As a former teacher and LOVER of lesson planners I can hardly believe I am typing these words, but …we don’t use a lesson planner for our homeschool. There, I said it. It’s officially on the internet and I can’t take it back.
While my Type-A personality is currently dying a slow, agonizing death I haven’t completely given up. I know that to run an effective home and to adequately homeschool my children I do need some sort of organization and plan.
Here’s my hang up, our family is a-typical. We don’t have the luxury of a steady, dependable daily routine. Being a medical mama I know that there will be days I may have the best intentions for plans but things go sideways pretty fast. A stubborn low blood sugar or continual dysregulation will require more attention than say, a science experiment and you can easily guess who’s going to the back burner.
It feels so very discouraging to write out plans only to work a brand new eraser down to a nub clearing out all those best laid plans because life happened. As a mama to a child with T1D I have no way of knowing what our days will look like. Rather than a rigid schedule (no one actually operates with a rigid schedule) we operate using a simple daily rhythm. (I’ll share more about our rhythm in the next couple weeks as we get into it.)
So we’ve established that we don’t do the lesson planner thing but we do have some form of organization- what is it?!
We use a very minimal weekly/daily agenda page. I write in the agenda each morning as I set out our curriculum and learning materials. If it requires a lot of prep, we probably aren’t going to be doing it. Most of our activities are things that are easily prepped or can be prepped as we go along through the day.
Each child has his/her own pronged folder. In that folder we keep an attendance tracking sheets, progress tracking sheets (AAR) writing projects, and artifacts from the school year. At the center, in the prongs, I add agenda pages each week. I fill it in as we go and refill them so that the most current agenda page is at the front. This makes it easy to flip open and see what we’re doing day by day. As a task or lesson is accomplished we cross it off and look to the next task or lesson.
I don’t go into detail at all. I simply fill in the lesson number or heading of a lesson for each subject. The curriculum already wrote out the lesson, why should I do it a second time?
I also don’t have all the subjects listed in each day’s block. I write them in daily. This is because some days our social studies lessons is via a trip to the state museum or science is a visit to the Endocrinologist. Maybe we doubled up on Language arts on Monday so Tuesday doesn’t need a LA lesson. There are about a million reasons why some subjects get skipped here and there but keeping the space blank, I’m not locked in and it’s a more accurate reflection of what we are really learning!
I wonder if you find this philosophy curious or maybe it’s freeing because your life, although different from ours, looks similar in some ways. Either way, I hope this is helpful and if you’re interested in it, I’m including a button to a FREE downloadable lesson plan template in both black and white and in color if you’d like to use a similar set up.