5 Steps to a Super Simple (and Frugal) Homeschool Lesson Planner

The Homeschool Planner Post for Those OTHER Homeschool Moms

Your homeschool planner doesn't have to overwhelm you!

As a mom of 11, saying that organization is important to me is a bit of an understatement. I truly can’t function without it. And as crucial as organization is to me, there’s just one more thing I need…simplicity.

Let’s face it. There are hundreds of beautiful lesson planners available to us homeschool moms. Video upon video abounds with crafty mothers showing how they’ve dolled up their homeschool planners with glitter and washi tape. I’ll admit, I do get inspired. I get all ready to invest in a fancy planner, rubber cement, and some crafting scissors…. and then I splash some water on my face to bring myself back down to earth. 

Stop it!

You see, as a type-A homeschool mom I can fall into this sort of thing all too easily. Some people thrive on this stuff. I get it. It motivates them to work.

Me? It makes me want to forget everything and take a nap. Super-size families and fancy schmancy just don’t mix.

At least not for me.

So today, I thought I’d reach out to all of the other homeschool moms. The ones that don’t get all giddy over homeschool planners because they’re too busy breaking out into hives at the mere thought of them.

You too? Then this is for you:

5 Steps to a Super Simple Homeschool Lesson Planner

1. Use a spiral notebook.

A spiral notebook is the perfect homeschool lesson planner

Nothing elaborate, just your average .25 spiral notebook from Walmart. To me, homeschool planning doesn’t have to be pretty. It has to be functional. And hey, when you’ve got a bunch of kids to plan for, it pays to keep the cost down in every way imaginable, right?

2. Don’t keep writing your daily activities over and over again.

Keep your homeschool planner simple!

Many homeschoolers have some activities that they do every single day without fail. For us, it’s:

  • Bible
  • Read-Aloud
  • German
  • Silent Reading

Out of everything that we do, those are the subjects that get done daily. Rather than writing those four items over and over and over again for each day, I write it in one place- the inside cover of the notebook, and that’s it. I can refer to that list anytime my brain freezes and I forget…hey, it happens, right??

Why burn daylight repeatedly writing something that won’t change?

3. Don’t waste your time writing what page numbers need to be done.

Don't waste your time writing page numbers!

Unless you’re skipping all over your kids’ books, is it really necessary to write the page numbers that have to get done every single day? I’ll admit, I used to do that, but I realized it was a waste of time because I knew that each day my kids would just pick up where they left off. If they finished with Lesson 3, we all knew they’d move on to lesson 4. If they completed Chapter 9, we knew Chapter 10 was next.

Why complicate things?

4. Don’t date your lessons.

Don't date your lesson plans!

No, I don’t mean don’t take them out to dinner…snicker…sorry. It’s late. I mean don’t write dates or even specific days on your daily lesson plans.

Believe me, you’re only setting yourself up for failure. One thing we all need to accept is that life happens in the midst of homeschooling. What can be more detrimental to the peace of your homeschool than when you set up a timeline that will never realistically work?

I know. I’ve done this.

I can’t count how many times I’ve freaked out over the fact that A, B, and C weren’t completed on such and such a day, so I frantically attempted to shove them back into the schedule so we wouldn’t be “behind.”

Can I tell you what a freeing feeling it is to know that if you don’t get something done, it’s okay? Tomorrow is another day. (And I will interject here how beneficial it is to leave your Fridays at least partially open for makeup work.)

5. Don’t plan your lessons too far in advance.

Don't plan your homeschool lessons too far ahead!

The reason for this is pretty much the same as for #4. It can be very reassuring to have lessons organized for months in advance, and that is perfectly fine- if you recognize that it’s just there as a framework. It’s not set in stone.

In my own experience, when I transfer those lessons into my daily planner (aka my spiral notebook), I tend to see them as being more mandatory, like if it’s in the book, I have to do it. Sticking to only a few weeks at a time gives you plenty of opportunity to get the books and materials you need without expecting an entire year’s worth of activities to go off without a hitch.

If you’d like a closer look at my lesson planner, I shared the one I’ve prepared for my middles here:


And one more thing before I go- I’m so excited to tell you that I’ve started a Facebook group called There’s No Place Like Home Homeschool Community. If you’re looking for a place to find homeschool advice from other homeschoolers or to encourage others, I’d love for you to join!

Now back to planning. What about you? Are you a fancy planner or a simple one? Leave a comment!



Author: Shelly Sangrey

I'm Shelly, a Christ-following, homeschooling Mom of eleven children ( okay, not ALL children. My oldest is 23.) I met my husband right after graduation, and we've been together ever since. Though my life can be hectic at times... okay, ALL the time, I wouldn't change it for anything.

19 thoughts on “5 Steps to a Super Simple (and Frugal) Homeschool Lesson Planner”

  1. I really love this post. In the summer I used to think I could get the whole fall semester planned, and guess what, it never happened. Give yourself and your kids grace and flexibility and there is a greater chance of success. Bravo.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m glad I’m not the only one. Planners with too many boxes and colors and designs just overwhelms my slightly OCD brain. I don’t even use paper anymore, I use computer spreadsheets (I’m a number nerd at heart)! This past year I designed the schedule on spreadsheet, and then handed over control to the kids!! They loved checking off their daily assignments on the computer, and it’s less work for me. It was hard to hand over that control though! This summer, I’m in hard denial of the planning that needs to take place – why in the world is summer moving so fast!!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I have multiple fancy planners for me (not homeschool) and use stickers and washi tape galore to decorate them. For homeschool, I bought an inexpensive lesson plan book from a teacher’s store. I printed some things I wanted in my planner and adhesived them over the extra teacher pages I didn’t need (sub plans, etc.) I have one child and this works well for me. Legally, I have several things I have to do and this lesson plan and my printed/adhesived in pages cover most of them. I love it. I’m more detailed than you suggested in my plans, but I don’t have to be. I just want to. And again, only have one child so it doesn’t take too much time. Also, I think I may just write a blog post about my planner after writing this comment. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I really appreciate the “permission” to be simple. I see all the pretty, detailed plan books, and then I think I must be doing something wrong…. Simple works best here, too!

    Do you record somewhere what you actually accomplish each day? Is this even necessary? I have done this, I guess bullet journal- style for our homeschool, and I’m on the hunt to mesh the two — planning and journaling. Make sense?

    I’ve also written out things for my kids in their own spiral, but realized I was writing the same things each day – LOL – so maybe having it somewhere more permanent would be better…. Thanks for all the wonderful ideas!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I used to record what we did each day, but with having so many kids, it’s easier just for me to check off things in my planner as we do them. It’s much easier that way. I’m so glad you find these tips to be helpful!


  5. I enjoy seeing how other people plan! I also love the affection the girls were showing their momma – lots of peace and love showing through! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t plan at all … 😱. We’ve always just started at the beginning of a book and gone lesson by lesson. Once in a while I flip through our history book to see what I want to put on hold at the library, but that’s about it. My older kids do have a checklist though so they know what they should be doing more or less.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Even things we don’t use “workbooks” for I don’t really plan…. Like we’ll just look at the spine and then do coordinating activities, but I did just have a baby three months ago so this year has been really, really relaxed lol. Maybe next year I’ll plan more.

        Liked by 1 person

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