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Once you’ve decided to homeschool, and decided what curriculum you will be using, the hard decisions are over. The hard work, however, is just beginning.
Lesson planning comes next! There are no hard and fast rules of what to do when lesson planning. Here are a few things I have learned since I started homeschooling 23 years ago.
Homeschool Lesson Planning
Back when I first started homeschooling in 1991, there wasn’t a big choice of planners. The standard black teachers planner, with subject boxes down the side, and the days of week across the top, were the only ones available. I tried one, and it didn’t really work for me.
We read aloud so much, and did so many activities, that those little boxes weren’t big enough. So I kept a clipboard hanging on the wall and wrote down every book we read, and every thing we did. If it could be counted as school, I wrote it down. Needless to say, after a couple years of that, my hand was wore out. lol
If you do a lot of extra learning activities, using a clipboard might be an option for you. Just put all the papers in a notebook, and you’ll have an excellent record of everything you have done for the year.
Now, there are so many homeschool planners available. Planners for the parents, and planners for the students. With a little research, you’ll be able to find the perfect planner for your homeschool.
This year, each of my two students will have their own planners. My eighth grader is using My Student Logbook. So far, I really like it. He seems to like it, too. My review is coming soon! My 10th grader is using the high school planner from Schoolhouse Teachers.com. We’ve used their planners for the last few years, and they are great. Each planner has many options and extras included. Simply print out the pages you want, and place in the binder of your choice. Or, keep it on the computer as a pdf file. Just update and save as necessary.
Now that you’ve thought about what your going to write your lesson plans in, it’s time to figure out what to write in your planner!
Before you actually start writing down your lesson plans, you need to make sure you plan your homeschool calendar.
Here’s an easy way to figure out how much to assign every day. Take the number of pages in the book, and divide it by the number of days you want to take to complete the book. That will tell you have many pages to assign each day. If you want to take the whole school year, divide by the number of days in your school year. If you want to complete it in one semester, use that number of days.
If you want certain days for working on projects, or for co-op, or other activities, make sure you subtract those days from your total school days for the year before doing the math.
I usually have my students do everything in the book. Unless, a book has a lot of review at the beginning, and we just finished the last book. In that case, they don’t need the review, so I skip the first review section. If there is a chapter or section of a book you don’t want to do, then leave those out when figuring out how many pages you will do in the book.
Be sure to check your student books, teacher’s editions, and company websites. Today, many of these include sample schedules. Then you just have to plug each day’s work into your planner.
My preferred method of lesson planning is to write down what we do every day. I despise having to go through the planner, erasing assignments, and moving them. Which is what happens when something comes up and we take an unplanned day off. Or if a student needs to spend more time learning something than originally planned. On the other hand, when a student has been working slower than they can actually go, I will assign their work ahead of time to keep them on track. Since my last two students are teenagers, they now fill out their planners themselves, for the most part. I still check every day to make sure they are doing enough, and that they fill the planner out correctly. This gives them independence, and also makes them accountable for their own work.
Some subjects don’t necessarily need something written in the planner everyday. For example, music or reading. Then I write the amount of time they need to spend on that subject in the planner, then they place a check mark next to it when they have completed their allotted time.
Don’t let lesson planning overwhelm you. Think of it as a tool to help your student reach their goals. A tool to make your homeschool days go smoother. A tool that will give you peace of mind that they are doing and learning everything they need to.
For more great Back to Homeschool posts, visit these blogs:
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