I still don't have my camera, so I thought I'd answer a reader's question today instead. One of my readers commented
"Hi, I just came across your blog and I have really enjoyed it. I love that you have put in your schedule for some days and weeks. Do you follow a certain curriculum? I am having a hard time with planning out my year. I would love any tips or information you could give me!"
Well, the answer is yes and no.
I don't use a boxed curriculum. I don't use any manuals for Flower's (my 9 year old 3 grader)curriculum. I refer to several Montessori books/manuals/websites for the preschool, however, I follow my own schedule and I also include some non-Montessori preschool items.
For Flower, I started planning her school year last June. I wrote out the subjects that I wanted her to study, and then I did a bunch of research in different methods, looked at book lists, etc. and then purchased her materials from a variety of places. Most of the living books that we use are checked out from the library. We do have some Literature books in our own library. I purchased Math-U-See for our math curriculum, but we will not be using it again next year. I purchased her recorder and her recorder book, a cooking book, a woodworking book, Handbook for Nature Study, a botany book, her Alphabet books, and a few Poetry for Young People books. For science, geography, and history, I had a schedule of what I wanted to study during the year and when we would be studying it. If you look at my post earlier this week about how homeschooling went this year, you will see that I changed what we did in several areas at mid year. At this time, I purchased some workbooks from our local teacher supply store. I think that it is important when you are homeschooling to evaluate and if there is enough reason to change what you are doing, to be able to modify the curriculum for the child.
For Preschool, I have a list of monthly and weekly themes that I have created (Check in the new documents section for a copy of these themes as well as a general schedule of when I put out Montessori materials.) These themes dictate some of the type of activities that are on the shelves, especially the non-Montessori items or the types of Practical Life materials that I have out. Almost all of the books that I read are from my own collection, but I do occassionally check out books from the library. For the Montessori materials, I generally start the school year with very few items on the shelves. Then using the list of periods listed in David Gettman's Basic Montessori, I begin putting items out and present lessons to the entire group. As the year progresses, I put more and more materials out and give lessons only to the students that need the next level of that type of material. (See the documents section for this schedule, although the document appears as if I present it to all of that age group. This is a very general schedule and I follow the children's lead more than this list.) When I present lessons, I use information from the Practical Life Manual that I have from Montessori R & D, and from the manuals I have from the on-line Montessori Training course that I am taking.
For both the preschool and homeschool, I refer to books on other educational methods (Charlotte Mason, Waldorf, Classical, Reggio Emilia) that I have in my library and incorporate some of those ideas into our curriculum. I also check other blogs for inspiration. It never ceases to amaze me how creative other people are!
I try and do my planning for the month on the Wednesday night before the beginning of the next Month. And I try to do my planning and printing for the week on the Wednesday before. Things run much better when I do this.