Not Lesson Planning

I despise lesson plans because we never finish our work for the week. There is always 1-2 things (sometimes more) that I have to write in the next week. So next school year I dont think I’m going to do them. But I need ideas as to how to make sure I’m accomplishing everything. I have a friend who doesnt really lesson plan. She has a list of subjects she does in a week and she puts post it flags on the next lesson in the book she created. Any other ideas???

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I am not much of an expert yet, but I cannot make a lesson plan for the entire year either. I do make a master list of what I want to accomplish for the year - what I want the lessons to be for each subject - but then I make my lesson plans day by day. I write down every subject I want to cover the next day. If we don’t accomplish a subject I just write it in for the next day when I make the daily plan again. :slight_smile: Then I also put a check mark on my master list so that I know what we have accomplished for that subject and how much we have left. But if we need more time to do something or we want to spend more time doing a project - I am not opposed to spending more time on something. We can always continue on the next month, year or over the summer. :slight_smile: I hope that helps a little.


@mrskch31 I will be following this! I was just emailing a friend last night about this exact samething!

I would suggest daily or weekly checklists or workboxes. We’ve used all three at different times and it helped to keep me from having to change things. It allowed me to customize each day or week based on outside activities, illness, and time commitments.


I’m glad I’m not the only one.

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We are currently in the process of using workboxes. But it’s the weekly planning that gets me. I do all this planning and we get through half the stuff (at times) so then I’m rewriting or typing the same stuff all over again. And I use mostly curriculum that has a lesson a day.

I always have written out our lesson plans for everyday of school for the entire year. We have never been able to follow it to a T either, but I’m not totally upset about it because it helps me to see how far behind we are, or ahead depending on the subject. I usually just cross off the “old plan” and write in my adjusted one. It usually is a more realistic one the second time, because I have had little idea of how well we cnould actually handle all of what I had planned for us to do before starting it all.
But I also think that a lot of scheduling has to do with having an idea of how much needs done at least within every 3 months or so, so that you don’t end up overlapping the years. I like having an idea for how many days per week I need to do school with the children if we want to finish it in a certain amount of weeks. Then I brake down the amount of pages that need done for each book or how many chapters we need to cover, and I try to make sure it gets done within that same week at least. I always need a general idea of where we should be and then of how we can get to where we want to be at the end.
Less is more when it comes to planning out curriculum, I think. Things just don’t turn out so well if we expect it to be just right, like being able to live our lives all nicely planned out. There has to be room for changes.

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@mrskch31 This is EXACTLEY my issue!! I have been planning for a week at a time (I plan on Saturdays for the following week). But, if we don’t finish something it creates a domino effect in the lesson book and the WHOLE schedule is behind! I typically circle assignments we don’t get to/finish, then I know the next day it needs to be done…
A few months ago I started just using a book mark in the text books (like math, spelling, grammar) to mark the spot where we stopped for the day. But then I feel I waste a lot of time deciding what to do each do!!!
I suppose for me it’s all about self discipline;) I need a simple strategy to organize lesson plans.


I used to get frustrated about moving things to the next week all the time too. I have a couple ways I deal with this problem now…

  1. I don’t schedule anything in my planner. In my planner I now write what we DID do each day (it really makes me feel more accomplished than trying to ‘get it all done’ and stressing myself out)

  2. I have a basic list of things we HAVE to do everyday.
    The most important subjects are Math, Reading and Language. I try to have those
    3 subjects done first. Everything else is considered to be an extra.
    Usually the other subjects are incentives that we all WANT to do so we will work hard to do the most important subjects. Then we add in things like Art, Science, History, Social Studies etc…… :slight_smile:

  3. I school year round so that we are not rushing to get everything done in just 36 weeks. When you have 36 weeks and 36 weeks worth of lessons, missing a day or missing a subject for any reason becomes very stressful. Now we do year round we sometimes finish the year earlier and we are able to get a head start on the next year. (no complaints here). But all of this helps to minimize stress of trying to get it all done in a specified amount of time.

Hope this helps


@Proverbs31 That is what I was thinking about doing! Keeping a running list of what we did vs writing out lesson plans. @triton17 gave me a FABULOUS idea. Use post its in the text books. I hope she sees this, I will let her explain what she told me:)

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Yes, Proverbs31, that definitely helps.

Luvmyboys, I have a friend who did that too (post it notes the text). I have notes from a homeschool tour we do for our homeschool group. Or I can call her. I will post my findings

@mrskch31 that would be great!!! Thank you:)

I do something similar to Proverbs31, except each of my children individually keeps track of what he/she did each day, rather than me tracking each child. I spend time at the beginning of the school year figuring out how much work needs to be completed each week to finish the book or complete as much of the book as desired. I then break it down into how much needs done each day - similar to traditional lesson planning except I don’t write out all the details. Because I homeschool multiple kids, I find this planning system saves me time, offers more flexibility, and helps my kids work more independently since they aren’t waiting on me to give them the next assignment.

[DETAILS: At the beginning of the school year, using an Excel spreadsheet, I make a list of each subject area on the left side of my horizontal paper. The days of the week are across the top. In the column next to each subject area, I list how much needs to be done each day. For example, I list “Math,” then in the next column (same row) “1 lesson.” So that my child knows what days of the week to work on a subject (for instance, if we only do science 3 days a week), I put a star symbol in the box that corresponds to the appropriate days (moving horizontal across that row). Ok, if you followed me thus far, my child then writes in specifically what he worked on each day. For example, using math as the subject, he would find the row marked “Math,” follow that row to the right, see that he needs to do one lesson, continue following the row to the right, and assuming we do math 5 times a week, he would write his current lesson number that he just completed in the appropriate spot (Monday - “lesson 52,” Tuesday - “lesson 53,” etc. My son is writing this in AFTER he completes that day’s lesson).]


I struggle with this, too! I would type out what I wanted to do during the summer and then get behind and my pages were a mess, crossing things out and then moving them to the next week… my OCD-when it comes to my planner - had a fit! haha… and I stopped using the planner. I saw someone list last year that at the beginning of the year, they listed out all the chapters in their textbooks and just crossed them out as they finished them. This year I’m doing the post it note approach. I created a “template” for my planner and will have chapters written out on post it notes and as I plan weekly, i can move them around… we’ll see how it works - so far all the colored post it notes make me happy! :smiley:


I love this. This is our first year (just finished PS) and we are already getting a very light start. I plan on HSing year around with more random breaks so I thought might as well get going. I have make “checkpoints” for all our curriculum at certain points so I can tell if we are falling behind. I think this will be much less stressful. My kindergartener especially gets really into something and will so like 4 math lessons in 1 day. I see no reason to stop him when he is understanding and wanting to do more sheets. On the days he isn’t in the mood we do 1 worksheet and are done. It has really been working well so far!


Coming in late here…

I make a simple, yearly, somewhat adjustable plan as needed, but my daily plans are more about time spent. I then keep a journal-type planner where I can just jot down what we did.

For example: My plan for math (easy one to plan!) might be as simple as this: Do one lesson/worksheet per day, test out of the early lessons so we have “wiggle room” for times we need more review.

If I can get actual “math work” days down to 150-160, then we have time for days that I want to work on a concept more, review math facts, or play math games.

In my daily planner, I simply write down what we did --ie, math lesson 3a, or page xyz, or “math games” etc…

Similarly, with a program like Mystery of History, I might say that 3 days a week we’ll simply read lessons and look at a map, day 4 we might do an activity or two, and day 5 we’d do the exercise or quiz.

If I’m making literature-based plans for reading and read-alouds, I guestimate how many I think we can read (or they can read), and I list them in order. I put an approximate week by each, as far as when in our school year I think we’ll start. I make a list of “optional” books in case we get ahead, and if we get behind I simply cross off one of the books I was less interested in. I have my kids read for 30 minutes if reading on their own, or I read-aloud until I come to a good stopping point if I’m reading, etc… Then, I simply write the book title down in my plans when we start it, and the chapters or pages each day after that.

This way, I have a general yearly plan of attack and can see pretty quickly if we are ahead or behind. If we work diligently, we generally get most done, but if I plan too much or things happen, we might continue to the next year or cut some things (do 80% of a text book instead of all of it, for example).

It might sound like a lot when I write it down, but once I know what curriculum I’m using for the year, the actual planning for the whole year takes about a weekend, and is easily adjusted to our needs as we go.

Here’s an example of my teacher binder, where I show how I keep my plans.

As far as keeping up throughout the year–I use workboxes to keep us on track each day so we don’t drop things arbitrarily. It’s easy to purposefully plan to only do a half day if I want too–only put out stickers for the subjects we’ll do. But it prevented us from just saying, “Oh, I don’t really feel like doing xyz today…” too often! (We can still say it on occasion if needed–but do so much less often with the workboxes!)


I wanted to let everyone know what I decided to do. I finally found an online planner that works for me. I decided to use Homeschool Planet by Homeschool Buyers Coop. It’s totally great and now I put everything in my schedule in this one planner. Also really easy to enter and adjust assignments. I print off the kids daily digest and it has they’re schedule and chores, as well as their assignments. I’m so excited that I found something that worked for me.


I had the same issues with getting ahead or behind messing up my plans. It drove me nuts to have to copy/paste things to the new week if we got behind or scramble to fill in the rest of the week if we got ahead. But I still wanted to plan ahead…specifically I wanted to plan out the entire year in advance. So, I thought and thought of a way to plan out the entire year where if we couldn’t do a subject one day or doubled up on one, it wouldn’t throw off all my lesson plans. And I finally found the way.

Here’s what I did. I’ll use math as my example. I created a chart in a word program with three columns and 175 rows (that’s how many school days we have). In column 1, I number down from 1-175. In column 2, I type in the 175 lessons. I just take the number of pages in the text, reviews, and tests and divide that by 175 to get the number of pages per day my child must do to finish in 175 days. If it’s 2 per day then I’ll just plan that many per day. Sometimes one page might be really heavy so I might only schedule one page that day but I average it out on a day when two pages are light work so I can add a third. The third column is for the date.

Basically, my child opens up her lesson plans (I’ve done this for all subjects and bound them together…each subject is separate from each other and divided by tabs) and looks at day 1 for math. She completes the lesson and then writes the date she finished it next to the lesson. If it ended up taking her two days to complete it, she would only write the date for when she finished it. If a lesson is dated then it’s complete. She does this with each subject. Now, let’s say we didn’t get to grammar one day. It’s ok because it doesn’t mess up any other subjects’ plans. And at anytime I can see what day she’s on for any subject. “Hey. You’re on day 130 in all your subjects but one and you’re on day 127 in this subject
And we’re on day 129 of school.” We can easily see how much we’ve done and how far we have to go.

If a subject isn’t complete before our 175th day of school, then we can easily see how many more days of just that subject will go into the summer.

I hope this made sense. If not, I can try to upload a photo or two to paint a more clear picture.


I understood the concept but would LOVE to see pics of exactly how this works. I was trying to do a logbook but this idea sounds like it may work out better for us.

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I’m going to try to upload pics. Hopefully, it works. If not, I’ll try to get help to do it. The first pic is just the outside of the folder. The next few pics are inside pages with my daughter’s name and grade cropped out. You can see how I put the information for that subject at the top along with how many days a week it is to be completed. Some are daily and some are as little as twice a week. Obviously for the things that are not done daily, I didn’t need to have 175 rows. Pics to come in next post. Fingers crossed it works!

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