Daily Lesson Plans
When I think about plans for the new school year, my mind goes to a daily lesson planner. There are other things you will think of as well, but some important things you will need to consider are
- Days per week/hours per day you will work on school
- Outside activities you will juggle into the mix (co-op, musical instrument lessons, dance, theater classes, scouting programs, 4-H, etc., plus any evening meetings)
- Sync family calendars/planners weekly (Sundays?)
- Plan time for menu planning, shopping, meal preparation
- Plan time and assignment of chores
I’m going to focus, though, on a daily lesson planner for the school year. In a basic school year, school should be in session 180 days. Some states want you to do school at least four hours per day, and some just want you to complete certain goals.
Most of my homeschooling took place in Maryland, where the state wants the records to show that regular instruction occurred in English (language arts), math, science, social studies (history, geography, civics), art, music, physical education, and health. (Never mind that the students in public school aren’t doing all of this – don’t get me started!) I also liked my school planner to include Bible.
Each year, I would use a planner. (I liked keeping one in a Word document, but teacher planners are available on Amazon.) You can use one planner for multiple students or one for each student.
I generally started my school year the Tuesday after Labor Day. I liked taking a full week off at Thanksgiving, two weeks off at Christmas to New Year, and one week off for spring or Easter break. The rest of the school year is about 36 weeks, with days off for federal holidays as you wish.
My basic planner format is two pages wide. The page on the left has a subject column (narrow, words sideways) and wide columns for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. The page on the right has wide columns for Thursday, Friday, and Notes. The top of each left page has room to record what week the page is for and the student’s name. The rows below that are in a table format. The first row says the days of the week. The following rows are for each subject: Bible, math, science, language arts, history, arts (music and art), and phys. ed./health.
Once I have this set up, I begin to work my way through the planner with my calendar. For example, for me week 1, day 1 would be a holiday, 9/4/23, Labor Day. I like to put the date on each day, but at the very least, I put “Week 1 beginning 9/4/23” at the top of each two-day spread. Then I work my way through, putting a date on each week spread, marking off holidays and planned days off (Columbus Day, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving Day/week, etc.). I number each week as I go (Week 1 of 36, etc.)
When I’m done with dates, I look at planning what will get done when. I like to start with math because math programs are usually easy to do this with. As I write down the plan, I indicate when quizzes and tests occur. If a test is going to hit on a Monday, I’ll often adjust the schedule so that it doesn’t. I do this in every subject. I hate testing on Monday. The brain is in a fog.
Some Math programs have five lessons and a test through the entire school year, already putting me at a disadvantage because my first week has only four days. So, Monday of Week 2 I don’t do the test. I push it to Tuesday. Many math programs do not contain 180 lessons. Even if your math program does have 180 lessons, you don’t have to complete every lesson. Public schools seldom complete every lesson. Nowadays you don’t even know because there are no textbooks!
I like to go through all 36 weeks with all subjects, tweaking here and there so that students have only one major test on any given day if possible. This isn’t always possible in the higher grades. If you are totally overwhelmed, it is okay to start your planning going a week at a time, getting week 1 set up in all subjects before moving on to week 2. That way you can feel ready for week 1 before you do more. Do go through, though, and put the dates and holidays in as soon as you can.
I hope you have found this helpful. I hope you have a wonderful year.
Editor’s Note: If you are a SchoolhouseTeachers.com member, you receive a free SmartMama Schoolhouse Planner, as well as access to Applecore, the site’s recordkeeping system at https://schoolhouseteachers.com/member-resources/applecore/.
Bio: Diana Malament homeschooled for 27 years from 1991-2018. Her three children all went on to college. Two are graduated; the 3rd is almost there. Now Diana’s heart is to help encourage homeschooling mamas, including her daughter, the mother of her three grandchildren.