If you’re a homeschooler, you’ve probably thought about a lesson planner at least once, asking yourself, "Do I really need one?" Even if you’re an unschooler, having a lesson planner can be helpful. You may not be planning your lessons, but it might be a good idea to keep track of what you covered on what day. Especially if you live in a state like Florida that requires you to keep an attendance log as well as a record of learning activities, worksheets, and other progress your child has made.
I happen to live in Florida, and when I started homeschooling, I decided I wouldn’t need a lesson planner because we were going to unschool. However, I quickly realized that because of my state’s laws, I had to keep some type of record of what my daughter was learning. I started looking for lesson planners that would fit our type of homeschooling. There are a lot of homeschool lesson planners out there.
As I searched for these planners, our homeschool curriculum evolved, which meant my lesson planning needs changed as well. I finally found the planner that works for me, but there were a lot of deciding factors. Choosing a planner is no easy task.
A Note About Free Lesson Planners
There are some wonderful free homeschooling planners online, but most of them aren’t “pretty.” If looks do not matter to you and all you need is function, then you should be able to find exactly what you need online absolutely free just by searching for “free homeschooling lesson planners” on Google.
However, if you want a planner that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing, expect to pay at least $5.00 for a planner that you can print. These are typically reusable sheets, so you only have to pay once.
Free Homeschooling Planners
- Free Monthly Homeschool Planner Sets (182-Pages!) | Free Homeschool Deals ©
Free Monthly Homeschool Planner Sets (182-Pages!) Part of the Free Homeschool Planner by FreeHomeschoolDeals.com
- Homeschool Planner - Lesson Plan Forms
Lesson Plan Forms is part of Donna Young's extensive free homeschool planner. From here, select from a large variety of lesson planning forms to print for your homeschool planner.
Before Choosing a Planner
If you’ve decided to skip the tediousness of attempting to make your own planner, you may be wondering what you should be looking for in a pre-made homeschool lesson planner. To find the perfect one (that you’ll actually use), ask yourself these questions:
- How are you going to use the planner? Will you be using it to write down the lesson after it’s been completed? Or will you be planning your daily lessons in advance?
- How detailed will your lesson plans be? For example, will you be selecting specific book chapters for specific days? Or will you have a daily or weekly theme?
- What kind of records do you want (or need) to keep? Do you need to keep records of materials used as well as attendance? Or do you simply need general attendance records?
- Are you an organized person by nature? Will it be easy for you to use a lesson planner regularly? Or is planning anything very difficult for you?
- Do you prefer written records? Or would a digital lesson planner work better for you?
- What type of homeschooling are you going to be using? Unschooling? The Charlotte Mason curriculum?
Once you know the answer to these questions, picking out the right planner will be easy.
Homeschooling Lesson Planners
There is a wide range of lesson planners out there. In fact, there’s definitely something for everyone. It’s important to know what type of homeschooling you’ll be doing. For example, unschooling won’t need an extremely detailed planner, but using a classical curriculum will require that you plan your day rather rigidly.
I originally decided to go with unschooling. However, after the first week, I realized my daughter’s ADHD was too bad for such a laid back curriculum. I decided to go with a classical curriculum using the book The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise. This type of homeschooling required a lot of planning, so I needed a lesson planner that had plenty of room for writing daily lessons, plus attendance, book and field trip records.
Using Your Planner
If you aren’t used to using a planner on a daily basis (any kind of planner), learning to use a one may be a bit difficult at first. Getting into a routine is the best advice I can give you.
Set a time, either daily or weekly, to plan upcoming lessons. I have found it is easier for me to plan a week at a time rather than to try to plan daily. So I plan my daughter’s homeschooling when I do all my blog planning for the week, which is typically when everyone is asleep and it’s nice and quiet.
If you are unschooling, make time daily to write down what was covered that day. Don’t wait to write things down thinking you’ll remember at the end of the week what you covered on Monday. If your child is capable of writing in complete sentences (and legibly), let them write down what was accomplished. This will serve as an excellent record of what the child covered and has the added benefit of being in their own handwriting.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure you stick with it. End of the school year evaluations are stressful enough without having to worry about whether your lesson records are up to par.
Most books about homeschooling are a goldmine for homeschoolers, but there are also a number of blogs online that are run by veteran homeschooling moms.
Some of the best blogs include:
- Confessions of a Homeschooler (my personal favorite!)
- Homeschool Creations
- Hip Homeschool Moms
Questions & Answers
Question: May I ask where you got the reading log from? Was that a download or part of a planner?
Answer: The reading log you see in the pictures is actually from the homeschooling planner I purchased from Confessions of a Homeschooler. Her website is a wealth of information when it comes to homeschooling, and her planners are not only beautiful but so useful. I linked to her website above. She refreshes the planner every year with new suggestions from her audience, and she has a couple of sizes available.
© 2013 Melissa Flagg COA OSC
Motherof4Girls on August 21, 2019:
I use excel for our book lists (so i can also note if I own the book, if its at the library, if its ordered, authors, subject/topic, etc). The challenge I find is keeping track when plans don't go to plan, thanks to little ones being sick, napping at wrong times, or struggling with material and need more time. Than I forget to keep track of where we stopped and than its a scramble to update what's next. But I dont' think I can work around that lol.
Ashley Ferguson from Indiana/Chicagoland on February 15, 2016:
I'm considering homeschooling when my son is old enough. Thanks for the planner tips! :)
Melissa Flagg COA OSC (author) from Rural Central Florida on January 18, 2014:
Thanks Dim! I have found this lesson planner to be indispensable! I LOVE it! :D
Dim Flaxenwick from Great Britain on January 16, 2014:
Great article and a big help., l should think for any homeschooling novices.
When l taught my daughter at home. A timetable like my old fashioned school ways was the first thing we worked out together.
Thanks for another useful hub.
Melissa Flagg COA OSC (author) from Rural Central Florida on August 09, 2013:
@Phoenix Sometimes I wonder myself how I keep up lol What state your in really determines how much organization you need. Unfortunately, I'm in Florida which means I need a lot... lol but hey I love to organize! :D
Melissa Flagg COA OSC (author) from Rural Central Florida on August 09, 2013:
Thank you! Enjoy! I had a blast setting up mine!!
Al from Florida on August 08, 2013:
Great information! I'm headed to print out my planner now!
Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on August 01, 2013:
I never realised how much organization went into homeschooling. I don't know how you do it with everything else you've got going on. You're actually quite amazing. :)