Weekly Homeschool Planning

I’d like to write about how I plan for our homeschool week, but every time I try to start it just feels like it’s far too much to explain because behind the simple structure I have designed to make it easy for me to know what we are doing daily and weekly – there is a lot. I get bogged down feeling like I need to start at the beginning, because really that’s where the planning starts – at the philosophy underlying everything we do, but it would be the length of a book to start there.

And who has time to read that?

So in an effort to just share a bit more about how we homeschool, I’m just going to write about what I do on Sunday afternoons.

I have a master spreadsheet that I call my “forecast”. The forecast, like the weather, can change depending on what we’ve got going on, but generally it tells us what lies ahead.

I created this spreadsheet by first putting the weeks of a “term” in columns along the top. The number of weeks in a term is somewhere between 7-12, depending on when breaks fall. Changing terms every 12 weeks also makes for a more manageable sized spreadsheet.

I print off the spreadsheet and tape the three pages together to make one long spreadsheet that I fold up and put in a binder.

In the rows are the subjects we cover in a week of homeschooling. There is a lot that goes into the why and what and how of these subjects. To explain that would be an entire book chapter, at least, and Charlotte Mason wrote 6 volumes on the subject, so I’m not going to attempt that in this blog post and just leave it there. Though one important thing to note is that each subject takes only about ten to twenty minutes per day that it is scheduled. Overall, each of our school days is about 2.5 hours of concentrated “work”.

Under each subject are the days of the week that we do that subject. I schedule one portion of one book per subject per day. Or, for purchased curriculums, like Right Start Math, I schedule one lesson per day. Some subjects we do every day (math, writing, reading, drawing) while others are once or twice per week.

For example, on Mondays when we study Geography, we read one chapter or lesson from the book Living Geography (about 3 pages) and we read one word entry in our Geography A to Z dictionary. It’s not a lot of content.

A key part of the our day’s work is the kids narrating back to me in their own words what we just read about. So after we read our pages from our geography books, we talk about places we’ve been that reflect what we’ve just read, we look at our globe, we look at maps, we go for walks around the neighbourhood, we draw our own maps.

Then on Wednesdays when we cover geography again, we read one chapter from the book Jenny Goes to Sea by Esther Averill, a book about a cat that sails around the world as a ship’s cat (a working cat charged with keeping the mice and rats out of the ship’s cargo).

On Fridays we go for a nature walk and geography naturally again comes up again as we walk and explore different landscapes, often pulling together things we read earlier in the week into real-life wanderings. Charlotte Mason called this the Science of Relations – when learners bring together different things they’ve learned and apply it to new contexts.

But I’m getting lost again in the details. So back to the point of this post – once a week, on Sunday afternoons, I sit down with this spreadsheet that I have printed off (I like working off paper) and I fill in the blanks of the Skeleton Schedule I created for our week. Every week I print off a blank Skeleton Schedule and fill it in with the chapters or lessons we will be doing that day. Because of the master schedule It takes about 10 minutes to fill these papers in and I’m ready to go for another week.

I also include a spot to put our meal plan for the day and key things I want to remember to focus on that day, if any. I don’t always fill that part in.
Also, I’m far from perfect and despite my best intentions, we have never, not once, practiced piano for 10 minutes after supper because to be real – I’m tired and I don’t want to make my kid do one more thing. But other than piano, we *usually* are able to check off everything in the skeleton schedule every day.

Every morning (or night before if I really have my shit together) I gather the books off the shelf that we will be using for the next day. I keep all our schoolbooks and school materials on a shelf in the dining room where we do our school work at the dining room table.

Other daily school materials like notebooks, every day school supplies, I keep in a basket in the room as well. But how I organize all the stuff that comes with homeschooling preschool and grade 1, is a blog post for another day.

How do you organize for your week ahead?

Author: rinkydinkmum

I am a new mom and Canadian expat living in Silicon Valley with my 6 month old son and my 36 year old husband. I've declared 2017 the year for learning and for adventure and for making my home just a little bit more whimsical.

One thought on “Weekly Homeschool Planning”

  1. I really love the insight this gives to your experience of homeschooling. Its a big job and I see you doing it and doing it really well, and by that I mean – not driving for perfection, its dynamic yet methodical, you move with life and stand steady in the storm. I’m really impressed at the skills you have acquired and the environment you are creating for your family!


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