Homeschoolers are always on a mission to find the best homeschool planner.
The right planner eases the way for parents to create lesson plans, make assignments for their kids, decide how to divvy up curriculum, and track ideas for enrichment activities and resources.
A good homeschool planner can give you a sense of ordering (or at least considering!) all the details, so your homeschool adventure can have more calm and less chaos.
Even for homeschoolers who don't use a curriculum or assignments, the right planner is out there to help you plan projects and unit studies or to help your young learners follow their interests—and get to the robotics team meeting on time.
We have the map for your journey toward the homeschool planner of your dreams.
Choosing a Homeschool Planner
Think of your ideal homeschool planner as a way to assemble a picture of the homeschool you want. Just as there is no single best curriculum—only curriculum that is best for your family—there is no single best homeschool planner. There is, however, a best homeschool planner for your family—whether it is one you customize for your family or the unicorn that is perfect right out of the package.
A homeschool planner needs to work the way you work, in line with your planner personality. Ask yourself if you want a paper planner or a digital planner, then consider which of the features below appeal to you.
- Designed for handwritten entries?
- Pre-printed and bound by the publisher?
- With removable and moveable sections and "inserts?"
- A file you access from your computer and print on paper yourself? Perhaps customizable?
- Stored in a notebook with rings or discs? A folding cover? Spiral bound?
- Online and in the cloud?
- On your devices?
- App- or browser-based?
- Printable? (Hybrid paper/digital planner)
- Shareable with your kids so they get their assignments?
- Shareable with adults who are in on the homeschooling?
- Compatible with Alexa or similar digital assistant?
Additional factors to consider:
- Cost. There are free planners, inexpensive planners, and expensive planners. Some have free and premium versions; some planning apps and platforms have subscription fees.
- Size. Paper and printable planners come from pocket-size to tote size and every size in between.
- Dated or undated. Calendars, weekly layouts, and daily schedules may be dated or undated.
- Binding. Paper planners may be spiral bound, edge bound, or meant to be inserted in covers with rings or discs.
- Tracking. Do you want to track homeschool accomplishments and ways you are meeting state requirements in this planner or separately?
- Features/sections. Do you want an all-in-one planner to include meal planning, household maintenance, or just stick to homeschooling? Will you use the planner to track accomplishments? Homeschool record keeping may be at least partially integrated into some planners, but you will likely need some separate record keeping tools as well.
You may find (or you may have already found!) that some parts of your planner don't work as well as you hoped. Analyzing why they don't work will help you find the homeschool planner that does work for your family.
Maybe because the kids can't see inside your paper planner, or it feels invasive having them root around in your notebook. Or maybe when the kids access your online planner to get their assignments, they get too distracted by going on the internet or using devices.
Some kids work on assignments better if you give them something tangible to work from—like a checklist of assignments printed on laminated paper or written with colorful markers on a white board.
And, of course, you may not homeschool in a way that makes "assignments" relevant for kids at all!
So, a planner featuring assignments may not be the solution you thought it would be! Or, depending on your kids and your approach to homeschooling, it may be a critical part of your homeschool planner.
It's like this with all the potential features of a planner. The size and scope of your homeschool planner may change as you add sections and omit parts you don't need or that don't work for you.
You may find you want separate planners and planning tools for different aspects of homeschooling or different aspects of life, or you may be seeking that "all-in-one."
Choosing and updating the parts of your planner is all part of discovering your "planner personality."
TheHomeSchoolMom Free Planners
TheHomeschoolMom offers two free homeschool planners designed with you in mind—one printable planner for the paper-loving homeschool parents out there and one digital version for those who prefer digital. The two planners do have different elements, so you can choose the one that best fits your needs.
Printable Homeschool Planner & Household Organizer
The printable planner is a comprehensive organizer for appointments, school assignments, lesson planning, record keeping, and family menu planning. An unschooling record keeper is helpful for keeping track of educational activities should such records be needed. The planner is exclusive for our newsletter subscribers (we would love for you to subscribe!)
Digital Homeschool Planner & Record Keeper
Our Digital Homeschool Planner is a spreadsheet-based planner that is a full digital planner for an individual homeschool student. Including course planners for each level of schooling (elementary, middle school, and high school), assignment sheets, reading logs, attendance sheets, and report cards, the digital homeschool planner is a workbook that can track your student's progress throughout his homeschool years.
More Great Homeschool Planners
Some parents prefer to use a planner intended just for homeschoolers. When the design matches up with a family's needs, the homeschool-specific planner has great features that may help homeschool life run smoothly.
Others prefer to use planners meant for public school teachers, or they like adapting planners and apps meant for "anybody," customizing them for their homeschool life.
Some planner publishers offer
- both homeschool versions and non-homeschool versions
- minimalist versions, omitting some features
- both paper and digital versions
- both dated and undated versions
Homeschool-specific planners - Paper
Planners designed for homeschoolers may have special features, so you can work out assignments from your curriculum for each child, in each subject, over the course of a week, a month, a term, or even a year. They may have special record keeping pages for field trips, reading lists, test scores, or grades—for those homeschoolers who use them.
The Schoolnest Homeschool Lesson Planning Notebook "uses a dot-grid journal inspired framework to guide you in planning and documenting your homeschool lessons. The templates are flexible and open-ended so you can make it your own to fit your needs and the way you homeschool. Planners are all 8.5x11 inches, softcover, perfect bound with 55# paper."
The Waldock Way Homeschool Planner "is simple and efficient and offers multiple options to fit your needs. You will receive an editable version (power point) and a PDF version emailed to you so that you can type or write your plans. You will also have the ability to customize title fields to best suite your needs as well. This is now an undated planner so you use it again year after year."
Here are more beloved paper homeschool planners:
Homeschool and Teacher Planners - Digital
Homeschool Planet is one of the most popular digital homeschool planners. Parents love that it already integrates many popular curricula into its system, so in many cases, you do not even have to add in specific books, lessons, or assignments. You can just decide where to plug them into your schedule in order to meet your goals. Students get their own logins!
Homeschool Panda has the sophisticated planner tools you might expect but also some extra features, including a crowd-sourced database of book titles homeschoolers can add to their lessons. You can also track your budget and communicate with other homeschoolers through Panda Post, a social networking tool for their users.
Here are some additional popular digital planners:
Adapting Apps to Homeschool Planners
Some parents prefer to create their own homeschool planner by adapting general apps and platforms designed for productivity, project planning, collaboration, calendaring, notes, or task management.
Trello might be the most popular example of an app-gone-homeschool-planner. Take a look at this video explaining how to use Trello as a homeschool planner. The Facebook group, Trello for Educators, is an excellent resource.
Airtable is another app that can be transformed into a planner. (They even have a blog post about using Airtable for homeschooling). Airtable has tables that can be used for courses, assignments, textbook titles and links, and more. You can set it up to work for each student, and you can use Airtable's custom interfaces to make everything easier for kids to see and check off as they go.
Homeschool parents mention using these and similar apps, alone or in combination, as their homeschool planners:
- Google Tasks + Google calendar
- Apple Calendar
- Tusk Task
- Goodnotes (homeschool planner integrations for Goodnotes on Etsy)
- One Note
Adapting teacher planners (paper)
Many homeschoolers enjoy using the teacher version of a planner they love, even though it's not specifically designed for homeschooling. These are frequently mentioned as best homeschool planners, even without homeschooling sections!
- Erin Condren Teacher Planner
- Oh Happy Day Lesson Planner
- Simplified Teacher Planner
- Purple Trail Teacher Planners
- BlueSky Teacher Planner
- Bloom Daily Planners
Regular planners and planning tools not designed just for homeschoolers or teachers may work for you, too. These are among those with great reviews by homeschooling parents:
- Franklin Planner
- Peter Pauper Press
- Juniper Grove Journals
- Laurel Denise Planners
- Artful Agenda (digital) - also check out the Artfully Obsessed Facebook group
- PassionPlanner - paper, digital, and some free printables
- Any "To Do List" pad
DIY Homeschool Planners
Lots of parents like to make their own paper planners, digital planners, or old fashioned checklists.
You can use a spreadsheet, word processor, or graphics program and customize your planner, or you can pick up pen and paper to design your own.
Here are a few possibilities:
- Homeschool bullet journaling
- Spiral notebook planning
- Canva Homeschool Planner Template
- Google Sheets Homeschool Planner Template
- Daily checklists (topic begins in earnest at 3:00)
- Whiteboard checklists
Check Etsy and Teachers Pay Teachers for additional templates.
Planners When There's No Curriculum
Homeschoolers who focus on interests, projects, unschooling, unit studies, or a more relaxed approach to homeschooling may also have a more relaxed or varying approach to using a planner.
You may need
- journaling space to help you generate ideas for resources and experiences to feed your child's interest
- a calendar to help you get to music lessons and co-op on time
- a daily routine
- space for notes about the unplanned learning you see happening
- a section for your child's questions and interests
And you may still want sections in a planner for meal planning, household management, and work schedules.
You may enjoy making "bingo cards" with your kids as part of your planner, naming experiences and learning ideas that aren't attached to specific lessons.
Planners for Homeschooling High school
Our Planners for High School and College
We offer a free digital course planner for the many homeschoolers who take community college classes while in high school. Since these courses count towards a college degree, it is important to keep track of the courses taken and how they apply to the different degree programs. Our Community College Course Planner is a spreadsheet that tracks the courses taken and allows input of course/credit requirements for the chosen degree program to help the student stay on track with course choices.
Our free homeschool transcripts template will help you track the credits your high school homeschooler is earning, automatically calculates GPA, and produces a professional printable or digital transcript.
There are lots of people enthusiastic about using, choosing, designing, or enhancing their planners. These enthusiasts make up what has come to be called "the planner community." A lot of them are homeschool parents!
Enjoy their tips and learn from their experience on:
Planner accessories aren't necessary, but here are some of the popular ones for those who enjoy using them:
- washi tape
- pens and markers (PandaFly, Ink Joy, Sharpie, Stablio)
- magnet and ribbon bookmarks
- pen holder
- and even: pocket photo printers
Ban.do is one of many popular planner accessory websites.
Enjoy Your Planner!
You may find that using multiple planners, even a combination of paper and digital planning tools, works best for you, or you may find (or create!) the holy grail: that ultimate all-in-one planner that does it all for you and your homeschool family.
Hold your plan loosely, be flexible, and know the quest for your perfect planner will continue.
Finding the best homeschool planner for you is just one aspect of making your homeschool warm, efficient and effective. Check out our ultimate guide to homeschool organization to learn more.
Homeschool Planner FAQs
What should be included in a homeschool planner?
A homeschool planner needs to have the pages and spaces you want. Your planner could feature:
- lesson plan pages—for each child?
- assignment pages—for each child?
- subject pages
- enrichment ideas and resources pages
- unit study pages, project pages, or unschooling notes pages
- monthly calendar (dated or undated?)
- weekly schedule
- daily routine
- meal plan pages
- home maintenance and cleaning pages
- chore charts
- habit tracking pages
- notes, journaling, and reflection pages
- a place to track hours or attendance
Your planner could also include tracking pages to record field trips, books read, milestones met, notes about your kids' high school credits, and special memories.
You may also want to use your planner to track how your family is meeting state requirements.
Homeschool record keeping and homeschool planners are closely related, but some planners may not have a place for all the homeschool records you want or need to keep, or you may prefer to keep planning and some of your record keeping separate.
Should I choose a paper or digital homeschool planner?
Most people choose a paper homeschool planner or digital homeschool planner based on whether they are drawn to paper or digital tools in general.
Paper planners are great for their portability, and some parents who want to manage their online time prefer paper homeschool planners. Paper planners with optional extra "inserts" allow you to add specific pages and sections to your planner, so you're only carrying what you need. Some people enjoy the tangible nature of writing in a paper planner, finding the nature of pen-on-paper to be part of the process—it slows you down and can draw you into a contemplative state. Bullet journals have become popular and work well as homeschool planners, too.
If you spend a lot of time in an online environment, you'll probably find a digital planner to fit into your online life. Some online planners, such as Homeschool Planet, give students and adults their own logins, so kids and teens can easily find their assignments and check them off when they are complete. Adults who are tag teaming home education can also share plans and progress effectively with a good digital planner. Online planners that have apps and/or mobile design are easy to check and add to on a phone or tablet, increasing portability. Good digital homeschool planners can cut down on making repetitive entries, since assignments are easy to duplicate and move around.
How do you use Homeschool Planet?
You can use Homeschool Planet, a popular online homeschool planner, from a browser on your computer or mobile device. While there is not a separate app for phones and tablets, there is a mobile version that works well.
Homeschool Planet is already pre-coordinated with many curricula, making it especially easy to add lessons to your homeschool calendar.
Your kids can have their own log-ins to Homeschool Planet, and you can also print your plans if you want them to follow along on paper.
There's a Homeschool Planet YouTube channel with tutorials and user guides.
See Homeschool Planet's Frequently Asked Questions for more information on how to use the program.