I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my monthly newsletter. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

3 Subjects I Don't Make Lesson Plans for and What I Do Instead

3 Subjects I Don't Make Lesson Plans for and What I Do Instead #homeschool #homeschooling #planyouryear

For the most part, a solid, well-organized plan is the first step in creating a successful homeschool year. When you can map out your entire homeschool year, schedule each lesson in a homeschool planner, and then use those plans as a home base--an anchor that allows you to wander and return with ease--you can ensure not just forward motion to your learning, but also bravery as you go.

A plan brings confidence. You don't have to succumb to willy-nilly or frayed edges. Your school year can be formalized, but also draped in so much freedom!

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I plan because I want to pay it forward to myself. Summer Jamie, with her empty and promising homeschool planner, colorful collection of erasable pens, and unopened packages of curriculum and project kits, gets everything set in order so that fall Jamie can actually enjoy the journey without having to scramble each and every day.

I plan because I like my sanity too much not to.
But, I don't plan everything.

3 Subjects I Don't Make Lesson Plans for and What I Do Instead #homeschool #homeschooling #planyouryear

There are three items in our day that I use to plan, but I don't anymore...or at least not with the same effort or precision as I plan all the other things.


Years ago when all my kids used a school-in-a-box math program, I planned each lesson. I planned because I had to. Those big boxed sets don't unpack themselves. You have to do most of that heavy lifting all by yourself. But when I switched all my second-grade-and-above kids to Teaching Textbooks (first to the TT CD sets and then to their online program), I handed the planning of numbers off to someone else. Glory be! 

3 Subjects I Don't Make Lesson Plans for and What I Do Instead #homeschool #homeschooling #planyouryear

The program is self-regulating and requires very little from me. I don't need to schedule math anymore. The webmasters of Teaching Textbooks are lesson plan ninjas and not only organize all the lessons, but maintain accurate records and scores too!

So instead of creating an intricate schedule for math in my planner during the summer, I just write a hash or tally mark in the "math" column each day of the school year for every child who has completed their math assignment that day. I write it in that child's color so that I can see at a glance who has finished and who has not.

Teaching Textbooks keeps track of my kids' progress so that I don't have to!

3 Subjects I Don't Make Lesson Plans for and What I Do Instead #homeschool #homeschooling #planyouryear

Morning Time

Our morning basket is filled with all kinds of goodness. Lots of different books. Lots of different resources. Some, like our hymn of the month, our Fighter Verses, and our manners list, get done every single day. But others, like our Bible Story, missionary biography, and theology book, are put on a loop and rotated throughout the week.

Beyond choosing the resources that I'll use for the year, I don't make a firm plan for any of these. I create a routine for how we'll work our way through those everyday items each morning and write that routine down in my Morning Time binder. For everything else, I use a bookmark system. It's a lazy genius way of scheduling that really doesn't require me to schedule at all. 

3 Subjects I Don't Make Lesson Plans for and What I Do Instead #homeschool #homeschooling #planyouryear

Extra Curriculars

When it comes to planning all the extras of our homeschool--art, creative writing, typing, logic, etc.--I create placeholders in my planner. All of these extras are placed in a week-long loop and get rotated each day. Here's an example of what I mean:

Monday: Logic
Tuesday: Art
Wednesday: Creative Writing
Thursday: Co-op or off-day
Friday: Typing

Instead of writing specific assignments down for each of those things on their assigned day, I usually just write the name of the particular extra I plan to do in the appropriate column of the day that I plan to do it. For instance, on Monday in the Extra Curricular/blank column of my planner, I write "Logic" and use the bookmark system to keep track of where we are in our current logic resource. The same goes for our creative writing book.

Similar to Teaching Textbooks, our typing program has a built-in tracking system, requiring little to nothing from me.

And art? Well, art is the one wild card in my homeschool. I keep an ever-growing list of ideas on Pinterest for projects I'd like to do. In addition, I bookmark youtube tutorials that seem beginner-friendly. On art days, I eenie-meenie-miney-mo my way to our next project. With a large stash of art supplies always at-the-ready, I can afford to be a bit more haphazard with my art plans and select them the very day we need to do them.

Final Word

Plans are good. Nope. Scratch that. Plans are great! But they're great only because they can give you direction--they provide a sturdy framework with which you can quickly simplify or elaborate. But if in creating homeschool lesson plans and schedules you're attempting to make your load a little lighter, than you'd have to admit that some subjects and activities just don't need plans. And in taking the time to put all of those particular subjects and activities on paper, you're actually making more work for yourself. 


  1. Do you use assignment sheets for your students or do they check your planner to find out what needs to be done?

    1. My middle schoolers and above write their assignments down in a notebook each morning. They look at my planner and transfer the info. I just tell my younger ones what needs to be done next.

      You can read more about what I do with my middle school and high schoolers here>>>https://www.theunlikelyhomeschool.com/2014/10/cultivating-self-driven-day-for-middle.html

    2. Thanks so much for your reply. Do you use a simple notebook or a student planner? The Amazon link in the older post is broken.