Sunday, January 20, 2013

Frequently Asked Montessori Homeschooling Questions 11 and 12

Q11:  Do you require your boys to do certain work?

A:  Yes.  But, this is more an element of elementary Montessori (read "work plan") rather than a primary one.  That said, I started the requirement a little early.  I didn't require Kal-El to any "particular" work until he reached his fifth birthday. Then, I required ONE THING each day.  Everything else was their own choice.  Approximately every six months I add ONE MORE requirement to their work plan.

Q12:  What kind of work do you require?

A:  Kal-El's requirements went something like this:

age    requirement
5       daily "reading" presentation
5.5    violin
6       math 1
6.5    math 2
7       math 3

So just after his seventh birthday during his work time Kal-El is required to choose three math works, one word study, and practice his violin (this happens outside the work period).  Nearly everything else is his own choice.  Three math works might sound like a lot, but the math component of at his stage is still split into five-seven "threads" that we need to keep up with (Linear counting/bead chains, operations, memorization, fractions, geometry are the main five.  We are adding story problems and equation formats/complex equations into the mix right now.).  There are also other elements of his elementary "work plan."  Right now this basically amounts to a loose verbal agreement that he will work on handwriting specifically once a week, spelling once a week, and geography once a week.

Me Too's requirements developed as follows:

age    requirement
4       violin
4.5    reading
5       math 1
5.5    math 2

As you can see, Me Too started a year earlier.  This was really just because he started violin lessons at that time and playing an instrument is a physical skill that requires daily practice (like exercise).  At age 4.5 he asked to have "reading time" every day just like his big brother.  So, the first "Montessori" requirement I made was at age five just like his brother.


  1. Thanks--this is so helpful! I'm curious: is practicing handwriting once per week enough for your older son? I could see how it may be fine, since he probably had lots of pre-writing work. I'm curious because one of mine has pretty bad writing skills and I'm trying to figure things out!

  2. Sarah,

    In a Montessori environment isolated "handwriting" practice like I'm doing doesn't typically exist because the chid has done all of the Montessori writing "activities" and then follows that up with a lot of PURPOSEFUL daily writing. It is a lot smarter than a silly handwriting program. What I'm doing is technically considered "unnecessary." The only reason it is in my schedule at all is so that *I* make sure I spend at least ten minutes a week troubleshooting any handwriting problems the kids might have. I could just pay attention while he does his regular Montessori work like they would in a traditional Montessori school but I always get distracted.

    Oh, and instead of doing a page a day like they would at a conventional public school I pretty much let him do it when he's in the mood (which is typically about once a week anyway) and let him do as much as he wants when he does. He will usually never do less than five pages and sometimes does as many as 20 pages.

    I don't use the "boxed" curriculum-type things like they would normally be used.