Master planning

Master planning

Organizing your homeschooling for the long term.

The best thing I ever did when I started homeschooling six years ago was to set up a master plan. This plan guided me through those early years in a way that no curriculum could have, especially since early education doesn't usually require a rigorous curriculum and its attendant schedules.

My master plan makes it home in a well-worn binder. It evolves constantly as my children grow and my educational philosophy develops. Although not written in stone, it does provide comfort that I am teaching the kids appropriately and doing my best.


My binder contains several sections. There is the calendar, which is updated each year to reflect our school year and vacations. This is followed by a loose daily and monthly schedule, which helps keep us on task so we complete things when we need to, while also providing a general guide to our day-to-day schooling.

Behind this sits our supply list. I update this constantly with items and curriculum I will need in coming months so I can keep an eye out for good deals. It also holds an inventory of the items I have already collected so I don't purchase doubles.

The next sections are set up for each child. My overall curriculum for each student outlines a loose plan for the next few years, including possible texts, subjects and projects. This section changes the most since it's a long range plan, but it does keep our goals sharply in focus.

Following this is our yearly progress reports. I write these up each month, providing an outline of everything each child studied and mastered. These aren't required by our state, but I like have these reports to look over when lesson planning for the future, plus they will come in handy if we must ever return to traditional schooling or if something were to happen to me. I find them much more useful in the early grades than a standard report card.

I don't use my master binder daily. Sometimes a month goes by without me opening it once. But when I need it, it's a relief to know it's there.