View Full Version : Help! Lesson Planning Time

02-07-2013, 01:21 PM
Hi! We've just about finally decided to homeschool one or more of our kids due to lousy schools and bullying. One of my biggest worries is that I'll be spending a lot of time on planning and not enough time teaching, much less have time for my other interests once the kids are home all day. I want to know how much time you spend on lesson plans each week to see if I'm being panicky for a reason!
less than five hours a week
five hours a week
more than five hours a week

Thanks for the help! Look for lots more newbee questions from me!

02-07-2013, 01:55 PM
I do a crapton of lesson planning over the summer. Then it takes me about 30-45 minutes a week to put together lesson plans. If I was pulling kids out, I'd let them decompress (de-school) for a week or two while I got it all put together and then have plans ready to go when you restart it all.

Accidental Homeschooler
02-07-2013, 02:30 PM
I purchase curricula with the lessons already planned. Ideally, I just go over them once a week and make sure we have the necessary supplies. So I definitely spend less than five hours a week planning.

02-07-2013, 02:50 PM
Defiantly more than 5, but a lot of that time is while he's working on stuff.

I write my son's curriculum, using workbooks, videos, movies, books (nonfiction and fiction) and documentaries as supplements. It me takes about 4-10 hours per subject to pull together everything for a unit. A unit may take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months. Most weeks, I'm working on at least one unit for a subject.

On Sundays, I pull out that week's lessons for each subject and sort them into days. If one day seems to heavy, I may switch things around. That takes just a few minutes. Before each school day (the night before or that morning), I write up a list of tasks for the day, grade and file papers as needed. It takes less than 30 minutes - usually closer to 15.

02-07-2013, 02:58 PM
Less than 5.

I "uberplan" over the summer. I do 180 days in a 6weeks on/1 week off pattern, with summers off. That 1 week off is OFF. I do very little planning, only checking to make sure I have everything and things printed, etc. Average is not much though. I get better at as time goes by.

02-07-2013, 03:23 PM
My first year I bought curriculum that came with a schedule. Now I spend maybe an hour to get everything ready for the week. Including filling out their weekly assignment sheets and printing any worksheets or project papers.

02-07-2013, 04:03 PM
I spent a Saturday planning the rest of the school year. Then I spent a few hours a day redoing my plan. Now, I spend about four hours a week in planning, plus thirty minutes or so every night going over my plan for the next day.

02-07-2013, 05:26 PM
Most of the curriculum I use is open and go so I spend most of the time researching curriculum, over the summer or our winter break, and then if something doesn't work. Then for those things that are not OaG, I probably spend about an hour or so and most of that time is pulling up the list of books I need for the math/science we're doing and either checking them out or buying them.

Stella M
02-07-2013, 05:50 PM
I don't think I spend any time on lesson planning. OK. Maybe like 3 min a day.

All my planning time comes at the beginning of the year when I choose the resources each child will be using. So maybe that's a week of being online browsing, buying...

02-07-2013, 11:43 PM
I am pretty much like Stella M. I try to get scripted programs, and use those as much as possible. Math on the Level has been the most time consuming as it is NOT scripted (just the opposite,) but takes me about 30 minutes per kid per week to put it together. My lack of attention has meant that a few times we postponed science because I didn't have the materials to do the experiment. (D'oh! Looking through ahead of time would have been really good!)

I spend more time trying to figure what we are going to use for curricula than anything else except maybe reporting to the ALE I am in. The ALE does have us write up a broad plan for the year at the beginning of the year. I write it to the format that they want and then proceed to ignore it. Well, not totally, but basically for things like grammar, I will say that we will complete X number of lessons per month, leaving a few days as free for illness, travel or just because it is a a nice day.

Remember, and think back, when you were in school, how often did you actually finish a book in a year? Chances are, many classes you didn't get to the end. The idea is to keep learning, not to race, so as you are planning, don't sweat it too much and leave some wiggle room for months like December that tend to have a 1001 things going on.

Stella M
02-07-2013, 11:49 PM
I have to write a plan every two years and then I ignore it also :)

Idk. I did just print off a cell lesson which means I have to remember to buy jelly at the supermarket, but that's about as tough as it gets.

I guess it depends on how comfortable you are winging it though. I'm very comfortable with just pulling stuff together 2 min before we need it. I feel like I wasted a lot of time planning elaborately when I was a newbie and it was unsustainable.

It's more important, imo, to teach/learn/explore together than have perfect and detailed plans. YMMV>

02-08-2013, 10:34 AM
I usually spend about 2-3 hours on Sunday evening preparing for the week. I might spend 20 minutes at the end of the day tweaking plans based on how the lessons went.

Throughout the week I spend time here and there researching ideas for future topics, but I think it's mostly just become a hobby. I could skip most of that and still be fine.

02-08-2013, 11:03 AM
Planning itself doesn't take too long, but in the first year or two you will be constantly researching other curric, other methods, other schedule options, etc. It's definitely not a do it once and forget it kind of thing in the beginning (see recent thread "how long" until you figure it all out).

How old are your kids?

02-09-2013, 12:47 AM
I spend ZERO time planning, but I do spend time choosing books and resources a couple of times per year. I also spend a bit of time searching out library books or other craft/science supplies, but it's incorporated into my day so I don't notice it. Every few months or so, I sit down with the kid(s) and decide on a routine or schedule that we will follow for a while. We usually do follow it pretty well, and then when it gets boring/old, I search out some new stuff and we mix it up a little.

Looking back, however, I think I used to spend 15 or 20 minutes on Sunday nights looking ahead at what I wanted to do during the upcoming week. Life is so crazy now that I just can't.

02-09-2013, 02:30 PM
I'm a do-a-ton-at-once person--I can't keep up if I try to do it every week. I am working on stuff for next year now. So I can't say how much time per week: I do a lot of planning, but well in advance and when I have time.
A great tool for me has been a spreadsheet (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AuHLeGjh7LtrdHZiZFB3NnJGMzJoR25XN1Q3RXNSY Xc&usp=sharing)(Excel or Google Drive). Each column is a subject or book. Each row is a week (both numbered and dated). Then I put as much or little detail I want in each box, from just a topic to books and page numbers.
I also have one for an overview of preK-8 (http://tinyurl.com/whitehawkscopeandseq). Again, each column is a subject. Each row in this spreadsheet is a year. In each box, I put topics or materials I think I'll want to use. This is for coherence and for making notes about things that might work for us later but DS is not ready for yet.

02-15-2013, 03:11 PM
I spend time over the summer pulling together the stuff I want to use for the year. At first I planned out a few months at a time, but that ended up not working out for us at all. Now I just plan a week at a time and it takes me about an hour.

02-15-2013, 03:39 PM
Thank goodness for Stella and Avalon or I'd think I was a total slacker whose got this gig all wrong! I am definitely in their camp, though like them I spent a lot of time planning when I first started. 3 years in, the day to day stuff mostly flows organically, and it's no big stress to decide on curriculum.

02-15-2013, 08:14 PM
every week or two i have to spend some time going through the stuff that isnt open-and-go. but math . . just open up the book and keep going. My teen's LA this year is all planned out. His science i have to read the chapters and match up how much he should do w how many problems and find a video on youtube; his religions unit study i also go through and break in to daily portions. and his supplemental history book i have to read the chapters so I know what to assign them. probably 2-3 hours a week all together?

the joint history, i have to read the chapters and find supplemental books and schedule them together . . . maybe 5 hours a month, really. I usually do a month at a time.

my younger one's LA is open-and-go . . . so is the geography.

grading the teen's papers takes another 30 minutes a week or so.

02-19-2013, 01:34 AM
I don't think I spend any time on lesson planning. OK. Maybe like 3 min a day.

All my planning time comes at the beginning of the year when I choose the resources each child will be using. So maybe that's a week of being online browsing, buying...

This is pretty much what I do. I have always used pretty much open and go curriculum up to now. I may spend a good bit of time researching (read here obsessing) what to use but the actual planning takes no time at all. I may read over the history or science for next week on a Saturday and see what supplies I'm going to need but that takes all of 5 minutes. All I have to do during the week is the actual hands on work with the kids and pull out some work sheets here and there. Even with my youngest who is doing a modified Charlotte Mason/Waldorf type curriculum I do very little planning. I expect to do a bit more next year when my oldest will be doing full Charlotte Mason.

02-19-2013, 07:23 PM
My son is pre-k and I probably spend an hour or two a week coming up activities. I try to have a few weeks out planned, but doesn't always work that way. We focus on 6 subjects: math, science, reading, social studies, art and handwriting so when I'm thinking about what to do, I'm focused. I also agree about the kids needing downtown to decompress from the stress of school.

02-19-2013, 08:10 PM
We just started in September, doing 4th grade. I plan about a week at a time. I have a "pantry" of workbooks, reading materials, art supplies, put together with stuff we plan to get to in the next few months. We are also using a few online sites like IXL and T4L. I can put together a good sketch of the week in an hour or two. Maybe another hour if I am going to preview a video, read a book first, or practice a science experiment. During any given week we are likely going to add something that has caught our eye that week at the library or online...one week we might spend extra time cooking recipes from a country we've look at doing geography, or we might need extra outside walking time. Browsing the shelves at the library is my favorite resource. A craft book, a cookbook, a biography, a science topic, a fictional work, and some online math will get us a long way through the week. Some days we get through all I've planned and more and some days he's up for about half. Flexibility of our plans is critical. I sketch 5 days at a time, check the work off that we get done, and carry the unfinished work forward. It has taken the last few months to get a good sense of what we can get done in a day or a week.

05-07-2013, 11:51 AM
Less than 5 hours a week easily, probably only two. Try not to panic...homeschooling does not require a bunch of neurotic planning to start with. Being prepared is one thing and having some goals and ideas is a must, but numerous curriculums for each subject and mad amounts of planning are not necessary. IMO it just creates extra work and added stress on oneself. For me it would take a lot of the joy and fun out of homeschooling.