Lesson Plans and Assignments

What is a Lesson Plan?

In HSTOnline, a Lesson Plan is a list of items that will be used to create Assignments for your students. Creating Lesson Plans is an optional feature, but one which can enhance your planning and record-keeping experience.

The Lesson Plan allows you to set up all the work to be done in advance. You can tweak your entries to include precise directions, topics, supply lists, etc. and you can do this before the start of the school year. Will it take some time to do this? Absolutely - a few hours or even a day or two depending on how many Lesson Plans you choose to create. However, if you do this you will likely find that it's worth the time-saving benefits throughout the school year. Once you have everything set in a Lesson Plan, you can create the actual Assignments for one or more students in just a few minutes time. And you can create those Assignments for any time frame that works best for you: daily, weekly, monthly - whatever date range you like.

Food for Thought

In addition to creating your own Lesson Plans, you can import Lesson Plans that other HSTOnline users have elected to share, and you can make your Lesson Plans available to other users as well. See: Sharing Lesson Plans for more information.

A Lesson Plan needs a name - and you can call it whatever you like: Algebra I, AP Physics, Sally's Language Arts, Egypt Unit Study, 4th Grade History, etc. The name is simply a way for you to have a general idea of what the plan contains. You can create as many Lesson Plans as you like.

We recommend that you put items in a Lesson Plan that are dependent on each other. For example - if you have a History textbook as well as historical fiction that covers the same time period, you might want to put those items together into one plan. This will help you keep track of both types of lessons at the same time. But we would not recommend putting your Math and History in the same Lesson Plan. You can if you wish, of course, but it is probable that you will get ahead in one area and fall behind in another, and that can become confusing when trying to manage the Lesson Plan.

Each item in your Lesson Plan has a 'Day' number. This roughly equates to a day of school. So in a History Lesson Plan, all the items with Day 1 will be assigned on the first day you do History, all the items with Day 2 will be on the 2nd day you do History, etc. You can place each item on a separate Day number, or you can have multiple items on the same Day number. For example, if you have a Grammar workbook that has 180 lessons, you might create a Lesson Plan where you have one lesson per day so that it spreads out evenly over your school year. If you also have a phonics workbook, you might choose to put that in the same plan, and have a phonics lesson every other Day - so that one day there is just a Grammar lesson, and the next there is a Grammar and a Phonics lesson. You can create any pattern you like with your plans.

Here are some sample plans to give you an idea of how this works.

Example 1: Lessons with Tests at regular intervals

This Lesson Plan shows work for Algebra 1. The Lesson Plan name is Math: Algebra 1, and it consists of a pattern of math lessons, followed by a test, followed by more lessons. This pattern is created very quickly by entering the tests first, and then fitting the lessons around the existing items. Step by step directions for this process can be found in the Copying Lesson Plan Items Help Page.

Example 1 - Lessons with Tests at regular intervals

Example 2: Multiple Activities in one Lesson Plan, More than one Activity per Day

This Lesson Plan shows work in a French class. Each Lesson has 4 parts: Read, Write, Review and Quiz. The reading activity occurs the first day, write and review occur on the next day together, quiz on the 3rd day, and then the pattern repeats. It was created by using the Lesson Plan Copy function to enter all the Read items, then all the Write items, then the Review items, and finally the Quiz items.

Example 2 - Multiple Activities in one Lesson Plan, More than one Activity per Day

Example 3: Alternating Activities

This third example shows a fairly simple Science/AP Physics plan where days alternate between Lesson and Lab. The Student for whom this plan is intended has AP Physics just once a week on Thursdays. With the plan designed in this way, each Thursday he will get either a Lesson or a Lab, depending on what is next in the Lesson Plan to be submitted.

Example 3 - Alternate Activities

Example 4: Multiple Resources in the same Lesson Plan

Finally, in this 4th example, you can see part of an English 10 Lesson Plan that shows the ending of one book ('Little Women') and the beginning of another ('The Annotated Price and Prejudice'). This Lesson Plan consists of a number of literature books that the Student will read, write about, and then discuss, and then begin reading the next book.

Example 4 - Multiple Resources in the same Lesson Plan

This list of examples is by no means exhaustive. Our hope is that it gives you some idea of how you might construct the Lesson Plans you need for your homeschool.

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Creating Assignments from a Lesson Plan

After you create your Lesson Plans you will use the Scheduler tool to create the actual Assignments for your Students. You can access the Scheduler from the Student: Lesson Plan and Presets area or from the Lesson Plan page.

Scheduler from the Student: Lesson Plans and Presets area: Choose to create Assignments from one or more of the Student's Active Lesson Plans. HSTOnline will pick up where you last left off in that plan for the Student and create the Assignments needed to fill your selected date range, or until all un-used Lesson Plan items have been utilized.

Scheduler from the Lesson Plan area: Choose to create Assignments for one or more Students from the same Lesson Plan. HSTOnline will pick up where you last left off with each Student in the Lesson Plan, or you can select specific items from the Lesson Plan to use with Scheduler. Items will be created to fill your selected date range, or until all the un-used Lesson Plan items have been utilized for each Student you have selected.

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What makes an Assignment different from a Lesson Plan item?

Lesson Plans, as we've seen, have Day designations which allows you to put them in the desired order. But they are not tied to any specific Student or date. Assignments are tied to a specific Student and Date, and can be marked as completed and graded. Any work your Student does must be entered as an Assignment in order to generate Report Cards, Transcripts, and other progress reports.

Sample Assignment List

As noted above, you are not required to start with a Lesson Plan. You may add Assignments directly into the Agenda, and there are copy functions that make that process relatively painless. So why bother with a Lesson Plan? Here are a few reasons:

But again - one of the wonderful things about HSTOnline is that you use it the way in which it works best for you and your homeschool! Most folks will find themselves using some combination of Lesson Plans and direct-entry of Assignments. Check out these Tips for those who tend towards un-schooling or a more child-led homeschool.

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