When I first started homeschooling, I thought I needed to create a homeschool curriculum plan by writing it down in a planner and following it. Boy was I wrong! I want to share with you how to plan homeschool curriculum using Google Sheets and what saved me from continuing to feel like a failure!
Creating a lesson plan, writing it down and following it DOES NOT work for us. It took about two weeks into our first homeschool year to feel like a complete planning (and homeschooling mom) failure.
At first I didn’t know what to do, because I felt that maybe I wasn’t doing this homeschool thing right… or maybe I wasn’t even doing life right. It really had me question things.
Instead I knew I needed a fresh planning idea that would save my sanity and yet help us accomplish our homeschool learning outcomes. And I’m so happy to say that I’ve found it… and would love to share it with you, if it can help you, too!
The Planning Failure
I felt like a homeschool planning failure because we were already behind.
I couldn’t keep up. I planned too much and there were unexpected things that happened in the week which took our schedule onto another path. And I had this question come up in me, “If we miss a few days, will we need to do math in the summer?”
I was petrified that if we missed homeschool days due to sickness, dealing with kids emotions, field trips, play dates, and all the things that aren’t scheduled, would we ever stop homeschooling in the year? I couldn’t bear to never stop pulling out the math book.
I need rest from homeschooling and a break to refresh my heart concerning it all and that is why we don’t homeschool in summer.
After feeling like a failure, I began using these steps in our homeschool to start off the process for the year in a prayerful and mindful way.
Then from there, I developed a homeschool curriculum planner using Google Sheets. This reassures me that we’ll have a summer because I’ve planned for it!
I soon find out that, not only are we doing math 4 days a week instead of 5, we’ll also finish earlier than the year-at-a-glance curriculum planner! This includes having 4 weeks off in the year for holidays/vacations and a 3-month long summer.
Homeschool Planning Idea
This is what I’ve determined… I need two planners each year. The planners I need are:
- Planner #1: Year-at-a-glance using Google Sheets
- Planner #2: Hard copy homeschool planner
Planner #1: Year-At-A-Glance Homeschool Planner Using Google Sheets
The year-at-a-glance homeschool planner gives me an overview of the entire year as it relates to curriculum.
It’s a guide to help me gauge how we’re doing, if we’re keeping up and if what I set out to do was reasonable. It also helps me start the year off with a postive outlook because I’ve “seen” that the plan will work. This, however, is not an etched-in-stone plan that I have to abide by.
Planner #2: Hard Copy Homeschool Planner/Record-Keeper
The hard copy homeschool planner is where I write down what we actually do each day. This becomes more of a homeschool record-keeping journal, if you will.
The two of these planners proves successful for me. I refer back to the year-at-a-glance planner occasionally throughout the year. This allows me to review how we’re doing in comparison to the hard copy homeschool planner that I have as a record-keeper.
Just a side-note: I read Julie Bogart’s book this summer, “The Brave Learner” and found out that writing down what you actually do in your homeschool is a type of planning called Planning From Behind.
How to Plan Homeschool Curriculum Using Google Sheets
Before I start using Google Sheets, I do the following:
STEP 1: Determine The Number of Homeschool Days/Weeks
- Print out a full year/annual school calendar (you can find this easily by googling).
- Indicate your homeschool start date and end date.
- Mark off the days you’ll take off as holidays or vacation.
- Mark off weekends if you don’t homeschool over the weekend.
- From there total up the number of homeschool days and weeks. (I total homeschool weeks using Mondays).
STEP 2: Start a Google Sheet and Update Fields
Open up Google. Find your Google Drive. Select New and select Google Sheet. Name your Google Sheet.
At the top of a Google Sheet, add the following columns:
- “Week” (for the week number)
- “Week Of” (for the Monday date of each week)
- “Days” (for the number of homeschool days that week).
Complete each of the fields below the column titles filling in the information from your annual/school calendar that you determined in step 1. (ie. Add Week 2, the Monday date and the number of days in that week. Add Week 3 and so on)
On the Google Sheet there are tabs at the bottom. Create as many tabs as you need for each child and one for Altogether if there are subjects you do together with all your children. Here is an example:
Note: Be sure to copy the columns of Week, Week Of and Days to each of these tabs at the bottom.
STEP 3: Add Curriculum Subjects and Lessons
At the top of each column add the subject, below the subject add the curriculum title (shown below).
Review each curriculum. Read what’s suggested for the pace of time to do a lesson or unit. Determine what you’d like to do in your homeschool and fill in each field to know what lessons you’ll be looking to do that week. (ie. Lessons 1-3 for Bible on week 1, Lessons 4-8 for Bible on week 2, etc.)
Part of planning homeschool curriculum for the year is the routine, loop or schedule for each day/week. For our family, we work by routine and not so much a schedule.
Once I’ve determined how much time is required for the curriculum or what I want to see, I form the routine/loop.
If you’d like to see a video of my homeschool planning process with the above steps in action, visit my Instagram Stories here.
Also, I’ve decided to make my Year-At-A-Glance Homeschool Planner using Google Sheets template available to you FREE!
And not only that, as an added BONUS, I’ve included an undated weekly and monthly planner in the template for you to use helping you keep a record of what you do in your homeschool (also known as planning from behind).
I’d love to hear from you. Was this process of how to plan homeschooling curriculum using Google Sheets helpful? Did the template help you as well? Let me know!
Anchored in Christ,