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?


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Not Getting It All Done

Getting Real ~ 

No matter what curriculum I use,

or how well I plan,

or how carefully we keep to our schedule,

when I look back over my planners, I notice that some of our extra subjects fell to the wayside or were not thoroughly or regularly covered.

Not the IMPORTANT stuff.  (Remember, I wrote about how to recover from disruptions?)

It’s those little extras.  The full program.

It is not a secret confession.  I’ve admitted once before that we never did formal physical education … for a whole year!

But, when you intentionally schedule the minor subjects and electives …

much more can be done.

What do we do this year that we sometimes did not cover in previous years?

What do I still want to do more regularly?

  • Public Speaking and Debating
  • Typing and Keyboard Skills
  • Physical Ed (… no.  This is still not happening…)
  • or Charlotte Mason’s recommended Swedish Drill (which I downloaded and tried …a good idea, but not great …yet?)
  • Brain Gym and Thinking/ Logic Skills
  • Field Trips (if only …)
  • Shakespeare (I keep meaning to add this.)

Here’s what I’m telling myself:

  1. Pray and ask the Lord to show me what He wants me to teach and do.
  2. You’re NOT supposed to do it all.  It’s IMPOSSIBLE.  period.
  3. Seasons, Nadene, homeschooling is all about seasons.  Ages and stages decide everything.
  4. Focus and add just 1 extra subject this week/month/or term.
  5. Don’t compare yourself with other moms/blogs/friends/ curriculum packages (yes, even Ambleside online.)
  6. Focus on realistic goals.
  7. Your children are young.  There is plenty of time.  Years ahead to still try to cover other stuff.
  8. Enjoy what works for you and the kids. Let them grow up loving art/or classic music/or poetry/ or whatever.  Build on what makes your family buzz.
  9. In the end, does it really matter?  Isn’t homeschooling cultivating a lifetime of learning?  A young child will not miss Shakespeare, but a high schooler can read and really enjoy his works.  And any adult can read his plays with great enthusiasm.
  10. Find others who can help teach this for you.  Another homeschool family may flow in areas you cannot.  Drink from their fountain of ability and gifting.

I wrote this post without anxiety or fear.  I wrote it because I reviewed my previous term’s plans and updated my records and plans for the new term.  I noticed that some subjects needed to be properly scheduled or we would not do them.

And I share this post to encourage some of you who may feel uncertain or discouraged.  You may also be asking yourself, “Are you doing enough?“.

Homeschooling is a rich and wonderful journey.  Just like an overseas trip, you will never ‘see’ it all.  As long as you all build memories that will last forever, it does not matter if you didn’t get the full package.


Planning for 2011

It is nearly the end of 2010 and I have been busy planning for 2011!

We filed all this year’s completed work.

I wrote out evaluations and recorded our work we accomplished.

For several months now, I have prayed and planned for the right combinations, curriculums and materials for my children for next year.

I used very similar planners for this year as I did in 2010.

Using a wonderful Overview and Year Planner from “The Wholehearted Child” I jotted all the basic ideas I had in the ‘foundation’, ‘circles’ and ‘roof’.

Starting with the foundation – Discipleship Studies

We will continue with the very successful “Bible Draw!” pictures of each Bible book; concentrating on the New Testament this year.

For Disciplined Studies

These are our basic 3R’s and 2nd language.  We will continue with our current Singapore Maths, Sonlight readers and Language Arts, Sequential Spelling and Copywork and Dictation for handwriting.

Discussion Studies for 2011 –

After the most wonderful year using my first eclectic curriculum, I have chosen to re-use my eldest daughter’s Sonlight American History Core 3 and 4 for the younger 2 next year for the spine of our Discussion Studies.  Although I have purchased the condensed core, I have planned to branch off and take whatever tangent and hands-on activity we may find along the way.  I also want to create new notebook pages and minibook combos, and maybe a lapbook here or there … so we may not complete the package in a year … or at all.

For our Classic Literature we will continue our Little House Series with the wonderful free lapbooks from  This has been an absolute highlight for the girls and it will fit in perfectly with our Sonlight cores.

For Fine Arts we will further our monthly studies of Famous Impressionist Artists and Famous Musicians using Charlotte Mason’s wonderful principles and methods.

For Discovery Studies

We will enjoy our weekly Nature Study and Exploring Creation With Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the 5th Day. I have purchased the lapbook to go with this book (one of the very few purchased lapbooks!) and used my time-saving method of preparing the minibooks.  We’ll complete Geography cards and definitions and add as much map work with our other studies.

Our Discretionary Studies

We will include homesteading skills, cooking, baking, sewing, needle crafts, farming, gardening, guitar lessons and other skills or interests

  1. There! Planning phase 1 done!
  2. Now, 2. I create a simple page with my 2011 Year Plan.  It is a basic planner with daily, weekly or monthly columns.
  3. Next, 3. I type in the most important subjects on my 36 Week Subject Plan and Record of Work.  This forms the most detailed plan and I record everything we do on this same page.  This took the longest time because I had to schedule the Artist/ Composer/ Science Lesson/ Poem/ Bible books across the 36 weeks.
  4. Lastly, 4. I made the Week Timetable for in front of our files. This is the basic daily schedule.

Final Checklist:

Filing done √

Planning done

Printing done

Timetables done

New Cover Pages in the girls’ files

Pop over to my Free Planning Pages for downloads your own personal use.

I trust that your final preparations for the end of this year are going well.