My Homeschool Lesson Planner

I love technology, don’t get me wrong. I spend way too much time on my laptop and my iphone. I love discovering new ways to use technology to learn things and to help my children learn things. But when it comes to keeping my personal calendar and my weekly  lesson plans, I am a paper and pencil kind of gal. Maybe it’s something about being able to see it all laid out before me and jot things down in the margins, or maybe just having that book in my hands, with it’s colorful dividers and pocket folders.  Maybe it’s because I am forty-something.  Very early forty-something.  Ahem.  I try not to overthink it.  It is what it is.

While I do love the idea of having lesson plans in a software program in theory, I just haven’t been able to find anything I like.  The closest I’ve come to using lesson planning software is Skedtrack, a free product with lots of features.   The appeal is that you don’t have to re-enter things if you get behind or have a week where everybody is too sick to do schoolwork.  There is one major drawback:  You can’t print it out. Remember how I like to have things on paper in front of me?

So what I have found that works for me thus far in my very new career as a homeschooler are free printables from Donna Young. Isn’t it so nice of Donna to make all of these great printables and share them with us?  I think so.  I use her basic weekly planner and have tweaked it to fit our needs. Because I can download it as a Word file, I can add or delete columns and rows, change the font, type in info that is the same every day/week, etc.
Here’s how I’ve adapted it to use with two kids, one who is in preschool and doesn’t do quite so many subjects as her first grade brother.

On my first grader’s page, I’ve put the things at the top that we all do together, like Out and About activities, Five in a Row, and Science. My preschooler’s page is half the size and goes over top of my first grader’s page.  That way I can still see the things on her brother’s page that also apply to her.

I think this system also works because currently, I only plan two or three weeks at a time. We are still so new at this, that I have to see how things go week by week in order to know what will work next week or next month.

Have you found something that works well for your lesson planning?  I’d love to hear about it.

Comments

  1. I want to love the techy planning programs out there. I love some of their features, like moving weeks at a time if you get behind. But, like you, I need to feeeeeeel my schedule. I finally decided I’m going to get one of those old fashioned big desk calendars so I have a big picture…and print out monthly calendars too. We’re not at the point where I need to plan daily, so this should work for now.

  2. I use a basic spreadsheet that I print out weekly. I think I found it on homeschoolshare or something. This is our first year homeschooling and I do lesson plan week by week, so this works for me.

  3. Thanks for sharing your planner! I think it’s neat to see how differently everyone plans and uses materials. I do a lot of both old-school written planning and computer – really, I plan more in my book and do record-keeping on the computer. I have all of my lesson planner pages up on my blog, and I use the free version of Homeschool Tracker to keep our records and ‘grades’.
    ~h

  4. Just had quite a chuckle, because I immediately clicked on your homeschool planner link hoping to find the answer to all my lesson plan woes…just to find out your’s looks almost exactly like mine! Because I modified mine from Donna Young too! : )- Just a confirmation to stick with what has been working. This is our second year of homeschooling and my lesson plan has been a huge albatross. I keep wanting some spreadsheet magic to make it all easy-peasy, but I keep coming back to this format – I need to feel and see my lesson plans too! I also loved your post on your modified workboxes – again, tried workboxes thinking they would be the magic solution, but it was just too much work. Also, the one child who loves to check off a box loved it, while the other got overwhelmed at the sight of all the filled boxes. So, I had been just making their work into “packets”, which we worked through (usually by the week, sometimes a little longer). I just bought some boxes very similar to yours, so they can carry their school – all in one spot, plus their lids have a place for supplies. Anyway, sorry for the long comment – great minds think alike! : )-

  5. Hi there! I am reworking my homeschool planning system and I came across this post. Really enjoyed it! I just wanted to mention that Homeschool Skedtrack now offers a feature so that you can print out your plans. Yay! =)

  6. I have been using Scholaric for lesson planning and it’s simple but does exactly what I want. Sometimes simple is all you need. I think you will love this especially if you can print the plan with a checklist. They provide a free trial for a few weeks and you do not have to enter credit card information for it. So glad I found this! =)

  7. Jana Herron says:

    I just met with a new group….we formed our own little homeschool group at our church. I started out homeschooling by planning only 1 day ahead and realized that even that was too ambitious for our school. So, now I just write down what we do as we do it. I let the kids pick their subject (I usually give them 3 choices at a time), and let them do what they feel like doing at the moment. I have decided that I can’t do lesson plans at this stage (2nd grade and kindergarten) and expect them to go the way I plan them. As particular as I am about everything else, I want my school to go smoothly and I refuse to get myself worked up about following a strict schedule. After meeting with this new group, I am second guessing myself because I’m the only one who doesn’t write down “lesson plans”. Is it truly necessary? Why do I now feel like I might be doing something wrong!?

    • Julie @ Creekside Learning says:

      Hi Jana,
      Thanks for your comment. For me, I like to have a general idea of what we are working on for the week, but very often, plans don’t go as, well, planned, and that’s okay. I find that if I don’t have a plan sketched out, then we are scattered, or at least I feel that way. But I love it when my kids discover something and we follow a rabbit trail of learning, which often is not in my planner.
      I also like to have things ready for my younger two, who will ask for something to do. So I have games and learning activities ready when they ask and don’t have to think about it or throw something together at the last minute. I also keep track of their activities on my planner as we have so many outside of home.
      I think that if what you are doing is working for the kids in the group, you don’t have to do it like all the other moms. It sounds like it is certainly working for your family. If it ultimately doesn’t work for the group, then maybe it is the group and not your style, that is the issue.
      Julie

  8. I love http://www.planbookedu.com!! They allow you to plan for all subjects, print them out (if you are the type that like them printed or if your state requires it), you can bump entire days or just certain subjects (for illnesses, field trips, etc).

    It does cost $25 a year, but I have found that it keeps my sanity. I set it up and then print them out weekly.

    I find the “bumping” of days quite convenient for my family since my daughter is hospitalized often for kidney problems (she’s a transplant patient)… This way I know we didn’t miss anything and I can always show it by printing it out if anyone were to ask for it.

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