What are Lesson Plans and How are they Used in Home Schooling?
A lesson plan is a structured document that breaks down a subject’s curriculum into bite sized chunks that show how to help a child to understand and relate to a topic’s information within a particular time period objective and with goals for the completion of learning. To break it down even further, in home education lesson plans are the guidebooks to a journey, which provide the information on how to start from one location (a lack of knowledge on a certain topic) to arrive at the destination (awareness of that topic’s key facts and/or relevance for real life) within a set period of time.
A collection of lesson plans thus enable a parent to plan how to complete a certain topic or curriculum within a certain amount of time, such as a single lesson, term or school year, time frameworks which some parents opt to stick to even within a home schooling environment in order to differentiate between schooling and ‘free time’. (It is important to note, however, that other home schooling parents reject this distinction, promoting instead the idea that all learning about life is a form of education that should not be regarded as distinctive.)
Lesson planning allows home schooling parents to feel more relaxed about a child’s educational progress, as well as helping him or her to ensure that a child will study and take in the material that you have addressed as needing to be covered within the available period of time, as well as ensuring that one subject or topic does not receive more or less focus than another.
How Should I Use Lesson Plans in Home Schooling?
Lesson plans are not compulsory to home schooling, and ‘unschooling’ students and parents will be particularly opposed to their use. However, other parents appreciate their structure. Lesson plans can also be a useful source of proof if a representative of a Local Education Authority (LEA) asks for some kind of proof of a home schooled child’s receiving of an education.
Lesson planning may be a very time consuming task for a home schooling parent, but some think this is worth its time investment to ensure that a child learns a set subject curriculum, for example, or continues at a steady or advancing pace of progress. Be aware, however, that lesson plans should always be kept flexible in order to make sure that adjustments can be made if a child is struggling or advancing well with one topic, for example, or an unplanned event crops up that would be beneficial to integrate into a timetable.
Making a Lesson Plan
First, a parent making a lesson plan needs to define the objectives of that lesson, for example, learning what ‘sine’ is in maths, and how to use it in basic situations, might be the objectives of a lesson in maths for a 10 – 14 year old student. Next the lesson plan’s timings would be calculated, for example, how long would ideally be devoted to learning each aspect of the lesson, and how much time would be set aside for practical examples and calculations of ‘sine’ equations.
Some parents like to use lesson plan books, easily available from home schooling suppliers, which have ruled pages for each day of the year, but daily calendars can work equally as well and are more easily available. There are also a very wide variety of lesson plans on all kinds of subjects available in books and on the internet; these will provide a useful template for making your own lesson plans, or can be used in their entirety for your own lessons, but they may require adaptation for a child’s own subjects, timetable, particular academic rate of development and so on.