Now that school has started for our friends in public school, it is time for us to head back into the classroom officially as well. Well, after Thumper takes that one last week long vacation with Grandma and I get a little break.
We adopted two kittens a few weeks ago. One of them, Shadow, likes to chase his tail. He ends up running in circles. Quite funny to watch. I’m reminded of this when I think of our schedule last year. I started with a 3 hour work period that eventually deteriorated into……a mess. I was chasing a normalized child but the harder I chased the more the kids didn’t seem to want to settle down to work. We ended up doing lots of 1.5 hour work periods interspersed with outings and chores.
What I really needed was to stop running and take stock. And finally a few weeks break in the summer allowed me to do that. Montessori philosophy is pretty adamant about not interfering with a concentrated child and letting them guide their own learning. Freedom of choice within limits kind of thing. But, as I learned last year reading a famous Montessorian talking about his first year in teaching, you are allowed to do whatever you need to do to get them there.
All this to say, we’re going back to the 3-hour work period this year and I’m making a few changes. What I realized I needed to do was to enact a stricter schedule so that the children are used to the whole routine and my expectations within those routines. Then I can let loose a bit because I don’t need to be constantly chasing them down to remind them what to do.
1. Work period is now 9am-12pm.
Last year one of our problems was that school started at 10am. Since I wake up early, by 11:30 I’m famished. I could not last till 1:00pm. Eating lunch at 1pm also had its own problems because we had to leave at 3:30 for swimming. Factor in my desire for chores and gardening and exercise for Astroboy. The result is feeling we didn’t have enough time. One conflict I had was loathing to hurry up the children when they eat. I wanted them to enjoy their meals, not treat it just as food to wolf down. But, that means meals are always 2 hour affairs. I realized that if I really want to fit everything I want in, I have to limit.
As a result of this new work period schedule, it means we now have 1 hour to get ready for school instead of the usually 2-2.5.