I am an incredibly busy mom. Between homeschooling, raising special needs kids, working from home, and all of the other duties a mother has, my plate is full. I know I’m not alone in this. We are all busy, we all have laundry, dishes, errands to run, and children to educate. I for one do not have time to write out lesson plans!
In fact, when I’m searching out curriculum choices, a laid out lesson plan is the first thing I look for. If the curriculum doesn’t have an open the book and go plan laid out for me, I don’t give it a second thought. Don’t get me wrong, those choices that don’t offer lesson plans might be some of the best out there. But, if they involve extra work on my end to create lesson plans, I’ve chosen to walk away. There are plenty of options out there where the lesson plans are already created.
Finding Literature Based Curriculum With Lesson Plans
I really wanted to go with a literature based curriculum this year. In my searching I found several unit study approach resources for literature. The problem I was finding however, was many of these were a short study based on one particular piece of literature.
Now, I’m not saying that these products are bad, I’m pretty sure they’re great resources. The problem I had with this kind of an approach was that most didn’t incorporate the literature into any history lessons. Or, I was finding that they were single book products. This means each one would only get us through a couple weeks of school.
That simply doesn’t cut it for me. I need a curriculum with lesson plans to last us the entire school year. Again, I’m not saying these products are bad. It comes down to saving both time and stress on my end as the homeschool mom. It’s really as simple as that.
Then, I found Sonlight. A Christian year long program that incorporated the literature choices with the history lessons all planned out for me in a turn key Instructor’s Guide.
Sonlight’s Instructor Guide
The Instructor’s Guide from Sonlight truly is an open and go system perfect for busy moms like myself.
A basic Sonlight package includes History, Bible, and Literature. Of course you can also purchase other subjects such as Science, and Language Arts which also have complete instructor’s guides. For the sake of this post, I will be referring to Sonlight D Instructor’s Guide. The basic structure of the guides are the same for the different levels and subjects.
The Instructor’s Guides lay out lesson plans for you on a week by week basis. The lesson plans outline what you should read each day from each book. I cannot tell you how valuable this is to me! In our study of American History we are currently using three books. Because the Instructor’s Guide tells me which pages to read each day we are learning about events from one to three sources.
Having a lesson plan already designed for me that lays out exactly which pages from each book cover a certain event is priceless to me. I mean who has time to seek out and pull these resources, and then line up the readings from each book? I know I certainly don’t have that kind of spare time!
The Instructor’s Guides also have discussion questions that tie into each reading. This offers a perfect time to discuss further the historical events, or characters and story lines of the read alouds and readers. You’ll also find a section for cultural literacy and vocabulary words. This has been extremely helpful to me, especially as we read great books that are set in different time periods. The cultural differences in The Witch of Blackbird Pond for example uses terminology we don’t use today. The guide helps us through some of those references.
Freedom to Adjust The Lesson Plans
Besides the fact that Sonlight does all the heavy lifting for me when it comes to making lesson plans, my favorite part of the Instructor’s Guide is that it offers flexibility! I’ll be honest and tell you that we don’t complete everything everyday. The good thing is that some of the reading assignments are short enough that we can do two in a day if we need to.
Sometimes we don’t do the readers everyday. Grasshopper’s dyslexia means that he struggles in this area and easily becomes frustrated. Since we are still working on lessons of how to read, I will shorten his Sonlight readers assigned or simply delay them until the weekend (especially on days where his reading class assignments are longer). Reading the readers during the weekend means we don’t fall behind with our them, but we gain practice in the weekend.
My point is this, it is a guide, not a rule book. There is room to wiggle and adjust to meet you needs. But even if you find yourself making adjustments here and there, the meat behind the lesson plans is done for you.
Completed Lesson Plans Means Less Stress
Bottom line, when the curriculum comes with my lesson plans completed for me, it is much less stress on me as a mom. Honestly, I am pretty sure our homeschool would fall apart if it depended on me creating our lesson plans. It’s not of course that it can’t be done by a homeschool mom, I simply chose to delegate that responsibility to Sonlight.when the curriculum comes with my lesson plans completed for me, it is much less stress on me… Click To Tweet
One thing I have been learning the hard way on my journey as a special needs homeschooling mom is that I can’t expect myself to do everything. If I try to do everything nothing is done well. So here I am, admitting to the world that I will not assign any of my precious time to writing lesson plans. I will gladly spend a little extra money on a curriculum that has an entire year’s worth of lesson plans completed for me. The time and stress saved is well worth every penny.
Now, if only it included a housekeeper….