Saturday, May 23, 2015

Home School Planning, Part 2

Yesterday I explained how I set up my 36-Week Daily Lesson Planner each year -- the empty template, that is. Today I will discuss how I decide what I will teach each day. 

Why do I do it? Why do I want a DAILY lesson plan? Each home school is different, but in my home I have found that if I don't write it down, I forget it. Suddenly it is March and I realize I haven't taught Health (required by my state each year), or PE, or Music, or Art. Or there was that Science curriculum I bought... where did it get off to... Sad, I know... Plus there is the student looking for a "To Do" list, and if it is not on the list, HE doesn't want to do it...

Okay, so now we're planning. My 36-Week Daily Lesson Plan is set up with dates, holidays, and my son's grade (10th). I have determined that this year's courses will be:
  • Bible;
  • Algebra 2;
  • 10th Grade English (English 2); I broke out a row for
  • Literature;
  • Marine Biology;
  • Spanish I;
  • History; and I left in
  • Arts (optional elective) and
  • Phys Ed/Health (he needs 1/2 credit of each sometime in high school)
You need to use my document to alter it as you wish to indicate the courses your student(s) will be doing. Here's the 36-Week Daily Lesson Planner template for my son, that you can alter.



My next step of planning is to take the courses that I have purchased in book form and spread out the assignments throughout the year. I haven't done it yet, so I'll explain how it worked last year in Algebra 1. We were using Horizon's Algebra I, sold by Alpha Omega. There are 160 lessons in the curriculum, with a test every tenth lesson. There are also quarterly exams, as well as optional worksheets to use when your student needs the extra practice.

Lesson Plans for Term:                    Week:              .

       Beginning:                                          Student:                                                         .


M O N D AY (9/7)
T U E S D A Y (9/8)
W E D N E S D A Y (9/9)











Page 2


T H U R S D A Y (9/10)

F R I D A Y (9/11)


If I were plotting this out this year, this is how I might do it. I know a few things:
  • My first week is not a five-day-week;
  • I don't want my son taking his Algebra tests on Mondays;
  • I don't want multiple tests to hit on the same day;
  • I have "wiggle room", because there are 20 school days more than lessons in the curriculum.
In addition, I know that I can call the subject done when we have completed 75% of the material, if I need to.

Week 1 I decide to use the first two days to ease into the new school year, set up notebooks, familiarize ourselves with the material, etc. If there are comprehension tests or placement tests, he has to take them here. We start Lesson 1 on Thursday, maybe, knowing that it should be review for him anyway. (Some books start with two months of review!)

From that day forward, I can schedule a lesson a day, with tests falling on Wednesday, from now until the end of the year, if I want. I don't, though. I start with about 20-40 lessons, knowing that tests in other subjects might conflict. I might want to change schedules and don't want to change the entire year.

So Math is scheduled for 40 lessons. I note the tests as well, and the optional worksheets (which I don't assign if I don't need to). I switch to the next "box" subject. I perform similar magic with Marine Biology and Spanish I. If all looks well, with 40 lessons in three subjects, I keep going. If changes are needed, I make adjustments first.

My history and literature materials are of a similar nature, but do not need to be written in daily. I can either indicate (spread over Monday-Tuesday) that pages 1-59 of My Antonia needs to be read in week 1, or I can assign 12 pages per day. Same with history - I can list all the books and page assignments for the week, or spread it out through the week with daily assignments.

My English II this year will be IEW (Institutes for Excellence in Writing), which combines video, writing assignments, and Fix It Grammar assignments. I will probably write these assignments in as we get them done as the days go by.

For Physical Education, my son needs to keep a chart this year where he writes down how much time he worked out. He needs 75 hours to count 1/2 credit; 150 hours counts as a full credit. I'll give him credit for whatever he accomplishes. Health is similar. He will get some studies done through Civil Air Patrol, some through Boy Scouts. We'll need to supplement and he needs to document or we won't count that half credit.

We don't need the Arts, but we usually do them, so if we do them we will write them down as we get them done. Bible we fill in as we read.

Whenever you are ready, feel free to plot out the rest of the year on all your subjects. It is wise to schedule a "catch up" day every two weeks. It will use up those 20 extra days, and will make it easier to adjust the schedule when changes occur. If you don't need to catch up, you can schedule a subject related field trip to the zoo, the capital, the Natural History museum, a local historical park... whatever!

Drop me a note if you have any questions. Enjoy! You have the whole summer to work on this!

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