Google Calendar Homeschool Planning

I simplified my homeschool planning for 2013 by entering everything on Google Calendar.

[To be honest, I use my Google calendar for my planning and I haven’t put it to the test with our actual 2013 schedule … and I still love paper calendars … smiles]

But it is an amazing immediate planning tool!  It is an easy way to capture all the basic lessons, add all the website-finds and organize the schedule with repeats to fill the weeks and months for a whole year!

Google Homeschool Calendar Jan2013For example,I quickly jotted the theme/ subject for each month and put these into the calendar.  As I searched out my Famous Artist pictures, biography etc. for the month, I simply copied all the website links, YouTube URLs, PDF files and documents right on the lesson plan on the calendar.  I used these details later to create my actual pages and detailed lessons.

A few extra tips for planning Famous Artist studies:

I often use Pinterest for picture searches. Repins add these new finds to my collection. I also right-click and “save image” to my computer and download images to each famous artist’s folder. Quick and easy = online visual record of my searches on Pinterest + a copy on my computer to use as a screen-saver or print out.

Here’s an example of my famous artist lesson plan: Famous Artist study and notes

How Google Calendar planning works for me ~

  1. Create a calendar for each child. (Create each calendar in a different color.)
  2. Plot in all school holidays to create my school terms.  (I downloaded the 2013 government school terms as my guideline)  You can copy your calendar to any other calendar you create.
  3. Plan the year with subjects and topics divided across the 12 months.  (I do this with good old-fashioned pen and paper first)
  4. Type in the Nature Study topic, Hymn, Famous Artist and & Famous Composer for every month of the year.
  5. Enter subjects as an event.  In the event mode, I can also add #6, #7, #8, #9 and #10 below.
  6. Assign a color for each subject. (On the calendar it shows as a colored bar, on the printout it is a small rounded square of color)
  7. Click for repeated themes or lessons – Google calendar offers daily, specific days each week, all work-days, weekly, monthly etc.
  8. In the “Descriptions” box, add lessons, chapters & pages to the basic lesson entry. It may be easy to type in the book title for all and then go back to each repeat lesson to add the specific chapter and page numbers.
  9. Also add website links, documents, files and notes for each lesson in the description box.
  10. Attach files. I love this feature as I can organize my downloads to each lesson and print out lapbooks, maps, pictures later when I prepare for the month ahead.Attach document to calendar
  11. Under Tasks add further details for the day – complete and hand in a lapbook/ do a review or a test.
  12. Reminders can easily be added in the edit form – either as an email or a pop-up.  (I chose a pop-up because I don’t want my inbox cluttered with reminders.)
  13. I can print out the calendar.  You can select daily, weekly, the agenda, or monthly view, or even a specific range of dates. (I must confess I am disappointed that text does not wrap in the month view, and even when I selected the “smaller” print size, it was tiny and difficult to read.) I created events as “all day” rather than schedule the times so that the lesson prints out without the times taking up the space. Tick off  the “Add Descriptions” box to have all the extra info printed with the lessons. If printed in color all the events are printed with a small colored block.

This is what the Week Agenda looks like ~ Google Calendar Agenda View

If I had typed in the lessons with time schedules, these lessons would be listed with times instead of “All day” and would be arranged in order of their times.

My Task List print out would look like this:Google Task print out

Some other great features:

  • My Calendar year plan print out will also become my record of work.
  • I can tick off attendance and completed tasks on the calendar as we go along – both on the tasks on the actual Google calendar or on my paper print out.
  • With a click I can add my personal plans/ meal plans/ birthdays on the calendar view.
  • Drag and drop makes changes simple!
  • My calendar on my laptop is available for the kids on the desktop.  If children are old enough and have a gmail account, they can log in and access the calendar for themselves. (Just ensure that “modify event” box is unticked if you don’t want them to make changes)
  • I can take my calendar everywhere on “smart” phone.  This is useful when booking appointments or checking upcoming themes when browsing in the library.

I must admit that mid-year I went and bought the Homeschool Tracker Plus program hoping to use it to plan and record my highschooler’s academic year, but it is just way too complex for me.  Even though I used the forum, I kept getting muddled entries, or “loosing” a whole year’s plans for a subject … and I gave up. (I must spend some more evenings watching their training videos and I still would like to master the program as I believe that it will be a valuable tool.)

But right now, I have easy, quick, detailed and comprehensive plans that work for me on Google calendar.

Do you use Google calendar? What other Google calendar planning tips and tricks do you have?

Blessings,

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21 thoughts on “Google Calendar Homeschool Planning

  1. Nadene, I love this idea you have come up with using the free online tool! I too had gotten Homeschool Tracker – trying the online version and I also keep getting muddled~ I am wondering what your thoughts or plans are for grading and grades throughout the subjects for your older learner. Have you considered what you might use?

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    • @Tracey, I start with grading the basic discipline subjects (like maths and spelling) and the main core projects leading up to junior high. My high school girls chose textbook-type correspondence (Impak Education) and they provide tests and exams with detailed rubrics and grading for all their subjects.

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  2. I’ve been wondering what to do about a homeschool planner, and was wondering about Google calender. Thanks for this! Did it take you a long time to input all the data?

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    • @Kara, This was the fastest and most comprehensive planner I have ever created! But it is not the nicest planner when printed. The font is too small and I cannot always read all the info on the month view. So, I still print out separate planners for some subjects with the details in a nice clear font and layout.

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      • Nadene, Thank you for the info. I have been keeping things in a Word document, but I’m not too fond of it, and I always have to have the file by me. I’ll try it out, now that I’ve see you do it.

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  3. That’s intimidating to look at when I have never even seen Google calendar but looks…like….WOW! Nadene! I have recently started using the Cozi Family Calendar just for to do lists, weekly family planning and meals. I love it… http://www.cozi.com/ Maybe when I grow up I will use this for our school planning…it’s on my to do list – school planning that is🙂 Thank you for the brain food.

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    • @Wendy, it really is easier than it looks. I started with Google calendar for my personal birthday calendar at the beginning of the year, then added tasks from our business gmail account which works with the calendar. When I decided to give this a try for homeschool planning it only took an hour or 2 to type in the basic year for all Miss.L’s elective subjects and themes. It was so much simpler than Homeschool Tracker!

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  4. Brilliant! I would have never thought to use Google calendar as a homeschool planner. I use it for appointments, errands, and paying bills, but never for homeschooling. When my daughter was still in middle school we used Time4Learning and they did the lesson planning and reporting for me, but she is in high school now.

    I definitely appreciate the step-by-step instructions and graphics for challenged folks like me. HA HA It helps when I need to refer back to it. I am visual.

    Merry Christmas to you,
    Jackie

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  6. This is really so cool!! I am starting to plan for next yr & have it mostly set up but I can’t seem to find where to tick off “Add Descriptions” box. Thanks so much:)

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    • @Amy, if you click on the date and then click “edit event” a page opens where you can add details to the “Description” box. This is also where you can select colors, add repeat dates and click for reminders or add guests to the event. Hope this helps.

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      • wow! thanks for your quick response:)
        I must warn you-I am computer challenged;) i was wondering if you can print out those descriptions? i was able to add descriptions but thought it would be helpful to print them out. maybe you already explained this? (again, apologies for if being dense!)
        this is going to help so much!!

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        • @amy, yes, you can print out the descriptions: click “edit event” and the page will open. Click the print icon on the top right-hand corner of the page and a preview page will open up. Select your print options and print. Unfortunately Google calendar only prints the event titles and not the details if you print out the day – I’m hoping one of their “boffs” will make this available soon!

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  7. If you choose Agenda -> More -> Print -> Select ‘Print Descriptions’ it will print the descriptions. (just figured this out) =D

    The major drawback I find to Google Calendar is I can’t shift a series by one day. Example: I plan out the month for copywork. We miss Monday’s copywork and I would like to shift the ‘series’ by one day so Monday’s is on Tuesday and Tuesday’s is on Wednesday and so forth. Have you figured out a way to achieve this?

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    • @Cassie, the quickest way I found is just to ‘edit event’ and change the calendar exact dates for the series just under the title of the event. You can edit the series where you tick ‘repeat’ – say you want the lesson to run 4 days, you can change the start date of the series and the whole series will shift on. For quick changes on the actual Google calendar view, you can just click and drag each event (a bit time-consuming) to the new dates. Any other readers know of other ways?

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  9. I love Google calendar, but never made the leap to use it as a homeschool planning tool. This is a lot for me to wrap my brain around at the moment, BUT I like it! And will give it some more thought. Thank you for the inspiration.

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