Friends, this is the second resource in the series on planning your homeschool. This week and next, I’m going to share some planning ideas and thoughts with you. I love planning. We’ve been homeschooling for enough years now that I feel like I have a good system worked out for our family, and now I want to share it with yours. I’m not just going to share my thoughts, though. I’m giving you free printable planning journals to help you get your homeschool set up for next year!
You’ll want to be sure you downloaded the My Homeschool Objectives Journal so you have a good idea what your goals for the coming year are. Then, let’s get started planning curriculum and resources! When you’re done, be sure to download the My Homeschool Scheduling Journals (for parents and older students)!
I’m making these journals completely free for subscribers! When you register, you’ll receive emails with resources, thoughts, and gifts to help you disciple your kids. Did you sign up? OK, let’s get on with setting planning the supplies and resources for your homeschool! You’ll find the link to download your journal at the bottom of the post. Just click on the big red title.
Today, I’m going to give you tools to plan your subjects, curriculum, resources, and supplies. You can use this planning journal regardless of what educational model you’re going to follow. If you are new to homeschooling, deciding how you want to homeschool is pretty important. Our family uses classical homeschooling with notebooking, so we have some Charlotte Mason theories mixed in there. Because our work is very literature-based with some projects mixed in, I find this planning format to be really helpful.
The My Homeschool Planning Journal is 24 pages including the cover and some information for you at the end. Every page is full of color, fine art, and planning goodness. Next week, you can expect to see printable journals to help with planning your homeschool schedule, weekly teacher planning, and students assignments.
There are three pages of Subjects to Study at the beginning of the journal. You will not need every subject to be planned for every child! In fact, for younger children, many of these subjects won’t be studied at all. In the subjects you choose to study, write your child’s name and possible resources or brief plans for that subject. For instance, in the Bible bubble, I will write “Bible Road Trip“. In Christian History, I’ll write “Cobblestone Path“. And for Current Events, I will write “Watch CNN Student News and discuss ~ Monday through Friday”. I might even add “15 minutes” to that bubble to remind myself that the daily newscast is 10 minutes long and I need to leave time for a 5 minute discussion. However, these pages are just to note the general plan of study for the year.
Subjects to Study: Primary Subjects ~ Here you’ll find the subjects present in most Christian homeschools, with the exception of language arts. I have added the subjects we consider essential as well, like Bible, Christian history, character, and theology.
Subjects to Study: Language Art Disciplines ~ I have a whole page of these disciplines, because communication in the English language is so important, and also because I don’t want to forget to teach any of these skills. Younger children will, of course, be concentrating on items like handwriting, reading, and spelling, while older students may focus on literature analysis, research, and writing. There may also be a fair amount of overlap from other subjects that will help cover these language disciplines. For instance, Bible Road Trip notebooking helps with handwriting, prewriting/notetaking, research (for older students), and also writing. I know families that use the writing portion of Bible Road Trip to add vocabulary and spelling lessons as well. Other families may wish to add a separate language arts program(s) to be certain their bases are covered. However, most language arts programs don’t cover all of the language arts. Hence, I’ve listed them.
Subjects to Study: Electives ~ Here I’ve added those subjects that are important, but are also optional. Your student may be very interested in coding, photography, or philosophy, and not at all interested in music or foreign languages. One of the wonderful aspects of homeschooling is that you can train your children in their strengths, teaching to the person God made them to be.
Each student will has two pages of curriculum lists. You can write the subject they’ll be learning, different curriculum options you’ve found, pros and cons of each, the prices and locations you can purchase the curriculum, and there’s also a box where you can place a check mark once you’ve purchased, or an X if you’ve changed your mind. There are enough color-coded lists for four students, but you can always print more or less according to your needs.
Finally, the My Homeschool Planning Journal has five pages each of a Resource List and a Supply List. There is room for 50 items on each list. Because we use a lot of literature and non-fiction books for most of our subjects, I add those to the Resource List, along with the week we’ll be using the materials (we have 36 weeks of curriculum, so I use the week number). I also keep track of where I intend to buy resources and how much they cost. I use the Supply List to keep track of any supply we’ll need for projects and labs I’ve scheduled. Usually, these are art and science needs.
I printed our journal pages back-to-back on 65-pound cardstock. This is my favorite: Neenah Premium Cardstock, 96 Brightness, 65 lb, Letter, Bright White, 250 Sheets per Pack (91904). This allows for color printing and writing in pen on both sides without significant bleed-through and makes the journals sturdy and portable. I always print on the “best” setting because the fine art looks so much prettier that way. You can either store the pages in a 3-ring binder, or you can take them to FedEx or somewhere similar to have them spiral-bound as I did. If you do that, you may want to print the coming journals this week and next and have them bound together. The download link is right at the bottom of this post.
Thinking Kids Subscriber Freebies
When you register to become a Thinking Kids subscriber, you are automatically included on the email newsletter list. You’ll get updates on godly parenting resources, homeschool ideas, Christian parenting posts, and you’ll have access to the growing list of Thinking Kids freebies including:
- Bible Road Trip ~ a 3 year Bible survey curriculum for preschool to high school with coordinating Notebooking Journals! Bible Road Trip is free for download by week, or available for purchase as a full-year PDF download.
- My Sermon Notebooking Journals ~ Two half-sized 119-page notebooking journals to take notes during sermons with a structured format, Bible verses, quotes from historical Christians and fine artwork.
- Two My Trips Notebooking Journals – Two half-sized 65-page notebooking field trip / vacation notebooking journals with quotes from historical Christians, charming travel murals, and space for scrapbooked souvenirs for grades 3-9.
- My Timeline Notebooking Journal ~ A 132-page timeline journal dated from 4000 BC to 2050 AD. You’ll find 29 full-color paintings from artists such as Rembrandt, Monet, and Renoir, ESV Bible quotations about time, seasons, and plans, and quotes from historic Christians such as Charles Spurgeon, Samuel Rutherford, and Hannah More.
- Fruit of the Spirit Scripture Memory Booklets ~ Don’t miss any of the monthly 2015 Scripture Memory booklets on the Fruit of the Spirit!
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~ Danika Cooley
Danika Cooley is the author of When Lightning Struck! The Story of Martin Luther (Fortress Press, 2015), Wonderfully Made (CF4K, 2016), and Bible Road Trip. Her work has been featured in internationally-recognized children's magazines over 150 times.