What to Plan?
Shown above: Well Planned Day Original Homeschool Planner
Do you feel lost when it comes to knowing what to plan?
I’m going to let you in on a little secret: planning doesn’t actually come naturally to anyone. While some people are more inclined to enjoy planning than others, even they have to experiment their way into success if they are not taught how to do it. So, if you’ve ever felt clueless about how to use your planner or what to plan, you’re not alone! You just need a few lessons in planning to help you get started.
What to Plan: Schedule & Homeschooling
When determining what to plan, we’ll start with the obvious one for homeschool teachers. You need to plan homeschool schedules and assignments!
When building a schedule, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t have to be rigid or by the clock. You can instead build routine blocks. For homeschooling, this might include two morning school routines, one with language arts, math, and art and the second with history and science, enjoying a break in between.
The idea is less that you’ll have rigid class “periods” and more that you will automatically know how your day is going to flow from one subject or activity to the next. We call this a daily rhythm.
Once you have a schedule, you can then fill in the details that are unique to each day. This can be as specific as listing which pages your students will complete each day or as general as an end goal you want to reach by the end of the week. (For instance, you may want to complete three lessons in science in a week.)
Either one works, as the goal is to hold yourself accountable to make sure you’re making tangible progress each week.
What to Plan: Home Management
Homeschool scheduling isn’t all we have to think about, though! Like everyone else who has a career, we still have to transition from work management to home management. The difference for us is that it’s all very closely tied together.
Have you ever been putting away groceries, only to discover that you forgot to pick up one of the most important items? Or, do any of those home management tasks that only happen once a month or quarter ever sneak up on you because the time has gone by so quickly?
When we’re trying to figure out what to plan for home management, the reality is that there’s a lot to balance. It’s not just about keeping on top of house cleaning, meal planning, and grocery shopping. It’s also about remembering the monthly septic tank treatment or keeping tabs on when you last checked the batteries in the smoke detectors. Then there are the family appointments and other schedules and routines.
With all of this to balance, it definitely makes sense that home management is an important thing to put on your “what to plan” list. If it needs to be done, it should be written down! This not only helps us remember the chore, it also helps us communicate well with the rest of the family.
I always loved keeping my Well Planned Day Homeschool planner in plain sight because it had both school and home management all in one place. Not only did that keep a tangible reminder in front of me, but the rest of my family could also see clearly what the dinner plan was for the week, what appointments we had, and what other tasks needed to be completed around the house.
The Most Important Part: Prioritization
“But I just don’t have time to fill out a planner.”
I hear that a lot. And I get it. Really I do. It takes time to diligently set up a schedule, add in assignments, include home management tasks, and set up a daily and weekly routine for maintaining a planner. Ultimately, planning does save more time than it takes, but many people who are new to the planning habit don’t readily see that benefit.
Why? Because it only works when planning is a priority.
You see, if you are hit and miss about planning, it ultimately doesn’t save you time because you’re always trying to play catch up. It’s like exercising two days this week, one the next, five the week after that, then none, then back to one. The lack of consistency keeps the exercise from being helpful.
Planning is the same way. If you’re not consistent, it will end up costing you time and not providing any benefit.
Only when you make it a priority, setting time every single day to make sure that you are intentional about building a planning habit, will you start saving time through planning.
There’s good news, though. In both the Well Planned Day Homeschool Planner and On the Go, I include articles that show you how to build consistency by working through the ACHIEVE method. Choose an area of focus, then make that your priority.
When you begin to really get a grasp on what to plan and feel that you have established a rhythm of planning, you can expand to include more areas of focus.
Why don’t you give it a try today? Start working through the process to fill out those blank space so you can find yourself remembering all the things (because it’s written down!) and developing a solid rhythm of planning.