Today, I’m answering a recent question from a homeschooling mom asking about what comes with Daily Lesson Plans.
Here’s the question:
I want to make sure that I understand ordering options correctly. The 1st grade daily lesson plans don’t include the lists of books, the teacher manuals, or the k-2 unit program tools, right? I guess what I am really trying to ask is, side-by-side, what are the exact differences between the Daily Lesson Plans and the Unit Programs? Thank you for your time. M.
My short answer is that they are different curriculums with different features created for different teaching styles. You can use either curriculum to help bring your kids’ homeschool education to life, but the most important factor is how you’re comfortable teaching.
Now, here’s my longer answer without the personal info, formatted for a blog post.
How we got started
We started by creating Charlotte Mason-inspired unit study programs (now called Unit Program Tools). Then, several of our customers asked if we would create more structured daily lesson plans. So we did!
But first, I’ll tell you about our Unit Program Tools.
We started with our unstructured Unit Program Tools
In a nutshell, our Unit Programs cover history, science, language arts, and fine arts — all using excellent literature. They’re written from a Christian worldview, like all of our curricula. Our Unit Program Tools include the following:
- A list of suggested books, divided into historical units, then by topics within those units. In each of our program levels, there are enough books suggested for 3-4 years. In fact, there are about 400 pre-read book suggestions in each of the four Unit Program Tools.
- Each unit has a page of history and science activity/assignment ideas for you to choose from, with more assignment and activity options added for each level of the program.
- A Teacher’s Manual comes with each Unit Program Tools level. Our Teacher’s Manuals tell you how to teach, in Charlotte Mason-inspired ways, history, science, grammar, punctuation, writing, spelling, vocabulary, and more. And all using living books. Our Teacher’s Manuals teach YOU how to select spelling and vocabulary words as well as copywork to teach English skills.
- We provide English Skill checklists, phonics checklists, and assignment ideas.
- We also provide a Teacher’s Overview of each historical period’s important events and people. These are more detailed at the Preparatory (6th -8th grades) and Secondary (9th-12th grades) levels.
So with each of our Unit Program Tools, you have the resources you need to teach three (or four, in the case of high school) years of school. (Other than the books available at your public library or [affiliate link] Amazon.com.)
You can plan daily lessons with our Unit Program Tools if you want them. But most homeschool moms don’t. Instead, they:
- Want to have an organized framework to start with, but they don’t want to be told what to do or say
- Choose flexibility rather than having everything planned for them
- Want the freedom to choose their books from our carefully curated booklists
- Like having assignment options to choose from, so they don’t have to come up with everything on their own
- Prefer to go at their own pace and often journal what they do after the fact rather than following a set plan every day
In summary, the homeschool moms who prefer our Unit Program Tools prefer to go to the library and grab books, choose project or activity ideas in history and science every week, choose 3-4 English skills from our checklist, and find their own copywork selections. They informally cover spelling and vocabulary words as they come to them from the history and science reading. And they go down rabbit trails to their hearts’ content!
Related Post: Unit Program Tools or Daily Lesson Plans? Which is best for your family?
We created the Daily Lesson Plans from our Unit Program Tools
For those moms who wanted and needed a more open-and-go curriculum with daily lessons in history, science (K-8th grade), language arts, and fine arts, we took the Unit Program Tools and created our Daily Lesson Plans by:
- choosing the books that would be read each week for 35 weeks
- dividing the reading into daily assignments
- creating discussion questions and narration prompts over the reading
- choosing poetry integrated with history and science
- integrating geography studies into the study of history
- choosing spelling and vocabulary words for 35 weeks of study
- selecting copywork from history and science books to teach grammar, punctuation, and composition skills
- adding interesting and informative Internet links/historical notes to help you teach
- pulling science and history facts for memory work
- creating graphic organizers specifically to help your student learn to organize his/her thoughts (an important prewriting/writing skill)
- including a short teacher’s guide with complete instructions, including how to set up student notebooks, a summary of Charlotte Mason methods we use, and more
So although the tools are there in the Unit Programs Tools, YOU decide what you are going to do with those tools, whereas, in the Daily Lesson Plans, we have taken the time to plan all of that out for you.
The Differences between our Unit Programs and our Daily Lesson Plans
In contrast, our structured daily lesson plans offer one homeschool year of daily lesson plans, rather than 3-4 years of unit study tools. Like our Unit Program Tools, our daily lesson plans are written from a Christian worldview and cover history, science, geography, language arts (reading, poetry, grammar, composition, punctuation, vocabulary, and fine arts (art, architecture, music).
It’s easiest to print the pages from the link above, then read the explanations below.
You’ll always know where you are in the daily lesson plans
Each page of our Daily Lesson Plans has a “key” at the top left of the page, letting you know what unit’s grade level, unit, and days are covered.
The first day of the week also tells you:
- the #Unit that you are on and its name
- which week (out of how many weeks) you are on
- the overall history theme
- the overall science theme
- the list of books we used in the plan, along with ISBNs.
- lastly, all reference books and materials that have been used in the plans are listed. (These are not “have-to-have” materials to use the plans; you may take advantage of them if they are readily accessible to you or if you want to build a family library.)
The Themes/Objectives Page of the Daily Lesson Plans
You’ll also see a Unit Themes/Objectives page that lets you know what you will be covering in the Plans that week. This page includes the following:
- a History Theme and which week out of how many you’ll be studying this theme
- the specific topics your kids will be reading and learning about
- a Science theme and objectives
- the Language Arts theme and objectives
- Project descriptions
The History/Reading/Geography Page
Each week of the Plans has five days, shown vertically on the left. They are numbered instead of named so that you can pick up where you left off, no matter your homeschool schedule. The History/Reading/Geography page includes:
- Reading Assignments for History
- Globe/Map Skills/Timeline/Discussion questions or narration prompts
- Poetry and Fine Arts reading and discussion prompts
- Any Projects we recommend
Related Post: What comes with Daily Lesson Plans?
The Language Arts Page
Like the History/Reading/Geography Page, the Language Arts page of the Daily Lesson Plans includes assignments for five weekdays. The assignment types included on the Language Arts page are:
- Written Narration
- Grammar and Writing (English) Skills
The Bottom Line
So, back to M.’s answer… “No, you don’t automatically get the Primary Unit Program Tools, Teacher’s Manuals, or extended booklists when you order the Daily Lesson Plans. You don’t need those because you already have everything you need to teach the year using the Daily Lesson Plans.”
If you have any other questions about our Daily Lesson Plans, please use the Contact Page link at the top of this page and send me a note. I’d love to hear from you.