Homeschooling: It's not what we do, it's how we live.

Lesson Planning for M6 (Sept-Oct 2010)

Wow – we’re really starting to wind down into the end of our school year! Just in time for ‘back to school’ madness, we’re ready to start fresh on Monday.

If you’re just finding TAL, welcome! Let me explain a bit about this post. We are year-round schooling. Our school year begins in January and ends at the end of November. We school for 6 weeks (modules, or ‘mods’), then take a week-long break. I plan the kids lessons 6 weeks at a time, and usually post a ‘lesson planning’ post at some point before the new mod starts.

I find that planning incrementally lets me make adjustments as-needed during the year. I’m not planning so far ahead that if we stop on a subject and linger for a while, we haven’t thrown off the rest of the year. I use this post to remind myself of (and share with ya’ll) the links I’ve collected that I thought were so neat – this is to keep myself from coming across them 6 months after we’re done with that lesson and going, ‘Darn it!! I wanted to use that!!”.

Before we get into the good stuff, I wanted to mention a couple of things. I found this article – it’s only relevant in the ‘learning about lesson planning’ sense, but if you’re like me, the you might find it interesting. I liked the diagram – that first column of goals is quite helpful in knowing what ‘my’ goals as a teacher need to be in planning lessons for the boys.

I was recently asked if I use a lesson planner – I do. In fact, I consider it an essential part of keeping myself on track. What ‘on track’ means may be different from day-to-day, but I rely on my planner quite heavily. I keep it in my purse and use it to make notes (like I’ve said before, homeschooling isn’t something we do, it’s how we live) when we’re out and about, or to record notes for myself about the kids’ achievements or areas that might need addressing later on. I looked into the kind meant for classroom teachers and found that they weren’t really suited to homeschooling use. I tried the homeschooling ones on sites like, but most are religious-y and as a secular homeschooler, that also doesn’t work for me, so I ended up making my own. I’ve added them here for you to see; feel free to print and fill them out for your own use. I take mine to a local printing shop and have the pages copied into however many I’ll need (and print them so that they’re front&back printed), then separate them into 7-six-week sections and add a colored page of paper to mark each mod. I put an evaluation sheet at the beginning of the school year, end of each mod and end of the year, print out a cover with our homeschool crest and put plastic on the front and back to protect it from wear and tear.





Donna Young also has a page with a ton of printable planning forms for homeschoolers that I love looking through. Here are a couple of other pages that I didn’t make that I may add to next year’s book:

  • Student Goals Worksheet (or something similar – I really like the idea of the kids having goals for themselves and outlining a strategy to reach them.)
  • I am going to add a 2-page month-view calendar to the beginning of the planner – I frequently need one for planning non-school events.

I always put a school year calendar and a page for the kids to tell me about themselves (fun to look back on later – plus it’s a good place to add their picture for this year), and I add a page to list all of the books and resources we’re using this year and the code that I am using for that books (for example, ‘Saxon Math 3’ is ‘S3’) and any pertinent info (like reordering info for workbooks and such).

Once I have all my pages printed and copied and in the correct order (check once, twice, thrice!!), I have the book spiral bound with sturdy plastic covers. In all, the last one I printed cost around $15-$20, which is comparable to what I would pay for a commercial one, so I think that’s reasonable, especially when I have the features that I want in it – and no pages that I don’t!

I also made Student Planners for the boys for next year.  found several online, but all were faith-based, so I made secular versions that are similar. Most of the clip art is ‘boy’ related; I may work on a girl version in the future:




Now, on to the links!! {fanfare}

One of the links I am SUPER excited about is this one from NASA, Virtual Skies. LittleBoyBlue has his heart set on being a jet pilot (on the days where he doesn’t want to own a grocery store or run an orphanage). Even though many of the concepts are clearly above his level of understanding, he’s interested in the subject and wants to explore it. Far be it from me to deny him access! We recently had the chance to preview ‘Legends of Flight’ at IMAX, so I’m sure that will come up in discussion as we work on the concepts in Virtual Skies.

We’re always looking for fun ways to work on grammar and parts of speech; Teachers Pay Teachers Open Marketplace has a free download of Grammar Comics volume 1 that looks fun. We found printable comic strips a while back and have been meaning to make use of them – maybe we can work on that this mod.

Grade Two Word Wall (Math words) –  love this list!

The Homeschool – How to Make a Time Line We’ve been using HyperHistory’s timeline online, but I think that the boys would benefit more from having one they can touch. That’s the only drawback to finding cool stuff online when you have (or are) a tactile learner!

Most of our resources will actually not change all that much for this mod. We’re still using LessonPathways for many of our lessons and augmenting with different websites and workbooks/sheets (listed on the ‘Our Current Curriculum‘ page). We’re planning field trips with our local group about once per week, most science or history based, so we’ll use those as the backbone to our lessons for those subjects. We started working on a lapbook for the US Constitution, so we’ll be continuing that as well. Overall, I want to add more lapbooking to our lessons; I think that’s a good way to cover and review individual units or specific topics – we’re going to give it a try, anyway!

I’ll be updating the curriculum page over the weekend, but as I said, much of it will stay the same. If you’re local and interested in the specific lesson plans associated with the field trips our group is doing, you might consider joining Triangle Homeschoolers’ Yahoo Group. We’ll be discussing lesson plans onlist there.




6 responses

  1. I like your idea of 6 weeks on and then a week off. I homeschool all year too. Now that I found some secular planning sheets I might have to be more organized. I don’t really set any lesson plans we just go until we get bored then move on to something else. Thanks for the downloads. I will be giving them a try.

    August 27, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    • I like the 6 weeks at a time planning – I got tired of erasing and ‘fixing’ weeks of plans when we didn’t get to something that day, lol.
      Glad you find them useful! I thought about coloring them up a bit, but with printing so many, it seemed like a waste of ink – plus, I doodle a lot, so my pages need to be clean and clutter free so I can draw.

      August 27, 2010 at 2:52 pm

  2. Wow – you’re doing a fantastic job! And thank you so much for sharing all the goodies. =)
    ps – We use the printable comic strips for tons of stuff – once you get started with them you’ll end up finding lots and lots of ways to use them in all subjects. My oldest DD even likes them for her personal journal sometimes.

    August 27, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    • Thanks and you’re welcome!! We haven’t used them yet, but I’m looking forward to it.

      August 27, 2010 at 2:52 pm

  3. We’re so happy you’ve discovered for your homeschool. If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line at

    Be sure to stop by our blog and Facebook page for more education inspiration!

    -Christina S. Team Member

    August 27, 2010 at 8:08 pm

  4. Pingback: My Planner « A Domesticated Woman's Adventures

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