Do you feel overwhelmed and stressed out when you see pictures on Pinterest of big organization files or planner books for homeschool moms? I do too!
Because the fact is (even though I’m a former classroom teacher), I don’t lesson plan, and you shouldn’t either.
There, I said it.
Probably a bit controversial in homeschool circles. But why on earth should mom invest hours upon hours of time to meticulously write down daily plans and create folders of material for each day in the year? Sounds like you might be working harder than the kids. And that’s a problem. (See Secret #2 here).
If you feel energized by organizing in this way and creating amazing lesson plans, then please continue! This post is not for you.
This post is for the rest of us who don’t need more expectations on our shoulders. Here is permission (not that you need it) to enjoy homeschooling, enjoy your kids, and throw that big filing crate and teacher planner away.
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So, if you’re not supposed to lesson plan, how do you know what to do each year? Each month? Each day?
Glad you asked 🙂
Enter the flexible and eclectic homeschool planning groove.
Once a year, schedule time to consult your goals, your state requirements, the upcoming grade levels of your kids, and your family’s priorities. Then create a yearly plan, which will include the subjects you want each child to cover.
Fill in the slots with curriculum you plan to use. Can you combine multiple kids? Will mom need to teach or simply manage and tutor? Things are not set in stone, but this will give you a great starting point.
Check out this post for more details about making yearly plans!
Or better yet, check out this short workshop where I teach the simple way I plan for 5 kids for the school year in less than 1 hour! It really doesn’t have to be complicated – and I’d love to show you how I do it.
Choose open and go curriculum
If you’d like to ditch the detailed lesson planning, then it would be best for you to choose “open and go curriculum.” What I mean by this is curriculum where you just find the next page and pick up where you left off the day before. Don’t choose curriculum where you need to read the teacher’s manual to get you through the day. Curriculum like that was meant for traditional classrooms.
Choose curriculum that requires the kids to work harder than mom
If it takes you an hour to consult the teacher’s manual and make plans for each day, then you’re probably working too hard! It’s okay to choose curriculum that requires more from your kids than from you.
Here is a list of curriculum that we’ve used that is “open and go” and some of them even script out what mom should say!
- All About Spelling (levels 1-7)
- First Language Lessons (grades 1-4)
- Writing With Ease (grades 1-4)
- Writing With Skill (middle school)
- Mystery of History (multi-grade level)
- God’s Design for Science Curriculum (K-8)
- Analytical Grammar (middle school or high school)
Make sure your space is decluttered before the school year begins and organize your curriculum and materials so that the kids know where to find things! Nothing is more chaotic to a school day than having to find that lost book.
But if you don’t have a lesson plan book, how will you know what to do each day?
You don’t have to ring bells and change subjects by the hour when you’re homeschooling, but some flow and routines will go a long way in smoothing out your day.
Visual checklists and charts work great for young kids. We used workboxes in elementary school and they were a hit!
Now that my kids are older, they love using Trello to arrange their school weeks and workload. As they finish assignments, they check it off and I can see their progress online.
We love Trello because:
- it’s free
- it’s online (no paper clutter)
- it’s organized ONCE at the beginning of the year
- it takes 5 minutes or less every weekend to set it up for the coming week
- it’s flexible (kids can move assignments around)
- it’s techy (my older boys love this)
- it eliminates the need for lesson planning!
Once you set up this kind of flexible school routine, the weekly upkeep should only take about ten minutes.
Here’s what the weekly tasks might look like:
- clean up the school clutter on Friday
- grade any tests or papers from the week that haven’t been checked
- record any scores if you’re keeping grades (we don’t keep formal grades until high school)
- archive this week’s Trello boards
- copy new Trello boards for coming week
So if you’ve been eyeing Pinterest and think that to be a “successful” homeschool mom you need to have a detailed teacher planner, I hope this post has convinced you otherwise! You just need a yearly plan and an organized schedule that both you and kids can follow. Take the pressure off yourself. You’ve got this.