Lesson planning when life is unpredictable
Have you ever wondered how you should go about lesson planning in your homeschool? It can be hard to plan in detail or for an extended period when you are working around special needs. With my own family, we’ve tried several methods and had issues with planning too far ahead. We’ve also seen a lot of struggle, however, with flying by the seat of our pants and trying to be overly flexible. Yes, I said overly flexible; ha ha… Believe it or not, there is such a thing! I’m going to share what works for us, how we work it all out, and I hope that it will make planning easier for you too.
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Some of the reasons that planning very far ahead didn’t work out for us were mental fatigue, unforeseen disgust (lol) for certain curriculum (a reason we primarily use inexpensive digital curriculum), and life just getting in the way. As ideal as it would be to have an entire years’ worth of curriculum and activities planned, it just doesn’t always work out that way when you are dealing with certain challenges like autism or ADHD. Even if you know what sort of learning style your children have, you can still run into curriculum choices that utterly bomb. Who likes to print out months worth of curriculum only to toss it in recycling? Who enjoys spending hours nit-picking and lesson planning only to scratch out and erase all kinds of plans?
Not into reading? Skip to the video at the bottom of this post to get the gist of it! 😉 There’s also a giveaway down there….
What’s a mama to do?!
Of course, the answer is no one. But at the same time when you don’t have a plan at all, just kind of surviving while trying a little of this and that, it’s so easy to just lose track of what’s going on. It becomes all too easy to just lose all accountability. In no time, you may realize you don’t have a good grasp of what you’re teaching versus what you’re not teaching. So there has got to be a better way to do this, right? Yes. There totally is!
Who likes to print out months worth of curriculum only to toss it in recycling?
OK, so here is was working for us… We are in our third year and this is 3 months in. After a few years of experimenting, the newest method of planning that I’m using is on a roll for us! I doubt I will ever switch back to another type of planning after seeing how well this is working. The key is to make a “skeleton” of sorts for your curriculum plan for the year.
Here is our simple 4-step process to a plan that works:
1) Make a list of every skill that you would like to teach over the course of this next year.
2) Make a list of everything that you have purchased: digital curriculum, physical curriculum, books etc.
3) On your monthly calendar, write out the subjects you will teach during that month as well as which resources/chapters you will be using. You do not need to break it down page by page!
4) Print out all your curriculum for the month ahead on the last weekend (or whatever free time you have) during the month prior. Separate out the work that you’ll be doing into little packets for each day. This is where you are going to be breaking things down into week by week or day by day. Each day you will give one of the packets to your child and work with them on whatever they need!
If things are working out for you, then that’s great and you can just continue with that resource for the rest of the year. If it’s not, cross it off and find a different curriculum that will work better for your children. Now you’ve saved yourself a bunch of frustration!
And you have it! Having a general plan, or a “skeleton,” for your curriculum choices and learning goals throughout the year will keep you on track and accountable. If something’s not working it’s not going to be a huge waste of time or resources for you to simply scrap it.