January 22, 2013
Out on the Well-Trained Mind forums the other day, the Hive was discussing daily schedules. Being the planning-Nazi that I am, I relish looking over how people structure their days. Sometimes, just skimming someone else’s post reminds me to add something to our schedule. Likewise, reading about a different thought process helps me to eliminate some extraneous homeschooling activities.
Of course, I like to give something back to the discussion. At the beginning of this school year, I tested different homeschool planning software. I really enjoyed Homeschool Tracker, and was in love with the concepts behind Rebecca Keliher’s Well-Planned Day web app. Unfortunately, I needed something with a bit less of a learning curve than HST and something further down the development pipeline that WPD was at the time.
I wanted something I could print that would:
- be EASY to update
- eliminate the ever-present refrain of “what’s next, Mom?”
- be something each boy could keep in his binder
- have a space for the week number and its overlying topic
- act as a checklist so that said boys could glance at the page and see their progress for the day and week
- list extra work for the week that wasn’t day specific
- have room for chores
- show our activities for the week to trigger reminders for the kids (“oh, we have Scouts on Tuesday… I need to bring x…”)
- track what I was doing with them as read alouds, etc., to enhance recordkeeping
and last, but not least, be PRETTY! (Does that make me shallow?:-))
So, what to do? (I know you are all waiting with bated breath…)
I am sorry to say the answer isn’t at all sexy… I simply called on my old friend, Microsoft Excel. That’s right. He is like an old ratty sweater – maybe inelegant, but infinitely useful and comfortable.
After posting a screen capture of the weekly plan that I developed using said ratty old sweater:-), I heard from ALOT of people wondering how I created it and whether there is some mysterious app out there that no one knows about. Based on that feedback, I concluded that a blog post was in order… so, here we are.
To that end, and for your planning enjoyment, I have uploaded a copy of the spreadsheet. I copy nine weeks of worksheets in each file, so that I have the files setup by quarters. Feel free to use it as you like. This is an Excel 2007 file, but those of you who have older software will probably still be able to convert it with minimal loss to the format.
Next time, I will give you a little more detail on how I use the planning doc each week.