The Benefits of Planning for Lifeschoolers

When you’re lifeschooling, unschooling, or you have a relaxed homeschool, using a planner may be something you’ve never considered. After all, the beauty of these methods is that you can go with the flow and let creativity and passions lead the way, right? You may not want to get bogged down with a plan, keeping your kids from exploring all that life has to offer. I’m not a big planner myself, but I’ve come to realize that having a homeschool planner is something that we’ve needed to add to our home. 

I think planners can be both good and bad. When you plan out your entire week, month, or year, it can add stress to get those boxes checked. I know when I’ve used them in the past, this definitely happened to me. But, over the years I’ve come to realize that homeschool planners can be my friend and that I can use them in a way to suit my family. 

Reverse Planning

Instead of planning ahead and having a huge list of things to do, I’ve started using my planner in reverse. In other words, I’ve started using it as a record keeper. A homeschool planner is the perfect place to write in all that we’ve done in our day and how we can use that as credit. This is especially helpful for those with high schoolers so they can later create a transcript, but it may also be necessary for those who homeschool in a state or country that requires documentation of these things. 

Using this reverse planning also helps me to have a place to keep track of what we’ve done for my own benefit. That tiny little voice can always creep up saying, “What have you really done this school year?” I won’t let that doubt creep in anymore. If I ever doubt our method in any way, it’s a great reminder to me of what all we’ve accomplished. (Or more realistically, when my mom brain takes over and I forget what all we’ve done, I can go back and look!)

Planning for All Aspects of Life

I don’t know about you, but I get distracted super easily. Because of this, having a planner to fill in different aspects of my own life helps me keep track of everything I need to outside of our homeschool. Meal planning is a big one. I often need to keep track of food as we run out of it (hello, kids eating enough food to feed an army!). I also need to keep track of what meals we’re having that week (I already mentioned my mom brain…). Having a life planner makes sure all of this runs smoothly and that we have enough food so that I’m not left eating crumbs after my kids. 

I also like to keep track of things like field trips. We are part-time roadschoolers, so we take a LOT of trips. So many, that I often forget where all we’ve gone that year. Having a set place to record all of these trips, plus all of the amazing places inside of each location (museums, national parks, historical landmarks, etc) helps me remember of all the real-world learning we have going on.

Mandatory Records

Many states and countries require homeschoolers to keep track of their lessons, curriculum, attendance, and more. For these homeschoolers, having a homeschool planner is a great way to keep track of all of it. It’s important to have a planner that allows you to keep track of all of the important records you need and allows plenty of space to record everything for each of your kids. Strict rules do not mean you need to have a formal homeschool. Keeping a planner to record all of your real-life learning opportunities is the best way to make sure you have everything all in one place to turn anything in that is required. Be creative in your record-keeping! Count that craft time as art, those YouTube videos about building a zipline as STEM, and martial arts classes as PE.

More Talk About Planners

Do you use a homeschool planner? Share why you do or don’t in the comments and feel free to join in the conversation over in my online homeschool community, too!

Christine Zell
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