How I Use My BookShark Instructor’s Guide with My Planner- Mrs. Bishop

*As a BookShark Ambassador I receive curriculum in exchange for sharing our homeschool journey with you. All opinions are my own.*

Since posting a picture of my daily teacher planner on social media- I have gotten at least 100 questions asking where it’s from and how I set up our homeschool day. So, I wanted to put together an in depth post about how I use our BookShark Instructor’s Guide along with my teacher planner to set us up for a successful homeschool week.

planner-binderHonestly, my small binder and my planner come from the Target Dollar Spot! I stumbled across these blank planners last year at the beginning of the school year and realized they were perfect for my needs. So, this year I bought a stack of them should they discontinue their production! I shared in an earlier post how I take my BIG Instructor’s Guide and take out 2-3 weeks at a time and put it into a smaller binder. Then, I don’t have to lug the whole thing around. I LOVE my Instructor’s Guide, but it is quite large. So, this tip has saved me some room in my bag and at our homeschool table.

blank plannerThis planner wasn’t necessarily meant for Homeschool use, it just so happens that it works well with our curriculum. It has 6 blank Subject sections for each week, so I can plug in each one that we cover every day.

week and dateEach week I fill in the dates, what week of study we’re covering, and date each day.

weekly objectivesI look at each week’s Weekly Overview from the Instructor’s Guide and put the main ideas in the Weekly Objectives section so that I know at a glance what we’ll be working on that particular week.

planner subjectsNext, I fill in our subjects in the boxes. My BookShark Instructor’s Guide covers Language Arts, History, and Science- so I have separate boxes for each of those subjects. We do Math and Geography every day as well, so they get another box. Spanish, Handwriting, and Keyboarding we only do a couple of times a week each, so they share a box. (Spanish once a week, Handwriting every other day, and Keyboarding once a week.) Then the last box is for our extras. Art projects we might do, homework assignments, documentaries we may watch, life-skills activities, anything like that. My son also takes Taekwondo twice a week so we out that in the PE column as well.

language artsThen, sometime over the weekend I prep the next week’s schedule. Monday’s are really laid back- because BookShark is a 4 day a week curriculum, we use Mondays for our extras. We read a lot! We do a Science Devotional or experiment. Then, we do a daily math and geography worksheet. We also take Spanish and an online Keyboarding course as well. We also tend to take our field trips on Mondays because my Husband is off work.

Using my Instructor’s Guide to fill out my Planner

It’s super simple how I use my Instructor’s Guide with my planner. I copy everything over, using a little shorthand so I can see quickly what we need to do. Tuesdays in Language Arts– we learn our new spelling words, read our reading list, read a short story, do copywork- and we always have free reading time. Steven has to read on his own every day. And, thanks to BookShark he actually does this without me even telling him to, because he loves reading so much! I still always have my Instructor’s Guide on hand- because it is in more detail and has in depth instructions for me as the teacher. But, my planner allows me to check off each activity as we do it. It also helps me keep track of our attendance, because I check off each day and write what day of school we’re on.


In History, I copy over our reading for each day on whatever subject we’re currently studying. We also do some sort of poetry every day, so that goes in the History box too. Then, I always put our read aloud book at the bottom- as we do that last at the end of our school day. (Usually with a snack for wiggly listeners!)

scienceScience reading goes at the top of that subject’s box. Then, whatever activity questions we have to answer for that day. There are sometimes also optional activities and I always include those as well. On Friday’s we do experiments and watch a video- that I include in the Science box too.

completed weekI fill out the rest of the subjects with whatever Math, Geography, extras we have for the week. This sometimes changes. You can tailor those last few boxes to your needs. full weekFilling out my planner this way really streamlines how I get through the subjects when teaching.

completed dayAs I teach each subject, I check it off. Then I can see what is left. Sometimes we run out of time or I decide to forgo something for that day- then I just cross it off the list. But, most of the time we get through everything in a timely manner. Our Level 1 curriculum takes us about 1 1/2-2 hours each day depending on how many extras we include. Kindergarten took us about 1- 1 1/2 hours. I think that it is a really manageable amount of time for our grade.

planner and guideI really hope that seeing how I plan our weekly subjects helps you get an idea of how to set up yours. It seems like a lot of work- but once you find a sweet spot, setting up your week will only take a few minutes of your time. It really saves me sanity- and keeps me on top of my teaching game!

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