Monday, July 21, 2008

Lesson Plans

In my experience, I have found that my homeschooling days are much more difficult if I do not produce lesson plans before the year begins. Ideally, I like to create lesson plans for one semester and then create more over Christmas for the next semester. This year, I'm going to create them for the entire year just in case I don't get around to doing it again over Christmas.

The reason lesson plans help me so greatly is because it reduces the stress of homeschooling. Each child is given their lesson book and each day they know exactly what to do. Certainly I could tell them each hour what to do - but that requires a lot of extra energy from me (asking what they have finished, thinking about what else we have on the list, listening to the sighs and groans when I tell them to work on this or that - it's exhuasting, really). If I put in the effort now, it makes the school year much less draining for me.

I used to put up a generalized check list and have them check the subject when it was done. This worked just fine for a few years. However, because of added responsibility in my life this year (I'm now a seminary student working on my Masters in Biblical Studies at Liberty Baptist University - YEE HAW!), I need the list to be more detailed. I will write down exactly what page they should do in math, which pages to read in science and every last detail of every assignment, attempting to coordinate this with extra curricular stuff as well. This will require a great deal of upfront work, but it will truly be helpful to me. Because I'll be waking up extra early to work on my own schoolwork, I will need all the energy I can to get through their school day. So, having a detailed schedule for each child empowers them to take responsibility over their schedule. My job will change from governer to facilitator. I can answer specific questions related to the subject and sit alongside while they go through their list.

I do highly recommend scheduling for the busy homeschooler. Even if you like to take days off here and there for fun and field activities, a schedule will really keep you more productive on the days when you are at home trying to churn out some schoolwork.
I like to take the schedules and have them bound into a book for the children to use. Often, however, I do change the schedule from time to time, so I have to reprint and rebind the book. It's worth the effort because it helps my children to become more independent.
I uploaded a sample page from each of the kinds of scheduling I do for the school year. If you would like to see them, click on the links below:
This is the generalized schedule. I must still be very involved with getting them going, telling them what book to read and which pages, etc. This schedule has the actual date on the schedule.
To see my more specific schedule (this is actually not totally complete as I haven't filled in every page and assignment, but you'll get a good idea). It does not have the date, but the day - we have to complete 180 days of school work, so I made a 180 day schedule. Days that we take off for field study will factored into the end of the schedule.
Specific Schedule


Robin said...

Hi Jeannie, Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom. I am very interested in seeing your schedule format as this method works well for my kids too. I have trouble with the Excel form that I use and so would love to see what you are using. I can't imagine planning so far ahead though. Any suggestions for how to not make that so overwhelming? I have tried to click on the link you provided and it does not work. It goes to Google documents and says the page is not found. Any help you can throw my way would be such a blessiing! Thanks!

onebeggarsbread said...

This post came at the perfect time! We are just moving from "Relaxed Classical" education (where my three boys and myself do almost all of our learning together) to my oldest two needing to some of their assignments on their own. Your ideas will help me in making planning books for my boys! Thank you!

jnscrotsley said...

Thanks for taking the time to post your schedule! I love to read all the information you share. I love to see what others are doing. I was curious what age (in general) was this schedule written for?



Sarah Joy said...

WOW! I am getting ready to do my own lesson planning. last year we didn't do very well with everything I had planned in my own teacher planner, because well... um... I kept forgetting to look at it and we got so behind. I need to be more disciplined, but I think that if I have something for my son to actually look at and know what he needs to do everyday instead of me telling him, then he would do very well with that and things would get done. Can you tell me, how long did it take you to do all that? writing all the pages for each subject? That had to have taken forever!!! :)

Jeannie Fulbright said...

It does take a little while. However, it's easier with subjects that you can just write down the next lesson. It's harder when the lessons are more complicated, like with writing and such. But it's worth it for what it does to your school year.

Jeannie Fulbright said...

Age for the schedules:
The General Schedule was for a third or fourth grader. The Specific Schedule was for my sixth grader.

Michelle said...

Hi Jeannie,
I just noticed you are now a student at Liberty U. My husband now teaches in their online program, seminary level (mostly Baptist History). You'll have to let me know if you take a course under him.
We're still using your science books.
Michelle from Classed (remember Classed?)

Anonymous said...

Hi Jeannie,
I know the original post was from last year. I'm just wondering: how did the more detailed plan work? I've considered doing the same thing myself for my kids. Is there any way you could post a pdf version of your detailed plan? The link I clicked came up with gibberish. Thanks, Becky B.