Homeschooling is a broad concept that describes providing your child with an education in a setting other than a conventional school setting. While a lot of parents used to do it due to religious beliefs or a lack of satisfaction in the available curricula, the closure of schools in recent months has gotten more parents than ever before to take it up so their kids can get an education even without schools.
If you homeschool your child, whether by choice or by circumstance, there are a few things you will need to ensure that they get the best education you can give. One of these is a lesson plan.
A lesson plan is a schedule that helps you determine what you will teach on specific days and during certain lessons. This article takes a look at what you will need to create the best lesson plans for your kids.
Why should you have a lesson plan?
First things first: why should you even have a lesson plan in the first place? Some parents argue that homeschooling should not have the same constraints as the conventional education system. Well, here are a few reasons why planning with a lesson plan is essential for effective homeschooling:
- A lesson plan makes it easier to set academic goals for your children. With one, you can know what your child should have accomplished within a certain period.
- With a lesson plan, your job is made easier. Although the initial planning may take some time, you won’t have to struggle with what to teach when class time comes. This way, your child learns more and both of you enjoy the class.
- If your teaching plan is disrupted, you can use your plan to decide on a way forward and make up for the lost time.
- A lesson plan is a good reference point to see if your children are making any progress. It also serves as a mirror for you to know whether you are on track.
These next sections will give you easy, detailed steps that you can follow to ensure you have an effective lesson plan.
1. Plan out the school year
Before going into the details of a single lesson, you have to consider the school year. There are a few things you need to keep in mind.
First, you need to know whether there are state requirements you need to follow. Some states will require you to have more days in your school year than others. The teaching hours per day also vary, so you should check those that comply with your state.
Secondly, you should ask yourself if you want to teach all year round or if you will follow the conventional school year system.
You should also think about what works for your family, considering vacations and holidays.
Once this is all decided, you can mark the beginning and end days depending on how you choose to divide the school year. After this, mark out the holidays, vacations, birthdays, and any other days learning wouldn't take place. With the number of days set, you can proceed to the next step.
2. Plan out the school week
In this step, you will need to consider the teaching curriculum you chose. Here are some of the things you will need to remember;
- The core courses; reading, writing, and arithmetic (3 R’s) might require more time dedicated to them each week.
- Some courses might have more volume than others and need more time to teach, so you might have to allocate more time to them.
- You will also need to determine the number of times you will teach a course in a week. If some courses require hands-on learning, you should consider this in your plan.
- Extra-curricular activities should also be kept in mind as you plan out the week.
Bearing all this in mind, use a weekly calendar to bring the school days to life. You can plan the day according to what suits your family.
3. Plan out individual days
With your curriculum by your side, look at what you need to cover in each course. In some curricula, courses like English have multiple elements. You will have to plan the days so that your child gains knowledge of all the elements by the end of the school year.
Some courses have a lot of content. If you feel like you won’t be able to teach it all and have your child understand, you can cut some chapters that don’t feel as essential.
You should also think about the teaching time it will take to cover each chapter. This covers the introduction, teaching, practicing, and revising the skill taught.
As soon as you have all this in order, you can make a copy of the table of contents and write out your timeline on it. This is a rough draft of your plans, and it will make it easier to create the final lesson plan.
4. Create the plan
Once you have all these things outlined, you can create a lesson plan with the date, concept to be taught, and the time used to teach the concept.
For example, you could assign two lessons a day for an English curriculum plan. With each lesson taking 30 minutes, as an example, you could dedicate lesson 1 to Grammar concepts and lesson 2 to spelling household items for the first day. The second day will then cover parts of speech for Grammar in the first lesson and Amelia Bedelia pages 1 to 15 for literature in the second lesson.
In this way, by simply allocating an hour a day to English, your child will be able to cover the entire curriculum by the end of the school year.
Fill out the rest of the course on the days that it will be taught, and by the time you are through you will have a lesson plan that will make teaching easier for you.
Managing the lesson plan
It is smart to put all the lesson plans for your courses together in one plan since some activities in one course can affect another. For example, if there is a field trip, it won’t be possible to teach other lessons.
Also, keep in mind that if you fall ill, or some unavoidable circumstances happen, you won't be able to follow the lesson plan. Therefore, as the school year progresses, you might have to change your lesson plans accordingly to ensure your goals are met. Over the weekend, you should review the plans and update them for the subsequent week.
A lesson plan is an essential tool for a homeschooling parent. With the situation the world is in right now, it is now more important than ever to consider homeschooling as a potential solution to the education crisis we are facing. These lesson planning tips will go a long way in helping you create one that will make the transition a lot easier for your kids.