You’ve decided to write your own lesson plans! Good for you! If you’re this far you’ve probably already filled out a Course of Study for each of your students. Now you know what subjects and what materials will be covered for the year. Now the trick is to take all that information and break it down into smaller chunks.
First, make a note of what materials you still need to purchase or borrow from the library. You’ll need everything in front of you before you can write out your schedule. (If I’m using a literature book from the library later in the trimester, I’ll often just check how many pages it is on the library’s website or Amazon so I know how many weeks my child will need to read the whole thing.) Assuming you school for 180 days, or 36 weeks, you’ll need to make sure you have materials selected to cover the entire year, and make notes about whether something will need to be stretched to fit or cut in parts to work with your schedule and overall goals.
I write out my assignments by week and since I discovered the format of the Ambleside Online curriculum, I’ve started using the ‘Table’ feature in Google Docs to type out my plans. I keep each child’s week on a different sheet of paper. My older students also get a copy so they can see what is expected of them in all subjects for the coming trimester.
If you only have a few younger students, you may be able to include all their subjects on a single page.
Make note of any online classes start and end dates as well as breaks. Also note if a class continues while your family may be on break. Then plug into each square the work for each week.
Same goes for a daily schedule. If your family works on subjects together, they can be condensed on a page together as well.
It all looks so nice and new and educational!!!! But now, how do you make your kids do their work???? Simple! Corporal punishments!
I find my kids work independently when I make it easy for them to do so. They each have a desk with supplies and they know where extra supplies are located. Their lesson plans are taped to the tops of their desks so they know what to do each week, plus each has a daily check list of tasks they must complete before they are allowed to use their electronic devices.
Using a screen with incomplete work equals a loss of screen time the next day. It works great for us, but any consistent punishment for missed work could get the job done. If you really hate being a task master, out source the duty to an online teacher. Sometimes all kids need is someone besides mom telling them to get something done. As I mentioned in the previous post, I purposely pick work that doesn’t require me to sit and hover. I also allow my kids to watch Khan academy videos when they don’t understand a new math concept. Not hovering ultimately helps them learn to figure things out themselves.
When all you have are littles, it may seem like the day will never come when you won’t have to help with everything. To speed the process along, focus on reading, because once they can read their own instructions-BOOYAH! Also, have realistic expectations for the time your younger children spend on a subject. Addie in eighth grade can easily spend 45 minutes on math but I would never expect more than 25 from Fulton in second. Any younger and consider the preschool circuit idea for helping kids learn to sit and work from a young age.
Stick with your plans for a semester or trimester and then see what worked and what didn’t. By writing your own plans, you can make tweaks to help things run smoothly. I also recommend keeping previous years plans. I actually keep hard copies in a binder, but storing them online is fine too. Unless your children require very different materials, you’ll be able to reuse your plans down the road.
I think that about covers it. Did I miss anything? Do you think you could write lesson plans for your children or have you already found the perfect plans? Leave your questions and comments below! I will respond and update as necessary! (And don’t forget I now offer homeschool consulting; I’d love to help you tackle your challenges one on one!)