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Class Lesson Planner Review by Kathy Gelzer

Christian Liberty Press
502 West Euclid Ave.
Arlington Heights, IL 60004

The Class Lesson Planner by Christian Liberty Press is an organizing tool with 40 weekly lesson plan forms and 25 pages of reproducible forms to help organize your homeschool. The weekly lesson planner portion of the book is a two-page spread that has the following preprinted subjects in the following order: Bible, Reading, Spelling and Handwriting, Grammar and Phonics, History, Science, and Math. There is one blank template for a subject of your choosing. Underneath each subject title is a column to write the lesson plan for each weekday, a column for quiz or test, a column for main concepts to cover, and a column to mark the date it was covered. Beneath each subject box is a place to write "specific concepts that still need to be reviewed/re-emphasized" and the date the review was completed. The top of the page has space for the student's name, grade, and the "week beginning" date. At the bottom of the second page are a few blank lines for general notes. A blank year's worth of months for the school year precedes the lesson plan section of the book so that you can map out your whole year.

The reproducible forms include a wide variety of helps, such as a list of curriculum, assignment sheets, reading record, attendance record, report card, high school transcript, field trip schedule, daily appointment/to-do list, weekly chore list, vacation schedule, blank month calendar, physical health record, prayer journal, and a blank award template. These are just some of the forms you will find here.

The book suggests that the teacher gather up teaching materials, divide up the work according to the days or weeks in the school year, and fill in the planner. Then it suggests reading through the forms in the back of the planner to see which will be helpful during the year and when you will use them.

I liked that the pages of the book are perforated, which certainly makes them easier to copy and file. I also liked the introductory text entitled "General Organization of Your Home School." It has lots of good information, even for veteran homeschoolers. A three-step process for lesson planning is suggested: review old material, introduce new material, and verify understanding of new material. There are also some good ideas for organizing your homeschool day.

Some of the class divisions in the planner pages struck me as odd, at least for our family situation. We do Bible as a family, not as an individual class for each student. Reading is part of literature, history, or science, not a separate stand-alone subject. We group spelling and phonics as opposed to spelling and handwriting. Math is the last subject listed in the planner, whereas we prefer to tackle that earlier in the day. No space is given to foreign language, writing, art and music, logic, rhetoric, or nature study. I conclude this may not be the best planner for Classical or Charlotte Mason homeschoolers. It is more "middle-of-the-road" or traditional in design.

If you have more than one child, as many homeschoolers do, you will need a separate planner for each child. Or you will need to make copies of the pages for additional children, since this planner has space for only one child's goals and assignments.

I wish the publishers had included a form for planning out the year, as described on page vi of the introduction. I also wish it was more usable for larger families who prefer to keep everyone's lesson plans together on the same page.

The Class Lesson Planner by Christian Liberty Press would be good for people just starting out with homeschooling, especially with all the great teaching suggestions in the beginning.

Product review by Kathy Gelzer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September 2007