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5 tips to take the stress out of lesson planning

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There are a lot of challenges that you’ll face when homeschooling your children. You need to find ways to keep them engaged and make things fun and interesting for them. Making sure that they socialize is important as well because they aren’t mixing with other kids in a traditional school environment.

You also need to work out how you’re going to fit being a teacher around all of your other responsibilities. But one thing that a lot of parents aren’t prepared for when they decide to homeschool is the amount of work that goes into planning lessons.

It all needs to be done in advance ideally, so you can plan out a proper curriculum, and a lot of the time you’ll need to brush up on things yourself so you can teach your child effectively. Trying to fit all of that lesson planning around everything else can be tough, but it is achievable if you know how.

lesson planning sheets

If the idea of lesson planning sends you into a meltdown and you’re struggling to stay on top of it all, here are a few tips to make it a lot easier for you. 

Don’t Get Attached To Your Schedule 

Personal organiser on a desk

Trying to write a rigid schedule is never a good idea. In a traditional school, the teachers will know exactly what lesson they’re doing on what day, and how long it will take them to get through the curriculum for a year. But one of the best things about homeschooling is that your children can learn at their own pace and if you need to slow down a little they can or you can move through things faster if they’re picking it up quickly. That’s why it’s important that you don’t get attached to your schedule and try to plan specific times for everything. Homeschooling never goes quite to plan and things are always going to get off track at some point. If you’re trying to plan a rigid schedule, you’ll only end up having to alter it along the way and that means you’ve got more work to do. 

What you should be doing instead is thinking of it in terms of a general routine that your kids can follow. You can use an estimated schedule to work out whether you’re moving through the curriculum quickly enough or not but don’t get too attached to it because it is going to go out of the window and you’ll constantly be changing it. 

Keep Things Organized 

Organised library showing shelves of books

Organization is key when you have lots of different lesson plans and worksheets for each one because it’s so easy to get muddled up and lose track of what you’re supposed to be teaching next. If you don’t get things in the right order and your lesson plans are confusing, that will make it a lot harder for your children to learn effectively. It’s worth investing in some document software that you can use to keep it all organized easily.

You’ll also be able to use it to create worksheets and plans for yourself so you know what you’re doing. If you don’t want to do that and you want to do it the old fashioned way, get yourself plenty of folders so you can catalog and color code everything. Use whatever system works for you but just make sure that you’re staying organized. 

Leave Gaps 

Jigsaw puzzle in black and white with a piece missing

Leaving gaps in your lesson plans is so important, otherwise, you’ll struggle to get everything in. When you’re planning, you’ll have a rough idea of how long each lesson or activity will take but as you know, it doesn’t always go to plan. The children might breeze through a worksheet that you planned an hour for in half the time. But they may also take twice as long to do certain tasks that they struggle with.

If you pack every single minute of the day with activities and learning tasks, you don’t have any wiggle room when things don’t quite go to plan. That’s why it’s important that you leave some space in each day so you can easily move things around if you need to. This also leaves a bit of extra time in the day if everything does go to plan and that’s time that you can spend doing something fun with the kids. 

Involve The Children 

lesson planning: girl with a small black dog.

One of the other great things about homeschooling is that you can let the children guide their own learning to some extent. By letting them have more input in their own learning, you can ensure that they stay engaged and they’re learning in a way that works for them. That’s why it’s a good idea to get them involved in the lesson plans. Sit down with them and ask what they enjoy and what they didn’t like quite so much.

You can use this information to tailor lesson planning to them and find the most effective way to teach them. It’s also important to find out which subjects they’re struggling with so you can give more time to those areas. Giving them some input on the lesson plans will make it easier for you to come up with ideas for the lessons and it also means that their learning experience will be more beneficial for them. 

We really hope that this has been useful – do check out some of the other homeschooling ideas and resources that we have on the site as well:

There are a lot of amazing homeschool sites out there with EVEN MORE activities on than ours as well, so do pop over and take a look at them too.

If you did like this – and you love our printables too – why not sign up to our newsletter as well?

Thanks as always for coming over to see us, and we do hope to see you again sometime soon.

lesson planning: graphic

Helen is a mum to two, social media consultant, and website editor; and this site is (we think) the only Social Enterprise parenting magazine! Since giving up being a business analyst when juggling travel, work and kids proved too complicated, she founded KiddyCharts so she could be with her kids, and use those grey cells at the same time. KiddyCharts has reach of over 1.1million across social and the site. The blog works with big family brands (including travel) to help promote their services, as well as offering free resources to parents of kids under 10. It gives 51%+ profits to Reverence for Life, who fund a number of important initiatives in Africa, including bringing running water and basic equipment to a school in Tanzania. Helen has worked as a digital marketing consultant (IDM qualified) with various organisations, including Channel Mum, Truprint, Talk to Mums, and Micro Scooters. She loves to be creative in the brand campaigns she works on. Get in touch TODAY!

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Melanie williams

Sunday 25th of August 2019

This takes me back for sure. I used to make sure that I was always organised and prepared - crucial x


Friday 23rd of August 2019

One of the thing that always impresses me is how home schooling parents plan their lessons! I don't think I could do it everyday, it's seriously impressive! These are amazing tips for those who plan their lessons.

Lyndsey O'Halloran

Thursday 22nd of August 2019

It's a great idea to get the children involved in the planning. If they're enjoying the lessons it certainly helps!

Sabina Green

Thursday 22nd of August 2019

I have a lot of admiration for this, it is no easy task to organise learning. Thanks so much for sharing.

Fran Back With A Bump

Wednesday 21st of August 2019

These are great ideas ans food to get kids involved to keep them engaged!

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