Today was the perfect day of Bunny’s work plan working really well! She knew what she needed to do, and she did it with minimual help from me! We even got in a new presentatio! She had fun, I was relaxed and work was done well! In fact Bunny did mre math problems on her own the she would ever do with me assaging a set amount! Every Montessori homeschooler (well…any homeschooler) knows the value of a good work plan. Every homeschooler does it a bit differently, but we all have one, and we all need one! However, it is something that I think really becomes a sticking point for so many Montessori Homeschoolers. How do you require certain work while still offering the freedom to choose their own work? It is hard, but it is not only possible, but necessary. Without a work plan we dont know what was covered and if it was covered consistently. Just doing something one day and not doing it again for months doesnt always guarantee a solid understanding of the work. So we need a work plan. There are many different ways to do this and it really depends on your child and how they like to plan it out. These are the three that I have heard work really well.
1) Have a Daily standard plan: This is what we use. Everyday Bunny knows that she has to do a reading work, a writing work, a math work, and a spelling work. After those things are accomplished, she is free to choose whatever she wants to do. Usually this is where she is chooses some creative work. I will usually toss a presentation in here or there when she seems in between something that she needs to do. What I like about this plan is that it never changes. Bunny knows everyday what she has to do. The negative side to this is that sometimes Bunny will finish her “list”and be done. The thing we do is to have a set work time. We usually work after breakfast until lunch. This way everyone has time to choose more then just those few things. A positive is that on days when there is alot going on, Bunny knows the minimum that she needs to do, so we always seem to get something done!
2) Build a Weekly Plan: Over at What DID We Do All Day, they have a pocket chart for the week. The boys have a certain amount of work that they need to do over the week and they choose which cards go in which pockets. This allows them to place their work in the order they want it to happen while still have all the freedom! One positive to this is that they are learning to plan their time and week well! Another positive is that you can add specific things to the basket that you think need to be covered in a week. A negative to this (in my opinion) is that you need to make sure that you remember to get the plan done each week ( I tend to be a little lazy about that stuff).
3) Daily Plan Cards: This idea is from Jessica over at Montessori Trails. She used this idea with her son when he was younger, but it can be easily used with an older child too. Each day there was a basket with tasks that he would do, and baskets of other tasks for him to do in his free time! Each evening, she would make sure the tasks were replaced in the right baskets. Sticky notes on the back of the cards allows her to make sure that it was customized to the tasks! The positives of this is that it is incredibly customizable! If you dont do something, then it can be moved to another day with no problem. On the other hand it does require some work every evening to make sure it is all together. However, you can also sit down each morning with your child and work out the tasks that need to be done! It is a good way to go. If you think that cards take up too much space, you can use her paper clip idea too!
My hope is that this will help you to see how choice and freedom can still work even with a plan! We are not just making sure our kids have freedom to learn at their pace, we are also making sure that we are preparing them for life. Life requires a plan and time management and this is something important that kids need to learn! Learning this early is sure to help them manage their learning goals (and other goals) later in life too! There are many many ways to make a work plan for your family. In fact if you one that works really well for you, please share it in the comments! Sharing ideas makes it easier for everyone to find a plan for them! I hope you are having a great week! Happy Schooling Everyone!!!!!