Oct 1, 2018

Introducing The Cultivated Homeschool Planner

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Update: The NEW 2020 Cultivate Homeschool Planner is available for Pre-Order!

Long before our first day of homeschool, when I was still in the preparation stages, I was asked what curriculum we were using, what my best tips were, and even to speak at homeschool conventions. This felt a little like being asked to teach others how to ride a bike before I ever touched one myself. 🙂

I understand why friends asked me these well-meaning questions, though—I asked those same questions of others myself!

There are so many unknowns when you begin this journey. How do I do this? What do I do exactly? What if I mess up and don’t do enough? Where do I even START!? There are a million ways to do school (the challenge), and you get to do what’s best for your unique and wonderful child (the blessing).

While I’m no homeschool expert, I am deeply passionate about cultivating what matters—and a huge part of that for us is growing the hearts we’ve been entrusted with. Moving into our second year of homeschooling, I have learned a few things, but I’m still—and likely always will be—the student here.

I haven’t shared much about our homeschooling journey for the reasons above, and because this has been a really special and sacred time for just Grace and me. I’ve shared so much of my life online, and this has been a sweet experience for just the two of us. Here are some basics of how we do it, though:

We homeschool because… Simply because God led us here. Our reason for homeschooling might be easier to explain, perhaps, if I had a strong schooling philosophy that leaned toward homeschool, or if I were homeschooled myself, or if there were no great schools in the area. None of these things are true though! The honest answer is God made it clear to us with every little step forward that this would be our path for Grace. Through conversations with friends, being around other homeschool families, little nudges and opened doors… it just fit. Much like our journey to adoption, homeschool was not on our radar for life, but we’re so glad He planted us here. There are so many ways to grow our children’s hearts well, whether that’s a wonderful public school education (my path!), private school (Ari’s path), homeschool, charter school, boarding school, unschool, or circus school (technically I was required to take clowning in college so this is a real thing, people!).

I don’t do it all. Grace goes to a “homeschool school” two days a week where she does history, social studies, and science, and I work with her for the other two days. Friday she does piano lessons and gets to play with her siblings and just have fun being a kiddo.

We don’t use a formal curriculum. I’m using recommendations for each subject from close friends whom I trust. Kindergarten was our year to build foundations, learning how to learn together. If I had to put us in a category, I’d say we’re Charlotte-Mason-ish with a side of Grace-likes-workbooks. My favorite resources: My friend, Lara, has been a wonderful resource and encourager. I also love Read Aloud Revival. Her book, The Read Aloud Family, is awesome. I have modeled our year after some of the Ambleside Online suggestions. We use our Write the Word for Kids to practice handwriting and as a fun way to get into the Bible. There are a few of blogs I occasionally read too, but my very favorite resources have been in-person relationships. We are in a weekly Bible study with three other couples, two of which are long-time homeschool families—one even runs a homeschool school. My friend, Natascha, runs a homeschool school, too. Many of our church friends homeschool. The list goes on. The Lord built this community around us, and we are grateful.

School this week with my buddies. : ) 

We finally have a school name! It took us our entire first year to come up with a school name that fit. Trying to create a name that embodied our school and also looked good on a future transcript felt like trying to name a child! Our final decision? Thanks to Ari’s suggestion, we chose C.C. Austin Day School. Cecil Clyde Austin was my grandfather, who I have written about many times. He greatly impacted my faith, and Joshua even has “Cecil” as a middle name. We often tell stories about him to our kids, flip through his old Bibles, and I probably mention his name at least once a week. Our school name makes us think of his humility and passion for the Lord. We love it! Now, onto our mascot, chosen by Grace: a unicorn, naturally!

We do morning time. A resource I’ve enjoyed for this is Pam Barnhill’s website.

We take it day by day, week by week, and we plan to take it year by year. Right now, this is where God wants us. We’re open to whatever He wants for each child in the future.

Homeschool is challenging and wonderful all at once. Our journey so far has been, to put it mildly, spiritually refining. It’s the hardest and most rewarding thing I’ve done. And some days, it’s totally overwhelming!

To help me—and you—I have a little surprise!

Feeling overwhelmed by homeschool planning? I can relate! When I began our homeschool adventure, I prayed, researched, and readied myself as much as I could—but the most helpful thing I did was start each day with open hands. More than growing Grace’s mind, I wanted to cultivate her heart. I needed a simple system to stay focused on our big picture goals while getting the day-to-day learning done, too.

I created The Cultivated Homeschool Planner (a free download!) to help me get organized and focused on what matters most in our homeschool—and I’m excited to share it with you, too!

It is possible to set intentional goals and tend to them little by little with this customizable planner. No matter your method of schooling—or if your homeschool terms are six weeks long, three month periods, or traditional “semester” lengths, you can customize this undated planner to meet your needs. *I had mine printed and bound at a local printer which was significantly less expensive than FedEx Kinkos, and much better quality. I had them size mine down to 7.5 x 10. Printing on a home printer and using a three-ring binder is a great option, too!

I hope you enjoy this free download as much as I do!

Your turn! Do you homeschool? Considering it, but not sure where to start? Have tips or favorite resources for newbies? Feel free to share below!

40 Comments

  1. Kimberly on October 1, 2018 at 7:12 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I don’t have children but plan to save this in case I ever do!!! =)

  2. Carmen on October 3, 2018 at 10:25 am

    I’ve used the link twice and it still hasn’t sent me an email for the download. Help please!

  3. Carmen on October 3, 2018 at 10:57 am

    I asked for help in Instagram (after posting this comment) and got a response. Thank you! <3

    • Lara on October 3, 2018 at 2:06 pm

      Wonderful! Our pleasure! : ) Enjoy!

  4. Charlotte on October 3, 2018 at 1:14 pm

    This is great, thank you for caring and sharing!!! Our son’s homeschool name – ACME “Always Considering My Education” Homeschool. 😉

    • Lara on October 3, 2018 at 2:06 pm

      Love that so much, Charlotte!

  5. Valerie on October 17, 2018 at 12:38 pm

    I love your products! Why must I give the European Union consent to send me promotional emails and consent to allow my data to be used for personal adds to access this free download; does anyone know?

    • Lara on October 26, 2018 at 2:09 pm

      Hi! The new GDPR rules say we have to ask that question : )

  6. Teodora on October 18, 2018 at 6:09 am

    This is beautiful, thank you, I sent the link to my relative who has kids and does homeschooling.

  7. Tia McEntire on December 4, 2018 at 1:17 pm

    I signed up and got an email, but the link says the file isnt available. Any help?!

  8. Sarah on December 18, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    Looks amazing! Where did you get yours printed/bound? Thank so much for the help 🙂

  9. Daryl Morris on December 22, 2018 at 4:29 pm

    Thank you for blessing us with this, at no charge! I do not homeschool but the public school system’s homework schedule is OUTRAGEOUS!!! I am going to be using this planner to help organize what the kids need to be doing, on a daily basis thruout the week while keeping centered on what matters.

  10. Darryon on January 16, 2019 at 12:14 pm

    Do you ever plan on selling a cultivate homeschool planner! I would love one to match all of my other cultivate gear!

    • Lara on January 16, 2019 at 5:46 pm

      We’ll consider it for sure! : )

    • Bethany on March 15, 2019 at 6:46 pm

      I’d love that, too!

  11. Jessica on February 27, 2019 at 12:35 pm

    I want to homeschool my 5 and 3 year old so badly, but unfortunately we can’t afford to live off one income. My husband is a teacher and I am the main financial provider. I love seeing the joy that radiates from your posts and pray that one day God will help me find a way to have the same time and connection with my children!

    • Lara on March 4, 2019 at 4:21 pm

      Proud of you for making the most of this season you’re in, Jessica. Cheering you on as you love your family well : )

  12. Ruth on June 20, 2019 at 7:04 pm

    Hey Laura!
    I am such a big fan of your system!! Thank you so much for trusting God and putting it out there! I LOVE this homeschool planner!! Are you thinking of putting it out for 2019-2020? I would love to see it in your shop too…. BUT I really can’t afford it now. Maybe you could put it in your shop as a free download and a buyable planner? That would be so cool!!! Just an idea. 😉

    • Lara on June 21, 2019 at 9:15 am

      Hi! Yes, we’ll have a 2019-2020 version coming soon!

    • Sara on June 28, 2019 at 4:00 pm

      Yay!! I have been checking back here frequently hoping to hear this news! (Can I be annoying and ask how “soon” is “soon”? 😀 )

      • Lara on June 29, 2019 at 7:34 pm

        Haha! We are thinking it will be ready this week! Hooray!!!

    • Sara on June 29, 2019 at 11:06 pm

      That’s great news!

  13. Sara on July 3, 2019 at 4:47 pm

    Was so excited to see your announcement at the top of the page! But I’ve clicked on the link, filled in my name/email and have yet to receive a link to the download (it’s going on 4 hours now) Is there something I’m missing?

    • Lara on July 4, 2019 at 1:29 pm

      Hi, Sara! It shouldn’t take that long – let me know if you still didn’t get it and I’ll investigate for you! : )

    • Sara on July 4, 2019 at 10:14 pm

      Yes, I’m sorry. I tried again today this morning and nothing has arrived. I checked my Spam folder too.

      • Lara on July 5, 2019 at 11:37 am

        I’m so sorry you were having this trouble! As soon as everyone is back in the office on Monday we will get to the bottom of this and get it to you!

    • Kaylee Hobbs on July 8, 2019 at 4:06 pm

      Hi, Sara! Great news! We’ve updated the download above, and you should be immediately redirected to the download folder upon entering your email. Let us know if you have any other questions!

    • Sara on July 8, 2019 at 7:39 pm

      Ahh! It’s beautiful! Totally worth the wait 🙂 Thank you so much!!

  14. Sarah Saffran on July 14, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    I would love to see visually how you use these planning sheets! They are gorgeous! I’ve been reading through Cultivate on vacation and am so blessed by it! Thanks for all the goodness you’re giving out!

    • Lara on July 24, 2019 at 4:34 pm

      Yes! I am working on getting mine printing and will post photos soon! You are so kind! All the glory to Him. I hope you enjoyed the beach!

  15. Tavianna on August 9, 2019 at 5:33 pm

    Love these homeschool sheets! But before I print and bind them I would love to have a template of maybe how you visualized the best order for them. I would also have a better idea of how many of each sheet I would ideally want to utilize. Thank-you so much!

  16. Angie Webb on September 20, 2019 at 1:31 pm

    I would love to access this planner! The boxes to enter my name and email don’t seem to be working though? I try and type but no letters are appearing.

    • Lara on September 27, 2019 at 3:31 pm

      Hi, Angie! I’m so grateful you let me know about this! Send an email to [email protected] and she will take care of you! I’m cheering you on!

  17. Mary on December 18, 2019 at 3:59 pm

    This planner is amazing! Thank you.

    • Lara on December 19, 2019 at 9:31 am

      It’s my pleasure, Mary! I’m cheering you on!!

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