I’ll admit it, I’m Type A so coming up with a clear schedule from the beginning of COVID homeschooling was extremely important to me but it was also important for my kids. A schedule helped to create clearer expectations and predictability of what the day would bring for me and for them, and most importantly, it created a sense of normalcy during a very abnormal, scary time. The term lesson planning sounds intimidating but it's really just coming up with a blueprint for your week so that you're not scrambling to come up with activities on the fly.
What do my lesson plans look like?
The night we decided to stop sending our son to preschool due to COVID, I created a table in a Word document with 3 columns; time, activity, and details and began sketching out what our days would look like. Here's an example of what a recent day looked like:
It looks like a lot at first glance but our "lessons" are really no more than two hours collectively with lots of breaks and there is a lot of buffer time built in knowing some days it might take longer to get my preschooler to concentrate and sometimes Mommy needs more coffee and the day starts a little later. Other days, we might be having so much fun with a specific activity that we spend longer on it. I print out my lesson plans and make changes as the day goes on. At the end of the day they often look like this. I'll often write some notes about how the day went. I figured my kids might like to look back on these when they're older.
Over planning means I have lots of ideas in my back pocket if the kids need it but we often move some plans to different parts of the day or abandon an activity entirely, especially toward the end of the day depending on how well open play is going. Always follow the child. The abandoned activities can always be revisited another day!
Weekly and Daily Themes
Every week we have a theme like rainbows, the water cycle, healthy eating, the continents, etc. I pick themes partially to explore subjects I think my kids will enjoy and that will enrich their learning and also frankly themes I think are fun so I don’t dread it! The sound/letter of the week often but not always is the beginning sound of a word that relates to our theme. F was the sound of the week for our food groups theme for example.
To make lesson planning around a theme easier and to also make sure we have a well-rounded education, each day of the week has a mini theme. i.e. Monday math, Tuesday cooking, Wednesday sight words, Thursday art, Friday fun. For Food Groups Week we might do math problems with food rather than our counting blocks, and for our art lesson we might explore an artist who uses food in their work for example. (More on that art lesson coming soon!)
However you decide to structure your days and weeks, remember to try to have fun with it! Happy lesson planning!