In this land of the new normal, I've been delighted to collaborate with Maria Burke to hear her wisdom on homeschooling. I've also done a Q and A session on homeschooling and "crisis schooling with Maria here.
Maria Burke is an educator with 20 years of teaching experience. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education as well as a Bachelor's Degree in French from the University of Arizona. She obtained her Master's Degree in Curriculum Education from Lesley University and holds credentials through the American Montessori Society for ages 3-12. She currently homeschools her son and consults with other families who homeschool.
Before you read on you may like to read Maria's post on Montessori Education.
I have homeschooled my son for three years now.
One of the most important facets of at-home learning is figuring out a work plan. We’ve gone through a few different iterations of work plans during that time. My son has been instrumental in figuring out the best way to record his schedule, which include his priorities as well as the work I require.
When I was teaching, I used a house analogy with the parents and the students about the importance of the different areas of the classroom. In a home, there is usually a kitchen, a bedroom, a bathroom, and a living room. (Of course, there will be more rooms in the house, but I wanted to illustrate the importance of these four parts of the house.) I would then ask them to imagine the houses of different people. Each house would look different based on the inhabitants. For example, one person may love to be in the kitchen cooking and baking, so their kitchen may be larger than the other rooms. Another person may enjoy spending more time in the living room, so their living room might be a little larger than the other rooms. I then told them that each of these rooms represents a different area of the curriculum. The kitchen might represent the language area, the bedroom might represent the math area, the bathroom might represent the science area, and the living room might represent the cultural area. Because everyone is different, they may spend more time in one area of the curriculum, but that doesn’t diminish the importance of the others. Therefore, if a child absolutely loves language, they may spend a majority of their time doing work associated with grammar, writing, vocabulary, reading, etc. However, they still need to put time into math, science, and cultural. I require that my son does math and language every day. Science and cultural naturally occur through baking, reading, conversations, and documentaries. Practical life experiences and field trips are also wonderful ways to learn.
The work plans that we’ve developed over the past couple of years include the following: broken down by day, broken down by subject area, broken down into the number of times he needs to visit the subject in a week, using flash cards as a means of completion, creating a weekly overview, broken down by project, or listing priorities.
Each of the work plans described is given as an example for you. You’re welcome to start with one of mine to see how it might work with your child(ren). Remember that it’s always a work in progress, so make sure your child is a part of the process. It will lead to more independence on their part if they are invested.
If you have any questions or are interested in having support on your homeschooling journey, please contact me. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maria's example work plans: (Download a full set here)
Maria also answers your real life practical questions about homeschooling and work/life balance here
See more in my series of teaching at and from home here
If you are interested in Montessori Freebies join my freebie library here