Help for a Newbie (Perspectives)

So I’m a homeschool mom and have been using Omnifocus to track some of our lessons. This year I though I’d use Omnifocus only for this task, but need some help getting my Perspective looking right. I have each course as a sequential project and each lesson as an action task. But some courses we will only cover once or twice a week and I’d like for the action to not show until the Wednesday its due for example. How should I do this? Defer all actions? Defer the Project? Repeat on Wednesdays?

Hope I’m giving enough details. Thanks for the help!

I have a few suggestions coming from the perspective of a teacher in higher ed.

  • Make your Courses as Folders rather than Projects.

  • Make Assignments or Lessons as Projects inside their respective
    Course Folder.

  • Do NOT use Defer dates based on when you want to start something.
    Set Defer dates only because something cannot be started at that date
    due to circumstances outside your immediate control. For example, you
    have an assignment that will be submitted Wednesday of next week. You
    should defer the task “grade the submissions” until that Wednesday
    because you won’t have anything to grade until it is submitted. OTOH,
    you should not defer a task “give presentation on snakes” until
    Monday because that is when you want to start it. Instead, you
    might decide that your presentation on snakes must be done by
    Monday and set a Due date on it.

  • Repeats are for projects or actions that are done over again on a
    repeating basis. For example, you may have a repeating administrative
    reminder to “review lessons plans for coming week” that you set as
    deferred until Friday (because you won’t have a lesson plan until
    then), due by Sunday (because you have to be ready on Monday), and
    repeated every week (because it has to happen every week).

As for Perspectives, I have a “Teaching” perspective that shows all actions in my top-level Teaching folder filtered by available and sorted by context.

Hope these ideas help.



Hello from a fellow homeschool mom. I am planning to use OF for lesson planning. Have you found an overall solution yet?

I have found what works for us. Just remember every homeschool is unique! Its the greatest thing about teaching our own children, pulling out their strengths and teaching them to work through their weaknesses. I have three students and we have some subjects we do together as a family and then we have individual work.

  1. In my Projects tab I have a folder for each student and then a folder for Family Courses. This helped me see the balance of work. For example do I have math & writing for each student, do I have enough poetry reading for family time?

  2. Each Curriculum Course is a project - For example I have Math U See Gamma for one Student, but another project as Math U See Alpha in another Student’s Folder. Under Family Courses I have a Folder for Diana Waring’s History Revealed: Romans, Reformers, & Revolutionaries. I also have a project for our quarterly newsletter we work on together, in our Family Courses, for our extended families that are hours away and can’t see what we are working on.

  3. Under each project the tasks are our lessons (These projects as sequential - i.e. You cannot complete Lesson 1b before 1a). These are for example: in the Math U See Gamma Project under my oldest student’s Folder I have tasks like: “Lesson 26a” for the worksheet I need the student to complete or “Test 26” for the test he has to complete at the end of the week. I do not use tasks like “grade submissions” because my students bring me their work as soon as it’s complete and I “grade” it right there. Under our History Folder I have tasks such as “Digging Deeper Track 8” which is an audio recording we will listen to together. I also have writing assignments, Narration time, Discussion Time all with notes in the Inspector from Mom.

  4. I created custom Perspectives for each child. That way he or she can see what is on the agenda for the day. It only shows the next available lesson in each course. I kept in mind what I wanted to view in the Perspective each time I made a new task and folder. So for my oldest student’s prospective he sees only the four lessons today - a math worksheet, a writing assignment from his Writing & Rhetoric course, a reading assignment and a copywork passage.

I planned it this way so that when my younger student now doing Math U See alpha needs to do Math U See Gamma I could easily find the completed project from my older student and copy the lessons for my younger to repeat the course. I’d have all my teacher note’s on the course and important links I’ve added to the Inspector.

I find that instead of having to assign a task a date, we just try to get through as much as is “available” to us in each subject each day. I am fiddling with the perspective tab to show a report of what was done each day, but haven’t implemented anything. My students start their independent work and when I’ve got breakfast cleaned up and the baby down, they stop what they are doing so we can do Family subjects. Because of OmniFocus when we’re done they go right back to their individual perspectives and don’t have to question where they need to pick back up.

I hope this helps.

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Thanks for sharing that, CandyJ. That really helps a lot.