Question: "I'm very interested in your curriculum, but I would really like to see a sample of what a daily plan looks like. Is this possible?"
Our answer (by Miriam Coates):
Magellan Montessori’s guidebook does not contain a daily (or a monthly) schedule, or for that matter, a linear, ordered set of lesson plans. Instead, Magellan Montessori pairs the method’s self-paced, autodidactic ‘follow the child’ philosophy with clear explanations and guidance for preparing an academically enriching environment. Magellan Montessori does not aim to mimic a school schedule or classroom experience, but intends to help families provide their home schooling child with opportunities, information, and independence in support of the intellectual, emotional, and spiritual growth that can be gained through exposure to Dr. Montessori’s Early Elementary Cosmic Education’s curriculum content.
Unlike traditional classrooms where subjects are taught to the entire class at specific times and for certain intervals, in Montessori schools students are entrusted with the ability to make choices about which materials to use, their courses of study, and whether to work individually or collaboratively. In accordance with Dr. Montessori’s “absorbent mind” theory, young children are constantly acquiring experiences and skills that make it futile to try to confine or define learning to a strict schedule. For home schooling Montessori families, Cosmic education is about rhythms and relationships, not rigidity. In practical application, this means that each family will create a framework and structure for their days that supports their children’s learning and life styles.
Rhythms and rituals are patterns and practices that comprise our daily lives, as opposed to schedules that govern them. Neither approach is to be considered superior, just different. To gain a better understanding of how schedules and rhythms differ, compare the following fictionalized accounts of a week in the lives of two homeschooled children:
Gracie’s family has a home schooling schedule that they follow on weekdays that adheres to a comprehensive curriculum guide. After breakfast, Gracie and her siblings gather their workbooks and materials to begin their daily lessons. Each subject is afforded a set amount of work time. For ten-year-old Gracie, this means that each weekday begins with thirty minutes of math drills followed by another half hour of independent reading. Once math and reading are finished, Gracie has a list of chores to do before she is to sit at her desk for twenty minutes of writing. When journaling time is up, Gracie eats lunch and plays outside until she is called in for science. During science hour, Gracie’s mother works with her children to see that they complete the lessons and experiments in their various grade level textbooks. When science is complete, Gracie’s mother covers language arts by administering a spelling, vocabulary or grammar quiz to each child. The work the children completed in the morning is checked and returned for corrections; once the day’s lessons are over the children are free to work on art projects or to play games or with toys at their leisure.
Over the course of the week, Gracie and her siblings followed a set schedule and worked on math, reading and language arts, science, and art.
Bobby’s family utilizes the Montessori method. His father serves as the primary guide by following his children’s interest and preparing their environment. On Monday mornings, Bobby’s father takes his twin sons to the library. The boys pick a stack of fiction books for independent reading. Bobby’s father checks out books in response to his sons’ latest interests, which are currently focused on robots, gladiators, and baking. When they get home Bobby and his brother make lunch, working together to figure out how to quarter a favorite recipe. The boys spend the rest of the afternoon building robots from plans in a book and find that in order to make the robots go faster they need to learn how to build gears and make some mathematical calculations. As the evening meal is being prepared, the boys put away their work and complete their chores. After dinner, there is time for reading and journaling or sending emails to relatives up North. From the week’s library selections, both boys find they are enthralled with a particular book that features an historical account of the lives of the gladiators. To support his sons’ interests, Bobby’s father prepares the environment by providing materials that allow the boys to spend the next few days drawing and writing a visual dictionary and timeline of various types of fighters and their weapons/costumes. Bobby’s father uses his children’s natural curiosity to find opportunities during the week to introduce physics concepts and vocabulary. He sets up a few experiments and creates a set of three part nomenclature cards for the boys to use. On Friday, the family watches a documentary together about the Roman Empire. Viewing the documentary sparks the children’s interest in learning about the geography of region, leading to the next week's focus. The boys and their father create a plan to explore cartography and read the classic tales of the Iliad and the Odyssey, tracking the adventures and the travel paths of the characters.
Over the course of the week, Bobby and his twin followed a natural rhythm and worked on math, reading and language arts, science and art.
Designed specifically for parents and guardians without Montessori teacher training, Magellan Montessori’s Guide to Homeschooling Early Elementary offers insightful strategies, theory, curriculum content, material sourcing, and instruction on presenting and sequencing lessons. With the understanding that each child and every family is unique, Magellan Montessori does not provide or endorse a particular daily or weekly schedule. Our aim is to guide the guide, helping parents and caregivers grow in their capabilities, competencies, and confidence as a Montessori homeschooler.
Written by Miriam Coates
Miriam Coates holds a Masters of Arts in Education and Montessori from St. Catherine University, Advanced Montessori Studies Program, and she also holds an American Montessori Society Early Childhood credential, and an undergraduate degree in Humanities. With over fifteen years experience in the educational field, Miriam has worked as an educational consultant, Montessori directress, curriculum designer, and youth advocate. With passions for Montessori, home-schooling, foodways and sustainability studies, she is a freelance writer and education consultant for a variety of clients, including Magellan Montessori LLC.