What Is a Homeschool Lesson Plan?
Here is one way to understand the role of homeschool lesson plans in learning:
For the overview of a child’s schooling, several goals are set for the student to accomplish. These goals are about the big picture like literacy. These goals are divided into grade-level targets called standards. Standards are further divided into objectives, which are outcomes that can be handled in a unit of work.
Each unit of work is one of a multitude of ways that the objective could be achieved. It contains a set of learning experiences, topics, and content that will be covered. It may specify assessment to measure the results of the unit of work and indicators that help an observer know what outcomes have been achieved.
A unit of work is delivered in a series of homeschool lesson plans. Each lesson plan is a specific approach to delivering a portion of the unit of work and tells what objectives will be met using which learning experiences, topics, and content.
For example, in helping a child achieve literacy (a goal), a standard for a particular grade might be an understanding of prefixes and suffixes. An objective might be for students to know suffixes that change adjectives into nouns. A unit of work would detail which suffixes these are and how understanding of suffixes is best conveyed, and an individual homeschool lesson plan might provide a plan for teaching the suffix –ness.
But such a lesson could work in many, many different ways. For example, such a lesson could begin with a recording of the song “Happiness” from the musical You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Or it could center around a made up story concerning the Loch Ness monster and incorporating a large number of words ending in –ness, like brightness, happiness, selfishness, stubbornness, greatness, etc.
A homeschool lesson plan is not simply a single one-step activity involving the concept. It tells how the concept is introduced, how the student interacts with it while learning, how the student comes to “own” the concept, and how the learning is assessed.
Assessing Homeschool Lesson Plans
If you are reviewing homeschool lesson plans either to use them or to make a judgment about subscribing to a homeschool curriculum or a school program, here are some guidelines you can use:
• What age/grade/level of student is the lesson plan designed for? On the one hand, students do not all develop at the same level, and your child might do well if you use lesson plans that are above or below his or her grade level. On the other hand, an approach that works for a ninth grader won’t likely be of much use for a first grader. And vice versa.
• What materials, resources, and prior knowledge and understandings are needed to complete the lesson plan? If your child needs to know the Pythagorean theorem or you need to have a candy thermometer to complete the lesson, that’s important to know before you start.
• How long is the lesson plan likely to take to complete? You’ll want to know if you’re looking at a plan that will take 15 minutes or 6 hours as you’re deciding whether it meets your child’s needs.
• What’s the relationship of the lesson plan to the long-term plans for the student? An isolated homeschool lesson plan on abstract nouns is not much good to you, unless you are looking for specifically that. If you are looking for a program, it’s important to know what comes before, what comes after, and how it fits into the greater scheme of objectives, standards, and goals.