Saturday, December 15, 2012

Homeschool Planners for 2013


by Beverley Paine

It’s that time of year again – next year is looming fast and we’re itching to get organised before the holiday season starts in earnest. We’re addicted to home educating our children! Or perhaps it’s easier to relax knowing we have made some plans or taken some simple steps to make the transition from holiday to homeschool easier next year.

On my Homeschool Australia Facebook group people have been asking for links to homeschool planners, journals and calendars. There are some excellent ones available, some even as free downloads.

Years ago I thought carefully about creating a planner for home educating families. I created my own and found they changed from year to year –or even more frequently! I found that what we did and how we did it morphed too often to stick to any one particular format. In my book Getting Started with Homeschooling Practical Considerations I've included examples of how we recorded and planned our home educating journey, and my daughter April also sells copies of my Learning Naturally and Weekly Homeschooling Diaries, as well as my Home Education Report Folders. At present they are only available in printed versions from Always Learning Books.

A lot of the planners available are way to school for me! I ordered one in the early nineties and was promptly daunted by all the recording options and started to feel very insecure about home educating my children. Do my own, starting simple by creating checklists using contents and chapter headings from student workbooks and text books, plus creating daily and weekly ‘contracts’ suited our learning centre styled approach to home education in those early years. I found that if there were too many pages to complete I felt overwhelmed. Since then I’ve recognised the value of having an attendance sheet or roll book, but I like the idea a friend said to me a few years ago – simply initial the wall calendar, the same calendar on which you record all the excursions and outings and appointments.

Keep it simple, keep it tailored to your needs. Make recording a breeze by thinking carefully about what you need and want to remember and why.

If you are looking to buy or download a planner, have a look at these ones created by very experienced home educating mothers!

First the Aussie creators of homeschool planners!

Michelle from Homeschool Downunder is a personal friend – we’ve met many times and I love how she keeps putting it out there, like me, helping other families build confidence teaching their children from home. She produces many resources, not only homeschool planners. Check out her article How to Make Your Own Homeschool Planner, or purchase her downloadable planner: http://www.homeschoolingdownunder.com/Notebooking_homeschool_resources/pretty_homeschool_planner.html

Design –Your-Homeschool is another great Aussie site with lots of information to help you get started. They are running a ‘give away’ of their planner in exchange for filling out a survey: http://www.design-your-homeschool.com/homeschool-freebies.html#.UMw8taynQnj

Not quite Australian, but almost... I met Stephanie in Auckland when we visited that lovely country a few years ago. She hosted an information evening about home education with myself as main speaker and Robin and I stayed with her lovely family. Like me, Stephanie has older children and is now officially ‘retired’ –about as retired as passionate people like us can be! Stephanie’s Homeschool Family Life website is awesome. She is a huge fan of the approach Charlotte Mason took to education and her CM resources and courses are well worth considering. I particularly like her Homeschool Planner and am setting it up so April can sell them through Always Learning Books, but don't wait, but it from Stephanie! Here is the link to the homeschool planner. http://www.hfl-store.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=62.

Heading overseas, mainly to the USA, we have a plethora of planners from which to choose:
Money Saving Mom is offering a free customizable homeschool planner too. It looks a little generic to me – pretty basic stuff but great for saving time because you don’t have to create something yourself. And it is a useful starting point for modifying something that will suit your needs better: http://moneysavingmom.com/2011/07/free-downloadable-homeschool-planners.html

The Home Educating Family Association has a selection of planners for 2013 that look quite attractive: available from http://betashop.homeeducatingfamily.com/productlist.cfm?category=1.

Donna Young has been producing downloads for home educators for over a decade, maybe longer! If you are looking at planners then there are some great ones on her site: http://donnayoung.org/forms/. It’s an USA site so some pages might not be relevant, but I’m sure there will be plenty there to not only use but give you ideas as to how you can set up your own to suit your particular homeschooling needs. Donna includes helpful articles on her site too.

Notebooking Nook  offers a large download file with lots of Homeschool Planning Pages

Olly Homeschool produces the Organised Life and Learning Yearbook. This looks rather interesting… The blurb on their page makes this look like THE comprehensive recording regime for home educating families. And in an online format! If you decide to purchase this one, I’d love to know what you think of it and how effective and appropriate it was in meeting your needs. http://www.ollyhomeschool.com/

There are other planners out there – just Google ‘homeschool planners’ and scroll through the pages. There is plenty of choice. Many look very similar, some look outstanding. I guess as with most things you get what you pay for, but even if money isn’t tight, definitely take a look at the free downloadable planners.


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