My #1 Montessori Homeschooling PLANNING HACK
Montessori homeschooling can seem intimidating, daunting, maybe even impossible at first glance. To really do it "right," it seems like there are a lot of steps, a lot of things you need to know, and a lot of roadblocks.
I wanted to do it right, so I set out to eliminate roadblocks by learning (from home) as quickly as I possibly could! I learned quickly, but what I learned over the many years of study, was that I already knew enough to begin on day one.
You read that right.
There is NO training, NO certification, NO qualification that you can earn that will make you more prepared to teach your child than being your child's mom. Being a mother qualifies you to teach your child, especially in the Montessori way.
YOU are your child's first and best teacher. If you're in it for the long haul, this extends to your child's full life. To be a "teacher" in the Montessori sense is to not really teach at all, but more to gently guide your child to her own self-discoveries.
When I dove headfirst into the Montessori Method of education, I set out to give every single lesson to my first child in a systematic, organized format over a three-year period. This is not a bad goal, but it misses the mark of Montessori education by a long shot.
There were two major flaws in my plan.
1. The preparation was overwhelming for me. I wasn't "practiced" in the method enough to have all of the presentations memorized, so giving each lesson took research, planning, preparation, and my full focus. I also didn't have a clue as to how many lessons my young daughter would happily "attend" without coercion.
2. It left very little room to follow my child's lead. I didn't plan on covering three sensorial presentations in one day when she asked to work with a new material out of the blue, so I would tell her to "wait" until the right time or run the risk of getting "behind" in another subject area. If she wasn't interested in the planned language lesson, I forced her to sit for it, using stern words, bribes, or whatever (non-respectful) parenting tactic I felt would work at the moment for the sake of sticking with the plan.
Planning is essential to a successful Montessori homeschooling experience. The prepared environment requires preparation.
After finding myself overwhelmed, frustrated, and not at all following my child, I stepped back and asked myself, What is the absolute minimum I can do that will help us move forward each day but still leave ample time to let my child be free within our environment?
What I discovered has become My #1 Montessori Homeschooling Planning Hack, and it is what I always recommend to families who are just getting started or who have become overwhelmed by all-the-things and need to take that step back to allow their children more freedom.
I decided I would present one lesson each day per subject area, and then follow my child's interests from there.
That means that some days, we could do one lesson and then stop. We would shift to cooking or head outside in nature. Other days, we would do several lessons in one subject area or jump around subjects and have quite a productive day.
Lessening the "load" on myself and my children allowed the necessary freedom my children needed to nurture their inherent needs and fuel their interests while at the same time giving me a huge break in my prep time each week. I was running on empty, and this change was welcome.
Here's a sample schedule we have used that works well:
Monday - Sensorial Presentation
Tuesday - Reading/Writing Presentation
Wednesday - Geography/Art Presentation (rotate each week)
Thursday - Math Presentation
Friday - Science/Music Presentation
If you have a routine that works, don't change it! This is just for those of us who have gotten stuck, haven't started, or seem to have gotten off track along the way, good intentions and all.
I've tweaked our schedule more times than I can count, but when I keep it simple, it's easier to stick to, and beautiful things happen in the "space" I've intentionally created in our days.
What works for you? Tell me in the comments!