Every so often, I ask readers to submit post topic suggestions, and this one came up recently: What our after school routine looks like and how to support learning/homework the Montessori way at home. I am not sure how other Montessori families do it, but this is what our Montessori-inspired after school routine looks like:
- Pick up with snack in hand
I pick up both girls from school, and I am sure to arrive with a snack that’s ready to go as soon as they get in the car. By the time I’m picking them up, it’s been several hours since they ate lunch and there’s still a couple more to go before dinner. So we refuel with a snack!
2. Straight outside
As soon as we arrive home, we go straight outside to play in the yard until dinner time. I don’t know about your school, but ours only has a 20 minute recess each day. So they definitely need to get outside and run around for a bit after being cooped up in a classroom all day!
After a bit of outside time, I go in to start dinner while they continue to play outside. I usually do this all by myself, although there are a couple particular meals that the girls like to help with (breading pork chops, rolling meatballs, etc).
4. Unpack backpacks
After dinner (or occasionally just before dinner, if they come inside a few minutes early), the girls unpack their backpacks. At the beginning of the year, I wrote a list of the tasks they would need to complete and hung it up on our family command center just at their height — it lists things like, “empty lunchbox and put near sink,” “charge Chromebooks,” “put dirty mask away,” “hang up jacket,” “empty folders,” etc.
5. Showers & free play/homework
Then the girls go up to shower and change into pajamas, then can use the rest of the evening however they would like. Nora is only in Kindergarten, and she doesn’t have any homework yet. Lila is in 2nd grade and usually has all of her homework for the week assigned at the same time, so she spreads it out over the course of the week. She writes a different assignment to complete for each day on the calendar on our family command center, then crosses it off as she finishes it. This is a way of keeping her accountable for her own homework while also organizing it in a way that we can all see it easily.
6. Packing Lunches
Most days, the girls aren’t a fan of the lunch school is serving for the day, so they pack their own. They pack their lunches each night before bed so we’re not rushing to do it in the morning before school. I wrote up a menu of all the options for each section of their bento boxes, and they fill it up alongside my husband.
7. Tuck In/Reading time
We have an early bedtime in this house! We start the tucking in process at 7pm, then the girls read for a bit after that. Nora (age 6) asked us to set an alarm on her Alexa telling her to stop reading and go to bed at 7:45pm. Lila (7.5) prefers to read until she’s tired, so she usually reads until anywhere between 8:30 and 9:00pm.
So that’s it! How is this “Montessori-inspired,” you ask? Freedom of movement, following the child, allowing for independence, responsibility with homework, to name just a few things.
I am not including a photo of our family command center because many of the things in it include identifying information. Here’s a description of the items we have there:
- Charging station for chromebooks
- Family Calendar
- School Calendar
- School Lunch Menu
- Bulletin Board for important school information
- List of before school tasks to complete daily
- List of after school tasks to complete daily