Sometimes I feel like I’m an anomaly. I love planning our homeschool year in detail, but I don’t want to be held back by the details. I want to leave room for flexibility.
The first year of homeschooling, I struggled…going back and forth and never committing to any real plan. At one point I threw the whole plan in the garbage, because it was, for lack of a better word, insane! I needed a homeschool planner that would fit my need to type things into a yearly form AND give me the flexibility to make changes without redoing the entire plan.
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After this first year of strict planning (that I wasn’t following and was making me feel like a failure), I happened across Pam Barnhill’s free summer planning kit. It was exactly what I needed for the summer. I was able to make a short-term plan that gave me peace. It was only two months, but those months gave me a direction and let the kids know what to expect.
Then I discovered something that drastically changed the way I thought about planning.
I really need two plans for each school year. Obviously, I need the detailed weekly plan, so I know what we’re doing, but I also need a long-range homeschool plan – a big picture plan.
The problem I had in that first year was that I had our lives entirely too scheduled. I had this plan that was detailed. It had dates, lessons, activities, field trips and everything was scheduled to the minute. It left no room for adventure, rabbit trails or even the occasional sickness. I could see the whole year planned out (which I really loved), but I couldn’t make changes.
I needed something that would combine my love of digital planning with my desire to see everything laid out on paper. You see, I need the visual printout to keep me from feeling overwhelmed. I need a yearly plan, even if it gets changed.
That’s when I discovered Plan Your Year.
I’m going to be honest. I drooled over this planner. I was drawn to the fillable PDF planning pages, but I never really took the time to see what all was offered with Plan Your Year. And, so another year went by with me spending hours trying to create my own spreadsheets of plans. It worked, but it was enormously time-consuming. Then it occurred to me that my time was valuable, too. So, I took another look at Plan Your Year. And here’s what I discovered:
It is NOT just a bunch of planning sheets
Yes, there are a TON of planning sheets. But, the great thing about Plan Your Year, is that it is also an ebook. Pam doesn’t just drop a bunch of planning forms in your lap and then tells you to get busy. She actually walks you through the process of planning, starting with planning a vision for your year and ending with your daily plan.
Don’t worry if you think there is no way you can get through a homeschool planning book. It’s relatively short at around 70 pages, but it also includes videos. I’m visual (or maybe just too impatient to read something that isn’t fictional), so I really enjoyed the included videos.
It includes LIFETIME updates
Yes, you read that correctly. This is the last planner you ever have to buy. Each year Pam updates the homeschool planner so that it has current calendars and adds any new planning forms her team has created.
It includes access to a private Facebook group
Now, this may not seem like a big deal, but I assure you that it is. Not only does this group share new and unique ways of using Plan Your Year, but you can ask for the creation of a new form. I know you’re thinking that I’m exaggerating this point. But, let me give you an example.
I need a 5-year plan for high school for my middle child. Like her brother, she will be taking high school classes in eighth grade and then moving on to dual enrollment later in high school. I just couldn’t find what I wanted and I really didn’t want to spend a ton of time trying to create a planning form. So, I asked in the Facebook group. Next thing I know Pam is asking me to sketch out what I would like to see.
And, guess what? She’s in the process of creating my new form. Can I just say how excited I am? Now, that’s customer service!
Low-Stress Long-Range Homeschool Planning
As soon as I downloaded my new Plan Your Year, I got busy planning for next year. And instead of weeks of struggling with plans, schedules, and curriculum, I was finished with my long-term homeschool planning in two days. I read through the book filling out forms as I went. In the end, I had a lovely binder (two actually, including my Morning Meetup binder, but I’ll get to that in another post) with our schedules for the next year.
The best part is that I’ve already had to make a change and it was as simple as copy and pasting in the PDF and reprinting. No white-out or erasing, just a quick copy and paste. Ah, the peace.
Long-Range Homeschool Planning Forms
Planning an entire year doesn’t have to be overwhelming. The Plan Your Year forms give me the ability to look at the big picture that I need to plan an entire year at a time. Here are some of my favorites.
The Daily Plan gives me a layout of what each day should look like. I’ve set it up in a way that works for me. Though it is chronological, it is also set up to show when I will be needed to work with each of my girls. This is just a sample of one of the ways the Daily Plan can be used. In Plan Your Year, there are other samples of how these forms can be used.
I also printed my plan out at 86% and slipped it into my Happy Planner. I love this because I can flip over to check our routine at any time. Any of the forms can be printed to fit into your Happy Planner or whatever planner you prefer.
Course of Study and Weekly Plan
These two forms are great for laying out the year for each of your students. This Course of Study is for my middle schooler. I’ve decided to use this form to show what she will be taking and the possible high school credits she can receive when the course is completed.
The Weekly Plan lays out her day in a way she can see what is expected of her. I will also be printing out this form for her to put in her planner.
There are so many other forms available. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Find out more about how I plan our Morning Meetup using more of the forms from Plan Your Year in The Ultimate Guide to Low-Stress Homeschool Planning and Scheduling.