricula which planned the entire year for me (bonus!).  But many fine curricula companies out there don’t sell every single subject you’ll be using; so while they may provide a lesson plan for their subjects, you’ll still have to slot the lessons into your own calendar.  So what works best for you; planning a semester, a quarter, a month, or a week at a time?

I have done each of these.  And, at different times, each one has worked well.  But there are really two keys for me:

  1. Plan your lessons at least a week in advance.
  2. Use pencil!

I do have to alter things after I plan them depending on how quickly we actually move through subjects after we start them.  But if I plan a week at a time, I can continually refer to the various subjects I’m teaching and be sure that we’re on a good track to finish them at the close of our school years.

And as for the pencil?  I adore my Zebra 0.5 mechanical pencil; it writes clearly and legibly, I don’t have to sharpen it, and it’s easy to hold.  Its only disadvantage for me is that I always use up the eraser before I use all the lead!

And not just lessons!

I try to plan a week’s worth of meals at a time as well.  Recently I’ve discovered freezer meals; specifically crockpot freezer meals that I can just pull out of the freezer in the morning and pop into the crockpot.  (Reynolds’ Crockpot Liners are essential for this!)  You can just take a day on the weekend and prepare 5-6 meals in an assembly line, adding proteins, veggies, and sauces to each bag.  Then you just close them with twisties, place them in the freezer, and your meal prep is essentially completed for the week!

Just do an Internet search for “freezer cooking” and you’ll see a plethora of links to tons of recipes.  I love this for the variety of meals and because I’m definitely more energetic in the morning….which can lessen my desire to cook in the evening!  (Of course coffee is my beloved friend as well. :))

Planning’s end result?

There are several blessings we experience from good planning on my part.  First, we have orderly days.  Next, we cover the subjects we need to….the 3 Rs and all the other extras!  Third, we have a record of our work, which will go on my son’s yearly report cards and portfolio/transcript.  Fourth, you have delicious and healthy meals every night.  And lastly—if you’re a person who loves to check items off your to-do list, you will be blessed every single day!

Other Crew blog posts

Our awesome TOS Chareen has divided all the Blog Hop bloggers into groups of 10, so that you have a chance to check around to see what other homeschool parents find useful for themselves. Today’s group is listed below–feel free to visit these amazing women for some great homeschooling tips!

Annette @ A Net In Time
Brandy @ Kingdom Academy Homeschool
Brenda @ Counting Pinecones
Carol @ Home Sweet Life
Cassandra @ A Glimpse of Normal
Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses
Cristi @ Through the Calm and Through the Storm
Crystal @ Crystal Starr
DaLynn @ Biblical Womanhood
Danielle @ Sensible Whimsy

And, you can visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog for more amazingness!

Enjoy! –Wren


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