Lessontrek Online Lesson Planner FAQ

Lessontrek has been a part of our homeschool for years now and I am so thankful. I was asked to review it years ago and honestly thought it would be a quick review and I wasn’t even sure I would use it long term. Lessontrek is an integral part of our homeschool and has been such a helpful addition, I can’t imagine not having it now! We are happy to have them as a blog sponsor. I get many questions about Lessontrek whenever I share online and I thought I would write a post addressing some of the most frequently asked questions. If you have other questions, feel free to leave a comment!

Lessontrek Online Lesson Planner FAQ

Do you print paper copies for your kids each week?

Yes I do and this is why Lessontrek is so helpful. It gives me the records I need online and it gives my children a weekly checklist that holds them accountable and give us all a very clear focus. Once the week is done, I file the pages into each child’s notebook.

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Do you plan your entire year at once using Lessontrek?

No, I actually type lessons into Lessontrek on a weekly basis. I plan out each subject ahead of time separately and then each Sunday I enter in our weekly lessons into Lessontrek. I choose to do it this way so I always feel flexible to make changes as needed and to avoid the feeling of being behind if something comes up {sickness, family need, etc.}

Can you bump lessons forward?

Lessontrek does not have a feature allowing you to bump lessons forward. This is not a feature I even need due to the way I do things anyway. But I have been asked this. They do have an awesome copy and paste feature which makes small changes easy.

Why aren’t the colored boxed printing on my plans like I see in your photos?

This is a feature in your printer settings. On mine I have a box to check that says “show background images” and if that is off, the colored boxes won’t print. If your boxes are printing gray, look for this setting in your printer area.

Do you use the gradebook feature?

YES! This is one of my favorite features of Lessontrek. I actually have an entire post about it here. It has been so so helpful especially with a high school student.Lessontrek Gradebook Feature

Want to try Lessontrek?

Give it a try for 2 weeks for FREE!

We Love Lessontrek’s Gradebook Feature!

Lessontrek Gradebook Feature Review

{disclaimer ~ Lessontrek is a blog sponsor}

We have been using Lessontrek for awhile now and it has greatly simplified my homeschool planning.  Just this year I began using their new Gradebook feature and I am in love!  I only use it for my 8th grader, for just some courses.  Science, grammar, spelling for now.  I wanted to do a post sharing this particular feature since I know it will benefit many of you!

I made a video for you to show how I use the gradebook to give you a peek at what it all looks like in action.  The video was the best way for me to share all of the little details. My best advice is to open up your Lessontrek and dive into this feature.  It took me a little while to set things up but once I learned how it was organized, it was pretty simple.

As you can see in the video, it allows you to choose which assignments are graded, how they are weighted, and it averages things for you!

I look forward to using this feature more and more in the future as Pac enters high school and all of the grades become much more important.  Knowing I will have this to use with my other 2 kids is awesome too. I love the simplicity Lessontrek provides, all in one program.

We have other reviews of Lessontrek, you can read my initial impressions here in our first review, and another post I wrote here. A video overview of the lesson planning feature is here.

Lessontrek-Online-Homeschool-Planner[1]  Homeschool-Lesson-Planning-with-Less[1]



Daily Work Grid ~ A Visual Schoolwork Plan for Homeschoolers

Daily Work Grid Schoolwork Plan for Homeschoolers VIDEO Tutorial included in post!


This idea has been brewing in my mind for years, I just never took the time to create it until now.  It is similar to methods we have used in the past and resembles methods other homeschoolers use.  It isn’t a totally new idea, just a new twist on methods I have both used and seen, adapted to suit our current needs.

Many of you saw my photo on Instagram several months ago when I created the cards and grid. There were tons of questions about it and I promised a blog post!

Daily Work Grid -7254 

It did take some time to set up and I explain how I did it in the video below…

Daily Work Grid

Many have asked about our Daily Work Grid that I am using with our 1st grader and I finally got a video together for you! See how we use it and a tutorial for how I made the grid and the subject cards in PowerPoint.Blog post coming soon!**See more VIDEOS on our YOUTUBE Channel ~ https://www.youtube.com/user/carisahh**SUBSCRIBE to our blog posts ~ http://mad.ly/signups/115694/join

Posted by 1+1+1=1 on Sunday, August 30, 2015


I shared this photo the night before we began 1st grade, which shows our Lessontrek plan and our Daily Work Grid ready to go for her first day of school.

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We have now been using this method for over 3 week and it is working very well for us!  She loves the visual choices she has, and also seeing how much she has left each day.

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Having a visual daily grid like this for a young child helps us in many ways. The biggest help for us is the fact that expectations for the homeschool day are crystal clear.  There are many ways to do this, a simple list on the board or in a notebook works well for many families. 

For our 1st grader, this is a visual intro to following a daily homeschool plan. For us Kindergarten and below is much more play-based and child-led so the lesson plans are really only for me up until now.  With an end goal of more independence in homeschooling, this visual daily grid eases her into this.

By showing her clearly what is to be done that day, she knows what to expect.  The cards coming off give her a feeling of accomplishment and also help squash the “how much more do I have to do today” questions {and sometimes attitude problems}.

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Using a daily work grid like this may be beneficial for you if you…

  • have a child who likes to know what is expected each day.
  • have a child who needs a visual rather than written version.
  • have a child who whines or complains about how much is left to do.
  • have a young child who is easing into following a daily homeschool routine {usually beginning in K-2}.
  • like creating things on your own and have the time {this takes time to prepare}.

I would not recommend this method if you…

  • have an older child who can easily read a written list and doesn’t really need visuals. No need to go backwards.
  • have many children and would struggle to keep up with the consistent routine of this.
  • don’t have time to even put this together.
  • have a young tot or preschooler who is more play-based and child-led, they don’t necessarily need a grid like this.  I don’t recommend being this planned out in the early years.  Having freedom to go with the flow during those early years is more important that following the daily plan.  This is exactly why I never give lesson plans for any of my tot programs {Tot School Printables, Animal ABCs, etc.}  I believe in a more flexible plan during those years. Every child is different and the pressure of a daily plan doesn’t allow for this as much. I personally would not have used something like this until Kindergarten.  It would have been great last year I just didn’t have time to create it.

Here’s the video sharing how we use our daily grid and how I created the grids and subject cards in PowerPoint.  I am sorry fi you don’t have PP, this is just what I use mostly to create my printables and I can only share how I do it.  Many aspects will be similar in another program, hopefully you can get the general idea!

Lessontrek ~ Review

We have been testing out a new lesson planning tool for awhile now and I really like it.  Lessontrek was introduced to me by a blogging friend and I agreed to a review after I completed their free trial and liked it!  I now have a discount code for you and a giveaway, as well as my review.  Keep on reading!

{disclaimer ~ I was given a year of Lessontrek for this review, they are a blog sponsor, and my affiliate link is used}Lessontrek Online Homeschool Planner Review

I love simple, I love colors.  Lessontrek had me with those two things right away. I needed something very simple, and straightforward to plan our lessons.  Lessontrek is an online planner that is very easy to use. You set everything up online and have the option to print out weekly checklists, which is one of my favorite parts {probably my very favorite part}. I spent time setting each child up, giving them a specific color, and then each subject of theirs a specific color. Once initial set up is done, it is easy to navigate. I also love the flexibility it has. I can add assignments by typing in specifics, or add recurring assignments with a click {once I have entered in the list of recurring assignments}. Once you get started playing around I promise it isn’t too hard to figure out! I have 4 different categories; one for each child {keep reading to see those}, and one for our All Together subjects. Below is a screenshot of our All Together subjects planned out for week one.  Each little colored area can be drug around easily, and also copy/pasted if needed.

Lessontrek All Together Subjects

We do school intensely for four days a week, Monday-Thursday.  Friday is our family day off, and Saturday is a lighter day, with catch-up and extra subjects.  This particular week we took day 3 off to go to Six Flags, that’s why it is blank! I have been sharing a bit on Instagram and people have asked to see more details about how we are using Lessontrek.  I took screenshots of each planner from week one and then a photo of the printable checklist at the end of the week so you can see how we did! The screenshots are from the print mode, which produces the checklist format that you print. It looks different in the compose mode {which you can see a glimpse of at the top in my all together screenshot}

PacMan’s first week of 7th Grade…

This is what he got on Monday, with my expectations for his week.  See his 7th grade homeschool curriculum here.

Lessontrek Weekly Plan

Here’s what his printable plan looked like at the end of week one.  I gave some grace on a few things, and just transferred them over to the next week.  I do not put the plans in far ahead so it is easier for me to adjust each week.  It stresses me out to think we are behind, so instead I go with the flow and just adjust.  For now I am only doing one week at a time.  Setting up their plans on Sunday afternoon to print and be ready for Monday.

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Krash’s first week of 3rd Grade…

Lesontrek 3rd Grade Plans

Here’s what his looked like at the end. He finished all but one math lesson, since we decided not to do any school on Friday {our family day}. See his 3rd grade homeschool curriculum here.

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Ladybug’s first week of Kindergarten…

Lessontrek k Plans

Here’s hers at the end of the week. You can see we have a lot of circles, meaning we didn’t get to those things and I am totally fine with that.  I am completely flexible and will just carry over. I create a plan for her and we do what we can. See her Kindergarten homeschool curriculum here.

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Our All Together Plan…

As you can see we got almost our entire weekly plan done. We all REALLY enjoyed our all together time. See our all together homeschool curriculum choices here.

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I could keep this post going forever telling you exactly how I did things and how to set it up, but honestly it’s one of those hands on things you have to do to understand.  They have a wonderful totallyfree two week trial so you can play around and see if it works for you.  I did the trial before even agreeing to the review. Here is a list showing what Lessontrek is capable of doing now…

Lessontrek Current Features


Below are the features in the works! Lessontrek Future Features




Time Invested in Tot Schooling

{disclosure: this post contains affiliate links}

A common question I hear from moms who are new to the whole Tot School idea is one concerning the amount of time invested. 

“How long do you spend setting it all up?”

“How long do you spend planning?”

“How long does it take to clean up and what do you do with the work in the end?”

The short answer is…as long as you let it take!

The longer answer is below…

I invest a lot of time into our tot/preschool activities because I ENJOY IT!  I have an early childhood degree and teaching young children is my passion. I enjoy just about every moment of the planning, prep, and even figuring out how best to organize/store it all when we are done. Because it is something I truly enjoy, it doesn’t seem like work to me, so I have no clue how long it actually takes me!  I know not all of you enjoy it all and you do it as an act of love for your youngsters.  I will do my best to outline what typical planning, preparing, and organizing looks like for me.

Planning for a Theme

Step One ~ Choose a theme {or letter of the week} You do NOT have to have a theme, especially with the younger tots, but it often makes planning more fun. When Ladybug was a young tot {around 9-12 months} the theme was a simple as “bells” and we just played with bells all week! This post is more for the planning that happens when tots are a bit older, around 2 years old and up.

Step TwoCreate a Pinterest Board for that theme

Step Three ~ Start pinning ideas! Pin anything you find that you might use, knowing that you will NOT use it all.  I do Google searches, Pinterest searches and specific blog/website searches. I have many theme boards on my Pinterest site, you can use those as a starting point! If you scroll a bit down on my boards you will see that my theme section is organized alphabetically.

Step Four ~ Gather books, toys, printables that you already have {I put them all in a prep bin}.

Step Five ~ Think about what YOUR child enjoys and narrow down your ideas.  Even if you pinned tons of craft ideas, keep in mind the likes/dislikes of your child,  If your child hates crafts, just choose one.  If you child loves crafts and you do too, choose one for each day! Balance out YOUR likes as well, if it stresses you out tremendously, don’t do it {or do it only once}. Example ~ I detest painting but Ladybug LOVES it.  I balance her love with my dislike and we will usually do painting all in one sitting, only once or twice a week. Even though she would prefer every day, my stress level can’t handle that!

Step Six ~ Start Printing! Print only what you plan to use, with maybe a few extras.  I print anything consumable on fast draft, and anything to be laminated or used again on fast normal. Sort your printed stacks into one pile of papers that need more prep work {cutting, laminating, etc.} and one that is ready to go {coloring sheets, dot fun sheets, etc.}

Step Seven ~ Final Prep! Get it all prepared and put it in one place.  If you are a detailed planner {I used to be} make your plan for the week{s}.  If you are like me, just dump it all in a big bin and then select new activities each night before you go to bed and have them ready for the next day! I usually try to set up a fun display of the theme in the schoolroom the night before it begins to get my kids excited to learn!  It works and they always head straight to the theme display when they first see it!

Pond Theme in Homeschool  Bug Theme in Homeschool

Step Eight ~ Have Fun! Enjoy the theme you have planned.  We usually leave a theme for a week, but if something comes up or if it is still being enjoyed, we will go for 2 weeks. I find that my kids usually burn out from the theme within 2 weeks. I also don’t stress about not getting to everything I had ready to go. Remember, you don’t have to do it all!

Step Nine ~ All Done! Let’s Clean it Up! I do NOT keep it all, I take a photo of the set of completed work and then toss most of it. Home Preschool Letter Cc

If it can be used again, it gets stored by theme using the theme printable storage method I shared awhile back. If it was super special, I might keep it, but honestly I toss 90% of it after the photo. I put everything back where I got it from, all in one night.  Sometimes the kids help me, but mostly I like doing it alone.

Storing Theme Items

A few other helpful posts that share a bit more about aspects of this topic:

This post is #4 in my series, “Homeschooling Tots & Preschoolers,” for the iHomeschool Network Spring 2013 Hopscotch. Visit other bloggers participating here!



Homeschooling-Tots-and-PreschoolersDay 1 ~ Where to Begin with Tot School eBook

Day 2 ~ You Don’t Have to Do it All!

Day 3 ~ Developmentally Appropriate Practice

Day 4 ~ Time Invested in Tot Schooling

Day 5 ~ 10 Tips for Studying Nature with Tots

Day 6 ~ Exposure vs. Mastery

Day 7 ~ Why Themes?

Day 8 ~ Teaching Tots in a Large Family

Day 9 ~ Our Favorite Learning Tools for Tots

Day 10 ~ Early Childhood Theme Printables A-E