Homeschool - school at home, but we're not always at home; and we spend less time on "school" than children at an out-of-home school.
Montessori - seems to be a free-for-all for some; trays on a shelf for some; multi-age grouping that can only happen at a school for some; and other variations. Indeed, Montessori incorporates freedom, a very few trays, multiple ages can be addressed in a homeschool situation in another way (including for only-children - siblings have that multi-age setting built-in!)
Planning - juxtaposed with Montessori, some people flip over. You can't *plan* a child's education weeks and months in advance - especially not in a Montessori setting! No, this is correct - I cannot tell you what your child should be doing the second of week of June they year they are 4 years old; nor can I (or *anyone*!) tell you what your child should be doing the 25th week of the 3rd year of elementary. Sorry!
But what DO we have? We have a set of key experiences that are typical for the universal child within some time ranges. We can be prepared to provide for those key experiences as the child is ready for them. This part of the three-sided support that IS an authentic Montessori environment - the prepared adult. Please visit that link for the prepared adult - because it highlights some of the many things we adults need to be prepared for - items such as right use of imagination, the four planes of development, human needs and tendencies and so much more!
What about those who don't follow a schedule - and maybe not even a loose routine?
I personally still need to have an idea of what is upcoming - so we can ensure we have time, space, materials, and the right attitude (nothing like saying "Mom, I want to do the river model" when the only space available to do one indoors is the only clear space in the home because of our other projects! ;)
CAVEAT: None of the planning suggestions on this page are boxed into a particular schedule or routine. What is here, is adaptable to any kind of schedule.
The planning style that has worked in our home:First, I need some tools:
- Key experiences appropriate to the plane of development of the child/ren before me.
- At primary (ages 2.5-6) that is the 6-month intervals.
- At elementary, that is the cosmic education scope and sequence - and the Three Essential Tools - the work plan, the work journal and societal expectations (or local educational requirements).
- Noting the particular child's needs and interests.
- Something to record work done. How will work done be recorded? So I know what to plan next time? Montessori Trails page on work plans and work journals in a Montessori setting.
- For younger children, this is my own record - I can just check off a presentation or an exercise as being presented. I am planting seeds that will sprout later - giving keys for them to utilize in their own explorations and discoveries; sometimes they will repeat something, other times not - so I don't record things like "repeated, mastery, etc.". I am a homeschool parent, not a school teacher. And my current students who come to me from their own families "master" at home, not with me. If I were in a situation to worry about mastery, I would observe and have conversations to see if the concept is mastered - and have a second checkmark for that, Seriously? Keep it simple.
- For older children - elementary children and some kindergarteners, we have a work plan/journal to look at in planning our next steps. In kindergarten and first grade, that can be as simple as moving cards of chosen work from one basket to another.
- That's it. KEEP IT SIMPLE. You are a homeschool parent, with a household and other family members to take care of - and yourself to take care! Montessori is about exploration and discovery - not about being the smartest kid in the universe! ;)
|Some early work plan/journal samples.|
Legoboy's First Work Plan/Journal
Used at age 5-6
Primary Montessori Homeschool Planning
Need to organize material purchases and material-making? That is where the intervals also come in handy - focus on THIS 6-month time period. If your child gets ahead in something, then you only have that one area to look ahead in!
|The first interval is only 2 pages - and decent size font at that!|
draw a line to separate the threads.
Each day pick 1-5 items to focus on (some things are quick)
or each week pick a few items to focus on. Move forward from there.
Elementary Montessori Homeschool Planning
And I have re-organized the elementary scope/sequence to show one year at a time - it's a large chart, but could be a useful image for the children.
|Scope and Sequence in chart form (each subject in a column,|
3 pages each (some are more blank than others since threads differ in length)
Art and Music are more free-form, so are not included in this image.
|The threads do peter out - not all are the same length.|
But this gives the children time for their *own* studies:
reading, building, DOING.
So you can see - KEEP IT SIMPLE. Use a checklist for your own presentations if that works; the children shouldn't have a checklist, but should be given the key presentations, ask questions and find ways to answer their own questions. Lots of real life experiences, outings, and lots and lots of DOING.
See this page for some samples of A Day in the Life of a Montessori Homeschool.