As a mom of 11, saying that organization is important to me is a bit of an understatement. I truly can’t function without it. And as crucial as organization is to me, there’s just one more thing I need…simplicity.
Let’s face it. There are hundreds of beautiful lesson planners available to us homeschool moms. Video upon video abounds with crafty mothers showing how they’ve dolled up their homeschool planners with glitter and washi tape. I’ll admit, I do get inspired. I get all ready to invest in a fancy planner, rubber cement, and some crafting scissors…. and then I splash some water on my face to bring myself back down to earth.
You see, as a type-A homeschool mom I can fall into this sort of thing all too easily. Some people thrive on this stuff. I get it. It motivates them to work.
Me? It makes me want to forget everything and take a nap. Super-size families and fancy schmancy just don’t mix.
At least not for me.
So today, I thought I’d reach out to all of the other homeschool moms. The ones that don’t get all giddy over homeschool planners because they’re too busy breaking out into hives at the mere thought of them.
You too? Then this is for you:
5 Steps to a Super Simple Homeschool Lesson Planner
1. Use a spiral notebook.
Nothing elaborate, just your average .25 spiral notebook from Walmart. To me, homeschool planning doesn’t have to be pretty. It has to be functional. And hey, when you’ve got a bunch of kids to plan for, it pays to keep the cost down in every way imaginable, right?
2. Don’t keep writing your daily activities over and over again.
Many homeschoolers have some activities that they do every single day without fail. For us, it’s:
- Silent Reading
Out of everything that we do, those are the subjects that get done daily. Rather than writing those four items over and over and over again for each day, I write it in one place- the inside cover of the notebook, and that’s it. I can refer to that list anytime my brain freezes and I forget…hey, it happens, right??
Why burn daylight repeatedly writing something that won’t change?
3. Don’t waste your time writing what page numbers need to be done.
Unless you’re skipping all over your kids’ books, is it really necessary to write the page numbers that have to get done every single day? I’ll admit, I used to do that, but I realized it was a waste of time because I knew that each day my kids would just pick up where they left off. If they finished with Lesson 3, we all knew they’d move on to lesson 4. If they completed Chapter 9, we knew Chapter 10 was next.
Why complicate things?
4. Don’t date your lessons.
No, I don’t mean don’t take them out to dinner…snicker…sorry. It’s late. I mean don’t write dates or even specific days on your daily lesson plans.
Believe me, you’re only setting yourself up for failure. One thing we all need to accept is that life happens in the midst of homeschooling. What can be more detrimental to the peace of your homeschool than when you set up a timeline that will never realistically work?
I know. I’ve done this.
I can’t count how many times I’ve freaked out over the fact that A, B, and C weren’t completed on such and such a day, so I frantically attempted to shove them back into the schedule so we wouldn’t be “behind.”
Can I tell you what a freeing feeling it is to know that if you don’t get something done, it’s okay? Tomorrow is another day. (And I will interject here how beneficial it is to leave your Fridays at least partially open for makeup work.)
5. Don’t plan your lessons too far in advance.
The reason for this is pretty much the same as for #4. It can be very reassuring to have lessons organized for months in advance, and that is perfectly fine- if you recognize that it’s just there as a framework. It’s not set in stone.
In my own experience, when I transfer those lessons into my daily planner (aka my spiral notebook), I tend to see them as being more mandatory, like if it’s in the book, I have to do it. Sticking to only a few weeks at a time gives you plenty of opportunity to get the books and materials you need without expecting an entire year’s worth of activities to go off without a hitch.
If you’d like a closer look at my lesson planner, I shared the one I’ve prepared for my middles here:
And one more thing before I go- I’m so excited to tell you that I’ve started a Facebook group called There’s No Place Like Home Homeschool Community. If you’re looking for a place to find homeschool advice from other homeschoolers or to encourage others, I’d love for you to join!
Now back to planning. What about you? Are you a fancy planner or a simple one? Leave a comment!