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What Are Lesson Plans for Homeschooling and Why Are They Important?

A lesson plan breaks down a curriculum for a topic into "pieces" and relates those pieces to a student for a specific period of time. In other words, a lesson plan is a map that shows you how to get to your goal for a student – completing a curriculum in the allotted time, such as a school year – from where you are at the moment. Lesson planning is how to make sure that you get through all of the material you need to cover with a student within the time you have designated for this purpose.

Lesson planning is critical and is one of the most time consuming tasks you will do to both plan for an upcoming school year and conduct your school throughout the year. You use lesson plans to identify when you will be covering each part of a curriculum for each student. As you move through the year, you will use your lesson plans to measure your progress and to make adjustments for the rest of the year – should things go not quite as you had planned them.

Before you get into the detail of a lesson plan, you will need to define your school year; this tells you the overall time frame over which you need to plan. After you have done that, you can map your curricula onto the school year via the lesson plans you create.

Your starting point to develop a lesson plan is the set of subjects for each student, along with the curriculum you developed in your previous planning.

The mechanics of how you develop a lesson plan are mostly a matter of personal preference. There are several options; you should try one or more of them to see which suits your working style best:

  • A lesson plan book. You can find these at most places where homeschooling supplies are sold. These books consist of blank, ruled pages for each day of the year. You will need one of these for each of your students.
  • A daily calendar. If you use a paper calendar, be careful to make sure you have one that has enough room to write a substantial amount of detail in each day's space.
  • A computer calendar. A computer calendar application is a good way to create lesson plans. In addition to making it easy to make changes as you go, you can usually share the calendar electronically so everyone can see it. You can also print out multiple copies.

Reproduced from Absolute Beginner's Guide to Homeschooling, by Brad Miser, by permission of Pearson Education. Copyright © 2005 by Que Publishing. Please visit http://www.informit.com/store/product.aspx?isbn=0789732777 to order your own copy.

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