5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials: Essential Organization

I can’t believe it’s already Day 4 of our 5 Days of Homeschool Essentials! The week has flown by. I’ve enjoyed visiting the other blogs participating and reading about what other homeschoolers think is essential. There are 89 bloggers participating, and you can find the list here.

On Day 1 I shared things I did not think are essential for homeschooling.
On Day 2 we took a look at essential homeschooling supplies.
On Day 3 I posted about the essential need for support in your homeschooling.

Today’s topic is my very favorite. I’m going to post about what kind of organization is essential for homeschooling.

organizing your homeschool

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Before I begin, let me acknowledge something. All of us as homeschoolers have different personalities. Some of us are more structured. Some of us are more flexible. There are some of us who have every second planned out, and there are some of us that have sticky notes with ideas stuck all over the house. I happen to fall into the former category (mostly). If you don’t, it’s okay. But I do think that some organization is essential for every homeschool.

If you are feeling constantly frustrated because you can’t get anything done then maybe you need a little more organization.  There are many different ways that you can get yourself and your homeschool organized. I’m going to talk about some of those ways here and give some resources that I’ve really liked. If you want more information about specific homeschool planners, this post takes a look at many planners I’ve tried over the years. (And I’ve tried quite a few!).

The pre-made printable planner. 

Many sites offer printable planners that are specifically designed for homeschoolers.
     Donna Young’s site has many different kind of planner sheets, and they are free. You can personalize your planner by printing what you need. Some of the sheets are ones you can edit and then print.
    The Schoolhouse Planner is one of my favorites. This one isn’t free but is very affordable. There are different kinds of planners for primary, intermediate, high school, and special learners. These planners have so many extras for homeschooling and homemaking and the forms can be edited before they are printed. If you join SchoolhouseTeachers.com, all of the versions of the planner are yours for free.

The online planner. 

There are a number of online planners that usually are paid for by subscription. The information is stored online, so it’s conveniently accessed from any computer. I have yet to find any online planner that has everything I really want, but there are some good choices out there.
     Homeschool Tracker has been around for a long time. There is a version to purchase for your computer, and there is an online version. The software version is a one time payment, and the online version has a monthly fee.
     Simply Charlotte Mason has an online planner that is great for homeschoolers who are using a Charlotte Mason style curriculum. There is a monthly fee.
     Applecore is a newer system that can be used for homeschool record keeping. There are several levels of subscription with different pricing. Applecore is free with a SchoolhouseTeachers.com membership.
    Homeschool Skedtrack is another free planner. It also isn’t very fancy, but it is easy to use and has planning and record keeping features.
    Homeschool Planet is another great online planner from Homeschool Co-op. It isn’t free but you can get a one month free trial.

Design your own. 

The truth is that I’ve never found a pre-made planner- online, printable, or even bound- that has everything I want in a planner. There are things I do like about many of these. So, I’ve designed my own system that I keep in Google Drive. I make forms that fit my needs. You can get a free copy of my Digital Homeschool Planner here.
     Grade/attendance sheet- I keep a spreadsheet that has a sheet for each child for every quarter. I can list the days of school on it and keep track of any grades.
     Reading record- I keep track of books the kids have read. I don’t usually include “fun reading”, just school related reading.
     Field Trips- I keep a record of field trips we’ve gone on and a short description of what we did.
     Extracurricular activities- I keep a list of each child’s activities each quarter.
     Daily journal- I prefer a journal instead of a planner. I have the subjects we are going to do each day, and a general plan of what we are going to do, but I journal each day to detail everything we’ve done in each subject.

The beauty of a planner that you make up yourself is that you get exactly what you want in a planner.

However you choose to organize, your homeschool will run more smoothly with some kind of organization. You’ll find that you can accomplish more and have less frustration when you organize your homeschool.

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