I thought it was time to write an updated post about how I do our homeschool lesson planning. We normally do school year round, but this summer has been crazy busy with the garden (and the toddler), and I imagine future years will be the same.
Fortunately, I’ve got an amazing friend that I’m teaming up with this year! She is going to hang out with our younger kids while I do lessons with the older ones. With her help, I think we will be able to work in a more traditional style school year with a break in the summer months for gardening.
Without further adieu, here’s a look at how I plan!
Please Note: As an affiliate of Homeschool Planet, I may earn a commission from some links in this post. I became an affiliate because I genuinely LOVE the product!
First Things First
Before you sit down and plan, I recommend you grab a notebook and say a prayer. I find that when I ask for a little heavenly help before I take on a task, things go much more smoothly. Pray that you will be inspired to figure out what works best for your family. Once you’ve done that, do some research and brainstorm some ideas. It always helps me clear my head when I can get my thoughts out of my brain and onto a sheet of paper (or a notetaking app).
Next, think about where you will school. When my kids were younger, they liked doing their schoolwork on the bedroom floor. Now that they’re older (and there are more of them), they like the privacy of our school room. Our “school room” is just our little home office with a couple of extra desks added in. For family style lessons, we often sit at the kitchen table or on the living room floor.
Whatever space you’ll be using, do your best to keep it organized so you can find things quickly and easily. I’ve found that we work better when our school area is tidy. But alas, we are human and sometimes (most times?) we are messy.
Choose Your Schedule
Some homeschool families follow a typical public school schedule because they like having the same vacation times as family and friends. Some families do school for 6-8 weeks and then take one week off. Others school all throughout the year with breaks taken when needed.
Think about your family’s work schedules, holiday plans, vacation plans, etc. and choose a time frame that works best for you.
Choose Your Curriculum
If you’re doing online public school, this part is already done! If you want to supplement your child’s public school education, or use an entirely different curriculum, I highly recommend The Good and The Beautiful. We’ve been using it for almost five years now, and we couldn’t be happier. They cover all the required subjects, and the curriculum is open and go, which makes my life a lot easier.
I honestly don’t think I would have been able to pull the trigger on homeschooling without The Good and The Beautiful. At the time we were on a budget and dropped preschool because the tuition was too expensive. This curriculum is WAY cheaper than the others I’ve looked into, and it’s truly amazing. The name says it all. We love it so much!
They even offer Language Arts levels 1-5 as free printable PDFs! Just click this link and scroll down a bit to find them.
Tools for Homeschool Lesson Planning
When it comes time to sit down and plan my year, I like to use Homeschool Planet. I’ve tried a lot of different methods for homeschool lesson planning: Traditional planners, bullet journals, printable planners, Evernote, Google Docs, Google Calendar, and more. I tend to be very type A with our homeschool scheduling, so Homeschool Planet is what works best for me by far. It makes it easy to look at the whole year at a glance to plan days off.
In calendar view, I can see when we will finish our curriculum, and I like being able to look ahead at that. It helps me stay on track and not panic! I can easily input curriculum and resources for all the kids and check them off as we go. It keeps me organized and saves a lot of time, and I have to manage my time wisely – so that’s a big plus for me!
Planning my school year – the days with X’s are the ones we are taking off for holidays or vacation.
I love that it’s simple to learn how to use, and it has tons of really helpful features. If life happens and you miss a day of school, it has a “rescheduling helper” that helps you easily push those assignments back to the next school day. If you prefer to see your day on paper, you can print it out. You can make transcripts, keep track of grades and attendance, and more. To see all the awesome features they offer, click here.
In the picture below, you can see what a typical school week will look like for my boys in Homeschool Planet’s calendar view. I always start off a bit ambitious and adjust our schedule as needed if things are too crazy. I like to check things off of lists, so I love that I can check off the boxes after they complete tasks and assignments. Our state also requires us to keep records for our homeschool, so it gives me peace of mind that everything is easily recorded and organized in Homeschool Planet.
Creating Lesson Plans
I usually input our lessons manually with the lesson planner because it’s easy enough with the curriculum I use (The Good and The Beautiful). If you’re not interested in inputting things manually, they have tons of inexpensive lesson plans from popular curricula that you can purchase. That makes one less thing for you to do! They have video tutorials on YouTube so you can get a feel for how Homeschool Planet can make your life easier. I highly recommend you watch this one:
They’ve got a 30 day free trial (which includes a free lesson plan!), so you can try it out for a reasonable amount of time and really get a feel for it. If you hate it, no harm done. If you love it (like I do) then you’ve got yourself a great new homeschool (and life) planner!
Our Weekly Routine
This year our routine will look different than it has in years past since we will be schooling with buddies. In the past we’ve done one lesson per day for Language Arts, Handwriting, and Math Monday through Thursday, and then on Fridays we do Science or History. We’d have “morning time” every day, which consisted of scripture, prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance, Article of Faith, and a read aloud.
That routine was much easier to accomplish back when Mason was taking multiple naps a day. Now that he’s a highly energetic toddler who naps once, I don’t know how I’d do it without help! My ideal routine for the upcoming school year is this:
Monday, Wednesday, Friday
- Language Arts lesson
- Math Lesson
- History Lesson
- Catch up on any other lessons
- Science Lesson
- Catch up on any other lessons
Keep in mind that this is my ideal routine. With homeschool, you have to learn how to adapt. If something isn’t working, you have to take a step back and see if you can approach it a different way.
Well, that pretty much sums up it up! If there’s anything that I’ve learned from my years of homeschooling, it’s that no two homeschools look the same. What works for us may not work for you, but I hope that sharing some of these resources helps you find something that does work! This video by The Good and The Beautiful is another great resource:
Good luck with your homeschool lesson planning! You got this!