Planning for a new homeschool year doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Today, I’m talking about easy homeschool lesson planning for the mom who wants to check things off of her list and enjoy homeschooling!
Planning for a new homeschool year can seem daunting, but it is quite simple and homeschool moms have been doing it for generations, so you’re in good company.
A few years ago, I began planning my entire school year the summer prior to school starting. I noticed that when we began the new school year, I felt so much peace knowing the whole year was planned and that things weren’t going to fall through the cracks.
I create my own lesson plans, which allows me to cater to my kids’ specific needs and today I’m going to walk you through the process. It doesn’t matter if you have a lesson plan book because I’m going to share a few templates with you so you can create exact plans that fit your schooling needs.
A few things to remember as you plan your school year are: field trips, upcoming vacations, and holidays. Those all play into your homeschool planning. Let’s get started!
Planning for Homeschool
There are a couple of different ways to plan your homeschool year and it all depends on how much flexibility you want and how much planning you want to do throughout the year. The planning process goes one of two ways:
- Plan as you go- This type of homeschool plan is great for the homeschooling mom who wants complete flexibility, which can be a beautiful thing. Each week, a plan will be made for the next week, so things aren’t set in stone. This also makes it easy to pivot, or change, any curriculum or schedule at any point in the year because the entire year doesn’t hinge on things staying the way they were planned.
- Plan the entire year- This is a great way to plan if you like to see the entire “whole to part” view of the year. You get the entire vision when the entire school year is planned before the year starts. A huge bonus is that planning ahead of time frees up your nights and weekends during the year. You don’t have to spend time planning each week because it’s already done for you.
How to do Lesson Planning for Homeschool
1. Decide your Homeschool Style
Knowing your homeschool style is very helpful as a guide to planning your year. You don’t have to box yourself into one style (I am Charlotte Mason and Classical, for example), but it helps to be able to ground yourself. I shared about the different homeschool methods in this post, so revisit it if you’re curious about what each style looks like.
2. Take Note of your Curriculum
This might seem like a no brainer, but knowing the type of curriculum you have impacts the way you plan. Be sure to check out the teacher’s manual for each subject area before planning. Is your curriculum mostly workbooks? Then, you simply need to complete a certain number of worksheets each school day. Are you reading mostly living books (Charlotte Mason style learning)? Then you need to complete a certain number of books/pages each day.
Knowing the style of your curriculum will determine how you plan.
3. How many days and weeks will you do each subject?
There are two different schedules, one that covers what will be done over the course of the entire year and one that covers what you complete each week. I will share templates for planning both later in this post. For now, let’s look at the schedule that helps you break up your entire year into bite sized pieces.
An important thing remember is how many days per week you plan to do each subject area. For example, do you plan on doing a foreign language every day or just 3 times a week? Knowing the answer to that determines how much you need to get done within each lesson period.
For a typical homeschool scenario, math curriculum and language arts are done every day, while science is done 3 to 4 times a week. This is the first step in getting your homeschool plans filled out.
4. Does your curriculum come with lesson plans?
If your curriculum comes with lesson plans, then part of the work is done! Keep in mind that the lesson plans are a thorough guide and you don’t have to feel pressured to cover every last bit of the plans.
Textbook lesson plans are convenient because the number of lessons correspond to the number of school days. The publisher creates a plan from day one to the end of the year.
If your curriculum doesn’t come with lesson plans, no problem! There is a simple formula to determine how to plan your year.
First, you need to decide how many weeks will be in your school year (typically 35-36 weeks). Then, divide the lessons in the textbook by that number of weeks.
Now, you know how much material you need to complete each week and you can plan accordingly.
Create a Basic Homeschool Schedule
Creating a basic homeschool schedule is quite easy (you can see a sample schedule that I put together as an example for you). It’s as simple as adding the daily subjects (subjects that you will complete each day) to a time slot and then filling in with the subjects that will be done sporadically (these are usually subjects such as art, music, and sometimes science and history).
Not all subjects will be touched every single day, so determine those that are most important to your family and plan accordingly.
Be sure to check your state’s requirements for a general guide as to what needs to be completed each school day.
1. Add the daily subjects to the schedule
When you have a skeleton schedule created, add the daily subjects to the schedule. It is important to keep in mind how long you intend for each subject to last and what the best time might be for your child to do that subject. For example, if your child struggles with math, doing it first thing in the morning when the child is fresh might be the best option.
The daily, or Core, subjects typically are classified as- reading, writing, and arithmetic.
2. Add the Non-Core subjects to the schedule
Once the Core subjects have found their place on the schedule, you can fill in the non-core subjects, such as art, music, pe, etc.
Some questions to ask are: How many days do you want to do this subject? How much will my child enjoy this subject material?
How do I organize homeschool lesson plans?
As with anything, there are many methods for lesson planning. For our homeschool classroom, I plan each year ahead of time so I know what our year looks like. Then, I have the students fill out weekly assignment sheets with the lessons they have completed each day.
Lesson plans are stored in a three-ring binder where the progress of each curriculum can be documented. This helps when planning for the upcoming year because the last year progress can be easily seen.
Our schoolroom process is simple. Every day of the week, each child fills out an assignment sheet (free template provided below) with the lesson that comes next in their yearly schedule (the schedule that is made prior to the year beginning). Once an assignment is completed, they check it off and move on the next day.
This method makes it clear what has been completed and what is left to complete before the year ends.
Homeschool Lesson Plan Template
There are two main ways to plan for the homeschooling day.
- Plan for the entire year prior to school starting.
Planning for the next year can help to give a wide vision of the year. The best way to create a full year’s worth of lesson plans is to create a spreadsheet for each child.
How to create a spreadsheet in order to plan for an entire school year
- Create a spreadsheet that has enough columns for each of the child’s main subjects (I share how I do this in my Simple Homeschool eCourse)
- Under each subject, you will type the lesson numbers in so your student can see what lesson is coming next and he can fill in his daily assignment sheet (assignment sheet shared below)
- Once the student completes a lesson, he will cross it off so he can see what is left for him to do for the year.
It is best to divide the plans into quarter so you can easily see if you are behind or ahead as the year progresses. I make 4 different “sheets” on my excel spreadsheet and I divide each curriculum by four so I know how much of the curriculum I need to cover each quarter.
Knowing what’s ahead and what needs to be completed gives a step-by-step process of how the year should flow can give great comfort.
2. Planning week by week
Another way to plan for the year is to plan each week as you go. This gives flexibility and allows you to switch things up in the middle of the year if need be.
Below, you will find a weekly lesson plan template (as pictured above) to use as you plan your next school year. Once completed, add this to a binder for your records. This gives you a bird’s eye view of what each week will look like in your school room for each individual student.
Homeschool planning and daily assignment sheets
Along with a yearly or weekly plan for the teacher, having a daily assignment sheet for the student can be helpful. This gives a clear visual of the school week and prepares the student for what is ahead. At the end of the week, the student can see all that he has accomplished and feel good about the progress. This is also a great homeschool tracker to keep for your records.
How does the assignment sheet work?
- Each week, the student gets a fresh assignment sheet.
- Every morning, the student and teacher look at what lessons need to be completed for that day and they fill in the assignments for each subject.
- Once the child completes that day’s lesson, he crosses the box off so he knows it’s finished.
This is a simple visual for the student and teacher and a great way to document progress. Keep these sheets in a 3-ring binder.
Below is a template for the daily assignment sheet that your child can fill out each morning.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Decide Curriculum
2. Divide the curriculum throughout the year.
3. Create a plan with the lessons in place.
4. Execute the plan
Every homeschool teacher runs her class differently, but typically a homeschool day lasts for 5-6 hours.
1. Create a calendar for the year. Fill in the dates for: vacations, field trips, and holidays.
2. Next, add your subjects to the schedule- hour by hour.
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