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New Year Thoughts | Homeschool Lesson Planning

Updated: Oct 22, 2023

January 2, 2023

daytimer-flowers-plaid

Whatever the rules are for blogging, I will probably break them in today’s post. Oh well! “A little something for everyone” may be the theme, and even if a certain topic does not interest or relate to you, I hope you will read and maybe share with someone that would benefit.


A few thoughts on the new year…


New Year’s Resolutions are not an important part of my life as I am hesitant to make promises that I cannot keep, but certainly growth and a desire to change is ever present in my heart. So for those who may be curious what my goals (a very light use of the word) are for this year, following are a few.


book-one-thousand-gifts

Focus on gratitude in every circumstance. Recently, I picked up One Thousand Gifts from a thrift store. I have been avoiding this book for years to my shame, but the Lord had it right on the shelf for hardly any cost. Ann Voskamp challenges her readers to view all of life through the lens of praise and thankfulness to God, no matter the circumstance. She challenged herself to write a list of 1,000 blessings from God, and this visceral and very tangible act of worship to God changed her life. I hope to start writing my own list of 1,000 blessings in a journal very soon. Instead of grumbling, God is challenging me to praise Him.


Open my home more for hospitality. For those who may not know my family well, my husband is a deacon in our church, and God has challenged me to open our home more as part of our responsibility to serve. I’m not quite sure how we will do it with several challenges (distance from our church, my husband’s demanding work schedule, our small house, etc.), but God will make a way!


Be more organized in my personal and business life. I bought a cute day timer from Hobby Lobby and plan to use it more intentionally. Organization is not my strong suit as I am more of an “in the moment” person. Yet I’m learning that failing to plan will result in nothing accomplished or simply frustration.

daytimer-plaid-flowers

Now before you skip this next section because it may not directly apply to you, may I ask you to join me? Even if you are not a homeschooling mama, maybe you could share these thoughts or tips with an overworked, exhausted homeschooling parent. Or maybe you have already crossed the finish line of homeschooling. I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on homeschooling. Please share any tips or tricks in the comments below!


A few thoughts on homeschooling


After lugging all of our homeschool books up to our upstairs office, I sat down at the computer last week to plan out the next six weeks of lesson plans. During the lesson planning, the thought came to me that many other homeschool parents face the task of planning for school now that the holidays are over. So a desire to encourage fueled this post.


Even if a parent is not much of a planner and more of a “just go with the flow” kind of person with homeschooling, lesson plans are incredibly important. Lesson plans create a path to follow, and even if deviations happen, the plans provide an element of structure. In today’s world, homeschoolers do not want to give the government any fodder for taking away the freedoms to educate at home. Careful documentation of what learning takes place in the home will provide an element of orderliness and prove the education taking place in the home.


I used to take hours and hours to write out lesson plans for one child and quickly realized this model was not sustainable. After some practice, the process is a little faster.


I like to write out lessons plans in six-week chunks which saves me a tremendous amount of time in the long run. Sure, there is an investment of time writing lesson plans for such a span, but I simply do not have time every weekend to write out lesson plans.


I keep my lesson plans pretty simple and include the following for each day. I use a table-style format to organize the information.


What number day of school it is.

All the subjects we are studying.

Page numbers in curriculum and any workbook pages.

Any other activities that reinforce what we are learning.


Below is an example of my simple lesson plans for my kindergartener.

lesson-plan-example-kindergarten

To write lesson plans efficiently, the following tips have helped me move along quicker.


  • Bring all the books up with me to the computer.


  • Keep a blank lesson plan template on the computer ready to go. I then click “save as” and save the lesson plans in a folder for the specific child.


lesson-plan-template-kindergarten

  • I do not always fill out lesson plans for Bible since that is obviously not required by law. Simply, we move on to the next lesson in Bible without worrying about keeping a certain pace. Sometimes I write in the lesson plans what we did that day for Bible.


  • I write out lesson plans one subject at a time. For example, I write out all six weeks of math in one sitting. Then I may write out all the Social Studies lessons. By focusing on one subject at a time, I’m able to see the entire six-week chunk as a whole.


  • Don’t get bogged down in minute details. I used to be very detailed in my lesson plans and felt like everything had to be perfectly planned, but a dear friend advised me that she simply writes down the book and the page numbers for each subject. If we are doing an activity other than a textbook for our learning, I simply write down what we will be doing.


  • Realize that lesson plans will very likely need to flex and change to meet my child’s needs and pace. I remind myself that it’s okay even if my child cannot keep up with the pace of the plans; we just do our best to follow the structure provided by lesson plans.

 

I realize that what works for me may not work for you. Though I share very little of my personal family here on my blog to maintain my family’s privacy, I will say that I’m not homeschooling half a dozen or more children. If you have 8 kids, these tips may not be helpful and you may have strategies that work circles around me! If so, please share your ideas for efficient lesson planning. We would all benefit!


As mentioned before, this blog post is a bit higgledy-piggledy, but I hope you were encouraged by something! May you have a blessed 2023. Thank you to each and every one of you who have taken the time to read my posts, comment, and encourage me personally. You are all a blessing to me! My prayer is that my blog will encourage you and bless you.


-Ashley


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I love your lesson plan table. Just a heads up, this template works for both small and larger families (ask me how I know, haha). My mom used this same type of template for all of us kids during all the homeschool years. The nice thing is that it will function as a hand-me-down plan to the younger siblings and will require only a little tweaking year to year. And yes, keep a copy of everything. My parents’ filing cabinet was well stocked with our academic records for years. I can’t remember if it was a legal requirement or not but preserving those files were helpful for college applications and what not.

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Ashley Qurollo
Ashley Qurollo
Jan 04, 2023
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Thank you for your affirmations, Stefani! The lesson table plan has been such a help, and as you wisely mentioned, I've been able to tweak it from year to year. In future years, the table will expand with more subjects, but for now, this works.


Your mom sounds like an amazing homeschool teacher! Shes sounds incredibly organized, too.

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