Teaching Tip #1 – Lesson Planning

When starting down this road called homeschooling, some things can seem like insurmountable mountains that we just can’t climb. I know that many of my “first time” homeschooler friends feel like they just can’t do it because they know nothing about teaching. Well, if it’s really scary there are ways to get around that. Homeschoolers have so many options today it is almost unthinkable. There are online options that have online teachers, there are video courses that have teachers, and even computer programs that make learning automated. All the scare has been taken out of homeschooling!

However, if you are more of a hands on type of person. You might just want to learn a few “teaching” basics. Yes, just because we are homeschooling doesn’t mean that we don’t use sound “teaching methods.” These methods aren’t scary, they aren’t intimidating, but they are useful. One of the first things that I teach my students in my college Introduction to Education course is the basics of lesson planning. For those homeschoolers who really want to be involved in teaching and learning with their children and aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty… this is for you!

Tips for making your own lesson plans…

Lesson plans are basically a way to focus instruction for maximum effect. It’s our bullseye – and we all know if we aim for nothing we will surely hit it!

1) To start at the very beginning, if you are planning a unit study you will need to begin with your overall BIG goal. What do you want to accomplish/learn for the study. Write your goal.

2) Determine how long you want the unit study to last. If it is a month. Then divide your study up into weeks and write goals for what you wish to accomplish each week.

3) Once your weekly goals are in place, you can make daily or lesson goals which we usually call objectives. These daily goals are more specific and should include “measurable” action words. Teachers will often start these goals off with “The learner will be able to…”

4) Now you’re ready for your lesson plan. Taking each of these daily objectives, you will need to determine how you’ll teach the lesson, which methods you will use and any materials or assessment that you want to include. When I teach teachers how to do this I encourage them to use this acrostic – GOMMA.  It’s something I was taught in graduate school and I feel it really helps keep things focused.

Homeschool lesson plan

5) I take the acrostic for each day and fill in exactly how I wish to teach the lesson along with any correlating tools. For example, if I am teaching a unit study on science then I might include in my daily assessment some second grade science worksheets. The assessment doesn’t have to be a test, it can be a time of Q&A, a worksheet, or even a drawing. It is simply a way for the student to show that they understood the lesson.

6) I usually keep my lesson plans and all accompanying materials in a three ring binder. That way they are all together and ready to use if I have to teach that subject again!

Plans… or no plans?

Homeschooling is a great adventure! But on this super fun… amazing… and crazy adventure we must have some organization. How do you know what you will study, how your children are doing, and if they are even learning? Records, plans, documention… is the answer.

There are several types of homeschoolers. First, we have the one who just sticks everything the child does into a rubbermaid. True, it is a record of what they have done, but there really isn’t any organization to it. This type of parent really doesn’t plan, they “fly by the seat of their pants” so to speak. Yes, homeschooling is a method of education where the parent can educate the child in the way they think is best. But, the key here is that the parent must abide by the state guidelines for homeschooling. This typically means some form of record keeping and planning. So, rubbermaid organizer… make sure you are planning your plan and keeping track of your child’s progress.

Homeschool lesson plans are very important. The second type of homeschoolers sees this. They plan their plan, and set it into motion. It usually begins with an overall year plan, and then they go with it. Planning isn’t a mainstay throughout the year, but they have their goal and usually stick to it. The records they keep usually are 3 ring binders or other type of portfolio method that hold the child’s favorite work throughout the year.

The third type of homeschooler is extremely organized. This is the type of homescooler that makes the yearly goals and objectives as well as weekly lesson plans. They are also very organized with keeping records of their children’s achievement. From Kindergarten Vocabulary practice to high school Trigonometry courses record keeping is important and necessary to know how your child is achieving. Making your child aware of their progress is a great way to encourage them to keep up the good work!

Back to School

Back to School

Well, it is that time of year again. Time for getting back to it.  Time to get back to school. How are you doing?  Have you begun homeschooling yet, or are you still trying to get it organized? Are you still excited, or has the newness already worn off? For us, we have been at it about 3 weeks now. The children are still pretty excited and seem to be interested, but I am beginning to encounter a few of the same old pitfalls.

First, something that started happening at the end of the last school term,  the children are starting to “rush” through work so that they can go play. It is always my desire to instill in them a love to learn, and I believe that they do – to an extent. This week I have tried to remind myself that they are “kids” and kids must play. In fact, at their age play is learning too. So, I had to come up with some guidelines to make sure that we are reaching our goals each day in “school”, before we try to reach our goals in “play.”  I have had to make the rule that they can’t go outside until all of their work has been checked, and fixed if needed.  Unbelievably, this has really made a difference. They know that they will have to fix or redo “rushed” spots, so they are doing a much better job. We had typically just done most of our work together, and I kept an eye on their daily progress.  This new “rule” has for the moment, fixed our situation.

Secondly, I have been a bit discouraged with some of the resources that I had planned for this year. I needed a few more ideas and even some lesson plans. I have been able to regroup a little in this area by looking for resources online. I found some online lesson plans and even some free online study units. I think we will give these a try to see if it helps. I have looked back over my lists of free/cheap  online resources that I published this spring. It reminded me of a few that I had forgotten… if you have time take a peak…

Foreign Language

History

Free Resources