Homeschool - General Information
5 Easy Steps to a more Organized Homeschool Tags: children decisions encouragement

5 Easy Steps to a more Organized Homeschool


    • Each January Dan and I spend several days praying and planning for our next year—not just homeschool, but every area of our lives. See how we did it here: Purposeful Planning.
    • What are your goals for this year? For five years from now? If you don’t know where you’re going, you will have difficulty getting there.
    • We always started school in mid-August and took the first two weeks in September off for vacation.
      • This gave us time to test our plan and talk and revise it during our time off.

    • You will feel a lot more confident if you have lesson plans done ahead. I usually tried to get two or three months’ plans done before we started school so I wasn’t always flying by the seat of my pants.

    • The year we started homeschooling, our 16-month-old son was diagnosed with leukemia. I struggled with how in the world I was going to handle three children under six, homeschool, and leukemia. Dan said, “If you get devotions and Scripture memory work done, consider it a good day.”
    • You can catch up on academics, but character training needs to be done daily. It’s difficult to repair character issues, so we need to place these above academics. Training our children in Godly character must be at the top of the list. I know it’s challenging to stop in the middle of a lesson—again—to cover something we just dealt with five minutes ago, but you will reap the rewards down the road.
    • Don’t rethink your decision to homeschool every year. When Eric had leukemia we learned a valuable lesson that we used often during our 21+ years of homeschooling. When things get tough or difficult or even seem impossible, we don’t look for a way out. Instead, we ask the Lord to help us get His view—His perspective. He’s the best consultant available, and He’s always ready and willing to help.



    • Find a way to organize your school supplies that works for you. There are a lot of options online. Find the ones that will make your days flow smoothly.

    • Relax, God really is in control.
    • Stay in the Word. Do whatever is necessary to stay connected to the source.


“I am the vine, ye [are] the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:5 KJV


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How Google Drive Can Help with Homeschooling Tags: Google Drive/homeschool

google drive and homeschool

This week I’m taking a break from my planning article to feature writer Sally Collins. She has written the following article on using Google Drive to assist with homeschool. I found it very interesting and applicable to several different situations. I hope you will enjoy it – and use it.


According to the National Home Education Research Institute, about 2.3 million children are homeschooled in the USA. Stereotypes in the media convey the image that homeschools are out of touch with technology and the fast pace of modern life. This really couldn’t be further from the truth. Many homeschoolers are using new technology to improve their homeschool classrooms. In actual fact, many homeschooling parents come from the tech community these days. Google Drive, the storage and synchronization device  for files developed by google, is one technology that is really helping homeschoolers. 


Unlike the traditional classroom, homeschooling is rarely static. Your child could be studying on your kitchen table, at grandma’s house, at a library or a coffee shop. What is more, homeschooled kids can acquire useful skills that they might not be able to in a traditional classroom setting.

 When it comes to the techy side of things, such as storing information and files, Google Drive is an innovation that allows you to keep all of your child’s files in the same place and access them anywhere. If you don’t have internet that day you can access documents offline too. Best of all it’s all online so you don’t have to worry about losing work if your computer crashes! 


“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”
Proverbs 27:17 NLT

Humans are inherently social beings who can learn from each other. We may think we can go it alone but in reality leaning on others often gets better results. Collaborating with other homeschooling families on shared projects can be a great way to learn from each other’s expertise and get a broader experience. The file sharing aspect of Google drive is great for working on group projects. In the past, sending drafts over by email was problematic when the files were too big. Now, kids and teachers can upload larger files and edit the same document remotely while leaving notes and suggestions for each other. 


One of the criticisms made of traditional schooling is that, even if it is competent in academics, the classroom fails to teach important skills needed for life. Financial management, home economics, technology and skills needed for the workplace – these are all skills being neglected in the public school system. Google Drive is a technology used for real world collaborative work in offices across the country and the world. It also includes document types such as spreadsheets which are great for budgeting and slides which are great for giving presentations. Giving your children experience of using technology collaboratively is great preparation for when they graduate into the world of work or homemaking. 

Sally Collins is a professional freelance writer with many years experience across many different areas. She made the move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job and loves the work-life balance it offers her. When not at work, Sally enjoys reading, hiking, spending time with her family and travelling as much as possible.

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Homeschool Lesson Planning - Why? How? Free Tools To Use! Tags: home education organization school

 What is a lesson plan?

Let’s compare a lesson plan to a recipe. If you want to bake a cake, you follow a recipe. The recipe tells you what you need and the steps to follow for a successful bake. The same might be said about a lesson plan. It’s a recipe for success. It’s a plan of action.  It tells you what you need and the steps that should be followed. Sounds simple, right? Well, it really is with a little forethought and preparation!


What type of planner are you?

There are three types of planners:

  1. “I need details!” Planner: If you are this type of person, you’ll want (and need) everything planned with extreme detail. So, just do it!
  2.  “I like following plans, I just don’t like creating them.” Planner: If you are this type of person, you like having a ‘road map’ to follow but perhaps you just don’t like taking the time to create it.  I’m this type of planner. I like having a plan, I just have to make myself take the time to create it.  If this is you, set aside some time and do it.  
  3. “Fly-by-the-seat-of-you-pants” Planner:  Isn’t that an oxymoron! (Giggle) That’s okay. If you can plan enough to hold yourself accountable for teaching what should be taught, then you’ll be okay. The main thing is to have goals set and a basic strategy of how and when you’ll be able to accomplish those goals. 

Which of these are you? Remember, everyone and every family is different. What works for one homeschooling family will not work for every family. The beautiful thing about homeschooling is that you can design your plans around your family.

Why lesson plan? 

Before I begin explaining the ‘how’ of lesson planning, let me first tell you why planning is important.

  • Plans help you keep the big picture in sight. They provide you the opportunity to set academic goals for your children.
  • Plans help you stay focused when ‘life happens.’ If you have a plan of action and it gets disrupted by daily life, it’s much easier to get ‘back on track’.
  • Plans give you a guideline by which you can hold yourself accountable. It can be a quick reference to glance at and ask, “Am I on track to teach what needs to be taught?”
  • Plans can make our job easier! Planning may take extra time up front, but it will pay off in the long term. As I previously stated, I’m personally not a detailed planner but when I have a plan I find my mind can relax. I can relax. I can have more fun ‘doing’.  

Lesson Planning Step 1: Determining your school year

The first step in creating lesson plans is to determine what your school year will look like. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I have state requirements I must follow?
  • Will we homeschool all year or follow a more traditional school schedule?
  • What days will we not have school, (holidays, family vacations, etc.)? 
  • Will I schedule blocks of weeks with a week off in between each block or follow a more traditional schedule taking only holidays and family vacations off?
  • What works best for my family? 

Once you’ve answered these questions, take a calendar and begin marking. Mark starting and ending days (semesters, blocks, or however you are going to divide up the school year.) Next, mark off any predetermined days off (holidays, vacations, birthdays, etc.). Once you have your calendar set, you are ready for the next step in the process.

Lesson Planning Step 2: Determining your school week

The next step is to determine what your school week will look like. Lay out the year’s course work (curriculum that you have chosen) and ask yourself these questions.

  • What courses do I consider the ‘core’ courses? (Typically, these are the 3 R’s: Reading, Writing and Arithmetic)
  • What courses will require more work to complete?
  • How long can my children stay focused?
  • Do I want to teach every course every day? If not, are there courses I should teach daily?
  • If I don’t teach every course every day, how many days a week do I want to teach each course?
  • Do I want all 5 days a week to be course work or do you want to set aside a day to focus on hands-on learning, field trips, etc.? (I personally always planned 4 days of course work and a day for fun learning experiences away from school books. Once my son began 7th grade, these days were often research and independent project days. It really worked well for us!)
  • When will our day begin? When will it end?
  • Do I want to incorporate daily living skills (chores, housecleaning, ect.) into the school day to break up course work? (For our family, it was always easiest to start the day with light housekeeping – i.e. bed making, etc., and then place a small break in the afternoon for chores. Also, don’t forget to schedule some recess time in there as well.)
  • What extra-curricular activities will be happening throughout the week? (For us, it was always things like dance and music classes with seasonal sports thrown in the mix. Don’t forget that these types of outside activities can be used for P.E. and Fine Arts credits!)

Once you’ve answered these questions, take out a weekly calendar and mark out your school day. When it will begin, when will it end and everything in between. Will you teach Reading first or Math? Plan your entire day based on what you have determined will work best for your family.

Also, try to rid yourself of predetermined ideas of what ‘school’ looks like. If you were a public school student yourself, the homeschool day doesn’t need to look like a typical public school day.

Lesson Planning Step 3: Determining how you’ll divide up the course work

Once you have an idea of what each day will look like on a weekly calendar, look at each course and see how much material there is to cover. Ask yourself these questions:

  • How many chapters are there?
  • How long will it take to cover each chapter? Include introduction to new skills, teaching new skills, practicing the skills, reviewing and testing.
  • If I don’t think I can cover every chapter, what chapters do I feel aren’t vital to the course and can be cut? (Let’s be honest, very few classrooms (public or private schools) finish the entire textbook despite efforts to do so. I was an elementary teacher in the public school system prior to becoming a homeschooling mom…and I know this firsthand!)

Once you’ve determined what should or can be covered, begin doing a basic timeline of chapters using paper, pencil and a calendar or you can simply photocopy the table of contents and write out your timeline on it. Do this for each course that you are planning to teach.

Once this is all done, you’ve completed what I call the ‘Year at a Glance’ plan. It is best to have this complete before the school year begins. It will be your guide to the entire school year and will make creating your instructional lesson planning much easier.

Lesson Planning Step 4: Instructional Lesson Plans

Instructional lesson plans are those that detail what will be done day by day. Since you’ve already decided how your week will be divided up (i.e. what subjects you want to teach on what days and how your day is divided up in time), creating an instructional lesson plan will be more like plugging everything in.

Looking at each day on your weekly planning calendar, start ‘plugging in’ each lesson…   

Reading: “Chapter 3” pgs 1-19
                  Introduce new vocabulary words
                   Write out words with definitions

Spelling: Create sentences using each                             
Science: “Magnets – Chapter 2” Read pgs 1-7
                  Complete experiment pg 8  
                  Materials needed: (nail, paper clips, copper wire)

Suggestion:  When planning each week, take time to think about other materials you’d like to use (other than the basic curriculum) such as trade books, board games, DVDs, kits, etc. and write these in your plans. At the beginning of every week, you’ll be able to, at a glance, know what materials to have on hand for the week.

Your instructional lesson plans can be as detailed as you feel necessary and can be written on a weekly lesson planning chart, a daily planning chart or even index cards. Whatever works best for you!

You can create your plans for a week at a time or for a longer period (a month, a semester or even the entire year). If this is your first year of homeschooling, I suggest that you do a month at first and see how it works. If you feel that you are planning too much, not enough or you simply need to change your planning style, it is easy to do so the next month.  



What about objectives and other teacher-thingys?

As I previously mentioned, I was a public school teach before becoming a homeschooling mom. When I was teaching in the school system, we were required to complete long and lengthy lesson plans. Since I’m not a very detailed planner, I hated writing lesson plans. In the school system, I not only had to list objectives for each lesson, I had to use key words from Bloom’s taxonomy throughout. This is NOT necessary for homeschool planning.

  • The Purpose of Objectives
    Objectives have a purpose in the school system because teachers need to show that they understand what they are teaching, why they are teaching it and then (above all) expressing this to administrators.

    Most packaged curriculum sets that you purchase will have objectives throughout the teacher’s manuals. It’s great to read these but there is no reason for you to worry about creating your own. Even if you are piecemealing your curriculum together yourself, don’t worry about writing objectives.

  • What is Bloom’s Taxonomy
    Bloom’s taxonomy is simply a list of verbs used to describe the type of outcomes students will be expected to achieve throughout a lesson based on distinct types of learning (cognitive, emotional and sensory). Do I believe you need to worry about Bloom’s when completing your lesson plans? No.  

I do think having Bloom’s taxonomy as a reference would be helpful tool just to keep around. Reading over it can help you think of the many diverse ways to engage your children. However, don’t ever, ever think you are not a good teacher if you do not write ‘teacher’ like lesson plans. This is simply not the case.

My take away for you

Over the last twenty years, I’ve had moms coming to me saying they wanted to homeschool but didn’t think they could. When I’d ask them why, often the answer would be, “I’m not organized enough.” Let me put this to rest! You don’t have to be a perfect, detail planning parent to be a good teacher!

There is a need for planning but if you are able to maintain your household (put a list together for grocery shopping, keep track of your kids and their extra-curricular activities and can follow a recipe to make your favorite meal), you have the skills necessary to do the amount of planning it takes to put together lesson plans that work for your family!

Remember, lesson planning is nothing more than creating a recipe to teach what you are going to teach and when. That’s it. The amount of detail that goes into it is up to you. It’s simply a plan. That’s it.

If you’ve never planned lessons before, it can take practice but over time you’ll learn what works and what doesn’t along the way. It’s all part of the journey…and what a wonderful journey it is!!  



Lynda Ackert is the founder of also known as the Christian HomeSchool Hub. She is a former public school teacher and homeschooling parent with over 20 years of teaching experience.




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