What does that even mean?
How does one “plan lessons”?
Why does it make my palms sweaty to just think about it?
Why am I stressing about possibly having to plan lessons if I start homeschooling my children?
It can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people but for a homeschooling Mom, the term “Lesson Planning” represents the time that you spend preparing for a lesson before you go through it with your student. It’s a verb. It’s something you do. It’s not something you create.
Teachers in classrooms have to plan ahead and keep record of their lesson plans for the benefit of accountability and their leadership, NOT for the benefit of their students. Lesson planning is a necessary evil in schools where teachers are responsible for educating a variety of 20-80 students on a given day. Prerequisite knowledge, objectives taught, introduction activities, action steps to take, keywords to use, assessment tools, differentiation opportunities, and many other required pieces make up an official “lesson plan”.
Yea, I’m with you, that is kind of intimidating and honestly, completely unnecessary and redundant for the homeschool setting. I have 3 students, all of which are at different grade levels and each have their own learning styles. But I do have to prepare, It’s not like I can just wake up and wing it every day (okay but for real - I have definitely done that before and it’s fine too). In order to keep my head on straight and keep us on track for most of the day, we do have a little bit of a routine and then a daily box of to-do’s. You can slide through the pics below to see the simplest little chart that I print from my laptop as a fresh, clean slate ready for me to fill in for the week ahead (in PENCIL!), then displayed on the fridge in a sheet protector next to an expo marker during the week. These “plans” are filed away with the units of work from the year.
I teach from Gather Round Curriculum, so the group teaching is read from the teacher's guide. (I have young learners with short attention spans so I read the content beforehand, highlighting the most important and engaging content to read to them.) I also preview videos on youtube that we’ll watch during the unit and create a playlist for each unit. I look through each child’s assignments from the GRU and put an asterisk on the top right corner of any pages that they can do independently and put those at the front of their clipboards.
After learning what works best for us, I have learned that I can't plan very many details more than 1-5 weeks in advance. We have a routine of 5 weeks of active learning and 1 week of rest and play. During that week "off" we catch up on housework, appointments, play dates, and I try to plan for the next five week long unit. I have a goal to plan at the beginning of each unit, at the beginning of each new week, and every Thursday afternoon. (Full disclosure, I hit that plan about 60-70% of the time.)
On Fridays, we have a day for “Catch-up & Pickles” and life learning so on Thursday night, I pull any work that was missed during the week for the kids to “catch up” on or activities that they can “pick from.” We also play on Fridays, have piano lessons, practice manners at the grocery stores, etc.