Can I use your daily lesson plans without all the books?

how to use our daily lesson plans without all the books

How to use our Daily Lesson Plans without all the books we recommend.

A FAQ we get all the time:
I love the lesson plan sample I see on your website! I know I should be using a literature-based homeschooling curriculum instead of  {textbook curriculum}, but I don’t think I could find or afford to buy all of those books. Would I be able to use your lesson plans without having all of the books?
Yes, you certainly can use our Daily Lesson Plans without all the books. Realistically, not everyone that uses our Daily Lesson Plans has an excellent public library system, or the funds to buy a ton of books, or the storage space for a home library. Fortunately, by looking at your Plans, you can see the books you’ll use for multiple weeks and those you don’t. Then you can easily choose which books you can substitute and which ones you should try to find.

How to prioritize which books you need the most.

First, select the books that are used multiple weeks by looking at the book lists on the second page of each week.
In this sample from the Colonial unit of our 2nd Grade Daily Lesson Plans, you can see that the first book is used for two weeks, the next three are used for one week, and the last two (in bold type) are used for multiple weeks.
Book Title Author     Unit     ISBN    Set  Week
…If You Sailed on The Mayflower  in 1620 McGovern, Ann Col 590451618  II      1,2
Air is All Around You Branley, Franklyn M. Col 64450481  II          3
Benjamin Franklin D’Aulaire, Ingri and Edgar Col 964380390  II 3
Catch the Wind! All About Kites Gibbons, Gail Col 316309966  II 3
Colonial Kids: An Activity Guide to Life in the New World Carlson, Laurie Col 978-1556523229  II 1,2,3
Dangerous Journey* Hunkin, Oliver


978-0551012189  II 4+
*This book continues through the next unit

As you evaluate your book budget you could choose to:

  • Only buy the books that are used multiple weeks OR
  • Buy only the books that are not in your public library OR
  • Request the books you don’t have in your library from Interlibrary Loan (4-6 weeks before you need them.) OR
  • Use a combination of all three!
how to use our daily lesson plans without all the books

After that, you can check the Plans to see what books are used as a reference or for one project.

Look at the plans themselves and see which books are used as a reference or just for a project or two – those are not essential and may be omitted if they aren’t in your library system.
For example, in Week #3 of the Colonial Unit, the book Catch the Wind! All About Kitesby Gail Gibbons is recommended as an independent reader.
Looking directly at the plans, (CW indicates the book Catch the Wind), you can see in the following example that this book is used only for two days of the week to cover science.
(Only the two days that apply have been reproduced below – and note that the formatting in the example is not exactly true to the plans themselves.)
Science Reading  Science Discussion    General Memory Work
Reading: Discussion: Memory Work:
CW – read the first five double pages What is the kite named after? Why did Benjamin Franklin fly a kite? Where did the idea come from for the box kite? Practice the chosen proverbs.
Reading:  Discussion:  
CW – finish reading Have your student list the different types of kites. Name some materials used to make kites. Explain how a kite can fly. Define lift. Recite the proverbs from the week.
Make a home-made kite as shown in the final pages of CW or buy a kite and go on a kite-flying outing.    
You can also see by reading the discussion questions in bold type what kind of information is covered in the book.
You should easily be able to find another book that is in your pubic library that covers similar information if the suggested one is not in your library.  Enlist the aid of your children’s librarian if necessary – they are quite helpful!

You can use the Internet!

Even if the book you find doesn’t cover everything mentioned in the lesson plans, you can often find information readily available on the Internet to supplement it.
For example, if the book you find does not specify how to make a kite, you could Google “make a kite.”  You can see in the example below that a less-than-a-second search provided a number of options.
About 22,900,000 results (0.18 seconds)
Search Results
Make your own kite!
How to make a simple diamond kite. … The paper, plastic, or cloth, that cover the frame to make a kite. The Bridle. One or more strings attached to the … – Cached – Similar?
How To Make A Kite – 27 Kites! Fully Illustrated Step-By-Step …
Learn how to make a kite, 8 types to choose from, each in 3 sizes! Plus 3 Box kites. Full step-by-step instructions. – Cached – Similar
How to Make a Kite Out of a Plastic Bag (with video) – wikiHow
July 13, 2019 … While very simple to make, a kite made from plastic will fly very high and you will… Any light breeze will make the kite wobble and fly. Kite Making and Kite Flying – Cached – Similar
Benjamin Franklin. Make a Kite | PBS
Make a Kite – Follow these instructions to make a kite like Franklin’s! printable instructions. What you’ll need: – one 24-inch wooden dowel or lightweight, … – Cached – Similar

You can choose to skip the book!

OR – you can choose to just skip that book and/or project altogether.
As we say multiple times in all of our curricula – Please don’t feel as though you have to follow any curricula exactly as it is written. 
Let it be the tool that it was intended to be rather than letting it enslave you!

Other book gathering strategies:

  • Keep the book lists handy and check used bookstores or Goodwill/Thrift Stores whenever it is convenient.
  • Let others know that books would be great gifts (and give them your list!).
  • Yes, you can certainly use our Daily Lesson Plans without having every one of the suggested books.  If you have thought about using our Daily Lesson Plans, don’t let the thought of ‘all those books’ put you off.
If you are still concerned, try one of the trial Ancients units. To do this, start by going to our main Daily Lesson Plans page.  Then, click on the individual level or levels you’re considering. One the top right of each grade level’s page, you can choose whether to order the trial Ancients unit. Each unit is six weeks long, so you’ll get 30 days of Daily Lesson Plans in history, language arts, science and fine arts for a very economical price.

Additional strategies for gathering books:

  • Check with larger churches in your area. Many have wonderful, family-friendly libraries and would be happy to let you borrow books – even if you don’t attend that church
  • Regularly collect books a few at a time so that by the time you need to teach a grade level you already have most of the books.
  • Let your homeschooling support group know you are looking for a particular list of books and ask if you can borrow them for a specified period.
  • Work with a friend who also is using daily lesson plans but at a different grade level – trade books as needed.
  • In summary, we have read many, many books and feel we have found some exceptional ones. However, it is understood that most of us have chosen a lifestyle that doesn’t include unlimited resources.  🙂
Even if you have to do a little hunting for (or substituting) books – having daily lesson plans still simplifies your job. Not only do you have daily lessons in history, science, language arts, and fine arts all done for you for a year…. you also reap the benefit of increased engagement and learning by integrating subjects.
And you can teach school in less time!  Win-win-win!

Hopefully, this post has helped you feel confident that you can use our Daily Lesson Plans without all the books we suggest. Now you know how to weed down the book list if you need or want to!  

Happy planning,
daily lesson plans without all the books - dana


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