As a homeschool mom of two, a military spouse, and a newbie blogger I need a planner to help me stay on task.
My week really depends on how well I plan it or if I even took the time to plan. So, if I don’t plan well or don’t plan at all, things get out of control fast.
I am not a planner fanatic, but I do need one otherwise things just don’t get done or it just gets crazy.
I use the Parent Planner I found at Aldi’s. It’s affordable ($7.99 plus tax), colorful, and practical.
You can choose any planner as long as it helps you accomplish tasks.
Here is a list of homeschool planners (free and paid) that I rounded up if you need a place to get started.
But, my suggestion for new homeschool parents is to choose an affordable and simple one to get started.
Unless you are already a planner fanatic, there’s no need to spend your time, money, and energy on a fancy, complicated planner that takes time to set up. Maybe later. 😉
HOW I PLAN FOR THE WEEK
My week starts on Sunday.
Every Sunday, I sit down with my planner and calendar to plan for the week. It usually takes about 30 minutes.
I look for any important appointments on my calendar (I use both my phone calendar and a family wall calendar) and fill them in my planner.
Important appointments like:
- Doctor/dentist appointments.
- Any homeschool extracurriculars (piano, sports).
- Anything that requires us to have to get in the van, drive, and meet other people.
FILL IN ROUTINES
Then, I fill in our morning and evening routines as those are pretty much the same every day.
Some afternoons are the same (especially now that we are under this “shelter-at-home” order with the COVID-19 pandemic going on).
Prior to the pandemic, afternoons tend to be the time when we go out to parks or the beach, library, meet up with friends, piano lessons, swim, etc.
- 7am: Wake up
- 8am: Breakfast/prep for lunch
- 9am: Get ready for the day/laundry
- 10am-12pm: Homeschool
- 12pm: Lunch/clean up kitchen
- 1pm: Kids’ screen time/I take care of things like phone calls, house work, or blog
- 2pm: Outside
- 3pm: Snack time/chores
- 4pm: Prep dinner, kids have free time (sometimes they help me with dinner, but most of the time they either end up watching or playing together)
- 5pm: Dinner
- 6pm: Relax (play games together)
- 7pm: Bath/PJs/Teeth
- 8pm: Read/Pray
- 9pm: Lights out
SET GOALS FOR THE WEEK
I set one personal goal and one homeschool goal.
For example, this week (the last week of April 2020):
- PERSONAL GOAL: Start content creation for my blog.
- HOMESCHOOL GOAL: 2 science experiments this week (my son LOVES them and me on the other hand tend to push it to the back burner because of all the mess and clean up lol).
You can put family goals in here as well. Examples of our family goals would be take walks together, play more board games together, discuss family finance, etc.
WEEKLY MENU PLAN
I try to plan out our menu once a week. Usually I plan only for lunches and dinners.
Breakfasts are usually the same and it doesn’t take too much out of me so I don’t plan for it, but if that’s something that you have to plan for then by all means do it.
I poke around the fridge/freezer, pantry and see what I have, create some meals out of that.
Then, some family favorites or let’s be real, food that the kids will actually eat.
I use a meal planning/grocery list from The Minimal Mom to make things easier when I go to the grocery store.
Here is a link to a video where she explains meal planning (you can find the FREE meal planning/grocery sheet in the description box below the video).
This has simplified my meal planning and grocery shopping SO much. I just print out the sheet and circle what I need to get.
TO DO/TO BUY LIST
On the side of my planner, I jot down things I either need to order online or pick up from the stores. These are mainly household or homeschool items that I don’t want to forget.
I also jot down some important TO DO’S as well.
BLOCK & HOURLY SCHEDULING
I like block scheduling.
BUT, I also need to hourly schedule within my blocks (if that makes any sense) to help me stay on schedule.
Block scheduling is to section off my day in chunks.
Here’s mine for example:
I have 5 blocks or chunks.
- BLOCK 1: Early Morning (4am-7am) – Work
- BLOCK 2: Morning (7am-10am) – Morning routine
- BLOCK 3: Late morning (10am-12pm) – Homeschool
- BLOCK 4: Afternoon (12:30pm-5pm) – Lunch, free time & chores
- BLOCK 5: Evening (5pm-9pm) – Dinner, bedtime routine, sleep
After all the planning is done, I put up the daily schedule and meals on a white board in our dining room.
I hung the board in a high traffic area, where we sit down to eat so everyone sees the board.
I blocked this board into 3 chunks.
I don’t put my work schedule on here so it’s easy to look at for the kids and hubby.
Even though we plan for the week sometimes things just don’t go the way we plan.
Maybe it’s pouring raining, a child is sick, or YOU are sick.
I’ve come to just go with the flow when unexpected things happen (and not blow up)!
GIVE YOURSELF GRACE.
This is something that I’ve been holding onto as a military spouse and homeschool mom because yes ma’am, yes sir, there have been SO many unexpected things that we just cannot foresee.
Remain flexible, give yourself some extra wiggle room in your daily, weekly, monthly schedules.
Don’t pack everything in one day.
ARE YOU A PLANNER?
So, let me know in the comment section below are you a planner or do you feel like you already have your routines and schedules down that you don’t really need one?
Do you feel like a planner or schedule is too rigid? Most moms that I know use one, but I also know some moms who don’t need a planner either.
Also, PLEASE tell me what your favorite planner is (if you use one)! I am curious to know!