How Do I Create a School Year Plan?
Shown above: Well Planned Day Original Homeschool Planner
It’s one thing to know what to plan for the school year. It’s quite another thing to know how to actually tackle the planning! Many times when we try to create a school year plan, we try to tackle planning for the entire year, biting off far more than we’re ready to chew.
In case you weren’t aware, that’s incredibly overwhelming! But how do we break it down while still successfully creating a plan for the school year?
Breaking Down the School Year Plan: One Day at a Time
Did you know that you don’t have to tackle the whole year when creating a school year plan? Why not just start with one day? That’s right, start by considering what a typical Monday looks like (we’re not talking specific details yet, just the outline of a typical day). Write that down. Now move to Tuesday. One day at a time.
Try to avoid setting a by-the-clock schedule. Instead, only schedule those things that absolutely have to be done by the clock. Then fill the schedule out by setting routines. You might have a routine that runs from the time you get up until the start of school, including getting dressed, making the bed, eating breakfast, etc.
Your next routine might involved morning school, including a list of the subjects that will be tackled and the order that they’ll be completed in. Instead of having to start and stop each subject at specific times, you can flow from one subject to the next as you complete what needs to be done for that day.
You’ll then want to add routines for lunchtime, afternoon, and evening. It may be the same every day, or you might have a different routine for each day of the week. Either way, you’ll be amazed by how much guidance a daily schedule can give when it comes time to fill in the details of a school year plan!
Building Up the School Year Plan: 180 Days
Now that you have a schedule, you’re ready to start laying out the school year. But remember what we set at the beginning: it’s just not wise to plan a whole year at once. Too many things change over the course of the year! But, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have a full school year plan!
An average school year is 180 days, or 36 weeks. If you’re using an online planner that makes it easy to move dates and rearrange assignments as needed, you can go ahead and lay out specific assignments for each of those 36 weeks. But, if you’re only using a paper planner, there are better ways to figure out how you’re going to be fully prepared for each week.
There are two critical tasks to complete in order to be prepared for the school year.
- Gain familiarity with your curriculum. Skim through the material and see how many lessons there are. Are they all the same length, or will some take more time than others? You don’t have to spend a whole lot of time on this. But by previewing each subject, you can get a pretty good feel for the layout.
- Set benchmarks for every six weeks throughout the year. First, determine when you want to be completely done with this year’s curriculum. Next, take your notes from your curriculum preview and mark down where your student needs to be in the curriculum at the end of every six weeks in order to be done by that completion goal.
Once you have these two pieces of information, you can then lay out your lesson plans one week at a time while still staying on target for your entire year!
Keeping Up with the School Year Plan: Planning Each Week
Now that you have created a daily schedule and established benchmarks to keep you on track throughout the homeschool year, you’re well on your way toward a solid school year plan!
Because you’ve built a foundation with your daily schedule and your 6-week goals, planning for each week will now be much less daunting. As you prepare for a new week, take a look at your first set of benchmarks. Evaluate how much you need to accomplish in each subject this week to help you stay on track to reach those benchmarks. Spread that out across the week, and your weekly planning is done!
Then, as you wrap up your week, look back and see what was accomplished and what didn’t get done. Are you moving too fast in anything? Is there a subject where your student actually needs to move more aggressively? Use this information to help you prepare for next week. At the end of your first six weeks, you can then determine whether or not you need to adjust any of your benchmarks to stay on track with your school year plan.
Many planners provide space either for the overall goals or for the daily planning. I found that I needed both on hand in one planner. That’s why I have included the ACHIEVE method in the Well Planned Day Homeschool Planner, guiding you through all the steps needed to create a daily schedule, jot down benchmarks, and lay out daily and weekly assignments.
With these guides in hand, you will find yourself well on your way to a solid school year plan.
I’m new to homeschooling and really appreciate your blog!
Thank you for explaining how I can actually plan out for the school year in order to stay on task. I have been homeschooling for 7 years and I am still struggling.
Love the ideas!
This is my 2nd year homeschooling and I’m always looking for better ways to plan my lessons. Right now I schedule one day at a time. Thank you for this information.
Three things I love about homeschooling I can teach at my own pace, I can teach however I want, and my kids wouldn’t have to worry about getting bullied.
I am also new to homeschooling and I am so glad to find your blog to help me learn!
This is really helpful!!
I think setting up 180 days will be the most challenging, but also the most fun. I like setting things up for the future, so it will be interesting to see how well it all plays out!
Helpful tips, especially if you struggle with getting organized.
It’s so much easier to see everything planned out in advance, though sometimes i’d rather not take the time to do it. Your planners and accessories make it much easier and more fun. I am excited to plan for our next homeschool year already.
This is so helpful. I start well every time but I lack vision for the whole year. This guide looks like it will help in keeping the stamina going.
Figure out what all I wanna teach for the year then look at companies I’ve used in the past.
This is helpful.
Thanks for all the info
I love this page. I really want a nice planner!
I’m so happy to have found y’all! Here’s to many more cups of coffee and planning together.
Thank you for these helpful tips. I will definitely be incorporating this into my new school year.
Figuring out what 180 days would look like is the hardest for me since we sometimes switch curricula midway through the year.
I enjoy reading your blog and gaining new planning ideas!
I get excited about putting my next year together. I love how Well-Planned Gal encourages us to plan once a week. It’s been a game changer for me.
Thank you for these super helpful tips! Love it.
Love the tips about setting a daily schedule. Coming up with the 180 days schedule I think is the most overwhelming of all but probably the most helpful too.
I think trying to come up with the 180 day schedule is so overwhelming to me. Our family has had something major come up every year during our homeschooling journey that totally derails us!! I am hoping this next school year will be different!!
I’ve been homeschooling for going on 3 years now. I’m going to sit down later and read through your blog. I see so many tips/tricks I want to implement! We are starting an American Bulldog Breeding program, and fitting all the dogs/puppies into my homeschooling day for my kids has been a struggle.
Great tips! Thank you so much!
This is our second year. Last year was a program thru the public school, it sucked. This year we’ve been doing abeka. Thankfully, with their lesson plan i didn’t need to schedule out much. Next year, though, i think i may need to use some of these tips. Thank you for sharing.
Thanks for sharing this useful information.
I need to try this planner!!
This is our second year, and we’ve been using T4L. I really like that the curriculum is all there, but I really wanna learn how to create my own curriculum for my 2 girls. They are 3 grades apart and would love to teach them the same courses at the same time but on their own level. This would help me stay organized for sure! I think sticking to a routine is the hardest part for us. My husband is a lineman and works away and then we live on our little farm with goats, pigs, chickens and rabbits, and sometimes (alot of times)a schedule just doesn’t get followed. I need help creating the routine!!
I unschool but need organization. It keeps my sanity while making sure I support my kiddo in the best way he learns. I have my checklists and he gets to learn. I couldn’t homeschool without a planner
Thank you so much I’ve been wanting to homeschool my 4 children however; was so overwhelmed with everything didn’t know where to start…. Not anymore this info is so helpful:)
Planning is my week point! I love that Sonlight is open and go with the instructor guide and schedule. Having a detailed planner would make following Charlotte Mason methods easier when it comes to extra curriculars.
I’ve been homeschooling for a few years now but I’m terrible at planning, at least I am working on not being so terrible. So i value any resource that would help me. I’m very interested In your product line.
Thank.you a lot of useful.information .
I love skimming through new curriculum, but for me, it’s very daunting to map out 180 days. I love using a paper planner, but hate messing up and rearranging the plans. I usually type up an excel sheet so that I have a general plan for the year, and then plan from that. I love your tip for having benchmarks every 6 months!
I’m new to homeschooling and excited to learn with some your resources
Love my planner
I’m excited to plan and watch my daughter grow so much more this year
I’m so excited to have found this blog! I’m huge into planning and love things to help me do that better!
I’ve started using a folder format for our homeschool. I’m LOVING IT!!
Planning our daily schedule is always a bit challenging. Between my husband’s work schedule, my chronic illness, and the unexpected ministry opportunities that pop up, it’s hard to know what any given day will look like. It’s so helpful to have flexibility in my planning and that is one of the biggest advantages of having a great planner to help me organize and keep track of our priorities and plans for the week.
I struggle with the planning. The daily schedule mostly. My mood and energy varies day to day. And then sometimes when I’m ready, my kids aren’t. I feel like I need a different space other than my home. Same reason why I have to workout at a gym.
I always get a bit overwhelmed trying to plan everything out, especially because it rarely seems to go the way we have planned, but I know it is a good skill to have.
Keeping myself accountable is my biggest challenge. Probably because I have a tendency to overschedule.
This is very helpful! I’m bookmarking to be ae to read over it more thoroughly tonight when my kids are in bed ❤️
Thanks for the tips!
Facebook sponsor ad that actually worked we are going to be homeschooling 3 kids next year for the first time and I’ve been hunting for a perfect planner. Looks like this will be it!
Wish I had access to this 16 years ago. Would have spared alot of heartaches and tears. But then I might not have met the group of fellow homeschool moms that I have met.
I am ready to move forward with my homeschooling journey!
Thank you! This was so helpful. First time homeschooling this coming year!
My planner has literally been a lifesaver for my large, busy family!
I never thought to plan around the other things and only do it 2 weeks at a time. I have been planning the entire year and changing it around things that come up! Great insight!
What great information and resources!
Used this planner for every homeschool year. Absolutely amazing!
I love homeschooling. It gives us flexibility and allows for creativity. My child was a 26 week micro-preemie. I had to quit my teaching job for my little one…and I never turned back. I love that we get to bond and talk and learn together. I can use my degree while still nurturing as mother.
Super excited to learn new ways to organize my school year. Great tips. Looking forward to more.
I love looking through your tips.
Amazing information. Can’t wait to give this a try
Love this site and planner!!
Great tips!! Thank you so much.
Thank you for the valuable information. Can’t wait to try it out
I’ve never been successful at planning ahead, so looking forward to implementing some of the tips I learn here
Thanks for the chance to win!
I think that laying out the whole year is intimidating. I feel like so much changes and im scared to not get everything done. But i love planners and how they help to simplify things! Great advice I’ll try this tactic this year
I just know this is the place to help me! I have tried and regressed into old habits so many times but now that my oldest is starting highschool we definitely need a better daily plan in place to do and be our best!
Thank you for the info.
I needed more info before trying… thanks for providing it.
We homeschool on a six weeks of school, one week off schedule, so the six week benchmarks are perfect!
This was so helpful, I have struggled with knowing how to use my planners in the most effective way!
What good encouragement! Thank you!
Love this and love getting new planning ideas.
Wow. This is our first year homeschooling. I love learning new techniques or processes to help our journey. Thank you for this.
I love this planner! Everything you need in one handy book! Simplifies my life!
I homeschool and head a veteran based auxiliary, I am loving that there are multiple planners I can use for each role!
Jennifer Marie Carlstrom
Thank you for the helpful tips and recommendations!
So glad I found this. Going to be very helpful. Thank you for creating such awesomeness!
I have been challenging through this year, I didn’t have using Well Planner, now I realized, I need to return to this—— want to order it for next year. It is very simply planner that I ever had. It is worth!
I am really enjoying this content. Lots of helpful tips and advice. I am generally pretty organized, but lately have really been struggling with feelings of overwhelming and therefore procrastination.
I would love the planner! Anything to help be more organized.
I also try to so a half year goal to hopefully help. I don’t always make it, but I use it as a guideline.
Thank you so much for the tips and sharing your process!
This is all great information!!!! Very encouraging!
Thank you for this! I like how you simplified planning by breaking things down into 6 weeks.
With 1 super-driven academic kiddo and 1 child with ADHD & ASD, we struggle daily. My special needs kiddo can’t focus more than 10 minutes and my other kiddo would sit and learn for 6 hours a day. As we close our first year, we are still working on therapies and hoping next year can be a bit more on track than this year!
I like to write down the school work for about a month. It just helps me with the rest of our live.
Great article. Planning is always anxiety ridden for me..mostly because I always attempt to do everything at once and it’s overwhelming. Going to try breaking it down using these 3 steps this year and see if it makes things easier and less stressful.
Great tips! Thanks!
I’m 2 years into homeschooling and all about organization. I came across your page a few weeks ago and love all of the great tips shared! I am still new to this process so would be great to venture into some new planning tools to begin the next school year with my girls!
I just discovered you and you blog and products. I look forward to learning from you as a “still-learning” homschool mom of just 3 years to 5 kids.
Thank you for the helpful tips!
These are great tips thank you so much I love that planner!!
Looking forward to new helps with homeschooling!
Looking forward to future help and tips for homeschooling.
Finding the time to plan everything in advance is tough, but I think a plan6et would make it much easier
Always looking for ways to stay organized throughout my ENTIRE homeschool year. Have found that my strategies feom my time in the classroom don’t always work for the flexible HS environment.
I had no idea how many resources and information Well Planned Gal has! Looking forward to dive in deeper and enrich my homeschool experience.
I have been homeschooling for 12 years and scheduling and holding to a schedule has always been difficult for me. Thank you for this information and encouragement.
This is a great resource. Thank you!
We have a large household of 8. Twins graduating next month, woohoo! So we are always busy, busy, busy. Doctor’s appointments, schooling, extra circulars, church, teen’s work schedules, there is always something going on. We’re also trying to move from in town to the county onto 5 acres and getting our property ready to move to. Any little thing I can do to keep us organized and on any type of schedule helps.
I appreciate this info, Can’t wait to get more organized.
I am always so organized, scheduled, planned for the beginning of the school year. And then within a month chaos has won again. Looking forward to trying this next year.
I struggle with getting lost in the minor details and getting side tracked with other ideas and tasks. I feel like this will really help me stay on track and motivated!
Thanks for the tips!
I am so worried about how to bounce back and forth between the 4 grade levels that I need to teach. It takes forever to find something that I can teach everyone and then find learning activities that are age appropriate for each child. I struggle with feeling like I have devoted enough time to each subject while not burning my kids out. I am a perfectionist so leaving things unfinished if we are out of time or the kids need to move on is very hard for me to do.
Hi, Brittney! I don’t know what curriculum you use, but literature-based curriculum was my rescue for this issue. I needed it all laid out for me because I didn’t have time to pull it together, but I also was super tight on budget. So, I chose a literature based curriculum (my choice was Sonlight for a variety of reasons), bought the instructor’s guides, and then determined what books I could borrow from friends, family, or the library. I only bought what I couldn’t borrow. But the IG had everything laid out, and I could do history & science across multiple grades that way (we actually ended up getting elementary science from BereanBuilders.com — even easier to manage for multiple grades!). I only had to do math and language arts individually for each grade. And as for leaving things unfinished, I do get that. I’m a perfectionist and a finisher, too. The thing that helped me was going through the instructor’s guides and deciding at the beginning of the year what things were optional. If I marked them as optional, then in my mind they became “extras.” So, I didn’t feel that I was being incomplete. I felt that I was just choosing to not do the extras because of time. Between that and my husband’s constant encouragement, that ended up working for my brain. And, I can tell you from the endpoint that it was more than enough! My oldest is a junior in college and is working on her thesis to graduate with honors. My second has been accepted into a college honors program and will start this fall. Both are in a private university on academic scholarship. So, know that you definitely do not have to do it all for them to succeed! You just have to teach them how to love learning. (And sometimes allowing them to not do everything is the best way to nurture that love for learning.) Hope that helps!
Thank you for the break down ideas! I was starting to wonder how I was going to plan all of this. This will be my first year homeschooling and it’s a daunting task to start.
I am happy this resource was developed to help make homeschool families more successful! I am glad to have found this…now to get pla no g for next year!
Thank you for the opportunity to win. I’m just starting out to homeschool. Thank you so much
I will be moving into our 3rd year homeschooling. I get excited about the programs and seeing the new things we will be learning and experiencing together.
The year plan seems so overwhelming.
Any and every piece of advice helps!! This was very helpful.. Im in my first year of homeschooling and its not easy. Thank you!
Thank you for the chance to win this I’m trying to win this for my daughter
I’m new to homeschool but not new to teaching preschool. I am trying to find the best solution for me to organize our days. What I am currently using is not working at all.
These planners are gorgeous! What a beautiful way to keep your kiddos days organized.
I’m new to homeschooling and planning is extremely challenging for me. Thank you for sharing this information it is very helpful
Thank you for the ideas. I’m usually good about setting a schedule, but I struggle with keeping to it.
This is very helpful thank you .
We are new to homeschooling and not having a plan/schedule has made for a challenging year! Thankful I found this blog and for all the helpful tips on how to make next year run smoother!
Thanks for all your useful information and tips
Thanks for the info! I’m not a big scheduler, we do things more spontaneously, but I can still use a lot of these tips
Hi! I’m new to your blog. I’ve been homeschooling for 9 years, but I just can’t ever seem to get a good schedule going and keep it going. I’m looking forward to trying to learn more and hopefully master this weakness of mine soon!
I am most excited to just be organized again. In the early years of my oldest two, I was on it. Over time I lost the organization, and I feel discombobulated, and frantic. I need some help to get back, thank you for all this great advice.
I look forward to homeschooling because I know that I can plan exactly by my kids personality!
These planners look amazing!!!! I appreciate the amount of thought put into each one!
I love the homeschool planner!
I LOVE this concept! I’ll definitely be implementing this practical thinking in our routine!
Scheduling is the hardest part for me. I have a hard time sticking to it!
Love this! I suck at planning and this will hopefully help me get better.
I create a rough plan to cover the lesson and then follow the kids lead . I’ve been teaching for over 16 years and just recently started homeschooling my grandchildren. I try to keep it fun and interesting while covering the necessary information.
I love the planning stage! I love being organized and planning out exactly what will be learned for the year and the thing that I look forward to the most is the weekly planning. Figuring out exactly what will be taught each week and what resources I’ll use. I get really excited when there’s something that I am already interested in and I’m about to tech my kids about it!
I am terrible about keeping track of hours. And although I love making lists I find that I am missing my lists all the time so this would be a fantastic way to keep that all in one place.
This is the most helpful blog I’ve found for homeschooling!
I love the benchmarking and evaluation pages in the planner that will be very helpful for planning and looking back.
I love these ideas. Thank you so much.
Thank you for these tips! My biggest source of anxiety with homeschooling is keeping my daughter on schedule and making sure she gets a comprehensive education.
Thanks for the useful information
Great information on how to plan out the year!
Thank you for all your helpful organizing posts. Love the planners.
Very interesting. Looking forward to learning more about utilizing ideas.
I’ve been homeschooling for 4 years, I love it! I love t aching my girls so much and being able to spend the day with them and seeing them learn! I love choosing what we focus on and using curriculum that focuses on God! I enjoy planning science activities and things to do outdoors!
Very helpful blog for homeschooling!
I find the hardest part about planning is tying the different subjects together. Sometimes they mesh together effortlessly, other times not so much lol
I love the Well Planned Day homeschool planner. It has been my go-to planner for years now.
Love love love this! I am always on the search for a homeschool planner that suits my needs! This is perfect, Thank you-
This is my first year homeschooling my 2 boys are finishing up their current year and then we plan to take a break over the summer. We took off a month over Christmas and there was too much backsliding so I plan to review throughout the summer. We are adding more subjects, more field trips, more co-op responsibilities for next school year and I need help with organization!
Thank you for the awesome and practical tips! I love these planners. It was a total life-saver when I found myself suddenly deep diving into homeschooling mid-year when I first started. It has continued to be extremely helpful!
I love completing the new lesson planner each year. I enjoy a planner that keeps me organized in every aspect of school and home life. Thank you for this blog!
I hope to start homeschooling soon. This is so awesome
I’m looking forward to planning field trips, science activities, and and social opportunities with friends on a more regular basis.
Really appreciate your heart to helping other homeschooling mamas!
With having to basically plan out our day now since I’ve pieced together our curriculum, this is going to come in handy!
I’m new to homeschooling and I’m really enjoying your page and all the information you have up on it.
I would like to know about other curriculums. What do y’all use?
Very good tips…. Now if I can just stop getting distracted! Lol
Thank you so much for this information, I love that it is clear and simple and I believed attainable!
Love this so much! Excited to get organized
Planning goes great for us for about the first 2 months. Then life happens.
High school and figuring that out probably worries me the most. Transcripts and credits and all of that. I love and get excited for the planning and your blog is so helpful for that.
New here. Looking forward to learning.
Very helpful thoughts! I’m always in need of fresh perspectives. Thanks!
I’m new to this and appreciate the tips. I definitely need a plan, curriculum, and a way to stay organized. Thank you for the tips.
I plan out my sons whole school year . It helps keep my anxiety down. We usually stay on track pretty good. I’ve been homeschooling him since kindergarten. He going into 8th this fall.
Sarah Joy Jacob
Thank you for all your help!
Planning my year an be overwhelming
Thank you for all the tips. I am a planner and appreciate any tips and suggestions to help keep in track and organized!
This is such a wonderful site with great resources! Not only are they helpful, but they are well organized and pretty too! This site is a one stop shop for homeschool organizing needs! I love the resources I get through emails as well.
I love this site. I am looking into homeschooling my twin 10 year old girls and everything here is so helpful!
My struggle has always been planning out the school year in advance. These ideas are great!! Thank you
Thank you for providing planning organization! Just finishing our 2nd year homeschooling!
This makes me excited to have more organization in my homeschooling journey
Very great resources that are aesthetically pleasing.
Thanks for this. New to homeschool and this is helpful
Thank you so much for the inspiration! I am still new to homeschooling, and learning myself how to organize everything
So much good advice, I’m about to start my 9th Year homeschooling & have 3 awesome kiddos. I like to plan a week in advance. That way it’s easy to change if something comes up, but let’s me know what I need to have prepared for each kid.
My favorite part of planning is seeing the curriculum in its entirety, seeing what real world connections we can make along the way, and using my Well Planned Gal planner at the start of each week to lay it all out.
Just discovered this website and blog. Looking forward to investigating it further. Love the planner!
Thank you for this helpful inspiration!
I’m concerned about keeping up with it week after week especially around the year-end holidays when my work starts getting busier and I have to work more. So I’m looking for as much info and help at homeschooling since it’s my first year.
I’m not new with homeschooling, but I just need to work on balance to stick with our schedule especially the benchmarks coming up for high school! Then properly listing out all 4 years of high school to break them down to years.
I realized some years ago that the key to staying on track and knowing your accomplishment is to write it down keep a time line . I love that you spoke of a planner. I look forward to having one of my own. I look forward to reading more of your blogs to help my path as a new homeschooler
My anxiety and desire for perfection make all of these steps challenging for me to start and complete.