Preparing For Our Fall Semester: 2020

Ah! Summer has arrived! With Covid 19, many (read: all) of our summer plans are cancelled. My one saving grace is getting to spend the summer planning and preparing for our 2020/2021 school year.

I got a head start this year and purchased all of our books and school supplies back in March. Our planned lessons will include subject material for a Pre-schooler, 3rd grader, 5th grader, and 8th grader. Our 10th grader is in an online accredited high school program.

Like the previous year, I am using Google Classroom to set up each child’s individual lesson plans to be followed throughout the year. The first thing I like to do when planning our lessons is to get out a calendar and plan our start and end dates for each semester and what days we want to leave open for breaks. I like to make sure our yearly calendar plans for a 36 week school year. I know homeschooling can be loose and does not have to follow a mold, but I like to have a schedule and goal to follow throughout the year.

The next step I take is to pull out each individual book we will be using and count the number of lessons in the Table of Contents. This gives me an idea of how many lessons they need to do in each subject weekly to cover all of the source material in the school year. Many of our books also include a mid-term and final exam, so we try to plan for all lessons to be completed before the mid-term for the first half of the year, and all lessons after to be completed in the second half.

Step 3 can be tedious, and I like to chip away at it slowly throughout the summer. This is setting up the lessons in Google Classroom. In previous years, I, accidentally, did not set up my lessons to display a grade average after grading each assignment. I am taking the extra steps this year to make sure the assignments are weighted and it automatically calculates the overall grade for me. I set-up each lesson or assignment in a classroom for that subject, and schedule it for a specific date. The assignments will show up the morning it’s due. I used to also set-up a due date for each individual assignment, but I began to feel this was an unnecessary extra step that was just adding time to the process.

The last step is purely optional and dependent on the source material you are using. However, the last thing I like to do is go through and find videos, additional information, and outside lessons that can go along with the scheduled lessons. I like to add these as material to the classroom to help the children better understand the topic they are trying to learn. Since each child is unique in learning style, finding additional material that matches your child’s learning style can help solidify the information they are trying to learn.

The process becomes quite the undertaking with 4 children having their lessons planned, but we all really enjoy the structure and not having to stress in the mornings about what we are supposed to be doing that day. A lot of homeschoolers do like loose and fluid instruction and taking it one day at a time, but for our family having a plan ready to go for the entire year takes a lot of stress off of all of us.

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