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There are many advantages to lesson planning and keeping your sanity is one of them. When I finally came to my senses it was back in the middle ages (late 1990’s) of easy to use online lesson planning printables. There were some that I truly liked such as the free planners at DonnaYoung.org. She also created an Excel spreadsheet that was simple to use. The only downfall to online printables and spreadsheets is having to write everything into the planner or a lot of copy and paste. However, It was still more efficient than the other options.
I don’t recall where the idea of using Google Calendar came about but I thought it was a brilliant idea. It was one of those “Why didn’t I think of that.” moments. At the time I was already using a pre-planned curriculum and while our homeschool would have run much smoother if a lesson planner had been used I didn’t try it until this year. Sometimes I wonder why I waited. I can color code, repeat days without using “copy and paste”, share and easily add unexpected activities and lessons. It will make your homeschool life easier. You can watch the short video or read how I plan my lessons with Google Calendar below.“If I had my way, I would remove January from the calendar altogether and have an extra July instead.” ― Roald Dahl Click To Tweet
- Login to your Google account. If you don’t have a Google account you can visit here to create one.
- Once you have logged in open Google Calendar
Creating the Calendar
3. On the left side, you will see ADD A FRIENDS CALENDAR. Click on the plus sign and click the drop-down and go to New Calendar.
4. You are on the Settings page where you will create your new calendar. This is where you add a name and description for your calendar. I have named mine Homeschool and in the description, I like to have the school year and maybe the students’ name. If the state you live in requires more information you may want to add it to the description or add a link to a Google Doc that has the necessary details that your state law requires. Save your new calendar by clicking Create Calendar.
You can share the calendar with your students! To do that click on the calendar you just created that is visible on the sidebar. Click on the arrow and a menu appears. There are several options but for now, you are going to Share with Specific People. Click and on the right, you are taken to the section to Add People. Follow the prompts and remember to SEND.
5. Let’s add your main lesson/topic/unit study to the calendar. For this, I prefer to be in MONTH view which you can find at the top right between the search icon and the gear. Select the date you are going to start and click in that box. You can also click on the RED circle located in the right corner. A pop-up will appear. Go straight to MORE OPTIONS. That will take you to the page where you will be able to add all the details.
6. For this example, the main lesson is named LITERATURE/LANGUAGE ARTS. Because this study will last 4-6 weeks the date range will reflect that. Select ALL DAY. Make sure you have your HOMESCHOOL calendar selected not your personal calendar. You can see that in the sidebar on your right. Then SAVE.
What you are seeing here is how the calendar looks with the main lesson/unit study/theme/ for the weeks that it is being studied. Time to add the assignments for your study.
Creating the Assignments
7. To create the assignments in your lesson plan have the calendar in WEEK view. To switch to WEEK view go to the drop-down menu at the top right between the search icon and the gear. Choose the date and the time you will start the assignment. Click on that location and the details box will pop up again. You are going to select MORE OPTIONS.
8. This is where you enter the name of your lesson. To make it easy to read for our homeschool portfolio I name the event; Lesson Plan and then the topic. It looks like this Lesson Plan: A Wrinkle in Time.
9. In this example, we are going to have the class show daily, Monday through Friday, on the Lesson Plan Calendar and just for 1 week. Select the date of the week and the time the class will start and what time the class will end i.e. 1:30 pm to 2:00 pm. The dates should be the same. Below the date and time selection, you have the option to click off ALL DAY or choose what days the class is going to be on. click on the down arrow and click on EVERY WEEKDAY.
10. After the dates and times are filled out then you can add the assignments for the week in the description. You can read how I detail this in my blog post about lesson planning here.
This is how it will look after you have added the class to your Lesson Plan.
Color code each class for easy reading or color code each student.
After you set up your lesson plan in Google Calendar you will see how simple this is. Watch the video at the beginning of the post then read through the guide. Share how you use Google Calendar for lesson planning for your homeschool below. I’m sure there are some creative approaches out there!