Curious about using the Trello app for your homeschool planning? Today I’m sharing the details of my Trello setup, my planning process, and a Trello template to get you started.
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After 10 years of homeschooling, I’ve tried my share of homeschooling planning methods. I’ve tried homeschool-specific printed planners, boring $1 notebooks, and even an awesome online homeschool planner. I’ve honestly never met a planner I wouldn’t consider buying again; they all met my needs differently and have different pros and cons.
That said, I’m trying something new this year by using the Trello app for my homeschool planning and record keeping. Now that I’ve used it for a month and know how to make it functional for our homeschool I’m happy to pass along what I’ve learned and tell you more about it.
Before I jump into the specifics of how I’m using Trello, let’s talk about why I chose it over other options that worked well in the past.
Why Move to Trello?
I’ve shared before that my kids are 5 years apart in age. In addition to my 3rd grader, I’ve got a 9th grader in my homeschool now. That means I need a planning system that’s functional for myself and the big kid who also needs a reference point to get him through his days.
For the sake of spurring him along each day, I tried a traditional student planner with him last year and the year before. That experience taught me that I may be fine with pen and paper systems, but he’s not. I tried two different planners with him; he completely stopped using both a few months into the school year.
What’s worse is that I was making homeschool planning more cumbersome and time consuming than it should have been. I went through the planning process in my own planner where I added assignments and goals for both kids; then I had to repeat the process for my oldest kiddo so he would have his personal copy to use as a reference point for independent work.
It was a hassle.
I knew there had to be a more efficient way to handle our homeschool planning process.
How I’m Using Trello for Homeschool Planning
I wasn’t quite sure how I wanted to approach homeschool planning this time when I started shopping for the school year. As always, there were lots of great choices available, but I really didn’t want to sink money into something new.
Also, I felt pretty strongly that I need a system that’s just as intuitive for my 9th grader as it is for me. I was aware of Trello, but never considered using it for homeschool planning until I saw some Instagram posts from Megan at SchoolNest. Her Trello setup doesn’t work for my homeschool situation, but I’m grateful to have come across her posts because they got me thinking about why Trello could be a great fit for us.
Setting Up Trello for Homeschool
Since each Trello board is basically a collection of lists, I decided I could use the format to create a list of daily assignments for my kids. After looking into it a bit more, I learned I could keep digital copies of my boards and duplicate my boards as needed for future planning.
You can see what it all looks like in the board template at the bottom of this post, but here are the specifics for how I’m using Trello for homeschool planning and record keeping.
1. Monthly & Daily Planning
I have two active boards at all times: one month of homeschool plans for my 3rd grader and one month of plans for my 9th grader. Both boards are set up the same and contain a list of books we’re reading or will read and a daily list of assignments.
I designated specific color labels to represent each subject, to let me know if my kids will work together, and to remind me that supplies are needed for an assignment.
Also worth noting, I use the copy function to easily add shared assignments to both boards. I really love this function; it’s super easy to streamline the planning process on duplicate assignments!
For example, since my kids do read aloud time together, I might add the book title and section on one kids’ daily list. Then I would add my color labels to represent the subject and that it’s a shared assignment. After that, it’s easy to copy the entire assignment to my other kiddo’s board and attach it to the correct daily list.
2. Assignment or Lesson Details
I only use the title area on some of my assignment cards; in those cases, the subject name and lesson number is all the information I need. Some of my assignments, however, are more detailed.
Any extra details like specific instructions, supplies needed, and attachments are available once I click on an individual assignment card. This is especially helpful for my 9th grader because this is my primary way of communicating assignment details to him.
3. Drag/Drop Functionality
I use Trello’s drag and drop functionality to easily move assignments to other dates. I also drag the current day’s assignment list to the right side of the board at the end of each homeschool day. By doing that, I can always find what’s next on our homeschool to-do list.
4. Sharing Trello with My 9th Grader
Trello is available through the usual web browsers, through Apple’s App Store, and through the Google Play store, but my 9th grader has an iPhone that he uses for Trello access.
Worth noting, we keep a tight reign on that iPhone with help from Mobicip’s parental control app
As for how he uses Trello, I invite him to the monthly board I create for him. That gives him access to all of his assignments and allows him to click through the assignment cards to access any documents or links I’ve attached for him there.
Also, since I add him as a member to his assignments, he’s able to check them off as he completes them and receives notifications if I make changes to his assignments.
Giving him access to the app has been the key to our Trello success. The move to Trello is showing him each day how technology can be so much more than entertainment. Instead, it can be a tool that helps us collaborate and work efficiently.
5. Quick and Easy Record Keeping
Three things happen when we finish a month in Trello:
- I save a PDF copy of the board by selecting the “Save as PDF” option rather than sending the file to my printer. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s an easy way to document my lesson plans, reading lists, and even attendance.
- I create a duplicate board for the next month from my personal template. Note: the template below is generic and isn’t an exact copy of what we use; that generic board will be easier for you to customize to meet your needs.
- Next I copy any repeating or unfinished assignments to the new board. That way I know exactly where we left off and there’s no confusion going into a new month. That helps tremendously when looking back on past assignments.
Ready to Try Homeschool Planning with Trello?
I’m learning that Trello can be a helpful tool for homeschool planning and that it can be a great way to encourage independence in older students.
I’m also learning there are lots of ways to use Trello for homeschooling, but what I’ve shared above is what works best for us.
Ready to see if Trello can work for you? Create a free Trello account and browse Trello 101 to get familiar with the lingo and general functionality. Once you’ve got an idea of how the app works, you can get started with my Monthly Homeschool Planning Template.
You can use this template as a starting point and then customize it however you wish.
Once you’ve copied the board and are working with your personal version of the template, see the Trello tips in the first list. I’ve got instructions for renaming your board, listing assignments, copying assignments to other boards, and more waiting for you in that list on the template. 🙂
What about you? Do you have tips for using Trello for homeschool planning? Share your ideas with us in the comments and let’s learn from each other!