Today, I am delighted to introduce you to Bree from KindlingKids.
Bree is the mother of 3 children, aged 7, 5 and 2 and she homeschools.
She has kindly accepted to explain how she plans her home school year.
Scrolling through Montessori homeschooling blog posts and Instagram feeds can offer so much inspiration!
But they can also leave us feeling quickly overwhelmed about where to start, and wondering what's right for our own children.
Today, as the school year speedily approaches, I'd like to briefly touch on some of the more tangible tools that have helped me to wade through and find what works for us.
1) Scope and Sequence - These are available from birth up through adolescence, and they are priceless! Any time I'm wondering "what comes next," my scope and sequence brings me back down to earth and leaves me feeling more prepared.
2) Albums - These are the "users manual" of Montessori if you will. After I've identified which lessons or area of study my child will be ready for (using the scope and sequence), I pop over to my albums to see how to present it, the direct and indirect aims, and what materials are needed. If I haven't seen or presented the lesson before, I practice it myself (sometimes even with my husband!) before I introduce it to the kids.
3) Write it down! I like to keep track of the next 3-5 lessons that my kids will need in each subject area. This way, if they get really hooked on something and want just to keep going on say word study, I'm ready for that! I think many are under the impression that following the child means not having a plan. But a little planning can be so helpful in this area! A prepared guide can open doors for the child via lessons and experiences, and still remain flexible enough to let them take it from there.
You can find the details of how I do my planning and record-keeping on my blog.
4) Less is more - After I've discovered which lessons we're going to be working on soon, I see what materials we need. I try to do all of this quite a bit ahead of time to allow me time to check resale pages and DIY options. Over the years, I've found some incredible deals! Over 80% of our materials were bought from schools, Facebook pages, and even a garage sale!
Since being a homeschool family means we live off of one income, I purchase materials as we go. I also work to be as minimalistic as I can and look for ways that we can recreate a similar experience organically in our home or in nature. Example: rocks and chalk make great Cards and Counters! Understanding the direct and indirect aims listed in my albums helps me make sure I'm meeting the same or similar goals as the traditional materials. Since homeschooling means you don't have 15+ children in a room, your needs will be different than a traditional Montessori environment. It is another reason why less can be more. As tempting as it is to have all the things, too much can easily end up being a hindrance in a home environment!
5) Goals! At the beginning of each year, I write down any areas I'd like to be reminded to focus on. As we homeschool, it's essential to keep our eyes on the whole picture. It's easy to let academics steal center stage, but without growing in areas like emotional intelligence, practical life, handy work, grace and courtesy, we aren't preparing our kids for the world.
Montessori left us enough philosophy to spend a lifetime discovering. It's going to take time to learn how to weave it into our own unique families! When we first decided to implement this pedagogy into our homeschooling journey, I wished so much that I could download every book and article immediately to memory! This lifestyle doesn't happen that way though, it comes together piece by piece with an "ah-ha" moment here, and observation there. As we guide our children, we will make mistakes, try again, and learn so much about these amazing beings that we love!
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Carine Robin is a a mother of 2 children. She raises them the Montessori way. Originally from Belgium where she worked as a child psychologist for several years, Carine spent 6 years in Ireland before settling in in the UK. She qualified as a Montessori teacher 10 years ago and has since worked as Montessori teacher and preschool manager. She founded Montessori-family in 2011 to provide opportunities for parents to discover Montessori. She believes that it’s truly possible to implement the Montessori ideas at home to make your house and family life welcoming to your child, her needs and her thrive for independence. She offers parents & babies classes, toddlers playgroups; Montessori home designs, one to one support, parenting classes and online courses.
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