M starts her day around 6:45 a.m. and is usually ready for school by 8:30. We start with circle time. Our circle time follows the same routine every day, since M will remind me if we go out of order. We do:
- Opening Prayer
- Calendar - month, day, date and pattern (the apples were printed from Play2Learn Printables and the pink heart marked our first day of ballet class).
- Weather - today's weather, temperature and graphing
- Color word for the day
- 100 days - counting straws for place value and 100's chart
- Family Name Wall
- Signing Time (M is learning her sign-language letters now)
- Nursery Rhyme and Songs for the week (usually with dancing!)
- Read Aloud books - usually related to our weekly theme
- Bible Time
After we finish with our Bible story we move into the related craft or activity. From there we usually do three to four other planned activities related to our weekly theme. Twice a week we have outside activities (ballet and library story time) and these days we still do Circle Time but do fewer activities. M loves doing "school" and is usually asking me for more than I had planned.
After about an hour of school M is free to use her Montessori materials if she wishes. If I have a new material out on the shelf I will give her a lesson on it, but otherwise this is her time to work independently while I observe. She almost always spends at least another hour doing Montessori work. The length of time she spends in here is up to her.
Usually after two to two-and-a-half hours our school time is done. The rest of her day is spent in free play. We do allow M to have access to her Montessori materials anytime she wants, and she will return to them several times throughout the day. She asks for us to read books throughout the day, and she and J get half-an-hour of a family read-aloud time from Daddy each night before bedtime.
I plan our time with four things in mind:
- It must be fun - if M is not enjoying an activity we stop or move on to something else.
- School time is always a choice - if she doesn't want to do a particular activity or doesn't want to do school one day then we don't.
- I always plan activities that involve lots of movement; I don't expect M to sit still during any point of our day.
- I tend to overplan so that I have a lot of choices available to M. But, I don't expect us to get to everything I have planned and I often alter our plans as we go through our day.
Of course, Baby B does school with us. He naps during part of our time, but we usually take breaks for nursing, diaper changes and snuggling!