Lesson plan? There isn't one!
Someone out there might claim that there's an orderly and sequential way to learn and improve at Go. In my humble kyu-level opinion, the only thing that is guaranteed is a lifetime of non-linear learning.
It's been five months since I started studying this game in earnest (as earnest as a salaryman-husband-dad can be without shirking his other duties). I don't have a natural talent for the game so my progress is made in measured and hard-won steps.
What I've noticed is that, shortly after I acquired the basics, I've been jumping from one area of study to another and back again: life-and-death, joseki, life-and-death, tesuji, fuseki, tesuji, shape and so on and so forth. I get strong in some area and win a few matches. Then I start losing matches and decide that "I need to study your_choice_of_Go_area_here."
Considering how deep this game is and how varied one's mental abilities might be, this pattern of non-linear study seems only natural to me. All the areas must be acquired in parallel and at increasing levels. Talent might sometimes allow you to ignore one area for a while, but sooner or later you'll have to get back to it. It's like your verbal and analytical skills as you progress through school; both are developed gradually but at the same time.
I imagine that some of you, like me, wish that they could map out a lesson plan that progressively builds a well-rounded Go player. There is a progressive curriculum out there. Kiseido, for example, has its Elementary Go series which is followed by its Get Strong series. However, there are many kyu levels that are encompassed by all those books and one can't be expected to read everything in the series before engaging in any matches. Realistically, your acquisition of skill will probably look like some Darwinian method of survival. You will learn and adapt as is needed by your performance against your opponents.
Last night, I finally broke through the 21k KGS mark for the first time. My thanks to saiclone (18k, frankiii's new ID), yoyoma (3k) and Ellendar (15k) for the recent helpful game reviews.
A board for ... someday
Mr. Kuroki responded to an email I had sent to him. I inquired about table boards which had a warmer orange-shade finish which is a matter of personal preference to me. His first recommendation was this beautiful Hyuga Kaya board but it is, unfortunately, out of my budget.
I thought I would share two of his photos with all of you in case anyone was interested in it. The price for this specialty board is 48,000 Yen (US $404).