During challenging times, creating easy homeschool lesson plans is the only way to go. Sticking to a plan can be difficult if you’ve got a lot going on outside of homeschooling, but not having a plan at all can leave you feeling even worse.
I’d love to share with you a really simple and easy method to creating homeschool lesson plans for seasons where you need direction, but not a rigid plan.
This article will lay out why creating a simple homeschool lesson plan can help you get through a stressful time feeling like you’ve accomplished much in your homeschool. We’ll talk about how the best-laid plans are quite often the simplest. I’ll show you step-by-step how to create a plan that hits all the basic subjects and sprinkles in a little fun too.
Also, read on for a helpful (free!) lesson planning page you can print out and start using today!
A homeschool lesson plan vs. No plan during a challenging time
There are many methods of thought on whether or not to create a plan when your family is going through a challenging season. My thought is that sometimes homeschooling is the most constant thing we have during a challenging time!
I believe that having some sort of plan to follow can help us when our decision fatigue has maxed us out and we’re having trouble in seemingly every other area of life.
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Having no plan can create a spiral effect, just making things feel more challenging and, in turn, more stressful.
But the tricky part is creating a homeschool lesson plan in such a way that creates more connectedness in your family instead of more stress.
Sometimes we can make plans that are just TOO MUCH for our current situation. We have to know when to plan a heavy workload and when to lighten the load—but both require a plan.
SO, let’s lighten the load and create a homeschool lesson plan that is doable for the current season.
A monthly plan? Or a weekly plan?
I really love planning for the month—you can read about how I do that HERE. But when things get stressful—I have to cut way back and take on just bite-sized chunks of planning.
For the current season, when we don’t know what’s going to happen next week or the week after that, a weekly lesson plan is the best choice for most of us.
When our bandwidth is wider and we aren’t so distracted, we can plan in larger chunks.
Let’s take things week-by-week right now. We can start Monday feeling like one thing in our days is already sorted for us.
Knowing what to put on that weekly plan, though is essential! Here’s where to start:
Starting your homeschool lesson plans with the basics
A challenging season is no time to schedule 100 projects, activities or other. We need to start with the basics. Start with the things that make you feel most accomplish when you finish.
For us, that’s a math lesson each day. For some reason, we can do NOTHING for school all day, but when we finish a math lesson, we all feel better about our productivity.
Decide what your basics are right now. Is it a:
- Math lesson?
- Phonic practice?
This is for you to decide for your family—but just choose one or two MUSTS for the day on your weekly plan.
Covering multiple subjects with reading aloud
When times are stressful, that makes it the perfect time to cut the fat and combine where necessary. Reading aloud makes it SO easy to combine multiple subjects with multiple kids. If you grabbed your Morning Meeting pile and just read several books together, you could cover history, science, nature and more!
We can all handle an hour or so of reading aloud each day, right? Let’s figure out what we CANNOT handle right now and stay away from those things…
Knowing how much you can handle during a challenging time
Ask yourself: what are the things that totally do you in in your homeschool? Is it science?
Maybe it’s hard for you to deal with a lot of hands-on things when you’re in a stressful season.
Only you can answer how much you can handle, but when you’re planning out your homeschool lesson plans for the week, keep in mind not to pack in too many things.
Your plans should work for YOU, not the other way around. Create lesson plans that are easy for you to follow—they should make your life easier, not more stressful.
So, let’s look at the nuts and bolts of creating your own plan to feel awesome about your homeschool week ahead.
Two Styles of Weekly Homeschool Lesson Plans to Make You Feel Like a Winner!
Alright, so I created to scenarios—different strokes for different folks and to be honest. I have been using BOTH of these plans just depending on the week! It’s been a challenging season, amiright?!
The first one is a weekly plan the includes the very basic subjects.
- You will fill in your basic needs for your homeschool first
- Then you will fill in things that would be fun, but are OK if you don’t get to them—you can use the “Other” section for those items.
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The second weekly lesson plan is one that brings a little bit lighter feeling to your homeschool. Here’s what I mean:
- You can fill in the categories that you wish to for each day of the week.
- SEATWORK is things that require your normal books: math, grammar, etc. Maybe now is the time that seatwork needed to be cut back for a while.
- Include things in your days like games, books, watching something on TV, an online class that brings you and your kids joy!
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Let’s talk about these categories a tad more and let me give some examples and ideas for each.
Sprinkling fun into your homeschool lesson plans + counting it as school
Adding in fun into your homeschool day is a great way to lighten the emotional load in a challenging time. Don’t be afraid to watch some documentaries, do art, play—whatever it is that brings your family joy—and count it as school!
It all counts! And here’s what I mean by sprinkling in fun and counting it as school:
What Will You Read Aloud?
- Reading aloud—even “just a novel” involves so much learning!!
- Get our list of family’s favorite read alouds HERE
- Listening totally counts too! Audiobooks are amazing learning tools—count that too!
- You can get a list of our favorite audiobooks HERE as well.
Games Involve Massive Amounts of Learning!
- We pull games out each week and I also record those as learning tools in my records.
- Have a pile of great games by your fireplace or in your living room to encourage kids to grab and play.
- Read our favorite math games HERE
- Card games are some of my favorites! Here is a big list of favorite card games.
- Preschoolers can be trickier to play games with. Head HERE for a list of our favorite preschool games.
Watching movies, TV and documentaries can TOTALLY count as school!
- You know we LOVE CuriosityStream in our homeschool. Head HERE for how we use it in our homeschool AND a list you can download of our favorite documentaries there.
- Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+ all offer many fantastic documentaries for kids.
- TV and movie time is one of our favorites ways to connect in our family. It’s a great way to laugh together, spend time together and relax together.
- Even more fun, read a book together and then watch the movie! Head HERE for a big list of our favorite books made into movies.
Seatwork Doesn’t Have To Be Your Entire School Day
When we think of “school” a lot of us have the misconception that homeschool has to look like a classroom. Workbooks, schedules, grades, etc. It doesn’t!
Especially times when we’re having a challenging season, seatwork does NOT have to be the focus of your school day! There is so much more!
I’m not saying to throw everything out, but if all the seatwork is causing extra tears and stress in an already stressful time—cut back. Lighten the workload. It will all be ok!
Especially because you’re going to do some amazingly, fun things instead of seatwork!! Let’s talk about those things…
Other Fun Ideas To Add To Your Homeschool Days During a Challenging Season
Even though we’re homeschoolers, the global pandemic has taken its toll on our homeschool days. I’m distracted. Jarrod is home from work, which makes everything feel different. All activities have halted.
We needed some FUN in our days! We needed to make extra activities our focus—so I’ve sat down each Sunday and planned for fun!
Here are some things we’ve made priorities in our homeschool days to add in more fun:
- Online Nature Classes with Ms. Cindy. We LOVE these! There is a live class every other Tuesday and members get access to the video library so you can catch up on older classes if you want more. Our nature journals are filling up and I love that!!
- Chalk Pastel Art with Nana. These lessons are quick and tear-free at our house! (Do you have a perfectionist kid who cries if they “mess up?” These are perfect for those kiddos!)
- Kiwi Crates are saving our lives right now!! We’ve always loved these monthly boxes, but now the kids have time to create more with them, do the extra projects that we normally run out of time for, and play with their projects! We love them!
- Lots of baking and cooking right now.
- Practicing band instruments for fun with show tunes and different music than we normally play.
Homeschool lesson plans you can start using this week
I would LOVE for you to download the weekly lesson planner to keep your homeschool feeling more routine for you during this season. There are several ways you could use this tool though!
- Print it, fill it out each week and follow the plan.
This is what I do and it’s probably the most traditional option. How many weeks of school do you have left? Print out that many sheets and keep them in your lesson planner. On Sunday night, pull out a new sheet and fill in and just follow the plan!
When my plans are filled in for the week, I love everything more. My only job is to literally follow the plan each day. As we complete things, I just highlight them to show they’re finished.
- Plan from behind.
Are you too overwhelmed right now to create a plan a week ahead of time? That’s ok! Just plan from behind!
Print sheets for each week of school you have left for the school year. At the end of your days, fill in each section based on what you and your kids did that day.
You will see how quickly you’re filling things in and to see it quantified on paper is SO encouraging!
Pop those records in your planner and look at them when you feel like you’re not accomplishing anything!
- Print, laminate and use dry erase markers to fill in each week.
This is for the paper-saver or the person who wants to be able to move things to different days if needed.
Hang this planner on the fridge or other prominent spot for everyone to see what’s on the agenda for that day.
Specially designed homeschool lesson planners for every type of homeschool mama
You’re not doing anything wrong right now, you’re just doing something hard (homeschooling) in a really hard season.
Stick with it. Take a deep breath. Pour a cuppa coffee and fill in your planning page for the week. You will feel better about your homeschool, pinkie-swear promise.
And if you feel like you need a little more leading for this season. Please check out my homeschool planning course, where I lead you through how to make homeschool planning simple, painless, and super easy. THREE steps—that’s it!
And if you like the weekly planning pages, you can also snag my entire homeschool lesson planner, chock-full of pages just like this.
Need More Homeschool Planning Inspiration?
- Are you Suddenly Homeschooling Because of the Coronavirus? Here’s Help for You!
- A Day in the Life of Homeschool Mama Kara Fleck
- LWC Homeschool Curriculum Directory
- How to Plan a History Unit Study with Homeschool in the Woods
- Cozy Homeschool Plans: Lesson Plans for Our Winter Session
- How to Create a Useful Homeschool Lesson Planner