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 Im 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 Im 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 todays 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 theyve learnt and to be creative as they do it.
Once you start teaching the lessons that youve planned it isnt that straight forward we have lots of interaction and you tend to get lost are we responding or are we researching but really, it doesnt 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 doesnt flow like it does on paper that isnt important what is important that I am intentional about what I teach my children, and for that I need some planning.