For homeschool mums lesson planning can be the thing that breaks the camel’s back. But it needn’t be so. I have learnt over the years to simplify my lessons – both at the planning stages as well as at the implementation stage.

Remembering the KISS principle is a good place to start: Keep it Simple Sweetheart!

I have created a form using the Receive, Respond, Research and Record which are our learning tools steps. I simply fill in each step along the way making it clear what I want to achieve. I generally only plan lessons for the subjects that are a priority (other subjects use more self directed approaches). Mostly they are relationship or discipleship subjects, but sometimes a more academic subject becomes a focus for a season.

Let’ go through a lesson that I have recently planned. I am planning science at the moment because it is something I find hard to be consistent with. The bold is what is on my form, the italic is what I write as I plan and the regular text is just some thoughts to explain it all.

Lesson Plan: Science: Plants

Unit 3

Objective – what do I want my child to learn in this lesson?

This is a very clarifying point – so often I have way too much that I want to cram into this lesson. I can guarantee the lesson will be no fun, and it would be doubtful how much will be learnt. So I reduce it to one key thought that I want my child to go away with. (this is not one key piece of information – facts are different, I want my children to come away with an understanding of something, to have a belief confirmed, to have a question answered and it may require several facts to come to that place.)

Actually my objectives this time are for the unit which will cover several lessons. (though usually I have one objective for the one lesson)

1. explain the types and functions of roots

2. explain the types and functions of stems

3. describe the growth of plant stems

Then I start to fill out my lesson notes using the four steps as I go:

Receive – this is the intake of information; it may be from books, dvds, real life experiences or conversations.

Read p.63-64 (It is as simple as that – this is where we are going to get our information from)

Respond – this is talking about what we’ve learnt either with asking questions or telling back what we understand.

Though I let the discussion come from the kids I have a back up question or two that points towards my objectives. Sometimes these questions will come after the research not before. (Though I have this form – it has to fit the real-life, living learning that goes on with my children)

What did you learn from that reading?

What are the main functions of a stem?

Research – this can be either hands on playing around and discovering more or it can be research in the traditional sense of reading more. We need to find answers to our questions.

Experiment – what goes up? P.63

Need: celery, bean and corn plants

We Record – once we have come to an end in our discovery we record what we have learnt (written, creatively, or orally)

Notebook –

1. Fill out science experiment chart to explain what you saw in the experiment

2. the functions of a stem – draw and illustrate

During the course of the lesson it may become obvious that a child needs to record something else but this gives me a back up. This will be the minimum if nothing better pops up through our discussions.

If you like this way of thinking I encourage you to make up your own form. But remember to make it yours. If you need reminding to keep your lessons short – put it on your form. If you need reminding to let the children talk from their understandings (instead of you lecturing all the time) put that on your lesson plan sheet. This form is for no other reason than to help you meet your objectives. If it is not helpful it is not worth having!

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