August 14, 2014

Back to Homeschool Blog Hop: Day 4~ Lesson Planning

Happy Thursday! It's Day 4 of the Back to Homeschool Blog Hop from the Schoolhouse Review Crew. It's been a great week so far and there have been lots of incredible posts in the hop. I hope you have been enjoying the topics I've been discussing. So far we've chatted about Homeschool Essentials, My Favorite Online Resources and yesterday I shared Seven Steps to Pick Curriculum. Today I'm going to be talking about Lesson Planning
Today I want to share some ideas for how to plan out your lessons...but these aren't just from me! I asked some of my homeschooling friends what lesson planning looks like for their family! To get started I will share what lesson planning looks like for me.

In the last few years, lesson planning has been pretty easy because we've used all-in-one curriculum and those actually come with their own lesson plans. The only thing I've ever needed to add to the schedule was a few extra things like music or art. I have a great post about how I planned last years lessons including the worksheets I used that you can check out. I will be using some of that same method this year with some minor changes.

This year, we are stepping away from all-in-one curriculum for Little Britches. Yes, we are diving into the world of piecing a curriculum together! One of the ways that I started lesson planning this year was to make a list of everything we were going to use for curriculum. Next, I plugged these into a rough schedule for a week with time blocks. I did it all on 3 x 5 cards one day. LOL! 

Nothing fancy here--but it allows me to carry it with me and work on it a lot as I remember things. I do a LOT of erasing on these. LOL! I now have these pinned to the bulletin board on my fridge so I can find them easily and to keep them where I can view them and make changes. I like calculating out time blocks not to stick to a set schedule but to get an idea about how much I can do in one day.

I use this as a rough guide and rework things as I need to. Once I have a rough schedule for Little Britches done, I can see where I will be able to work with Baby Britches. We are going to be using Before Five In a Row this year as our "core" for him, so there isn't much planning needed. I did find some great planning worksheets that I will be using for his lessons just to help keep me more organized. I only plan out about a month at a time, though I sometimes do a quarter year to see what will be covered in that period of time and how any vacations work into it. I haven't made our "final" schedule yet...but I am definitely still using those 3 x 5 cards!

I have set up a Pinterest page where I collect ideas for lesson planning and organization that you could check out for more ideas.
Follow Lisa @ Farm Fresh's board Homeschooling: Planning/Organization on Pinterest.

Now I'd like to shift gears and share what some of my friends have said about lesson planning in their homeschool. I hope you enjoy hearing different ideas and it helps you when making your own decisions!

Meredith is a mom of four (16, 12, 10 and 8) and she's homeschooling the three youngest: We use a modified form of Robinson Curriculum, so we only really have three subjects: Reading, writing, and math. Science, literature, history, social studies, and financial skills are all incorporated into the reading list. We modified the RC reading list to better incorporate all these areas into it. So there isn't much in the way of lesson planning. They each spend and hour or two (depending on the age) reading their current books in the reading list, they write a page about whatever they want (which I check for spelling and punctuation, and they correct), and they do a lesson a math. 

We also have added in what we call “Class Time”, which we do together and can be just about anything. Sometimes we discuss in issue, sometimes we work on memorizing something, sometimes I read a book out loud to the kids (we are just about to go through the book called Hungry Planet that shows and contrasts what foods families around the world eat in a week), and if I don't have anything specific I want to do right then for Class Time, we just watch a documentary from the Homeschooling queue of our Netflix account. 

The only lesson planning I do is to make a note of upcoming Class Time things I want to cover, and the rest is just reminding the kids to do their reading, writing, and math.

Beverly is homeschooling three kids in grades 2, 5 and 8: I do a breakdown of our year and figure out how much we need to accomplish in each subject per week (We aim for a 40 week school year). For example, we use Horizon's Math and it has 160 lessons in the workbook. I divide 160 lessons by 40 weeks and get 4 lessons/week. The kids love to see what they have accomplished, putting a check mark in each box and how much they need to do as the week goes on. Here is one of our weekly lists that are on the bulletin board in front of each child's desk:
Liz shares honestly: I put a pile of books in a cupboard and when it is gone, the school year is done! LOL! 
Megan is a homeschooling mom of seven (15, 11, 9, 7, 5, 3, and 1): Right now we're unschooling except for math, Rosetta Stone and I make them read. So our day is based more around meal/chore times. I have an attendance sheet I keep and we do keep track of math (for those who don't do Khan academy).
Michelle is a homeschool mom of six ranging from preschool to high school: I only lesson plan for FIAR (Five-in-a-row). For all other subjects, I just figure out how many lessons are in a book and divide it by the number of weeks in our school year. Then I know how many to do each week. 
Stephanie is homeschooling grades 2, 7 and 8: I copy Tables of Content for all curricula, textbooks,etc. that we're using for the year. We do six, 6 week sessions. I find our midpoint and mark the date halfway down the TOC and divide each half into thirds. The olders put the assignments weekly into their undated Dollar Store planners. We usually do that together to avoid surprises. I use the dated Dollar General planner for my calendar and whatever notes I need regarding assignments I need to teach or supplies I need to gather for certain days. This is the first year I've simplified and it is by far my most productive and least stressful year yet (as we finish week 6).
Kate is a homeschool mom of three: Well, I usually start out really organized/planned out and then have to make major adjustments (which may or may not be very organized) a few weeks in to meet my child's changing needs. It's stressful. I am a mixture between insane perfectionist and fly by the seat of my pants--it can make my head spin.
Diana mom of one: I plan out some subjects (that are not open and go) by the week. I use google calendar so I can easily adjust which week we are doing things on. I don't do any more than that until the week prior when I write out the next week's stuff (I request the next set of library books a couple weeks before as well).
Eva is homeschool mom of seven:  I do a loose plan for the year at the beginning. Then I plan it week by week after that. It usually takes me an hour on Sundays to plan out the week and print off or gather anything I need. The basics are planned by the curriculum, so that is day by day.
Eva has a post it color for herself and each of her kids on this incredible planning board!
As you can see, there are all different styles of lesson planning. I think you will find that your lesson planning method will change as you go--especially if you start adding more students into the mix. Lesson planning can take you hours or it can take you no time at all--just find a style that works best for you!

Back to Homeschool Blog Hop
There are 50+ bloggers more bloggers in this blog hop---here are a few to to get you started! I've seen some of what is being blogged about and it's going to be a great week!

Marcy @ Ben and Me
Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning

And don't forget about the INCREDIBLE (and I do mean that in every sense of the word) giveaway that is going on this week--there are two HUGE prizes that are sure to bless two homeschool families for the new school year. You can get the details about the giveaway--and get entered to win here:
Back to Homeschool Giveaway
Thank you for joining me again this week. I hope you will stop by for my last post as part of this blog hop tomorrow. I have a collection of my favorite homeschooling blogs to share with you--could yours be on the list?!
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Gena at said...

What a helpful post to get so many different mom's suggestions. I liked Liz's the best! :)

Rebekah Teague said...

I love your index card idea! I feel Kate's pain!

Michele said...

Love seeing how everyone does it so differently! I maintain a master schedule, done for a week at a time usually, then write their assignments for them one a notecard as well. This year we are going to try My Student Logbook for a change.

Mud Puddle Soup said...

I always enjoy seeing how everyone does their planning. We all have a different rhythm. Thanks for sharing and I'm glad that you found the planning sheets helpful.

Sweet blessings!

Marcy Crabtree said...

I'm such a non-planner, but I'm trying desperately to change my ways this year. I love the idea of using index cards. I might be able to pull that off. It was fun reading what other moms had to say, too. Great idea sharing those!

Anonymous said...

So helpful. Thank you.

~Jessica G.