Different Approaches to Lesson Planning


Are you up to your eyeballs in lesson plans? Or maybe you’re avoiding them all together?  I’ve been in both situations over my 15 years of homeschooling.

Different Approaches to Lesson Planning | www.homeschoolstory.com

I’ve shared before how I plan (or rather my relaxed approach to NOT planning). As a PLANNER by nature, I have to plan! However, I’ve found that I can get so caught up in the fun (yep, it’s fun to me) of planning that I don’t actually get much accomplished in “real-life.” The homeschool program we use (K-6th) outlines a topic to be studied for each subject each week. We do the memory sentence/fact together when we meet with our group once a week, and then we spend the rest of the week studying out those topics in a relaxed but organized way.

No matter what curriculum or program you might use, I decided it might be helpful to share my Not-run-of-the-mill lesson planning ideas. Maybe it will inspire you?

About 9 years ago, I threw out my “teacher lesson plan book” and started finding something easier. That’s when my journey began!

#1 Workboxes

For awhile we used Workboxes. It was a good switch. We loved it…for awhile. I learned a lot by using the workboxes and I’m glad I did it.

Our Workbox System

Our Workbox System


  • You and your child can easily see what needs to be completed each day It forced me to make sure to include some FUN activities each day!
  • I liked the look of all the shoe boxes lined up nice and neat!
  • It put the kids in charge of their day (starting, putting items away, working independently)


  • Lots of planning
  • Takes up space (although there are other ways to do it without the boxes)
  • I found myself coming up with busy work just to fill the boxes.

In the end, it wasn’t the forever plan I was looking for, but it helped me on my journey.

#2 Working Squares

Then I made a flexible planning system that used baseball card holders. Instead of a box for everything, I used the pockets in the baseball card holder sheets.

Basically you use index cards cut in half and write their subject or assignment on the cards and slip it into the card holder.  Just like the workboxes, everyone can see what’s expected for the day…all in one place.  As they finish their assignments, they can either take the card out, or just use an EXPO marker to cross it off!  Easy-breezy!

The way I made it was to write the subjects on the cards and leave the bottom of each card blank.  Then you can use an EXPO marker to write details about each subject.  They can cross off or erase them as they complete them.

card organizer


I loved that it was so visual.  You can actually make one page for each day and have it all set up for the whole week.  I recommend that you use the WET erase markers rather than the EXPO though.  The dry erase will just come off to easily.

#3 Checklist Method

This remained my favorite way of organizing our plans for the week, and I believe it’s the easiest so far!  Basically I took the baseball card idea and just made it permanent. You can still cross off each item if you either laminate the chart or put it in a sheet protector.

Here you can see my first version..  I’ve made a few changes along the way, but mostly just due to my kids getting older and doing more school work.


This is the most recent version

weekly homeschool plan

To see a pdf click here….Homeschool Plan Outline
The Checklist Method is simply just thinking about what you actually need to get done in a week.  Make a list of what subjects and how many lessons need to be done in those subjects.

For example, your list might look something like:

  • Math – 4 days
  • Writing (using IEW) – 3 days
  • Grammar (using Essentials) – 4 days
  • Science – 4 days (research & taking notes for 2 days, writing summary/report 2 days)
  • History – 4 days (research & taking notes for 2 days, writing summary/report 2 days)
  • Spelling (using All About Spelling) – 3 days
  • Geography – 4 days (review CC geography 4 days, 2 days add map tracing/drawing)

Then you use a blank grid or weekly calendar type page, and type or write in your subjects.  Don’t worry about all the details, just write the subject and the basic assignment… like: “complete one lesson” or “read for 20 min”  etc…

That will now be your weekly lesson plan for the year!! WHOO HOO!  No more planning.  “But where does it tell me the page numbers and lesson numbers?”  you ask.  Well, it doesn’t.  Most subjects just move from the front cover to the back cover.  I just use a book mark that we move as we work.  Math….go to the next page.  Spelling…start your list, work your list, move forward.

There are some subjects that don’t work like that.  History and Science are two of them for me.  Since we don’t use text books for these subjects at this point, we can’t just move to the next chapter.  We use Classical Conversations as our guide.  Each week we take the topic we are studying and learn to research.  You can read exactly how we do that here.

So what do you do to plan?? Anyone else have a favorite way?  Please share!

2 thoughts on “Different Approaches to Lesson Planning

  1. So true that you don’t need to plan each assignment for every day ahead of time. The great thing about that is that you don’t get off track when you can’t do school one day…you just pick up where you left off. Thanks for sharing your experiences with these different ways to plan!

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