Homeschool Planning & Prep
Preparing to homeschool for the first time can feel completely overwhelming!
From picking the right curriculum to organizing the supplies.
With that said, I’m a huge planner girl and homeschool planning is one of my absolute favorite parts of the homeschool process.
Homeschool Lesson Planning
When it comes to homeschool lesson planning, the best place to start is with the curriculum itself.
I always dig through my children’s curriculum to get a good idea of what we will be doing in the upcoming school year.
Then, I ditch the plans and schedules included with said curriculum, leaning on my own pacing guides instead.
So, I always create a customized plan for our homeschool.
Once our pacing guides are complete, I plan out our first 12 weeks of school using our file folder system.
While 12 weeks is ideal for our full-time RV family, planning out a full semester or the entire school year might be a better fit for your family!
Check out how I throw our lessons together on a weekly basis!
Weekly Lesson Planning
Since our family currently lives in an RV, we tend to buy as little physical curriculum as possible, leaning on PDF versions when we can — printing every 12 weeks like clockwork.
While both our living situation and the form of curricula we use have changed over the years, the steps I take to prep homeschool lessons have not.
I’ve only made slight adjustments to this method over the past 8+ years of homeschooling — because it just works, you guys!
Lesson Planning Breakdown
Believe it or not, but you don’t need a fancy homeschool room or a multitude of extravagant items to lesson plan like a pro!
Our current lesson planning setup is pretty simple and only includes the following items:
- Sticky Notes
- Daily Folders
- Weekly Folders
- Student Planners
Once pacing guides are created and our curriculum is printed, it’s officially time to begin our 4 step lesson planning process.
Starting with folder stuffing and ending with copy work.
Weekly Folder Stuffing
Folder stuffing is seriously my biggest secret to a well-planned homeschool!
Using our pacing guides as a guide (pun intended), we prep 12 weeks of homeschool lessons in a single blow.
Utilizing an assembly line method, I form separate piles for each subject and utilize the help of my homeschooler to get folders stuffed in a matter of minutes.
This system seriously rocks, you guys!
Having everything prepped and ready to go in advance makes all the difference.
*Pro tip: Utilize sticky notes for supplies needed or grab our supplies needed free printable (coming soon)!
Simply glance over lessons as you stuff folders and write down any additional items needed for upcoming projects or recipes, sticking it to the proper week folder to remind you before the week starts (or if you are a procrastinator, like me, put it on the week before).
While I’m a 12-week planner girl, you can totally use this very same method with any number of weeks — from as little as 2 weeks or to a full 36 weeks!
Sticky Note Lesson Planning
When it comes to weekly lesson planning, I always start by looking over the previous week’s work to make sure everything got completed and no adjustments need to be made for the upcoming week.
Then, I look over our pacing guides and began our weekly lesson plan.
First, I create a sticky note for each (school) day of the week.
For example, my daughter is currently only working on core lessons Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
Mondays are for possible makeup work from the week before, lesson planning, and extras while Fridays are considered free days.
Next, I begin with one subject at a time, splitting the work for that subject across all 3 days.
Moving from one subject to the next, till each subject is accounted for.
Finally, each sticky note gets placed on the front of a daily folder.
*Pro Tip: Utilize whiteboards on the wall in place of sticky notes.
We did this when we lived in our sticks-and-bricks home and I totally loved it!
With that said, I have actually fallen in love with the simplicity of our sticky note system and may never do the whiteboard thing again.
Daily Folder Stuffing
Once sticky notes are placed on the outside of each daily folder and my kiddo knows what to expect for the day, I have her empty the weekly folder and stuff the daily folders.
Again, we use an assembly line method for this step!
Daily folders are laid out in a line and worksheets are separated by subject.
*Pro tip: Get personalized sticky notes.
I totally did this, you guys!!
While I love writing and planning, I got tired of the time-consuming process of writing subjects on sticky notes every single week.
With that said, regular Post-It branded sticky notes do stick better to slick folders than the personalized ones we currently use.
While this step isn’t technically necessary, it is definitely a great bonus!
We utilize planners in our homeschool for a few simple reasons:
- To promote responsibility
- To prepare for the future
I keep my young homeschooler involved in the planning process from start to finish because one day I will pass the torch and she will be doing this all on her own — just like her older brothers did during their middle and high school years!
Whether she uses the sticky note method or simply leans on a planner, either way, she will have all the skills she needs to plan her school week all on her own!
With that said, you can definitely skip the student planner when lesson planning if your homeschooler isn’t into it.
While my 2 older kiddos left the whiteboards behind (prior to our sticky note method) when they began planning their own work and clung to the aid of their student planners, my youngest seems to be leaning towards sticky notes over whiteboards.
She has definitely gotten lax with this part of the planning process over the summer months and I just don’t push it much as long as she’s getting her work completed.
I will likely put the pressure back on come fall when we start our new homeschool year, simply for the copy work and as a simple encouragement to try utilizing planners one final time before ditching them completely.
The Ultimate Homeschool Plan
While homeschool lesson planning and prep are essential for a smoother homeschool week, the ultimate homeschool plan involves a healthy mixture of flexibility and fun.
Whether you homeschool 5 days a week Aug-May or do something totally wacky like homeschooling over the summer, as we do, creating a homeschool plan that flows with your family is key.
This method of lesson planning totally works, you guys!
Try it. Tweak it. Perfect it.