Sunday, February 17, 2013

Making a Homeschool Plan Book

I wanted a homeschooling planner. Searching online I came across a huge resource of printables for creating a custom homeschool planner on the New Bee Homeschooler website. Their guide and free resources are amazing. They are absolutely the inspiration for the planner I made for myself. I wanted to customize the pages and since, as you know, I'm a more than a little Type A I made my own planner using Microsoft Publisher. First, I wanted my planner to be half-size. I knew that a full-size planner would be bulky when opened and I want to keep my planner handy at the table when I'm working with the kids. The New Bee planner sheets are all full size. Second, I just wanted to put my own spin on most of the elements. This is how my planner turned out.

Making a Custom, Printable Homeschooling Planner


Here's my cover. It's fairly basic. I decided on an academic year that goes from July through June to match Missouri's school year. The cover includes the date of the school year covered, has an adorable picture of my children to remind me of -why- I'm doing this, and an inspirational teaching quote.

Section 1: Basic Records

The next page is an annual calendar I intend to use as an attendance record by highlighting or circling the dates when we have school. At the bottom of that page I have typed out the Missouri homeschooling requirements as a reference. School (and homeschooling) is optional in Missouri for kindergarten, so we don't need to adhere to these guidelines strictly our first year. A discussion of the homeschooling guidelines and tracking hours could easily fill a whole other blog post, so I'll leave it at that for now.

After my attendance chart I inserted a single page protector that holds a daily and weekly schedule sheet. I figured that my daily and weekly schedule is quite likely to shift several times during the year, so I wanted to be able to pull this sheet out and replace it with a new version at will.

Next, I created a logging form. Missouri requires 1000 hours of instruction per academic year: At least 600 of the 1000 hours must be in core subjects (math, science, social studies, language arts) vs. other areas of study (art, music, physical education, etc.). At least 400 of the 600 core subject areas hours must be taught at the home location. I created a form to keep track of our hours with codes for the different subject areas and columns to keep track of core vs. non-core hours. Again, this first year logging isn't mandatory, but I decided to work with the system and try to develop a good habit of logging. Also, this gives me a chance to work out any kinks in the system before the logging is mandatory.

Section 2: State Standards

If my children are going to learn everything they know at home, I'd like to make sure we're covering the basics. I went to the Missouri state teaching standards and created checklists for the kindergarten level standards. I put these checklists in my planner and intend to refer to them regularly and check off the standards we've achieved as Michael shows mastery. That will allow me to see at a glance what we've covered, and what I still need to focus on when doing my planning. Here is an example of page 1 of the Communication Arts Standards. I will do a separate post where I show you my checklists for all the content areas.

Section 3: Lesson Plans

I have a 2-page spread for each monthly calendar. I put in holidays and birthdays so that I could incorporate holidays and card making into our lesson plans. I also added a different inspirational teaching quotation to each monthly planning calendar page. After each monthly calendar I have 5 weekly plan sheets. Here is what a monthly planner and the weekly planner look like for us.

Section 4: Quick Reference

Near the end of the planner I put in a couple of quick reference pages I pulled from here and here. One is Bloom's Taxonomy and the other is a critical thinking reference sheet.

Section 5: Independent Reading Log and Notes

At the end of the planner I created an independent reading log. I want to play around with tracking the genre of the books read so that I can try to increase variety over time. This will almost certainly be a much more useful feature when the kids are older, so this form has room to grow. Then I just put in some pages for writing notes about how things are going or for jotting down ideas for things I want to cover in the future.

Back Cover

This is something I found online on the technology rocks. seriously. website and absolutely loved. She has a huge set of school signs available to download and print. I made my own version of my favorite for the back cover of my planner. I intend to use this as our homeschool rules to guide both the children and myself. I will refer to them regularly and therefore they make the perfect back cover for my planner.

Printing and Binding

And that's it. I printed them all out and used a binding machine to hold the planner together. I used contact paper to add durability to the front and back cover. I love the way it turned out.


  1. Looks really nice! When is Missouri adopting Common Core Standards?

    1. Missouri has adopted the Common Core Standards. I looked those over as well, but ultimately decided to use the Missouri State Standards. First, the common core standards are only for Language Arts and Math, and not for all the content areas. Second, I actually felt the Missouri State Standards gave more specific guidance than the common core standards - particularly in the Language Arts area. Since I was creating the checklist for my own personal use in homeschooling, I went with the standards that I felt better fit my needs.

  2. Hi,
    I think your planner looks great and I was wondering if you had it available as a download on your blog?
    Thank you.

  3. Looks great! I'm new to this, so trying to figure out what works... :)

  4. I love your planner! I am also from MO and was wondering if you have the pages available as a download!! Please let me know! Blessings, Michelle ,

  5. Hi! Would you be willing to email me your files also? I'd love to use them! totschoolmom at gmail dot com

  6. I would LOVE to be able to download this one. I have been looking for a planner and yours is PERFECT! My email is if you could please help me out.

  7. I would also love to print some of these pages for my planner. They are fantastic! kari.waters at gmail dot com

  8. Would love a copy of this beautiful planner! Thank you so much in advance! Any chance you have a MO checklist for 3rd grade? Thanks, Erin

  9. Are you willing to send copies of these to download? I have been looking FOREVER for homeschool sheets that seem like they will fit my style of organization and these are so perfect! If so, alucitt620 at gmail dot com... If not, then just sending a lot of thumbs up for your awesome creation! Thanks :)


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