“Could you give me some simple steps to prepare for the daily lessons? For example, should I print them out? Get them ready the night before? When and how do I prepare the learning supplies we’ll need?”
Hi, Molly! You came to the right girl. Over the years, I’ve tried just about everything and can give you my top recommendation for your situation as well as some other options to consider.
MY TOP RECOMMENDATION FOR HOMESCHOOL PLANS:
“Plan from behind”: Yup, you read that right! “Planning from behind” is a legitimate homeschool record-keeping method. In your day-planner, a notebook, or an excel spreadsheet, record your child’s accomplishments after you child does them. Jot down the school work, projects, skills, play times, chores, educational videos/ websites, conversations, experiences, and books that filled your child’s day. “Planning from behind” can be quite satisfying… and often surprising. There’s no doubt about it: your child is learning every day!
Planning from behind gives you the flexibility to cope with your child’s needs and interests, your school’s plans, and the many unknowns/ changes. It also allows you to take advantage of the wonderful resources that keep popping up! If you like spontaneity and flexibility – or if you simply don’t have the capacity to create lesson plans right now – this may be a great fit for you.
MY TOP RECOMMENDATION FOR MORE DETAILED HOMESCHOOL PLANS:
Make a general plan for the next two weeks.
Will your student do work assigned by school or do a unit study that you design?? Would you rather follow a block-schedule concept that provides lots of space for playing, exploration, and rest? It’s helpful to have an idea of the general shape of things.
Then, plan the specifics one day ahead.
The reason I recommend daily planning is because you and your child (and the whole world, for that matter) are changing, adjusting, and transitioning every day and I don’t want you to get discouraged when a week’s worth of highly detailed plans is scrambled by changing circumstances. Even under normal circumstances, I recommend holding lesson plans loosely so that you can adjust easily to your child’s needs.
Create daily lesson plans when it suits you best.
Consider your unique circumstances (and the timing of the resources you are receiving from your school) and choose a time each day to plan for the day ahead. This may take some trial and error.
- “The morning of”: if you’re a morning person, you may want to plan the day’s lessons first thing in the morning. By the time your child rolls out of bed, you’ll be ready with some gentle guidance and direction.
- “While your student is doing today’s work”: When I’m working one-on-one with my second grader, I often jot down the work I’d like him to do the next day while we have the books open and it’s fresh in my mind.
- “In the afternoon”: You may have some downtime in the afternoon to look over the work that your child did today and plan for the next day.
- “Late night”: If you’re a night-owl, there’s no shame in planning for the day ahead at midnight when you’re just getting going.
- “The day after”: See “Planning from behind” at the top of this post
WRITE THE DAY’S ASSIGNMENTS IN A NOTEBOOK
My top recommendation is that you simply write your child’s assignments in a notebook each day. This will give you a clear record of your child’s progress and will be simple for you to maintain. We’ve been using this method for three or four years and it works. (Sarah Mackenzie from the Read Aloud Revival has a great post about this method.)
In the notebook, include a list of the manipulatives or supplies that your child will need for each assignment. Consider placing regularly-used supplies on a tray, in a bin, or in a drawer that is easily accessible to your child. At the moment, we use magazine holders to store workbooks and small bins to store school supplies.
Veteran tip: When we are beginning a new school year, I re-establish good habits by including assignments like “Get a piece of paper, scissors, and glue” and “Put away the paper, scissors, and glue”. Eventually, those steps are *supposed to be* understood and I don’t include them as assignments any more. 😉
OTHER OPTIONS FOR DAILY LESSON PLANS:
WHITEBOARD: If you choose to write the day’s plans on a whiteboard, snap a photo of the completed list each day so you have a record of your work. In the future, you may want to look back and be amazed that you and your child did the homeschooling thing!
GOOGLE CLASSROOM: I don’t know enough about Google Classroom to weigh in here, but I do know that our school district uses it with great success. It’s available to homeschoolers as well.
TEACHER’S LESSON PLAN BOOK OR APP: If you enjoyed playing “school” when you were a child, you may want to indulge yourself and get a teacher’s lesson plan book. For teacher-y people, it’s just fun!
EXCEL SPREADSHEET: You could keep a simple spreadsheet with subjects and assignments. Print a copy, if that’s helpful to you and your child.
FILE FOLDERS: Place each assignment (and everything your child will need to complete it) in a file folder. Then, your child can work through each file until they are complete.
CRAFT DRAWERS: This is especially helpful for pre-readers who won’t be able to read assignments in a notebook. If you have a set of craft drawers, place one activity in each drawer. Your child can start at the top and work their way down. From the start, demonstrate how to remove the drawer, take it to the table or floor, do the activity, clean it up, and return the drawer. Cheer your child on as they learn the process. Consider including a little snack in one of the lower drawers.
If you’re new to homeschooling and would like more practical help like this, click here:
What are your questions about homeschooling?
I’d love to help!
Leave your question in the comment section or email me at [email protected]
I’ll be posting more helpful tips for new homeschoolers and I don’t want you to miss them! I’m not on social media, so email is the best way for me to let you know what’s happening at LauraBooz.com. I cherish your trust and I’ll work hard to respect your time and attention. 🙂