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Schedule or Plan: What’s the Difference?

schedule or plan

Do you know the difference between scheduling and planning?

You’ve probably processed a lot of information that talks about scheduling and planning, but have you ever stopped to really process the difference between the two? Are you creating a schedule or plan? How do you tell the difference?

Let’s take a look.

Are You Creating a Schedule or Plan?

“Planning” and “scheduling” are such generic words that encompasses so much. You create a school year plan as well as a lesson plan. You plan for the week while also following a weekly schedule.

You build a menu plan and a chore schedule. You schedule doctor’s appointments but find that an unexpected change can throw off the plan.

Do you see how it can all seem confusing? We act like the words are interchangeable, but they’re really not. And whether you need to schedule or plan changes depending on what your ultimate goal is.

But because of the way we use the two words, it can often be confusing to try to determine just how various planning resources work and what that means for your homeschool day. Some homeschool resources actually focus more on scheduling than planning while others do the opposite.

What’s the difference? How do you know if you need a schedule or plan?

Let’s clarify by establishing a definition for each one.

A schedule is the general framework telling you what to expect at each stage of the day or week. It can range from being a detailed timeline, showing what you’ll be doing in every 30-minute time block, to being a general flow of routine. But it ultimately tells you what each Monday will generally look like.

Planning, on the other hand, focuses on TODAY. It’s not just a general idea of what you’ll be doing on Mondays; instead it’s a specific plan of what needs to be done on this particular Monday.

Both are important. But many resources only support creating a schedule rather than actually creating a plan.

So, why is it critical to go beyond a schedule and create a daily or weekly plan? There are several reasons. We’re going to take a look at the three that I consider to be the most important.


The first one is benchmarks. Benchmarks are specific markers along the way that let you know how much you need to get done in order to complete your school year on time. A schedule may tell you that you’ll do math as the second subject during every morning’s school block.

A plan tells you that, in order to finish a year’s worth of math in this school year, you need to have completed lesson 30 (as an example) by the end of the last week in September. If you start school in early August, that benchmark lets you know that you have a little bit of flexibility, but you still need to make sure math gets done almost every day.

The daily and weekly plan helps you to lay out benchmarks, see exactly where you are in comparison to those benchmarks, and know how to adjust the daily plan if you get ahead or fall behind.

Well Planned Day is designed to allow space for creating both your overarching schedule and a daily plan instead of having to choose a schedule or plan.

At the beginning of the planner, you’ll find space for noting a teacher schedule as well as a schedule for each of up to four students. The spacious monthly spread allows you to note your benchmarks, keeping track of where you need to be for each subject and each student.

But the real jewel is the weekly spread. This allows you to plan well, keeping close track of what needs to be accomplished each day to meet those benchmarks. Designed to help you keep track of it all in one location, Well Planned Day is the perfect way to build your routines and meet your benchmarks!

Benchmarks are only one aspect of the importance of daily and weekly planning. Check out my article “Not a Lesson a Day” to see what the next reason for planning out your week.

With five kids in their teen and early adult years, Rebecca shares the many ups and downs of parenting, homeschooling, and keeping it all together. As the Well Planned Gal she mentors women towards the goal of discovering the uniqueness Christ has created in them and their family and how to best organize and plan for the journey they will travel.

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