Parenting: Staying on Offense

Last week I did the most Montessori thing I have ever done, but the actual Montessori-ness of it is secondary to the reason why I did it. You see, my children had to stay home from school for the second time in four days due to an “inclement weather” day. In Houston this just means:  “Dear God…we have NO IDEA how to handle rain that is slightly frozen.”

The first unexpected school closure was on a Friday, so we treated it like a lazy weekend day. We watched Batman cartoons, baked banana bread, stayed in PJs for a great deal of the day. It was great, but by the end of the day the kids were a little stir crazy and bickering about everything. When school was canceled the following Tuesday I knew we could not have a repeat performance for various reasons namely that a lazy day sandwiched between two school days would really mess up my kids’ routine. I knew I had to stay on the offense. I had to plan something concrete and productive to do for a few hours to give some structure to their day.

Since both children attend Montessori school it made the most sense to me to build in a morning work period. I created a very simple work plan that is not very authentic but I knew would be enough work for us to make it to lunch. We don’t have many authentic materials so we had to improvise!

I made this "work plan" on a half sheet of paper. I wanted to include all of the subjects she normally does plus some other things. Her practical life activity was doing her laundry and her reading was to read aloud a chapter of a book of her choice.

I made this “work plan” on a half sheet of paper. I wanted to include all of the subjects she normally does plus some other things. Her practical life activity was doing her laundry and her reading was to read aloud a chapter of a book of her choice.

My daughter, in her interesting free choice outfit, doing the one piece of Montessori work we actually have! It is an addition board.

My daughter, in her interesting free choice outfit, doing the one piece of Montessori work we actually have! It is an addition board.

This is my son doing his culture work. He is just trying to recreate the states puzzle.

This is my son doing his culture work. He is just trying to recreate the states puzzle.

So what was the result? The kids were much less “crazy” and grouchy than they were on the previous Friday. They didn’t ask me two hundred times “what are we doing next?”

While this plan worked for us and I will definitely being doing it again, the same principle can be applied to whatever you can dream up and feel confident about. Maybe it is a craft morning or a cooking morning or a mini-Olympics morning! I just know that when I play offense my day AND the kids’ day goes so much smoother.

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