Friday, October 28, 2011

Going for *relaxed* this year!

Crew Blog Cruise ~ What does your lesson planning look like?

Lesson planning... isn't it every teacher's worse enemy AND best friend at the same time?  I am a planner by nature... so, one would think that lesson plans would be more of my friend than not... but... not so.

When I was a preK teacher at the day care center, lesson plans were essential and you followed through with them, usually no matter what.  Same thing when I had the older kiddos in the summer - you planned it and you did it... whatever 'it' was!  Coming home, I tried to follow that as well, but over the years, I am finding out life just happens...

I have always, ALWAYS, made out detailed lesson plans.  I have gone through tons of planners, calendars and pages to find that *perfect* one!  A couple of years ago I found it.  It was a monthly/weekly 8x10 planner that had vertical weekly instead of horizontal... loved it!  Used it the last half of their 3rd grade year, all of their 4th grade year and most of their 5th grade year.  When LIFE started happening during the spring of their 5th grade year, it ended up being easier for all of us (me, kiddos & my in laws - who were helping out) for them to keep up with what they were doing.

After the spring we had, full force into a busy summer, the pre-planning just wasn't there.  They went with me and picked out their own calendar and we started out their 6th grade year without written lesson plans... I had looked over all of their books and lessons and knew what we needed to be doing, but I didn't write anything down.

With some of their lessons, we aim for a lesson a day - like with our Language Arts - we are using Spectrum & there are 5 books - one lesson in each of these a day (don't freak, they are only one page!). Same with Math.  If we are home, then I expect these at minimum completed each day, if we have field trip or if something else comes up, then they get what they can done.  These are workbooks, so they travel easy, so they get Math done no matter what & usually most of their LA books as well.  They just have to keep up with what lesson they have done in their calendar. Sometimes they end up on the same lesson- but this way, they are able to work at their own pace.

Science & History, we are working through together, so we just work on things a little each day.  I know where we stop and where we pick up the next time we get to that subject.  They are also responsible for keeping up with this in their calendar!

With Roger's schedule, we are finding days are no longer normal around here... we love being able to just go with the flow of things and not worry about what's on mom's lesson plans for the day or having to work extra hard to make things up or catch up.  It really makes for things to be much less stressful around here and they are getting to spend time with their dad-do!  In addition to going with the flow, they have been learning just how much they are learning.  I try to catch them each day, but it is usually a couple times a week, and ask them - what did you do today.  This goes in their calendar - they get to decided what subject whatever they have done - fits in!  This has been pretty beneficial to us, I have them coming to me all the time now and discussing what they have done and where that would fit into a subject and why.

By doing this, it does give them the freedom to learn what they want to learn, to work in scout stuff and to chase more rabbit trails - because we know that there's nothing on the calendar that we have to get back to!  I am thinking I like this relaxed route much better!


  1. We are more relaxed than I originally thought I would be.

  2. I love lesson planning. My favorite way is the good old paper and pencil teacher planner. Realistically it doesn't work for us because we do school year round and I don't like the Monday - Friday labels. I am using Homeschool Tracker for lesson plans right now - it works but I don't love the process of planning. I love the printing out part, but planning on the computer isn't as fun as spreading out everything on the kitchen table and writing/erasing on my lesson plan book! I know, it's weird.

  3. Sounds like you've found a good balance between relaxed and detailed. 8-) We plan kind of the same way, except that my kids don't take quite as much initiative to manage their own calendars.

    Now following on GFC

  4. Some years I do more planning and other years I am more relaxed or rather some parts of some years are more structured and other days are more relaxed. As my daughter finished her last two years of high school we're finding we need to be a bit more structured and focused but I've learned how to go with the flow.

  5. I like your relaxed approach. I'd love to figure out how to balance a more-relaxed learning atmosphere with the kids in our family who never seem to find anything to interest them or anything productive to do.


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