What are Lesson Plans?
A lesson plan is usually a written document made by a teacher, or in this case home teacher. It sets out the objectives of a session of learning and describes how that objective will be met, including the lesson’s activities, timings, possible break periods, etc. A lesson plan therefore takes a topic or curriculum and breaks it down to fit an element of that curriculum into a more manageable time slot. Some home schooling families swear by lesson plans.
These structured ways of managing a child’s education can help both home schooling parents and their children to relax during the tutorial process as both feel that the educational progress is going on. As well as avoiding concerns about the ‘correct’ pace of learning and ensuring that a child can complete a certain subject or exam syllabus, for example, within the available period of time. Having lesson plans can also be useful as a source of proof that the home schooled child is receiving an education if a representative of a Local Education Authority (LEA) asks for some this kind of evidence, which can occur in some areas.
Do note, however, that just as many home schooling parents detest lesson plans! These parents usually believe that home education is a way to instigate the philosophy that all learning about life is a form of education, and that learning can be picked up just as much on a supermarket trip to pick up onions as sitting down at a desk with a textbook. This method of schooling, sometimes known as ‘unschooling’, would not usually involve lesson plans as these heighten the distinction between everyday life and a taught, or learnt, education.
Flexible Lesson Plans For Home Schooling
Within home schooling, many parents find a chief benefit to be the individualisation of lessons and tutoring to each child, so it’s important that a lesson plan does not become so important to a parent that following its guidance becomes the most vital part of the lesson. Keep in mind at all times that the lesson plan is supposed to facilitate learning rather than become an end in itself. In addition, lesson plans should also remain flexible so that if its time estimations are wrong – because, for example, a child is struggling with one particular topic or making especially good progress in another, then move away from the lesson plan.
Since a further benefit of home learning are the opportunities to visit exhibitions, museums, visiting speakers, etc., during the educational process, it’s a good idea to build lesson plans around these events, for example having a physics lesson plan for the day after a visit to a science museum can bring up ideas when they are fresh in the mind.
Making a Lesson Plan
This section of the article will talk through making a sample lesson plan for a literature lesson. There are also a wide range of lesson plans available on the Internet for free, as well as in books, teaching guide books and from paid suppliers (see elsewhere on this website for the article about buying lesson plans) so parents can gauge more about lesson plans.
The first step to making a lesson plan is to list the objectives of that lesson. A lesson plan for a literature lesson on Golding’s ‘The Lord of the Flies’, for example, might have these objectives:
- Understand the nature of literary symbolism
- Understand and identify pathetic fallacy
- Talk about character development
- Improve critical writing ability.
Next the parent would consider the lessons timings, which would depend on the child’s reading rate, the amount of book to be read, the available time, the child’s general attention levels, etc.
Next the lesson plan would identify key chapters to read, highlight, discuss, and so on, and then an activity, such as making a dictionary of critical terms for literary study. Finally the lesson plan might also include a title for the tutor to organise written work, such as ‘write a further chapter on ‘The Lord of the Flies’ – how do the children adapt to be back at home?