Nuts and Bolts
Now that you have gathered your curriculum and have given some thought to your academic year you are ready to begin the actual lesson planning. Each of you is unique and what I have found to work when I am planning for the school year may not be helpful to you, but it can give you an idea of how it can be done. I will give you a few examples of lesson planning based upon whether you are using textbooks or using other modalities to teach your students. Most of the planning is the same, but each is a bit different when it comes to organizing your year. This article deals specifically about planning with textbooks.This is going to take some time so don’t be overwhelmed and take it in small portions. One thing at a time….
Set up an area, if at all possible, that you can spread out all of your books and resources. Perhaps find a place that won’t be disturbed (study, dining room table, my house- I am renting out space this year, gotta help pay for my missionary son’s living expenses somehow! Just teasing about my house.)
Before I even open up a book or unit study I stop and pray. I can use all the help I can get, right? 🙂 I dedicate the year to the Lord and ask for His guidance.
The first thing I do in planning the year is write down some character issues my husband and I have seen that need addressing and see how I can incorporate training in these areas while we are doing school. I also look at the academic goals I have set for the year and make a tentative month-by-month outline of what I want to accomplish so that we can meet those goals by the end of the year. I stick to this as much as possible, but things happen and I readjust as necessary.
Lesson Plans with Textbooks
When I use textbooks the first thing I do is see how many chapters or lessons there are in the book. I then adjust my overview of the year so that I am half-way through the book by Christmas since I am planning on finishing in May. I have a sample of what that looks like with two subject areas, click Overview of Year to view the document. As you can see, December is light so that I do not feel overwhelmed with trying to complete a lot with all of the extra curricular activities and vacation that occurs that month. I have only shown you 2 subjects, but I do this with all of the areas that I teach in one year.
Your months are basically mapped out at this point so you can begin to plan each week. I only plan a week at a time, but keep in mind what has to be accomplished in order to complete the monthly plan.
Look at your textbook and see how many pages are in each chapter. This will determine how much your student will do each day. For instance, if your spelling lesson has 4 pages, you can do a pre-test and overview of the lesson on Monday and assign a workbook page for Tuesday- Thursday and have Friday as a test day. Do that for each subject and write this in your lesson plan book or make a lesson plan that you create on your computer.
I chose to do my weekly overview on the computer since it made it so easy to update each week (or as needed if something unexpected came up). I also printed off each week’s assignments and placed them in a binder. I referred to this daily so I knew what we were doing and if I needed to gather supplies for science, art, etc. Here are some other ways to organize: Month at a Glance- Elem (getting more specific as you create a weekly plan), Adventure Log (a weekly plan). Notice the name, corny I know, but it made it more fun for me and hopefully the kids!
Things to Consider when Planning for the Year:
- Allow time off when things are hectic (Christmas, a new baby) or are not a part of your curriculum. (park program, field trip)
- Incorporate outside activities into your daily plans. (co-ops, community classes, sports, etc.) Frustration will set in if you don’t plan for this- I know from experience! 🙂
- Will you do school 4 or 5 days a week? If you do a 4 day school week be sure that you will finish your textbook by the time frame you have planned. Most textbooks are arranged for a 5 day school program.
Part 3: Planning with Other Curricula/ Modalities