Montessori Elementary Homeschool Blog - with documentation of our infant Montessori, toddler Montessori, and primary Montessori experiences; as well as preparation for the upcoming adolescent Montessori homeschool years.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Patterns in Homeschooling

Over our years of using the Montessori approach both in schools and in our homeschooling, we have found some patterns emerging:

We always start our "new school year" with the Church's new liturgical year - the first Sunday of Advent (4 Sundays before Christmas). This is a time of new beginnings and lends itself well (for us) to the avoidance of burn-out that others experience much more strongly. We also school year-round, so we have natural rhythms and breaks that allow us to take advantage of various opportunities without compromising the integrity of our homeschooling.


Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego? (Board Game)Thanksgiving and into Christmas and January precipitates a season of "games" - board games, dice games, card games. We always re-institute our "game-night" which we fall away from in the summer time. Strategy, logic, etc. A recent discovery at our favorite kids' game store (Once Upon a Child) yielded up "Where in the United States is Carmen San Diego?" - and suddenly Legoboy actually *cares* about learning US geography and history ;) He gets a kick out of the time-traveling agents!

By February, we are back to a LOT more hand-work such as crafting, crochet, weaving, and the like.

While we really hit the botany album HARD every single spring, we typically start the basic presentations and experiments again every Christmas-time. We have a south-facing balcony, with sliding glass doors; thus we have a very sunny living room in the winter time as long as it's not too cloudy. When it is cloudy, we still have a rather light living room space because the sun is still in that direction! The situation of our building on a hill allows the sun to rise in our window, shine all day, and set in our window. Can't beat that! This arrangement allows us to work on those "experiments" (this year, we are adding a lot more that he came up with himself or that were found in various books) in more focused isolation; then in the spring-time we can work on the main things we want to grow. Admittedly, our indoor tomatoes grow better in the winter-time than our summer outdoors ones - just because of the sun!

We tend to work on school more intensely on the bad weather days - super-hot and no fun to be outside; or super-cold/windy and I refuse to drive anywhere. These are the days we get the most school work done (and the days I get the most business work done!).

While we "plan" to do school 6 days a week, just to keep up the routine, in the end, we really "officially" do school more like 3 days a week. School gets done on those other days because there are certain projects that count as school or are extensions to previous presentations. I guess I say it's a school day if *I* have done something with him directly or have checked something off of a list. But he does school-related projects every day of the week. When we sit down every week or two weeks to go over the current work-plan, and set up the next week or two weeks' worth, we always find areas that we no longer have to "plan" because he already moved into those areas.

Autumn is our time for food preparation and looking at those home-making skills that every child learn. So we have the canning and the freezing of the jams, sauces, meats, etc. The food preparation and baking continues well into the winter time.

Summer-time is the time for him to get out his "boy-books" - carving walking-sticks, tracking weather patterns, cooking with the sun, preparing foods for long hikes and long camping trips. Legoboy has not yet been on a long camping trip, but he's been making sure he's ready!

Advent and Lent are always times for a focused study of our faith, though we have atrium and other studies throughout the year. This Advent we studied a Jesse Tree sequence in-depth. Lent 2012 we did an in-depth Psalms study.

School-work and other projects have a much higher intensity of work, completion rate and satisfaction rate when our home is de-cluttered and organized. Always. Every time.

Advent and Lent, as well as mid-summer seem to be our seasonal times to clean up and ship out. Transitioning from one time of year to another and we want to be prepared.

Daily Lego time. He *needs* daily Lego time ;)

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