Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Part II - How we homeschool...

If you missed Part I of how we homeschool, you may read about how we organize books and supplies here.  Today's post will focus on daily lesson plans; how I keep daily and weekly materials organized.

First, let's start with lesson planning.  Every few weeks, I sit down and think about what my son should cover over the next four to six weeks.  I then take that information and put it into a table.  For a while I used Microsoft Excel, but found that I like making tables in Microsoft Word much better.  I just made a table of six columns across - one for each day (Monday to Friday) and one for a subject column, and then a row for each subject.  After creating the table, I fill it in with each lesson, day by day.  You can see from this example, that I also list websites and texts in the far left column.  As JP goes along doing his work, he simply draws a line through each item he has completed.

Once I have finished several weeks of lesson plans, I then compile the materials that are readily available and match them with each plan.  If we are using workbooks, I generally always dismantle the workbook, hole punch the pages, and put it in a binder, with the cover as the first page.  That way, I can just remove the pages needed for that week.  Seeing only a few pages versus an entire text or workbook helps alleviate anxiety.  Once I've matched lesson plans to materials, I need somewhere to store it all.  I've tried a wide variety of options, but what I have found works best for our family is an accordian file folder.

 The one I chose, pictured above, is quite durable and has 14 pockets.  In the first pocket, I put a list of household and homeschool rules, along with a list of positive and negative consequences.  I also keep a list of The First Tee values in this pocket.  My son and I both enjoy golf, and The First Tee is a fantastic organization for junior golfers.  Check out their values here.  The second pocket of the file folder holds several lesson plans for writing and language arts.  These are stand alone units that I eventually will have JP complete.  One example is "This I Believe."

After the future writing lesson plans (it just occurred to me that I should hole punch them and put them in the workbooks and worksheets binder!), I dedicated several pockets to individual weekly material.  These pockets contain the spreadsheet I discussed above, and the corresponding materials.

Every Monday, I pull out the materials for that week, and gather anything else necessary like journals, reading material, and so on, and put it in a pile on the table.  Although I leave the choice about where to do his work to JP, we tend to gravitate towards the kitchen table, or the living room couch.  Regardless of where we work, the materials can always be found in the same spot: the kitchen table.  I also put a dry erase board, markers, erasers, and pencils with the pile, and our "resources" binder.  The resources binder contains various notes, charts, glossaries, pages of math formulas, and much more.  When JP has a question about how to do something, or what something means, he can look in the binder for the answer.  I will write more about this binder in a future post...

If you have more than one child, I suppose a few ways to customize this style of planning would be to color code the chart and include everyone on one chart.  For example, group all of the math into the same section, but have blue text for one child, purple for another, and so on, and keep a consistent color per child throughout the chart.  Then bundle the materials with paperclips per each child for filing.  Or, perhaps buy a different colored file folder for each child.  Or, buy one of the generic brown tagboard type of file folders and let each child decorate his or her own.

I hope this post helps some of those parents out there who feel lost when it comes to organizing their homeschool.  And, for the rest, thanks for reading!


  1. I love to see how others organise their materials! Thanks!

  2. Just wanted to say hello. I am a single Mom who homeschools my 11 year old daughter. We have a Yellow Lab. :) Also your weekly chart looks so much like mine it is scary. :) Nice to meet you and I will be back.

  3. Very impressive!
    Here from the Hop.

  4. Malea, thanks for the sweet comment over at JoanneKraft.com!

    Keep writing for HIM!


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