Monday, September 15, 2014

Weekly Homeschool Checklists

This year, like last year, I have been spending some time on Sunday afternoons making up weekly homeschool checklists for each child. This only takes me about 30 minutes total, except for the very first checklists of the new year. Those take longer because I need to set up a new sheet and figure out how often to do each subject. But once that first list is created, I can use it as a template for future weeks just by plugging in new page numbers and book titles as needed.

This is the process I use to make our homeschool weekly checklists.

1. I open up an Excel spreadsheet.  I use the "insert sheet function" to make four tabs, one for each child. I put each child's  name on the top of their sheet and then list the headings "Day 1" through "Day 5" down the left-hand column, leaving several rows between each day for the assignments I will plug in.

2. For each day, I use two columns of the spreadsheet. The left-hand column is for independent work and the right-hand column is titled "With Mom". Please excuse that these photos didn't come out all that great!

3.  I enter assignments in the independent column for each day.   This is work the kids can do on their own, while I am working with someone else. Each daily independent section is divided into "Sonlight/Bookshark Work" and "Other Work". This just makes it easier for me to set up the list, plus they can see all of their readings at a glance.  I copy the reading assignments for the day straight from my Sonlight schedule. This way the kids don't always have to be checking my binder for their assignments. For curriculum that I want to finish in a year (like math and grammar), I put lesson numbers on the weekly checklists.  I will do a separate post on this, but for now I will just say that I made up a 36-week schedule of these subjects for each child and I just plug in the lessons we need to cover each week in order to stay on track to finish. I do not do this for every subject! Things like spelling, handwriting, current events, and typing are just listed on the weekly checklist and we "do the next thing".

4. I enter assignments in the  "With Mom" column for each day. Over here, I put things like read-alouds, our writing program, math.... whatever subjects that particular child needs me to do with them. I  list specific lesson numbers as needed so I don't have to flip through the book every day trying to remember where we stopped.

 Each child's weekly list usually takes up two pages, except for my youngest. All of her weekly work fits on just one page.

5. I add some color, to make the list look more exciting! I like to make the left column red and the right column blue.  My kids seem to really enjoy box checking, so I provide boxes for that. 

Once the checklists are ready, I attach each one to a clipboard. Then we are ready for the week!  I generally cycle through the kids each morning, spending about an hour with each before moving onto the next. I can usually at least touch base with all of them before lunch. After lunch, I bounce around helping them finish up. When it is their turn with me, we work on the items in the "with mom" column. While I am working with someone else, they work through the independent column of their list.  Anyone who finishes their independent work works on their chores, takes a shower, packs up for whatever activities we are running to that day, and then has free time while they wait for me.

We do try to finish the weekly lists each week, even if that means cutting things out. I just try not to cut out the same things each week. So one week Christopher may only hit typing once, but the next week he might not do as much spelling. It all balances out in the end. If we did not get to a specific scheduled lesson like math, grammar, or a reading assignment, we just do it first thing the next week. 

I hope this is somewhat clearer than mud!


  1. This is so helpful! Thank you, I was trying to hen scratch something out last night after our first day of up and running with Sonlight and I only got a 1/3 or the stuff done. I felt like my children were hoverying around me saying what do I do next and I need you all day. It was so stressful that I locked myself in my bedroom playing with my toddler for an hour just to give me a break. Ugh. I hope I can figure this out with your instructions. Thanks so much!

  2. So glad it helped you - it *is* extremely stressful to have everyone asking you what to do all day. The lists definitely help with that, though I will say it took my boys in particular awhile to get used to referring to the list and not me. Once they are used to it though, it is a beautiful thing. Good luck!


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