Hifalutin Hints
A cup of coffee
“A fresh page appears, for a pleasant, prayerful period of practical planning, prudent progression, projecting perfection….
…and possible poppycock.”
Jennifer Cabrera
Poppycock-Free Planners
Homeschool lesson plans are my Sunday evening happy place of hope and harmony—and possibly hogwash—before the start of a new week. Glancing back at the carnage of the previous week, I choose to ignore those forgotten scratch throughs, coffee stains, and exclamation points of academic urgency. A fresh page appears, for a pleasant, prayerful period of practical planning, prudent progression, projecting perfection….

…and possible poppycock.

The next week of the rest of your homeschool year starts now,” I mentally beam to each of my kids, as I choose an inspiring palette of gel pen colors for each of their planners and begin authoring their academic endeavors and advancements.

I plan for perfection, but I keep it real and doable by settling for just being awesome.

Though writing weekly lesson plans is sometimes like playing a game of chance with myself, each week the majority of what I write gets done in some form or fashion. Things we ran out of time for get carried over to the next week’s lovely new gel-color ensemble. And a few things, well, just weren’t meant to be more than colorful filler in the art of a hopeful homeschool planner.

Here are a few notes, pointers, and suggestions I’ve picked up over the years that might help you keep your planning fastened to the floor of reality and your planners pretty and precise.


Write lesson plans in pencil. No really, put the pen down. Don’t waste your precious ink. Writing lesson plans is 50% determination, 30% hope, and 20% chance.

1. Write lesson plans in pencil. No really, put the pen down. Don’t waste your precious ink. Writing lesson plans is 50% determination, 30% hope, and 20% chance.
2. There’s a chance you won’t get to one thing on the list each day. Write that thing last (lightly, in pencil).
3. If you let the kids write their own lesson plans as they complete each assignment, they’ll not only be accurate, but the task doubles as copywork, handwriting, grammar, and organizational skills. Enough birds with one stone to have them cook homemade fried chicken for dinner. And that’s life skills and home economics.
4. Kids over eight, and most boys, don’t appreciate or even notice the colored gel pens, encouraging stickers, silly doodles of love, and reminders. But if it is your favorite weekly to-do, carry on, Mr. Bowditch.
Coffee and Books
5. If you’re going to write a schedule, write everything there is to do. That way when the kids screech, “You didn’t tell me we had to ________,” you can hold up the evidence. They still won’t read it ahead of time, but the judge will rule in your favor.
6. The request of “Bring me your planner,” will become equivalent to “Go clean the kitchen,” “Let’s go to the dentist,” or “Time for bed.” They will recoil and sigh in defeat, but thank you later. Maybe when they’re forty.
7. Curriculum is just a tool… like a hammer. It’s how and for what you use it that matters. You could use it to build a beautiful new bookshelf to store more curriculum. You could roll up your curriculum and smack people who ask about socialization. I forgot where I was going with this…
8. Life is what happens when you’re busy doing the fifty-two other activities at the end of each chapter. Be selective.
9. Don’t let the curriculum make you look bad. Following the scripted lesson plans verbatim can lead you away from your mojo. You know how to talk to your own kids the way they’ll understand best. You’re way cooler than most curriculum. (Maybe not Gross-Out Grammar, but most…)
10. Don’t suck the fun out of holidays with unit studies, crafts no one wants to make, or displays of trivia for skeptical relatives.
11. I was going to stop at ten pointers, but seventeen is a prime number! For extra fun and learning each week, add a fact like this, a quote, or a joke to their planner that they probably won’t read either.
12. Read the list of supplies needed for the week’s science labs before committing it to the planner and definitely before grocery shopping. Denatured alcohol is harder to find than you think. Also, the grocer frowns upon buying just four purple cabbage leaves.
13. Plan for healthy dinner options each week, but throw in some survival skill nights as needed. Host a “cereal killer” night once a month—a high calcium feast and crime trivia fun night to annihilate all the stale cereal the kids have been begging you to replace.
14. At this point, you’ve already scratched something out in pen because you didn’t listen to number one on this list. And you realized read-aloud time after the co-op banana split party just isn’t going to happen. Turn that scratch-out into a firework of inspiration. Write “You’re exploding with knowledge!” above it.
15. Know that the best learning often happens in the debris of the great expectations written on your planner. The experiment didn’t work, but they learned to keep their greasy fingers out of the bowl and to read the meniscus accurately. Or they possibly did all the wrong math problems and had to start over. “Guess you’ll read your planner next time!”
16. Always leave space to sneak into their planners and write-in things you forgot or suddenly want to add. “Oh look, see right there in lovely lavender ink? It’s your day to clean the aquarium.”
17. There’s no such thing as a perfectly planned day. Despite the flotsam and jetsam of good intentions that will amass in your planner over the year, I hope you recognize the many perfect homeschool days you’ll have anyway.
Jennifer Cabrera

ennifer Cabrera, the Hifalutin Homeschooler, is a writer, author of Socialize Like a Homeschooler: A Humorous Homeschool Handbook Revolting Writing: For Boys… and Girls Who Dare!, and Gross Out Grammar. She’s also a speaker of homeschool truth, help, and humor. Her writings, insights, and memes poke fun of life as a homeschooler (and those who know nothing of it). She hopes to bring laughter and inspiration to get through the hard days. She also wants “to empower parents to be headstrong and take pride in looking out for their family’s education, future, and freedom.”

Jennifer homeschools their three boys deep in the heart of Texas and says “It was everything I never knew I always wanted to do.”