September 11 was the first day of Danny’s Montessori Elementary experience. And it is also the first day that he would be in a kindergarten classroom if I weren’t homeschooling. It’s getting real!
Transitioning from Montessori primary to elementary has been a work in progress for me all summer. In many ways Danny’s schoolwork will be more of the same. But in a couple of significant ways, there will be changes.
Unlike in primary where the child is allowed to forge their own path, the elementary child is ready for and needs accountability and expectations. A part of this is the weekly work plan. In a school, each student would meet with the teacher weekly and discuss the work that needs to be done in the next week. Together they would write up a work plan. My goal is to eventually get to this collaborative effort but for now I’m preparing the plan and teaching Danny how to use it to guide his work. Each day as he completes a task, he puts a paper clip on that line. The daily tasks are cleared at the beginning of each day, any tasks not done the day before will be his first work the next day. Weekly tasks will be cleared at the beginning of each Monday.
Another tool to help the child plan and prioritize their work is a daily work journal. Now that Danny is able to write and has an understanding of time, he will track his daily activities by listing them in his journal. He is really new to writing so for now I am writing out his words for him and then he copies them to his journal. This is really challenging for him so when he asked me to take over halfway through the day, I obliged.
In addition to the work journal, Danny also now has a journal for each of his subjects. The language, history, science and geography have the same lines paper as his work journal. The math and geometry journals have grid-lined paper. Danny has started using his language journal to practice his writing and his math journal to write addition facts that he knows and do problems with the stamp game. He’ll use the other journals as he completes work in each of those subjects.
So the new year has begun and we’re off to a good start!