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I am a home schooling mom to three amazing kiddos.  We primarily use the Montessori pedagogy to guide our journey.  We also enjoy aspects of classical education and are part of Classical Conversations community. 

I write a Montessori column for Practical Homeschooling Magazine.

I am still a geek at heart and at times miss my former career as an Information Architect/SharePoint Specialist.  I don't have much free time but if I do, it is spent on comic books and video games.
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Our Work Period Schedule

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As it has been in years past, we will strive for a classic 3 hours work period four days per week.  Since we are adding Classical Conversations into the mix, the structure of our work periods will change slightly.

In the past, my goal was to both begin and end with a circle time.  This year I intend to make the opening circle time longer but do away with the closing one altogether.  It was rarely productive.  Either everyone was too engrossed in their work or limits had been surpassed by that point.

Another change is the introduction of work plans.  I have always loosely schedules presentations for the week, readjusting the schedule to accommodate everyone's interests.  This year I want to provide more direction and yet still maintain a good deal of freedom to explore the classroom in a traditional Montessori fashion.  I do enjoy giving the kids full reign.  However, Elora is approaching the elementary years and I must say that discipline isn't her strong point.  She certainly takes after me.

When traditional Montessori elementary enters the picture, work plans are introduced.  These are essentially assignments that the child can complete in any order they choose within a given time frame.  Work plans can be daily, weekly or even monthly.  Generally, the younger the child the shorter the time frame.  As children adapt, it is common to allow them to write his/her own plan; with guidance, of course.

I am going to start both Elora and William on light, daily work plans this year.  William's in particular will only contain a few items each day.  I will create these each week so I can base them on how well particular work in the prior week went.  I am in the process of creating a binder for each of them to house the plan and any worksheets for the week.  And yes, I will post on that in the near future.

Here is what I hope our average work period will look like:

Circle/Group Time (30-45 minutes total)
  • Calendar and Weather Chart 
  • Review Classical Conversations Memory Work (sing songs, etc)
  • Grace and Courtesy Lesson
  • Read our Book of the Day

Work Plan Assignments (50 minutes)
  • 20 Minutes of Math
  • 15 Minutes of Language/Reading
  • 15 Minutes of Writing
The numbers here will be approximate since I have to guess how long it will take to complete each work.

Other Lessons (15 Minutes)
  • 1 Geography or Science
  • 1 Sensorial or Practical Life
These presentations will be offered at points when the activity wanes a bit in the classroom.  The subject will be determined by a weekly rotating schedule.  
  

Depending on the day, the planned activities will run between 95-110 minutes.  Even on a day where the scheduling runs a bit longer, everyone should still have at least an hour to select work of their choice.

Initially, I will start Elora and William on work plans immediately after circle time.  I'm hopeful that as they learn to manage time I can allow them to mix free time and assignments a bit.

I am still planning an afternoon activity on school days.  I will discuss this as well as what our weekly rotations look like in the next post.  And yes, curriculum choices will follow soon.
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