I try and keep lesson prep to a minimum – leaving the little amount of time I do have available to the lessons that are high priorities. What makes a high priority?

  • Relationship based lessons – Bible study, character studies
  • Discipleship opportunities – addressing individual needs
  • Individual academic needs that need direct contact or instruction

Which lessons I prepare for in detail will come and go as the needs of each child change. Lessons I’m preparing for at the moment:

  • Bible study for Nomi and Daniel (Josh and Jess are studying by themselves though we have conversations about what they are leaning)
  • Character studies for all children
  • Australian Studies for Nomi and Daniel – I am teaching these units with my primary goal being research and independent skills especially for Nomi
  • Workshop subjects (3 students): Living Math, Public Speaking, Writing, Computer skills, Auslan – these are interactive subjects which we teach maybe once a month

When I plan a lesson I follow this basic outline:

Receive – This is about introducing the subject matter to the children, getting them enthused or connected, and informing them. In my preparation I write down how I’m going to connected them to my subject – it maybe a leading question, a story, a picture or an object lesson. I will also write notes on how I want to ‘teach’ the lesson, what resources I want to use. I note down any resources and page numbers so I can find my place quickly.

Respond – This is giving opportunity for the children to respond to that information in some way – they may narrate it back to me (either written or orally), they may have questions to ask, we may have a discussion, they may write in their reading journal. When I am planning this section, I write some key questions that will stimulate discussion.

Research – This is about investigating, asking more questions and studying deeper. This may require reading more information either from books or from online, it no doubt requires more conversation but based on what the children have thought about or discovered rather than what I have taught or presented to them. In my prep I may list books or websites that I have available for them to use in their research. How much work a child does in this section will depend on their development with independent reading, research, and thinking.

Record – this is producing something that reflects our learning; we mostly do notebook pages or lapbooks, though sometimes it may include an art project or even drama. The older children write paragraph or two, or essays. In my planning I write what I want to be included on a notebook page, or what the notebook page needs to represent (basically, what am I going to ask of my child) Sometimes it is open ended – go and write something about today’s lesson – sometimes it is directive – go and show me something about ‘trusting God’ or ‘the different States of Australia’. I like giving the children open ended notebook pages as it gives them opportunity to record what they’ve learnt and to be creative as they do it.


Once you start teaching the lessons that you’ve planned it isn’t that straight forward – we have lots of interaction and you tend to get lost – are we responding or are we researching – but really, it doesn’t matter! The outline above helps me collect the important things that I want to present to my children, that I want to talk to them about, that I want them to interact with, and what I want them to produce at the end of it. If giving the lesson doesn’t flow like it does on paper – that isn’t important – what is important that I am intentional about what I teach my children, and for that I need some planning.

Be Intentional

 Every week I'll email an encouragement to stay intentional and relational in all your family life.  But for now, download your set of reminder posters - posters which I've used over the years to remind me to keep my eyes and heart on what is important.

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