Friday, August 10, 2012

My 2012 Homeschool Planner

Last year I printed a planner and bound it with my Bind-It-All. You can see the details here. I really liked it, but (inevitably) there were a few things I would have changed, if I could have, as the year went on. Since it was bound, though, I couldn't.

So this year I decided to switch to a loose-leaf binder instead. I was going to decorate one myself, but then I saw this lovely decorative binder at Staples while I was picking up some bargain school supplies, and I fell in love.

See? It's even decorative inside, which was the main selling point for me. The view binders you can buy to decorate yourself don't have that option, and I'm going to be seeing the inside of this planner a lot.

Here's the back cover. If you'd like one for yourself, it has all the manufacturer details here. Just zoom in and check it out.

These were labeled as "light use" binders. I would normally be a little wary of light use binders, but I'm the only one that's going to be handling this one, so it shouldn't be a problem. I'm very careful with my things. If it falls apart, I'll be sure to let you know!

Now let's look at the pages inside ...

This first one is a schoolyear planner that saved me a lot of time making one for myself. I like how professional it looks, too. You can download your own copy here at the Five J's blog.

Next comes my actual planning pages, which I did entirely on the computer. It took me several hours upfront, but it's going to save me a lot more hours during the schoolyear. These are just simple tables in a word processing document. I use OpenOffice because it's free and very professionally done.

I  used one of my favorite Creating Keepsakes fonts, CK Girl. I'm going to be seeing a lot of this planner this year, so I wanted it to be fun to look at.

I know some people say you shouldn't, but I like to plan out an entire nine weeks' worth of lessons so I know where I'm going. After teaching in a traditional classroom for four years and homeschooling an additional four years, I'm more comfortable with this approach because I'm more familiar with how fast my children work and how much we can reasonably accomplish in one day. I'm also one of those people that likes to know where we're headed so the little details make more sense. This approach doesn't work for everyone, so do what works for you.

One thing I did change this year is to label the days by numbers (denoting which day of school we're on), instead of just dates (which I will fill in by hand as we do them). This has several advantages. First of all, if you're required to count days in your state (we're not), you will know how many more days you have to go. Secondly, it's easier for me to keep track of where we are in each subject when I don't have to keep track of several different lesson numbers. We'll be on the same lesson number in each class. Thirdly, if you miss a day, you can just pick up where you left off the next day, without having to rewrite your plans and shuffle things around.

Lastly, I decided to try a different form for my grade book pages this year. I discovered last year that I had not included enough spaces for all the grades I needed to record. That was a real challenge since the book was already bound at that point.

I discovered these free grade book sheets at New Bee Homeschooler, and they were exactly what I wanted. Keeping a grade book for two children is a lot different than keeping a grade book for 15-20 children, especially when those two children are in two different grades. I love how this page keeps my favorite aspects of the regular grade book and adjusts it to a homeschool approach of fewer children.

I also love the grading scale printed right on each grade book page. My local public school system does the super-easy system of

  • 90-100 - A
  • 80-89 - B
  • 70-79 - C
  • 60-69 - D
  • 50-59 - F
I grew up with the system printed on her grade book pages, and I like it better for our purposes. If you don't happen to like it, she provides the form where you can fill in your own grading scale. Most homeschoolers recognize that we're not all cookie-cutter copies of each other, and that's okay.

Well, that's it for my planner for now. I'll be back next week with some more homeschool-related posts.


Ashley Largent said...

I have been looking for a grading scale and page to keep grades on for a few weeks now and I couldn't find one that I liked. That is until now! I love this one that you have!
Thanks so much for the link to it!

Shoregirl said...

Love your organizer, Christa -- thanks for the link to the calendar....I'm printing one off right now!

Nathalie said...

Hi, I was wondering what letter type you used for the actual daily planning? Thanks

Christa said...


I used the CK Girl font for the daily planning. It might look a little different, but that's because I made use of bold typefaces and different font sizes. HTH!