How to Successfully Homeschool Without a Homeschool Planner

Some homeschool families can easily use and abide by a homeschool planner. I’m not that type of homeschooling mom. Using a planner with our lifestyle simply adds more headaches and frustration to our lives. We’ve learned to homeschool successfully without a planner, and you can, too!

Homeschool Planner Pop Quiz

Raise your hand if you can answer “yes” to any of these questions:

  1. Do you love beautifully planned days, but feel like a failure when things go off the rails?
  2. Do you feel pressured to fill in a planner and live by it?
  3. Do you want freedom and peace in your homeschool planning?

If you can answer “yes”, keep reading!

How to Successfully Homeschool Without a Homeschool Planner

My background is teaching and I’ve been taught how to make stellar lesson plans. I’ve had them graded and enhanced, and had to assign standards to each lesson. When we started homeschooling, I had the perfect little homeschool planner and made daily lesson plans. I had each section of our day planned to the minute. My plan book would have made any principal happy.

We were miserable. I was working under the assumption that were doing school at home. At that point, I had one child in Kindergarten, and I learned quickly that we had to account for the whims of a two-year-old, a new baby, and real life. This mama was stressed out by all the pretty little boxes and no one was happy.

We were homeschooling to add a love of learning and curiosity to our children’s lives. If we were going to have peace and freedom in our schooling, my pretty little homeschool planner had to die a quick death!

I killed our planner almost a decade ago, and we’ve gone on to have a successful, amazing adventure. We’ve finished curriculums, conquered learning struggles, and we’ve fully embraced the concept of a learning lifestyle.

Do you seek a way to live without the planner and still succeed in homeschooling? I have several thoughts to help you simplify your planning and free yourself from those little boxes.

The Foundation for Living Without a Homeschool Planner

1. Change your education paradigm.

You can’t look at homeschooling as a lifestyle of school simply done at home. You’re responsible for educating children to make them functional adults. You are not responsible for making them do everything their traditionally schooling counterparts are doing through all 13 years of schooling.

Typical classrooms have to plan and adjust to fit a certain amount of learning into a prescribed time-table. As a homeschool parent, you don’t have to adhere to that schedule. You have the freedom to determine what is necessary in your individual student’s course of learning. You can choose to mimic the typical school style of learning. On the other hand, you can change your education paradigm and choose a lifestyle of curiosity and learning.

A lifestyle of learning simply means that you focus on finding learning opportunities in everything you do. You’ll model curiosity and investigation in every step of life for your kids. If you choose this lifestyle of learning, you’re not going to be able to sit down and assign common core standards to everything you do in your days. However, you’re going to have kids who continue to grow and learn far beyond the textbook and worksheets. You’ll see kids embrace creativity. In addition, you’ll see an education that goes far beyond what any classroom ever could give your child.

2. Set your priorities.

As you move away from the planner, you’re going to need to know what your educational priorities are for your students. In our home, the priorities are language arts and math. If nothing else in our designated curriculum is accomplished on a school day due to the rest of life, those are the lessons we focus on.

Visit This Crazy Homeschool Life to learn more about setting your priorities and designing your Homeschool Mission Statement.

How to Plan Without a Homeschool Planner

1. Get ready to read!

This is another place where you’re going to model learning for your students. Read the books you want them to read. If you’re using textbooks, read them as well. When you’re familiar with the materials, you don’t need detailed planning. You know what’s coming next.

2. Create an overall yearly plan.

For each child, write down your curriculum decisions each year.

First, cover what is required by your state. For us, we have to teach math, reading, language arts, science, and history. Make the required subjects your focus, then decide on a few extra subjects you want to add. We’ve chosen to add things like Bible, STEM, SAT studies, photography, and several more, mostly at different times.

3. Make it work for your family.

Once you have your over-all plan, familiarize yourself with each subject. Look through the scope and sequence for each curriculum choice, then make sure you know how to make the curriculum work for your family. Decide how you’ll keep track of where your student is in the curriculum.

For each subject, make any copies or gather any supplies and have them on hand before the year starts. My favorite way to get everything ready for the year is to spend a couple of nights copying and sorting after bedtime.

4. Keep moving forward.

Start the year at the beginning of the curriculum and simply work your way through the lessons at your child’s pace. Making lesson plans is not needed, as you now have all materials on hand, everything copied, and you are familiar with the materials.

You’re free to work at your child’s pace and live without frustrating little boxes staring you in the face!

One Note:

As your children get further into their schooling, you may find it necessary to order their independent assignments. I’ve found that taking the responsibility from a central plan book and placing each child’s responsibilities in his or her hands has been a wonderful step of independence for our children. In our home, each child has a weekly agenda that has their assignments for each subject ready for the week.

For more information on making your homeschool planning simple and easy, visit This Crazy Homeschool Life.

Lesli Gibbs

About the author

A North Carolina native, Lesli is a married, homeschooling mom of three who lives outside of Atlanta. She's the daughter of a teacher and earned her degree in education. Lesli has been homeschooling her children from the start of their education journeys. After 8 years of homeschooling, she is passionate about travel, family togetherness, and active learning.

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