Whether you use boxed curriculum or put together your own homeschool lesson plans, there is some level of planning involved.
After I started putting together most of my own curriculum, I realized soon enough that I had to lesson plan.
Wanting to be prepared for the what if something happened scenario, I jumped out planned for the whole year.
Yes, I spent hours and hours poring over all my curriculum and plotting my course. I had written my plans for the whole year.
I was prepared, feeling super competent and I kicked off my homeschool year with a tenacity that I won’t easily forget.
Then, 10 days into my smokin’ hot schedule all of my kids got sick.
We took off one week and then two weeks from school. And the other thing I won’t easily forget too was how utterly stressed and defeated I felt a few short weeks into the year. I was already behind and stressed out.
The worst thing was I brought it all on myself.
My lesson planning journal looked like one great big huge mess as I started marking off and changing dates. (Btw, this is how my idea of an undated planner was born.)
How far out is too much?
I learned a very valuable lesson that I want you to learn from and that is planning for the year was too far out.
Because I did not have a classroom and have to produce lesson plans for year, I learned that lesson planning should stay in sync with my family’s need.
Public school teachers are going to have class regardless if a child is sick or absent, but that is not the case with learning at home.
Again, I had failed to step back and think what would work best not only for my family, but for me as the teacher.
I was still modeling public school thinking when I had plan for the whole year.
How far out is too little?
After I learned that valuable lesson, the next thing I did was to rewrite my lesson plans for the week.
Though I had good intentions to plan for the next week, the week simply got away from me and before I knew it, it was Sunday and the next school week was upon me with no plan.
If you have been attempting lesson planning, you know that it can be downright exhausting exploring a system that will work for you.
When Homeschool Lesson Planning is Just Right
Though it may seem like you have prepared for the year well by lesson planning for a year, I would never encourage you to do that.
Another very important point that I didn’t even grasp until I was a few more years into homeschooling was how fast kids can move up in levels, how quick they can grasp one point, and how slow they can be to comprehend another.
So it brought me full circle back to one of the reasons I started homeschooling, which is to go at my child’s pace.
I found a comfortable pace which is to plan about 2 weeks to one month ahead.
I stuck closer to a 30 day schedule. Like my menu planning, I found a comfortable pace of 30 days gave me the whole month to plan for the next month.
I didn’t feel so pressured knowing I could take my time planning for the next month. Too, if one week or so was hectic or I simply wasn’t in the mood to be the teacher, I still had several more weeks to plan for the next month.
Also, it was easier to change on a dime when my kids were ready to move ahead a level because I didn’t have months and months planned.
With a 30 day lesson plan, my mood not only changed about lesson planning but about teaching.
I wasn’t constantly panting trying to keep up, but I could easily prepare my materials for the next month and gather hands-on supplies.
Another tip to planning is to realize that planning generally is not the same thing as planning each day.
I do encourage you to generally plug in themes or topics you want to cover each month for the year because this gives you a framework to start building your daily lesson plans on.
Don’t follow the methods used by public school teachers, who have to have lesson plans for a year.
Don’t plan for 30 kids, but just for your kids.
Take advantage of the flexibility of homeschooling by planning only 2 weeks to 30 days ahead so that you change when you need to, but have a fall back plan when life happens.
How far out have you been lesson planning?
- Homeschool Lesson Planning Backward Part 1 of 2
- 3 Ways to Choose the BEST Writing Curriculum (for a Growing Homeschool Family)
- 3 Risks of Not Tracking Your Homeschool Lessons (Even If They’re Laid-Out)
Hugs and love ya,