Monday, June 22, 2015

2 1/2 Minute Homeschool Lesson Planning

Our 2 1/2 Minute Homeschool Lesson Planner
A while back, my close friend at "Adventures with My Kids" posted about how she schedules her boys' days. She made more than one post on the topic, and her posts inspired me.

I've always been a "teach by the seat of your pants" sort of homeschool Mom. I've taken out a stack of books and taught a lesson from each one till we were done. It worked. And it was easy. But, it had a few flaws:

1) My daughter couldn't see how far she had come and how much she had to go. School seemed eternal till Mom (seemingly arbitrarily) said, "We're done. Say your end of day prayers and you can have privileges."

2) It was totally dependent on me. If I became sick, no one could fill in.

3) My daughter was not learning how to be self-disciplined, and how to teach herself and be motivated in her own learning. While she was young, that was okay, but it's getting to be time to develop that skill!

4) If I walked out of the room, school had to stop.

5) Sometimes I would forget to teach a certain topic or use a certain material for a while.

6) It was easy to finish a LOT of work, but still feel like we had done nothing!

I mulled it over. My friend's system, while perfect for her family of several kids, needed some tweaking for my family. At this point, I only wanted school subjects on my schedule, not all of our chores.  I also wanted to order the day by subject.

A side note: I have NO desire to plan a whole year's worth of lessons. To me, that just doesn't make sense in a homeschool setting. I don't need to mesh with other classes in other years (after all, I am next year's teacher, too!) but I DO need to be able to speed up or slow down our progress through material on a day-by-day basis, according to my daughter's comprehension on that day. An entire year's schedule would not produce the best results for my family. 

So, I mulled it over, and looked for a way to create a system that would work for us. I scoured the shelves of the thrift store till I found it. A jewelry organizer! (similar to this one)

I used 3X5 cards, cut in half. Colored ones for the subjects, then white ones for each assignment within the subject. I make a stack of assignment cards, so I remember which materials to rotate through. For instance, in Math, we have Ray's Arithmetic, Khan Academy, Xtra Math, ICT Games, IXL, a Workbook, various videos, etc. But, we don't do them all on the same day! I put the ones for the day across the math row, and the extras I tuck behind the colored "Math" card. On the back of the assignment card, the last assignment can be crossed out, and the next one written down at the conclusion of that assignment. Or often, a simple bookmark will do.

A close up of a few rows of our schedule

It takes two and a half minutes at the end of the school day to put away today's cards, and select the cards for the next day! (I actually timed it!)

Supplies for making new cards stash easily at the bottom of the organizer

So, now, we both have a clear idea at the beginning of the day of how much work we'll need to accomplish, what that work will be, and a feeling of accomplishment when it is done!

And, added bonus? On the flip side, this great organizer has my Monthly Menu that only took 10 minutes to plan! : )

This is being shared at
Trivium Tuesdays


  1. Awwww! I love it! Miss all of you!!!

  2. How old was your daughter when you started this system? I just started trying to get my daughter a bit more independent this year (7 years) using a spiral notebook after seeing this post from Amongst Lovely Things: It's been really helpful! I find though, that there still isn't much she can do on her own. It is great for me though, to think about what we will be doing the night before and make sure we aren't leaving anything out! And it only takes a few minutes!

    1. I think she was 5 or 6. I don't expect her to work without me, but I do expect to be able to be within view of her book or computer screen (perhaps cooking lunch in the kitchen and watching her thru the pass-thru window), and have her work on her own with supervision : )

  3. That looks like a good plan to work with both you and your daughter's styles. I recently started doing this type of set-up for chores. I realized that (like you noticed with school) if I didn't say anything about doing a chore, it didn't get done. I wanted the kids to be able to see each day what they needed to get done, without me having to write it all out each day or having to continually remember to tell them what they should be doing (gives them a little responsibility).

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by to visit & for your sweet comments : )


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