The middle school years are transition years. You find your children growing up out of the elementary years, learning to be more independent, and working towards the high school years where they are growing into young adults and working to make decisions about their future. One way to begin helping your middle school age children to become more independent is by working with them to use their own planner.
Having his own planner, one that he was in charge of, was definitely one thing my 6th grade son wanted. I hesitated to do this because he has a hard time focusing and staying on task. What I did instead was create a compromise.
Simple Homeschool Middle School Planner
Using just an inexpensive planner (one you can even get at the Dollar Store), a set of colored pens, and a color coded weekly sheet that I created and put into a plastic page protector, I created a simple middle school planner for my son.
1. Create a Weekly Skeleton Plan
I created a skeleton plan for my son to follow. I used a different color pen for each subject he is to cover. This allowed me to clearly communicate to him what he needed to accomplish each week, while leaving the actual planner writing to him. You could also do this by simply making a numbered list for each day. I chose to do it on an hourly scale so he could see about how long each thing should take him, allowing him to plan his time more efficiently. Here is a great selection of FREE Printable Planner Sheets to choose from.
- Red = Math
- Blue = History
- Green = Science
- Pink = English
- Yellow = Music/Art
- Brown = Rosetta Stone
- Orange = Coding
One of the things I love most about this system is how cost effective it was! Instead of spending $30 or more on a fancy planner, I spent around $15! (I purchased my planner and pens together on a sale.) You could spend only $2 by purchasing your planner and a set of colored pens at the Dollar Store! The exact planner I used is the Hammond & Stephens Undated Weekly Student Planner. I love this because it was undated so we could use it any year at any time.
3. Teach Them To Use Their Homeschool Middle School Planner
Using my skeleton schedule and color coding system, I sat my son down with the new planner to show him what I expected. I told him that the skeleton schedule was his reference sheet for each week and that he was responsible for accomplishing each task, in whatever order he chose, as well as filling in his planner each day.
Filling In The Planner:
- Be sure to put a date for each week/day as the planner calls for.
- Use the assigned colored pen for each subject.
- Include the subject name (or abbreviation) and the unit/chapter/lesson you completed
- Include grade for any automatically graded programs (such as Teaching Textbooks and Rosetta Stone)
At the end of each day, week, or longer (when things get crazy) I check over his work and planner to be sure he is completing his subjects and is keeping ample track of his work.
**Note: I am sure you will notice that his handwriting is not the neatest. We have had a discussion about how I understand that everyone is not as organized as mom and that we each have our own strengths. He is very impatient and thus writes pretty quickly. I have learned to let it go as long as it is legible.
Benefits of Using a Middle School Planner
There are many great reasons to begin using a middle school planner when your kids reach 6th, 7th, or 8th grade depending on their level of maturity and readiness. My daughter was ready at a much younger age than my son to begin this process.
- Teaches Independence
- Encourages Responsibility
- Practice with Organization
- Preparation for High School & Beyond
Other Middle School Articles of Interest:
Here is what we are using for 7th Grade Homeschool Curriculum
Teaching Textbooks is a staple in our house from grade 5/6 and beyond.