One of my favorite events every spring is planning for the next school year. Believe it or not it’s one of my favorite things to do. I love analyzing how the year went, dreaming about the next year, and thinking about creative ways to make the new school year fun, cheap, and educational. Through it all, there is one tool that I have found to be of a bigger help than any other, and the tool may actually surprise some of you. It’s Microsoft Excel.
I use Microsoft Excel for everything. I use it to create my annual scope and sequence, my lesson plans, my book lists, my daily schedule, and more. And my favorite thing? It’s something I already have on my computer so it is no extra cost to me.
Now, if you want to use an online planner, I still HIGHLY recommend Homeschool Planet as it is the only online program that deviated me from using my favorite planning tool, but if you like to keep things simple and have Excel, it can do virtually everything you need to get you organized for the year.
A Glance at My Excel Lesson Plan
With Excel you can see your year at a glance for all your children on one page…
By creating a book list in Excel, I can easily search to find a specific book I am looking for quickly. My book template allows me to also keep track of reading levels and subjects for easy searching too. Not sure how to find out the reading level of a book? Check out my books lists, the Scholastic Book Wizard, or Sylvan’s Book Adventure for read level recommendations.
Color coding our schedule has helped us a whole lot as do school 4 days a week, and the 4 days are not always the same. Instead of saying we are on Tuesday’s schedule we can just say we are on the red schedule or the blue schedule. It has eliminated so much confusion.
I’ve also learned that organizing our school by days instead of weeks has been very helpful as it eliminates the feeling of always being behind. Instead of “we are completing Monday’s assignment for week 26” when it’s really Thursday, I can just say, “today is day 106.” It don’t really matter what week we are in as long as we following the daily lesson plans in order.
Make It Your Own
Want to see what my Microsoft Excel Lesson Plan looks like in the beginning? Here’s the template I start with. Feel free to download it, and make it yours. The download includes one workbook filled with 8 customizable Excel worksheets you can use to organize your school year.
Check out Five J’s FREE Gradebook+. The formulas are already added so that your input will keep track of assignments, field trips, activities, and even provide you with a final report card.