Monday, May 14, 2012

A Note on Lesson Planning

With all this talk of learning science and history through reading, you might be thinking, "Finding all those books and compiling all those lists sounds like too much work for me!!" 

I'll admit, it is a lot of work, but only initially.  I usually spend a bit of time on summer evenings doing all my research.  I get ideas from Amazon, other blogs, and my library's search feature. I narrow down my choices and compile a list of the books I plan to use.   Once I have my book list compiled, the majority of the planning work is done...for the year!  I do not make daily, or even weekly, lesson plans. 

For example, when I made my tree book list for nature study, reading through the books was my goal for the year.  I would check one or two out from the library at a time and cross them off the list when we finished.  Once all the books were crossed off, nature study was done for the school year.  If there was a week along the way that we were without a book, we took a break from nature study or did another activity instead.  (The idea is to promote simplicity with no pressure.) 

Our American history goals were larger.  It took us four years to read our way through history, starting with the explorers.  This year, we covered post-Civil War through space exploration.  I knew at the beginning of the year what I wanted to cover and most of the books I wanted to use.  I always leave an opening for new-to-us books we discover, and sometimes I bring home a book before I realize it doesn't meet my standards.

When we finished up history in mid-April this year, it only mattered to me that we had met our goals, not that I had planned six more weeks of school. 


  1. I have a friend who gets her lesson planning done for the entire year, I am not that proficient, I make one every two weeks, and we are a little ahead of schedule now which is great, we are done with Science, History, Health, so right now we are just doing Math, Language Art, Reading, and Bible. I have 3 weeks left, ans we will be done for the summer.

  2. I like the idea of not having to make daily plans. For other subject, I've been trying to map out a month at a time (and give ourselves plenty of days off).

  3. I've switched "homeschooling methods" a bunch of times over the last couple years since I began with "preschool". We're now pretty laid back. Just before the baby was born in March, I spent some time making plans. We have a math curriculum and I'm systematically going through handwriting, but for history and science, we're doing it a lot like you.

    Because I just started in March, I wasn't thinking so long term as all year long. I simply picked topics for science and history in two week intervals (to coincide with how long we are allowed books from the library). For history, I decided that I wanted to reach "4th of July" this year, so I counted backward in 2 week segments and planned out American history from Columbus all the way through to the Declaration of Independence. For science I just picked topics that went with the seasons, etc.

    At some point I'll need to start planning again because I'm only planned through mid July. But it's been going great. I simply request books from the library every other week and pick them up the next week.

    I love the history lists you've been making! I'm scheduled to pick up books on Colonial America on Saturday. Do you have a list of books for that time period? I still have time to request some if I'm quick! :)

  4. When we studied Colonial America, we were still using TruthQuest. I chose books from that list and checked them off right in my manual so I didn't pull them all together and type them into my own document.

    However, we really liked Our Colonial Year by Cheryl Harness and Eight Hands Round by Ann Paul.

  5. How often do you make trips to the library?

    To be honest we don't visit the library that often. We only have 1 vehicle and Tim needs it for work. Do you have a scheduled day for the library? I'd like to try and get there more next school year but it just never seems to happen. Erin may be taking a sewing class and if I already need to make arrangements for the vehicle for that day I may be able to add in a few more library trips. We'll see..

  6. It depends on the time of the year and whether I have a newborn or not. When I have a newborn or pregnant (with morning sickness), I hardly ever go to the library. I do all my research and place all my holds online and have Brian go by to pick everything up when it comes in. If I don't have a baby, during the school year, we try to go to the library every other week. Right now it's our habit to go on Thursdays because Brian works late and it helps fill the day. When Maddie was taking swim lessons, we went on Saturday mornings since we were already out.

    It's a constant cycle, though. Sometimes I think maybe we'll skip going for awhile, but then books are due and we have to go in to return them...which means we get more stuff...which means we have to go back again.


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