How to Pick the Best Homeschool Planner That Works for You
Looking for the best homeschool planner for you but confused about all the options out there? Let’s sort through the different types of homeschool planners plus look at tips and tricks for making your planner work for you 🙂
Overcome Homeschool Planner Overwhelm!
Finding the best homeschool planner that will work for you can feel like finding a needle in a haystack. If you’re not familiar with the world of planning, all the terms and types can be overwhelming. You’re probably thinking that it really shouldn’t be this hard to figure out what planner to use for your homeschool!
Let me reassure you that you’re not losing your mind. Our Rock Your Homeschool! Facebook group gets questions every single day about picking out the best homeschool planner. Homeschool moms want to know that they’re wisely spending their time and money. It’s smart to ask questions and investigate your options.
There are a few reasons why it is important to spend time researching and thinking about what the best homeschool planner will be for your life.
- Homeschool planning takes time and you don’t want to waste a precious second of it!
- You don’t want to throw away money trying different planners
- Record keeping for your homeschool may be essential and switching up planners might mean missing information that you need
- A sense of peace because you’re not fretting about and spending countless more hours looking at other planners that just might be the “perfect” one
To help you find the best homeschool planner that will work for you, I’ve compiled these tips and resources. I’m a planner gal at heart and love to chat about all things planning-especially homeschool planning! You’ll find information on:
- Planning terms
- Tips on what to look for when picking a homeschool planner
- Types of homeschool planners
- Popular homeschool planner picks
- Great alternatives for homeschool planners
- The best place to go for help when it comes to homeschool planning
Warning: If I seem like I’m geeking out over homeschool planners, it’s because I am! There are so many ways to have fun with your homeschool planning 🙂
Helpful Terms to Know When Searching for the Best Homeschool Planner
Planner Sizes: Did you know that there are a variety of planner sizes out there? You can find planners that are pocket size all the way up to US letter size. Sometimes, these sizes are referred to as:
- A4 – This size (8.27 in. X 11.7 in.) is most like US Letter.
- A5 – 5.83 in. X 8.27 in.
- Personal – 3.74 in. X 6. 73 in.
- Pocket – 3.19 in. X 4.72 in.
- Mini – 2.64 in. X 4.13 in.
Inserts: Additional pages and lists that you insert into your planner. Not all planner types (like coil or spiral) have this option.
Punch: This device punches holes into papers. If you’re using a binder, you’ll want a 3-hole punch. Arc punches (see below) are used for disc planners, like the Happy Planner.
me & my BIG ideas PUN-01 Happy Planner PunchStaples Arc Desktop Paper Punch, 8-Sheet Capacity, GrayLevenger Circa Universal Sturdy Desk Punch Paper Punches (ADS9930)
Week on Two Pages: When one week is spread across two pages facing each other. Usually with Sunday – Tuesday on one page (with a notes section) and Wednesday – Saturday on the other page.
Vertical Layout: When planners have boxes that are placed in vertical positions.
Horizontal Layout: When planners have boxes that are placed in horizontal positions.
Hourly Planner: Each hour is assigned a line or slot for each day.
Decorative Planning: When you take your planner to the next level by spending time adding washi tape, stickers, and other embellishments.
Minimalist Planning: When you keep your planning super simple and basic.
Things to Think About When Looking for the Best Homeschool Planner
When you’re searching for a homeschool planner that will work for your life, it’s important to consider what exactly you’re using it for (it can be so much more than just homeschooling!) and what purpose it will serve.
There’s no right or wrong way. Your friend may use a bullet journal that she raves about, but it just wouldn’t work for you. Her family life might be different or her brain functions in a different way when it comes to planning. It’s all good!
For example, I need a vertical layout in my planner. I’ve tried horizontal but end up feeling more scattered and disoriented. A friend doesn’t like any layout. She prefers the freedom a blank page offers so she can create a custom planner layout in her traveler’s notebook for that week.
I encourage you to think about what planning systems (if any) you’ve used in the past and if they worked for you. In high school and college, I used basic student planners with blocks similar to my current vertical layout system. In graduate school and work, I used an hourly planner (like a DayTimer). When I look back on my planners, the vertical blocks just jived with how I think about my day, week, and month.
Here are a few things to think about:
- Will your planner be just for homeschooling or include other aspects of your life? Some areas of your life that you may include in your planner include:
- Home management
- Extracurricular activities
- Social engagements
- Are you a paper gal or prefer digital? You can even use both!
- How much money do you have to spend on a planner? What’s your budget? Make sure to factor in extras, like washi tape, stickers, special pens, and markers!
- What’s your current lifestyle and needs? Will your homeschool planner sit in one place or will you be on-the-go a lot?
- How many kids are you using it for?
- How flexible does your homeschool planner need to be? Will you need to be able to move pages/inserts around or are you cool with static?
- What size planner do you think you’d prefer? And do you think you can make it work?
Types of Bindings for Homeschool Planners
Now that you’ve given those considerations some thought, check out these types of planners that might work for your homeschool life.
3-Ring Binder: A binder that you can find at an office supply or other stores can work well as a simple and flexible planner. This type of homeschool planner is affordable and rather easy to customize.
Spiral Notebook: A simple notebook can also be an affordable and customizable option! Sarah Mackenzie of Read-Aloud Revival shares how she uses this brilliant system to simplify her homeschool planning.
Disc: This type of planner uses solid, disc-like binding. The discs are removable and interchangeable. This planning system is flexible and varies in price.
Bound: Planners that are sewn or glued to a spine. These planners are not flexible but can be affordable.
Spiral: These planners use a spiral to contain pages that are printed with monthly, weekly, and sometimes daily layouts
Online: Digital planning use apps or sites to store your details.
Best Homeschool Planner: Popular Picks
When you are looking for the best planner for your homeschool life, it can help to check out what other homeschoolers have used and loved. Oh, and where you can find them! Don’t forget to use a coupon or discount code if available 😉
Stores like Walmart and Target have a variety of affordable planners to check out. These academic planners are more traditional but not flexible. UPDATE: Walmart now carries some Happy Planner supplies!!
Mead 2018-2019 Academic Year Student Weekly & Monthly Planner, Large, 8-1/2 x 11, Modern Chic, Herringbone (CAW507D3)Mead 2018-2019 Academic Year Weekly & Monthly Planner, Large, 8-1/2 x 11, Type Treatment, Teal (CAW505D2)Mead 2018-2019 Academic Year Weekly & Monthly Planner, Large, 8-1/2 x 11, Gold & Bold, Stripes (CAW508D1)
Happy Planner: Me & My Big Ideas (MAMBI – Create 365) has these customizable disc-bound planners in three sizes (Mini, Classic, Big) that have become wildly popular for homeschoolers. There are teacher versions that many homeschool moms find delightful.
Personally, I use a Big Happy Planner to fit my busy homeschool soccer mom life with five boys. I use expander discs to add more room for inserts. I need flexible with the opportunity to decorate when my creative side needs to pop out. You can find Happy Planners at Michaels, Hobby Lobby, and Amazon.
me & My Big Ideas PLNR-71 The Happy Planner Agate/Classic 18 Month (July 2018-December 2019), MultiMe & My Big Ideas Classic 18 Month Happy Planner Dated 2018-2019 Simply Lovely by2018-2019 BIG Happy Planner Box Kit, Teacher Edition – Teach From the Heart – Big Teacher Planner, Create 365 Teacher Planner, Mambi Teacher PlannerMe & My Big Ideas the Happy Planner, Self Care, 18 Month Dated July 2018 through December 2019me & My Big Ideas PLNE-21 The Happy Planner Big 18 Month, MulticolorMe & My Big Ideas Create 365 The Happy Planner Mini, Live Loud (Horizontal), 12 Month UndatedCreate 365 2018 – 2019 MINI Happy Planner – Hand Drawn Whimsy bundled with Recollections Planner Sticker Sheet
Recollections: These planners are available at Michaels. Affordable and adorable, Recollections planners are spiral and available in three sizes (Mini, Classic, Big). Some covers even have glitter (inside a plastic sleeve)!
Tip: Sign up for Michaels Rewards program to get coupons on the app and/or mail. Wait for a 50% off coupon when planners are not on sale. You’ll save big time!
Erin Condren: Another very popular spiral planner for homeschoolers! Teacher styles are available and these planners are customizable. These planners cost more but get rave reviews. You can order directly on their site and see some styles at Staples. UPDATE: Erin Condren now has LifeBinders! These planners look amazing and add a flexibility to EC that I love to see 🙂
Plum Paper: Gorgeous spiral planner that even has homeschool options! Three sizes are available and customizable. Cost is at the higher end but I’ve heard well worth it 🙂
The Well-Planned Day: This spiral planner is specifically designed for homeschoolers and great for planning for up to four students. The 2018-2019 version has a self-care section, too!
Well Planned Day, Family Homeschool Planner, July 2018 – June 2019Well Planned Day, On the Go Planner, July 2018 – June 2019Well Planned Day, Student Planner Floral Style, July 2018 – June 2019Well Planned Day, Student Planner Camo Style, July 2018 – June 2019Well Planned Day, High School 1 Year Planner, July 2018 – June 2019Well Planned Day, High School 4 Year Plan, July 2018 – June 2022Well Planned Day Wall Calendar, July 2018 – June 2019
The Ultimate Homeschool Planner: This spiral planner created by Debra Bell is awesome for Christian homeschool moms. Different styles are available plus versions for teens.
The Ultimate Homeschool Planner (Yellow Edition)The Ultimate Daily Planner for StudentsThe Ultimate Homeschool Planner (Orange Edition) by Debra Bell (2012-08-01) Spiral-bound
Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Planner: FREE printable homeschool planning pages with a large variety to pick from!
Online homeschool planners:
- Homeschool Planet
- Homeschool Tracker
- Homeschool Panda
- Some moms use Evernote with great success
Think Outside the Box for the Best Homeschool Planner
You got options, girl!
Popular planners are fabulous but you may function better with a bit more flexibility or simplicity. Both bullet journals (bujo) and traveler’s notebooks (TN) are fantastic options for moms who love to add creativity and find lists, brain dumps, and trackers helpful. These homeschool planning styles do require time for set-up but are totally customizable.
Tip: Search Pinterest for bujo (bullet journal) and TN (traveler’s notebook) inspiration on different spreads and tracking methods! You can even find printables to use in these types of planners.
Bullet Journal: Many homeschool moms love the bujo (short for bullet journal)! This type of homeschool planner entails a touch of creativity, organization, and simplicity. Paper is plain, lined, dotted, or graph.
Betsy of Family Style Homeschooling gives you a sneak peek into her homeschool bullet journal with lovely ideas and examples.
Bullet Journal – Dot Grid Hard Cover Notebook, Premium Thick Paper with Fine Inner Pocket, Black Smooth Faux Leather, 5”×8.25”Leuchtturm1917 Hardcover Medium Dotted Journal [Berry]Bullet Journal/Notebook – Dot Grid Hard Cover Notebook, Premium Thick Paper with Fine Inner Pocket, A5 Size(5
Traveler’s Notebooks: These planners are a twist on the bullet journal. Small notebooks are gathered by bands into leather or cloth binder. TNs (traveler’s notebooks) can be both flexible and static.
I have a friend who swears by TNs. She has a book for her general homeschool schedule, a book for each of her three kids, a book for meal planning, and a book for shopping/wishlists. Also, she has a plastic zipper pouch for coupons and receipts.
Refillable Leather Journal Travelers Notebook – 8.5 x 4.5 Travel Diary with 5 Inserts + Pen Holder and Binder Clip, Standard Size, BrownLeather Journal, Vintage Refillable Travelers Notebook with Line Paper+ 1 PVC Zipper Pocket +18 Card Holder for Women 4.7 X 7.9in (Blue)Travel Journal Refillable Leather Travelers Notebook as Multifunctional Bullet Journal Perfect for Men & Women Writing Drafting Drawing 3 Inserts Zipper Pocket Card Holder Field Notes Cover by KeeactTravelers Notebook Leather Small Journal Traveler Notebook,Flowers Embossed Vintage Notebook, Gift for Men & Women, Perfect to Write in,5.3Travelers Notebook Inserts 3-Pack Weekly Planner Refills, 30 Weeks Per Book, 100g No Bleed Paper, Standard Size 4.25 x 8.25 inRefillable Leather Journal Notebook, Vintage Travelers Notebook Passport Size 5.2Travelers Notebook Black Leather Refillable Vintage Bullet Journal 4 Paper Inserts
Help for Figuring Out Your Homeschool Planning Groove
Need help determining just how to use your homeschool planner once you pick it? Pam Barnhill is your gal!
In Put Your Homeschool Year on Autopilot, Pam walks you through the homeschool planning process (and so much more!). You learn how to customize your homeschool planning to fit your homeschool approach, curriculum, and life!
Pam also has a fabulous book + resources. Plan Your Year guides you through figuring out a planning system that works for your homeschool.
Do you have a homeschool friend who is struggling with finding the best homeschool planner for her life? Please share this post with her 🙂
Well, now that you’ve had a gander at all of the parts of picking the best homeschool planner for you, what do you think? Share your thoughts and final pick here!
P.S. If you’re a planner nerd like me, I’d love for you to leave your tips and favorite planning resources in the comments below.