Create A Simple and Restful Homeschool Lesson Plan + FREE Homeschool Lesson Planner

Create A Simple and Restful Homeschool Lesson Plan + FREE Homeschool Lesson Planner

*This post contains affiliate links. Please read disclosure policy.*

With my first homeschool lesson plan, I thought that I had to have everything figured out, planned out and written out. What a misconception! I stressed out…and we were just doing Kindergarten! With a change of approach I went from an unachievable homeschool lesson plan to a simple and restful homeschool lesson plan, and you can, too!

Too Much Is Too Much

I cannot handle if things aren’t simple. Too many fields to fill in, too many prompts to complete or really, too much of anything at all and I become paralyzed with overwhelm.

Yes, I’m a recovering perfectionist and high over-achiever. Anything too complicated, overwhelming and busy-feeling equates to stress and inadequacy.

How I Went From Stressed To Rest In My Homeschool Lesson Planning

My first homeschool lesson plan was filled with changes.

Every day of the week we moved something around, every week felt like catch-up from the previous week and every month… well, I could hardly make it a month and knew I needed to change the way I planned.

The first thing I did to simplify our homeschool plan was stop planning. I needed to figure out a way to plan without planning. (Does that even make sense?!)

When I stopped planning, I naturally did some things that turned into more of a record-keeping approach or planning-from-behind approach.

Just because I stopped planning didn’t mean we stopped homeschooling.

As we finished a lesson, chapter or page, I would put a sticky note on the page or lesson that we were to start at the next time. A commonality developed naturally. I saw that we’d complete lessons, units, random side-tracks, nature walks while adding in books, videos and field trips. The stuff I wanted to do in our homeschool got done and the unexpected and unplanned learning also happened. This all worked.

I then had the realization that a homeschool lesson plan for me wasn’t so much about planning ahead, it was planning from behind.

Recording and writing down what we did proved to be outright successful for me in comparison to writing down what we were going to do.

Create A Simple and Restful Homeschool Lesson Plan + FREE Homeschool Lesson Planner

A New Way Of Homeschool Lesson Planning

When I had this “AHA!” moment to a new way of approaching our homeschool lesson plan, we kept doing what we did and I began recording it. I used a notebook to write down the date, the book we did and the pages or lesson we completed. That’s it! There were no check-marks, no strike-outs, no arrows. It was clean, simple and restful.

Being that a homeschool lesson planner isn’t really called a homeschool record book per se, it was that to me.

So after a couple of years, I began using a simple homeschool lesson planner (and now created my own below) to record what we did. I’ve never looked back!

There are so many beautiful planners out there, and honestly, I’d LOVE to try them all, but I’m hesitant.

The expectations I put on myself are unreasonable at times, and because I know this of myself, I need to stay away from it, too. So until I feel confident about one stage of homeschool lesson planning, I begin adding more components.

Be sure to grab my simple homeschool lesson planner below!

An Added Method To My Homeschool Lesson Plan

As I continued to record what we did in our homeschool year after year, I felt comfortable and it was doable! As we’re getting into the higher elementary grades, I’ve found that the homeschool curriculum gets more involved. I then began to wonder how long curriculum would take to finish.

Being that we live in Canada near the Rocky Mountains where chinooks and snow can fall from September to May, I cherish our outdoor time in the warmer months. There’s no question in my mind – we get out from May to August with there being NO PLAN of homeschool curriculum.

Now after developing this method of my homeschool lesson plan, I felt like I needed to look at a whole year perspective which would help me with how long curriculum would take. So to solve this challenge, I began adding in a year-at-a-glance homeschool planning method using a spreadsheet.

This gives me a better insight into the full scope of a homeschool year.

Get Your FREE Homeschool Lesson Planner

(includes a routine, schedule, loop, year-at-a-glance planning, undated weekly lesson planner and undated monthly planner!)

Create A Simple and Restful Homeschool Lesson Plan + FREE Homeschool Lesson Planner

Let me know if this homeschool lesson planner was helpful! Also, what tips do you have when it comes to creating a simple and restful homeschool lesson plan?

Anchored in Christ,
Melanie

2019-2020 Grade 1 Homeschool Curriculum Picks

2019-2020 Grade 1 Homeschool Curriculum Picks

*This post contains affiliate links. Please read disclosure policy.*

Here we are, entering the new year and I’m excited to share with you our 2019-2020 grade 1 homeschool curriculum picks!

Being that my daughter is in grade 3, preparing for grade 1 and the curriculum choices seem easier, but my son definitely has a different learning style than my daughter. So I’m wondering if the same homeschool choices that we went with for my daughter in grade 1 will be okay for my son. The only way to find out, is to do it!

Combining Learning

One thing I like to do is combine learning where I can. My children are just 2 grades apart which makes learning the same thing altogether (for certain subjects) adaptable and doable.

With my children being in the elementary grades, my involvement is heavier and more hands-on. This is totally fine, but I need to plan accordingly and combine learning to avoid my potential burnout with too much curriculum.

Fueling Curiosity

I haven’t included everything that we’ll be doing in our grade 1 homeschool curriculum picks as I tend to add more materials along the way as needed.

This summer I read the book, The Brave Learner by Julie Bogart, and it really enlightened my perspective in homeschooling and children when it comes to exploring a topic as curiosity stricks a child and digging deep until the flame is no longer there. I will be more intentional in this area as I feel this is truly what education is all about. It’s not about fitting into a box, creating a template of people and leaving them to enter workforce and community.

Homeschool is about fostering a love for learning while helping our children find their God-given gifts to share with the world and impact others with the love of Jesus by their character and actions.

That said, I will choose to fan the flame of curiosity this next year!

2019-2020 Grade 1 Homeschool Curriculum Picks

Grade 1 Homeschool Curriculum Picks

My little guy will be learning alot as he will be taking in what my grade daughter is as well!

 

Language Arts

Math

Science

Social Studies

2019-2020 Grade 1 Homeschool Curriculum Picks
2019-2020 Grade 1 Homeschool Curriculum Picks
2019-2020 Grade 1 Homeschool Curriculum Picks

Art

Music

  • Piano Lessons
  • Drum video tutorials on Youtube

Bible

Health

  • Fitness – BMX, swimming, some physical education challenges at home and other activities as they come up in the year.
  • Food – Talk about healthy food choices in our everyday life during shopping, meal preparation and snacks.
  • Bodies/Mind – Recognize how much time to spend on devices, moving is good for the body including stretching and strengthening it.
  • Relationships/Friendships – Talk about these areas as they come up.
  • Safety – Talk about naturally as they come up.

Planning your homeschool curriculum is easier than you think! I use a Google Sheets year-at-a-glance planning calendar, and I’m happy to share it with you for FREE! Be sure to grab it below.

Get Your FREE Google Sheets Year-At-A-Glance Homeschool Planner Below

Have you used any of these curriculums above? If so, which one?

Anchored in Christ,
Melanie

2019-2020 Grade 3 Homeschool Curriculum Picks

2019-2020 Grade 3 Homeschool Curriculum Picks

*This post contains affiliate links. Please read disclosure policy.*

I’m so excited to share with you our 2019-2020 grade 3 homeschool curriculum picks!

I LOVE the process of choosing curriculum – which for me is finding out and keeping tabs throughout the past year on all that’s out there and the possibilities. If our choices of curriculum can help you in any way with your choices, than I’m so happy I’ve shared it with you!

Combining Learning

First of all, where I can, I’m combine learning. My children aren’t that far apart in age, so to have materials that are designed for a grade 3 child can easily be adapted for a grade 1 child.

One thing I don’t want to do is become anxious and stressed out about having materials for every child in every grade and the pressure I put on myself to get it all done. This means only one thing for me and it’s burnout.

My children are at the age where I’m heavily involved and hands-on, which is totally fine, but recognizing it and acknowledging it is part of knowing that you can’t do it all.

Fueling Curiosity

What is excluded in my grade 3 homeschool curriculum picks for the year are all the other materials I naturally add along the way.

I struggle with feeling like I’m out of control and not having my children finish a particular curriculum or that we’re not going to get it done on time. But after reading Julie Bogart’s book, The Brave Learner this summer, it’s given me the confidence to fuel my children’s learning by the curiousity they display about a certain topic. This year, I WILL choose to fan the flame of curiosity.

Let’s also be real here – I want to keep to the curriculum and not loose ground so that we’ll finish by May AND I’ve checked all the boxes. That said, WHY we homeschool, the beauty and benefit of this lifestyle isn’t about keeping to a box or a formula and being held within its parameters; it’s about a fluidness to learning when hunger is deep. It’s about permission to explore a topic by means of library books, videos, documentaries, field trips, etc. until the topic is exhausted and the flame has sizzled (as far as my kids are concerned).

Fueling my children’s curiosity is definitely what I’m doing different this year.

2019-2020 Grade 3 Homeschool Curriculum Picks

Grade 3 Homeschool Curriculum Picks

So, here we go – the feast of rich learning we are diving into for this upcoming year…

Language Arts

Math

Science

Social Studies

2019-2020 Grade 3 Homeschool Curriculum Picks
2019-2020 Grade 3 Homeschool Curriculum Picks
2019-2020 Grade 3 Homeschool Curriculum Picks

Art

Music

  • Piano Lessons

Bible

Health

  • Fitness – Dance, swimming, some physical education challenges at home and other activities as they come up in the year.
  • Food – Talk about healthy food choices in our everyday life during shopping, meal preparation and snacks.
  • Bodies/Mind – Recognize how much time to spend on devices, moving is good for the body including stretching and strengthening it.
  • Relationships/Friendships – Talk about these areas as they come up.
  • Safety – Talk about naturally as they come up.

Planning your homeschool curriculum is easier than you think! I use a Google Sheets year-at-a-glance planning calendar, and I’m happy to share it with you for FREE! Be sure to grab it below.

Get Your FREE Google Sheets Year-At-A-Glance Homeschool Planner Below

Have you used any of these curriculums above? If so, which one?

Anchored in Christ,
Melanie

REVIEW: Evan-Moor How To Teach Art To Children

REVIEW: Evan-Moor How To Teach Art To Children

*This post contains affiliate links. Please read disclosure policy.*

I’ve actually wanted to get my hands on Evan-Moor How To Teach Art To Children for a while now. First, because it’s for Grades 1-6. I have children within those grades this year. And the second reason is that it covers a wide range of art elements teaching it progressively.

Although we’ve done other art programs with my daughter who is now in grade 3, my son who’s in grade 1 is at the beginning stages of learning about art. And this year, I’m catering art to my son while the older one will review what she’s learned and I’m sure she’ll learn more along the way!

How to Teach Art to Children is an easy open-and-go curriculum with 96 projects, step-by-step instructions, art appreciation and ease for you and fun for the kids! #evan-moor #evanmoor #homeschoolcurriculum #homeschoolart

I had the privilege of receiving a copy of Evan-Moor How To Teach Art To Children Enhanced E-book free with my honest review.

What This Curriculum Contains:

  • FREE downloadable e-book about art and artists
  • Material list (most, if not all these things are in our homes already!)
  • Words to know (vocabulary is important!)
  • 2 parts: Learning About The Elements Of Art and Using The Elements Of Art.
  • Step-by-step instructions
  • 96 projects
  • 159 pages

What I did notice about the curriculum is that there’s no schedule or lesson plan to follow. This wasn’t a deterent for me as I like to go with the flow as far as art is concerned. With 96 projects, you can do an art lesson once a week for 2-3 years while never repeating yourself.

This curriculum is the perfect open-and-go format where a lesson is short and simple, (one page typically) and to the point.

Part One: Learning About The Elements Of Art

This portion helps your children learn all about the seven basic elements of art:

  • line
  • shape
  • color
  • value
  • texture
  • form
  • space

Part Two: Using The Elements Of Art

This portions focuses on 23 famous artists, cultures, and types of art. It’s accompanied by an activity for kids to experience the style of each artist.

What Is Included In Each Lesson?

I love a good illustration to help me understand what the project is about, and this e-book is not short on diagrams! 

Each lesson contains:

  • an overview of what your children will be learning
  • materials list
  • step-by-step instructions for completing the project

This curriculum really couldn’t be any more simple!

How We’ll Be Using How To Teach Art To Children

In terms of our homeschool schedule, art is part of our afternoon loop. We incorporate it as part of our Brave Writer lifestyle and it’s been placed on Day 5 – our most relaxed day!

Now I’m not opposed to doing art more. It certainly is a subject we enjoy easily, so if we need to change things up in our atmosphere, whether it’s been a big emotion kind of day or an intensive type of learning day, art is a great place to bring us all together (and some snacks help too).

Printing This Curriculum

I love the idea of receiving digital e-books, especially in cases where I don’t want to print them. Instead, I keep them stored on my tablet or laptop for ease.

Now in this case, I printed it for you so that you could have a glimpse at the curriculum. That said, I would not recommend printing this e-book to save on ink and paper. The color is great for visual appeal and general helpfulness to show projects, but not necessary for printing as a whole.

Who Is This Curriculum For?

Not all curriculums are for every child or family. Perhaps if you’re looking for who this curriculum is for, I’ll put it this way. It’s a curriculum designed for:

  • homeschool families who have multiple children in multiple grades
  • open-and-go style of format
  • an inexpensive purchase (including the e-book itself and materials needed)
  • art fundamentals building on each concept.

To get your copy or have a look at Evan-Moor How To Teach Art To Children curriculum, visit their site here.

Have you used the Evan-Moor How To Teach Art To Children before? If so, how did you like it? Did this review help you? Let me know!

Anchored in Christ
Melanie

REVIEW: Evan-Moor Daily Science Grade 3

REVIEW: Evan-Moor Daily Science Grade 3

*This post contains affiliate links. Please read disclosure policy.*

I’m so excited to be using Evan-Moor Daily Science Grade 3 this upcoming year with both my grade 3 daughter and grade 1 son. We had such a wonderful experience last year when I purchased the Daily Science grade 2!

Evan-Moor Daily Science Grade 3 is open-and-go with short lessons, packed full of information, including vocabulary, copywriting, hands-on activities and more! #evan-moor #evanmoor #homeschoolcurriculum #homeschoolscience

I had the privilege of receiving a copy of Evan-Moor Daily Science Grade 3 Enhanced E-book free with my honest review.

About Evan-Moor Daily Science Grade 3

Here’s what you need to know about the curriculum:

6 Big Ideas (or Units)

There are 6 topics being covered over 5 weeks. The topics included in each unit are living things, plants, fossils, air, light and electricity.

The first 4 weeks explore each topic, while the fifth week is a unit review that includes comprehension, visual literacy, hands-on activity and vocabulary.

Unit Introduction

  • Teacher Background – gives you information on a topic before you cover it with your children. This can help bring confidence to what you’ll be studying.
  • Unit Overview – before beginning the big idea (unit), this overview helps you see what will be covered each week along with the vocabulary.

Weekly Lessons

At the beginning of each weekly lesson is a more in-depth look for you at what will be covered each day, including vocabulary, materials, and the presentation of ideas and concepts.

  • Days 1-4 – daily Lessons ask a question and provide an in-depth look at the answer. As part of the daily lessons over a 4-day period, the lessons include written work, comprehension, vocabulary, critical thinking, visual literacy and oral language practice.
  • Day 5 – reviews the week’s lessons.

Answer Key

If you’re feeling stumped on the answers, there is a handy answer key at the back of the book.

Printable E-Book

I choose to get printable e-books whenever it’s most suitable. With an online printing subscription that I have, a laminator and comb binding machine, we can make printing and binding a breeze!

What We Really Like About Evan-Moor Daily Science

  • Short lessons. Each lesson is full of information, and it’s not wordy. Kids don’t have to sit still for a long duration and feel overwhelmed by what they just learned.
  • Vocabulary. This is perfect for copywork and memorization.
  • Hands-on activities. My children like to experience what they learn wherever possible, so these activities help enrich and enlighten what they’ve digested over the 4 weeks.
  • Printable e-book. I get to choose if we print it out or not.

How We’ll Use Evan-Moor Daily Science

My children and I love information and it’s important to me that we practically apply, explore or dig in further discovering each unit.

I really like that the lessons are short. It allows us the ability to expand, dig in and explore more as we feel we’d like to. This includes drawing, talking, writing, watching and experiencing what we learned first-hand. So, I’ll have my kids each create a science notebook/nature journal where they can draw, color and write.

Additionally, we’ll pull out more books and videos from the library that go alongside each unit. I want my children to be given every opportunity to investigate their learning. So if we need to take longer on a particular unit, we will!

I’ll also have my kids work on vocabulary in oral and written format for the purpose of copywork and spelling. I’ll also have them narrate to me what they just learned.

To get your copy or have a look at Evan-Moor Daily Science Grade 3 curriculum, visit their site here.

Have you used Evan-Moor Daily Science curriculum before? I’d love to hear about your experience. Was this review helpful?

Anchored in Christ,
Melanie

How To Plan Homeschool Curriculum Using Google Sheets + FREE Template

How To Plan Homeschool Curriculum Using Google Sheets + FREE Template

*This post contains affiliate links. Please read disclosure policy.*

When I first started homeschooling, I thought I needed to create a homeschool curriculum plan by writing it down in a planner and following it. Boy was I wrong! I want to share with you how to plan homeschool curriculum using Google Sheets and what saved me from continuing to feel like a failure!

Creating a lesson plan, writing it down and following it DOES NOT work for us. It took about two weeks into our first homeschool year to feel like a complete planning (and homeschooling mom) failure.

At first I didn’t know what to do, because I felt that maybe I wasn’t doing this homeschool thing right… or maybe I wasn’t even doing life right. It really had me question things.

Instead I knew I needed a fresh planning idea that would save my sanity and yet help us accomplish our homeschool learning outcomes. And I’m so happy to say that I’ve found it… and would love to share it with you, if it can help you, too!

The Planning Failure

I felt like a homeschool planning failure because we were already behind.

I couldn’t keep up. I planned too much and there were unexpected things that happened in the week which took our schedule onto another path. And I had this question come up in me, “If we miss a few days, will we need to do math in the summer?” 

I was petrified that if we missed homeschool days due to sickness, dealing with kids emotions, field trips, play dates, and all the things that aren’t scheduled, would we ever stop homeschooling in the year? I couldn’t bear to never stop pulling out the math book.

I need rest from homeschooling and a break to refresh my heart concerning it all and that is why we don’t homeschool in summer.

After feeling like a failure, I began using these steps in our homeschool to start off the process for the year in a prayerful and mindful way.

Then from there, I developed a homeschool curriculum planner using Google Sheets. This reassures me that we’ll have a summer because I’ve planned for it!

I soon find out that, not only are we doing math 4 days a week instead of 5, we’ll also finish earlier than the year-at-a-glance curriculum planner! This includes having 4 weeks off in the year for holidays/vacations and a 3-month long summer.

Homeschool Planning Idea

This is what I’ve determined… I need two planners each year. The planners I need are:

  1. Planner #1: Year-at-a-glance using Google Sheets 
  2. Planner #2: Hard copy homeschool planner

Planner #1: Year-At-A-Glance Homeschool Planner Using Google Sheets

The year-at-a-glance homeschool planner gives me an overview of the entire year as it relates to curriculum.

It’s a guide to help me gauge how we’re doing, if we’re keeping up and if what I set out to do was reasonable. It also helps me start the year off with a postive outlook because I’ve “seen” that the plan will work. This, however, is not an etched-in-stone plan that I have to abide by. 

Planner #2: Hard Copy Homeschool Planner/Record-Keeper

The hard copy homeschool planner is where I write down what we actually do each day. This becomes more of a homeschool record-keeping journal, if you will.

The two of these planners proves successful for me. I refer back to the year-at-a-glance planner occasionally throughout the year. This allows me to review how we’re doing in comparison to the hard copy homeschool planner that I have as a record-keeper.

Just a side-note: I read Julie Bogart’s book this summer, “The Brave Learner” and found out that writing down what you actually do in your homeschool is a type of planning called Planning From Behind.

How to Plan Homeschool Curriculum Using Google Sheets

Before I start using Google Sheets, I do the following:

STEP 1: Determine The Number of Homeschool Days/Weeks

  • Print out a full year/annual school calendar (you can find this easily by googling).
  • Indicate your homeschool start date and end date.
  • Mark off the days you’ll take off as holidays or vacation.
  • Mark off weekends if you don’t homeschool over the weekend.
  • From there total up the number of homeschool days and weeks. (I total homeschool weeks using Mondays).

STEP 2: Start a Google Sheet and Update Fields

Open up Google. Find your Google Drive. Select New and select Google Sheet. Name your Google Sheet.

At the top of a Google Sheet, add the following columns:

  • “Week” (for the week number)
  • “Week Of” (for the Monday date of each week)
  • “Days” (for the number of homeschool days that week).

How To Plan Your Homeschool Year Using Google Sheets + FREE Template

Complete each of the fields below the column titles filling in the information from your annual/school calendar that you determined in step 1. (ie. Add Week 2, the Monday date and the number of days in that week. Add Week 3 and so on)

On the Google Sheet there are tabs at the bottom. Create as many tabs as you need for each child and one for Altogether if there are subjects you do together with all your children. Here is an example:

How To Plan Your Homeschool Year Using Google Sheets + FREE Template

Note: Be sure to copy the columns of Week, Week Of and Days to each of these tabs at the bottom.

STEP 3: Add Curriculum Subjects and Lessons

At the top of each column add the subject, below the subject add the curriculum title (shown below).

Review each curriculum. Read what’s suggested for the pace of time to do a lesson or unit. Determine what you’d like to do in your homeschool and fill in each field to know what lessons you’ll be looking to do that week. (ie. Lessons 1-3 for Bible on week 1, Lessons 4-8 for Bible on week 2, etc.)

Part of planning homeschool curriculum for the year is the routine, loop or schedule for each day/week. For our family, we work by routine and not so much a schedule.

Once I’ve determined how much time is required for the curriculum or what I want to see, I form the routine/loop.

How To Plan Your Homeschool Year Using Google Sheets + FREE Template

 

If you’d like to see a video of my homeschool planning process with the above steps in action, visit my Instagram Stories here.

Also, I’ve decided to make my Year-At-A-Glance Homeschool Planner using Google Sheets template available to you FREE!

And not only that, as an added BONUS, I’ve included an undated weekly and monthly planner in the template for you to use helping you keep a record of what you do in your homeschool (also known as planning from behind).

Get Your FREE Google Sheets Year-At-A-Glance Homeschool Planner Below

I’d love to hear from you. Was this process of how to plan homeschooling curriculum using Google Sheets helpful? Did the template help you as well? Let me know!

Anchored in Christ,
Melanie