When I was a kid, at the beginning of every homeschool year, my mom would buy several spiral-bound lesson planning notebooks. She would spread all our textbooks out in front of her on the kitchen table, and she would meticulously handwrite all our assignments and lesson plans into her blank notebooks. It took hours.
Now you don’t have to create an entire semester’s worth of lesson plans all by yourself. BJU Press does most of the busywork for you so you can do the important things, like focusing on your child’s specific educational and spiritual needs. But if your homeschool is going to run smoothly, you’ll still need to do some planning at the start of each semester.
Just One Step
When you look at the dozens of textbooks and Teacher’s Editions for all the subjects and think about all the projects and papers and homework pages and lessons for the entire homeschool year, you’ll feel overwhelmed—so don’t think that far ahead. Just take one step toward an organized schedule, and then take the next step, and the next. Before you know it, you’ll have it all planned out, and your day-to-day tasks will seem much more manageable.
Days On, Days Off
First, take a look at a calendar and mark the days when you plan to have school. In a different color or with a special symbol, highlight days when you plan to have field trips, holidays, or vacation days.
The Weekly Schedule
How many subjects will each child be studying this year? Decide which hour of the day should be devoted to each subject and make a general weekly schedule. Also, think about when you might need to be available to give help to each child. For instance, if your high school student struggles with math, you may want to have your fourth grader working independently on reading during that time period, so you can be available to help with algebra.
The Daily Plan
Now you’re getting down to the details of daily lesson planning. Good news—if you have the BJU Press Teacher’s Editions for the textbooks, most of this has already been done for you. You don’t have to handwrite or type out a bunch of lesson plans yourself, because the learning objectives, engaging introductions, assignments, and activities are all right there. You can make notes and adjustments and tweak each lesson as you like, but the hard, time-consuming part is already done. Hooray!
Every day set aside time to finish your preparations for the next day’s lessons. During this time you can finish collecting supplies for the activities, craft any extra materials you need, or simply think through how you’re going to explain a tough concept. Perhaps you can do this while your kids are doing their work or after they have gone to bed at night.
If you’re using the BJU Press Distance Learning program with your children, you won’t have as much daily preparation to do since the Distance Learning teacher takes care of the lesson presentation. But you’ll still want to look over the video lesson guides in advance so that you can note any potential areas of struggle or activities that may need to be tailored to suit your child’s individual needs. After all, you’re the one who knows your child best.
What works for another homeschooling family may not work for you, and that’s OK—but it is important to have structure for your homeschool. Time is precious, and so are your children. Plan for success so you can teach those precious kids to the best of your ability in the time that you have.
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Rebecca K. is a work-at-home freelance writer, a novelist, a wife, and a mom of two bright-eyed little ones. She credits her success in writing and her love of books to her mom, who homeschooled three kids from pre-K through high school.