The document library is an extension of Record-Keeping Insights. From there, members have access to an assortment of record-keeping tools that should cover just about all of their needs. From daily planners to full-blown master planners, there is a full range of free tools from which to choose.

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SMART Advantage Homeschool Planners: What to Know

The office of PIE uses Microsoft Word and Excel for designing and formatting documentation and record-keeping tools, which is useful for achieving the best results with customization. We then use Adobe Acrobat Pro to convert documents to a portable document format (PDF) and protected PDF forms for members to use.

And instead of simply throwing out some homeschool planners, we thought it would be interesting to put together a basic planning process demonstrating how these tools work. From an independent educator’s perspective, our basic planning process has a beginning, a middle, and an end designed to deal with different aspects of a complex educational system.

Here’s a top-to-bottom list of our mock planning process’s distinct parts or phases. The top-level distinction “Identifying Values” is listed first. Our simulated planning process will be the basis for the design of our SMART Advantage Homeschool Planners.

Homeschool Program: a plan including a series of events that involve identifying personal values, long-term goals, short-term goals, daily objectives, educational and administrative processes and procedures, measured performances, and much more.

  • Identifying Values: recognizing the importance, worth, or usefulness of anything leads to making personal choices. A parent’s goal should be to guide their child through the process of developing their ability to identify values for themselves (e.g., family, academic, and employment). In the context of homeschooling, think of values as the reason we set goals or why we homeschool in the first place.
  • Long-Term Goals: accomplishments that will take a significant amount of time, effort, and planning to achieve (several years or more). Reading and writing, math, history, science, high school, college preparation are examples of long-term goals.
  • Short-Term Goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based (SMART). Short-term goals are where you build momentum, foster motivation, prevent procrastination, design measurable milestones for tasks and projects, and get a quick return on feedback. Short-term goals consist of daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly benchmarks; but are typically set to be achieved in less than a year.
  • Objectives: contextually, objectives involve the transfer of knowledge and skills through daily lesson plans. Therefore, our aim, purpose, or action is to complete our daily objectives or specific goals by the end of the day.
  • Processes: a series of actions or steps taken to achieve a particular end – it’s how we get things done. Processes involve input, action, and outcomes, with action converting input to outcome every time.
  • Procedures: processes that are an established or official way of doing something are considered procedures. Everything from teaching, learning, curriculum, testing, college preparation, registering your homeschool, state laws, parenting, and the list can go on – all involve procedures. Identifying and managing procedures is key to success.
  • Outcomes: a result or consequence of our actions. Sometimes we fall short of our goals and are not satisfied with the outcome. Other times we achieve our goals and are pleased with the outcome. We plan our outcomes by establishing goals, but goals are desires, whereas outcomes are the ultimate reality.

So the journey begins.

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