3 Tricks to Keep You Sane While Homeschool Lesson Planning

Once upon a time, on a Sunday evening, I was sitting at the kitchen table almost in tears. Once again, I had gotten the kids home from church, fed them, herded everyone through the bedtime routines, and now I was finally sitting down to get our lesson plans ready for the week. I was tired. So tired. And I was frustrated because there didn’t seem to be a better way to get this done each week. I knew something had to change.

Creating homeschool lesson plans

Slowly but surely, I began to come up with a better way. I put my love of organization and charts and spreadsheets to good use, and I finally came up with a system that worked.

Sunday nights aren’t so crazy around here anymore. (It also helps that the kids are older.) Lesson planning isn’t done on Sunday nights anymore. All I have to do on Sundays now is lay out what we need for the coming week.

My plan saved my sanity, and I wanted to share it, so I’ve written an ebook about how my system works, step-by-step- Creating Homeschool Lesson Plans That Work. In this post I’m sharing three important tricks from the book that you can use to stay sane while you’re creating your homeschool lesson plans.

Plan a time to plan.

I think one thing that happens to make us crazy when we’re lesson planning is that we don’t plan out the right time to plan. (Say that five times fast!) Back in my crazy lesson planning days, I was trying to get everything ready on Sunday nights. But that was a hard time. Because my kids were young, and we went to church on Sunday evenings, it ended up being a busy, crazy time. And by the time I had wrangled four children through supper and bed, I was not in the right frame of mind to be lesson planning. To be honest, I probably wasn’t in the right frame of mind for many things.

Planning is easier if you’ve set aside a time when you can focus without feeling crazy and overwhelmed.

I have several main lesson planning times throughout the year. In the summer, I set aside a time for yearly planning when I make decisions about curricula for the year, classes each child needs to take, events and school vacations that we’ll have. Each quarter I set aside a big chunk of time to write specific plans for each day for each week of the quarter. Then all that’s left on Sundays (or Saturdays) is to glance over the weekly plans and make sure I have all materials laid out.

Because I plan the best times to plan, I don’t end up tired and frustrated when I finally get around to doing it.

Easy homeschool lesson planning system

Prepare before you plan.

Ah. You’ve set aside a whole afternoon for your quarterly lesson planning. You’ve farmed the kids out to friends and headed to the library where you can plan in peace without those dirty dishes constantly staring at you. You’re all ready to write those plans when… where in the world is the science book? How are you going to write the science lesson plans without the science book? And, oh my, you also picked up the wrong literature study guide. This one is one you used last year.  Defeated, you head back home, hoping you can still get some planning done. But, of course, those dishes are calling your name. Uggh.

I’ve learned the hard way to prepare before I plan. If you’re going to have a productive planning time, you’ve got to be prepared before you ever begin. This is so important that in my book I put checklists for what you’ll need for each level of planning. If you’re going away from home to plan, check, double check, and triple check that you have all of the materials you need. If you’re sitting at home to plan, make sure your materials are all gathered, because I promise you that every time you have to get up to go get an item, your trip will turn into “If you give a mom a bookcase” and it will be thirty minutes before you ever make it back.

Use the right tools.

Hi, I’m Leah. I’m a former homeschool planner addict.

I think I’ve tried almost every paper, digital, and online homeschool planner known to man. I have a whole post with details about them. After all my trials and attempts to find the “perfect” planner, I decided that the “perfect” planner wasn’t out there. What I really wanted was a planning system that worked for me.

I now use my own Google Drive planner. It works because I set it up to work with my system. There are some pen and paper planners I’ve been able to use effectively as well. But I still prefer my Google Drive planner because I can make changes with out erasing and I can copy and paste instead of writing something multiple times.

In my book, I give access to my Google Drive planner as a bonus. But, whatever planner you decide to use, make sure that it works with your planning system. If it doesn’t, you’re just going to end up frustrated.

Having a homeschool lesson plan in place for our students is important. To often, if we don’t, time slips away and we realize when we hit Christmas that very little has been accomplished this school year. If you’ve typically been a “fly by the seat of your pants” homeschooler, I urge you to try lesson planning with these three tricks in mind. You might just feel more organized and productive and less frustrated and overwhelmed.

If you want to know more about Creating Homeschool Lesson Plans That Work and the access to my Google Drive planner, you can find information here.

Easy homeschool lesson planning system

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