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The Daily Rhythm in Our Montessori Home

I get asked a lot for a schedule of our day. How we structure our homeschool time, our playtime and regular life. This isn't an easy question for me to answer, because the answer is always the same but different -- I follow the child. I don't force any specific list of activities on my children or force them to pick certain materials. I prepare the environment and let their interests lead. 

However, we do have a rhythm or routine that we generally stick to. Maria Montessori identified that the ideal work periods for children should be three hours long. So, I try to structure my day in three hour chunks. While my kids aren't "working" in a classroom per se the whole time, this does provide enough structure for us all.

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So, I thought I would share our typical routine with examples from a random day. Just a note about the pictures -- I don't think they accurately reflect how much I am working, playing and reading with the kids. I chose not to get out the tripod, so I would get more accurate pictures of the kids. Also, this is not every single thing we did. Nora bounces around a lot, and that would just be too many pictures to feature here. Finally, I think these pictures show Henry working on homeschool materials a little less than is typical -- Nora and Henry were coming off a wicked stomach bug and no one was back to 100 percent yet. 

6:00 a.m. -- 9:00 a.m. 

My days typically start somewhere between 5:30 and 6:00. I work from home, so a few days a week I work from around 5:45 to 8:00 while Morgan is with the kids. He will get them up and fed. Then, we trade off so he can get ready to leave for work. On days I don't work, I try to get a little more sleep -- but Nora often has other plans.

Reading "Little Beauty" 

On those days, I may work on blog and social media stuff, make homeschool materials or simply read mindless stuff on the internet in the morning. I am NOT a morning person, and the kids know this. Generally, they will sit quietly with me, eat or play. Morgan takes on a lot of the parenting at this time, just because I have no patience this time of day. 

Henry plays with the Grimm's Rainbow

As it gets later, Morgan heads to work, and Nora and I get dressed. On school days, Henry gets dressed too, but otherwise I let him follow his own desires to get dressed. 

9:00 a.m. -- 12:00 p.m. 

This is our first work period of the day. This is what I consider our "independent" time. Not that I'm not around or involved, I'm just not as actively participating in all their play. Henry goes to school several days a week during this time. This also tends to be when we would do outings or run errands. 

Henry builds with Magnatiles; Nora on the {discontinued} Ikea seesaw 

So, we are not necessarily just playing at home at this time. When we are, the kids follow their own interests. I may play with them for a few minutes and let them play alone. Or, we may read for 30 minutes or not. I follow their lead. But, its also when I get things done around the house. It may be 15 minutes of focused playing, then 15 minutes of unloading the dishwasher. Or throwing in laundry or vacuuming. The kids are always invited to help me in my cleaning or chores. Sometimes they do join in, Nora, in particular, is much more likely to be helping me than working alone. 

Nora starts to color matching {completely her idea} between loose gems and DIY colored boxes from our light-panel area. Henry gets water from a Brita water filter

Around 10:00, the kids get an independent snack from their kitchen area. And, then go back to whatever they are doing. Usually Nora needs more focused play with me by this point, but not always. They will also play together. If its not the dead of winter, we may go outside. There are also times when I might have a sensory bin or other sensory experience planned, that just depends on the day and my energy level. If the kids aren't doing a great job working on their own, sensory play can sometimes turn the mood around. 

Henry sweeps with the Bissell Carpet Sweeper Vacuum with a center bar removed as I use our regular vacuum.  

Henry works with "Maps" and works on comparing populations between countries trying to find the largest. 

This part of our day really looks so different each day. Henry might spend the entire morning in our homeschool classroom, or no time at all. Nora might cling to me or she might play quietly. But, by noon, everyone is ready to move on. 

12:00 p.m. -- 3:00 p.m. 

The third part of our day starts with cleaning up and making lunch. Henry has recently started taking over much more responsibility at lunch time. He is starting to make his own lunch from start to finish.

Henry makes vegan mac and cheese for himself and Nora with supervision. 

By 1:00, our "morning" is officially over. Henry goes to quiet time and Nora goes down for her nap. At quiet time, Henry can choose to be in one of our playrooms or his classroom. During this time, everyone completely does their own thing. Henry does not have the option to join me, but needs this time to rest. He's often found curled up with his blankie reading or laying. 

During this time, I work, either on my work-work, blog work or prepare for the class I teach. I might craft and watch a show, or clean.

3:00 p.m. -- 6:00 p.m. 

By 3:00 p.m. Henry is ready for interaction again, and Nora is usually getting up. This "work period" is where I am much more involved in what they are doing. I actively make it a point not to do anything but hang out with the kids. 

Henry works on pink series. Nora and Henry paint using watercolors and watercolor paper.

I still follow the children's lead during this time and play along with what they are interested in doing. Typically, I would say we spend on average an hour in our homeschool classroom, an hour reading books and an hour doing other activities. Its too cold here most days to go outside, but on warmer days we may spend an hour outside {and all of it outside in the summer}. 

Henry and Nora play with Legos on the light-table panel. Reading "Lola at the Library."

I'm very fortunate to have a husband that does most of the cooking, so I don't usually have to do much when it comes to dinner. But towards the end of this time, we do start to pick up and make sure we're ready to eat. 

6:00 p.m. -- 10:00 p.m. 

By 6:00 p.m., everyone is ready to eat, have a little play time with Dad and get ready for bed. Most nights the kids are in bed by between 7:15 and 7:30. 

Nora plays the xylophone while Henry sings in the bilibo. Nora does simple shape puzzle. {similar} Henry plays with pin art game. 

A couple nights a week I actually get back to work as soon as Morgan gets home from work, and skip dinner and bedtime (other than nursing). Those few nights, I work until between 9:00 and 10:00 p.m. and then head to bed. The nights I don't work, I craft/blog/hang out with Morgan.  

And, that's it! A day in our life and our general rhythm. What does your Montessori day look like? 

12 Months of Montessori 
This post was brought to you as part of the 12 Months of Montessori series! This month's them is "A Day in the Life." Check out these other amazing blogger's Montessori days in the posts below!

Our Daily Homeschool Schedule | Natural Beach Living

What to do today… Our Typical Homeschool Day Schedule | The Natural Homeschool

A Day in the Life of Montessori Busy Hands | Christian Montessori Network
Our Daily Routine | Grace and Green Pastures


Hannah said…
I have read so many blogs and articles for encouragement and inspiration, and yours is always my favorite! Thank you for all of the information you share on here and other outlets. I am still struggling how to grasp it all, plan and then finally follow through with a daily "routine".

What did you do for the two paintings behind the kids' little IKEA table? The one with the large color dots. I assume you made them...Did you specifically use certain colors? We have one of these tables in our downstairs area, but I am going to put another one upstairs for my 20 month old to use for his activities while I am busy folding laundry, etc. I would love to add a couple of canvases like yours!
kimberly said…
Perfect! It reminds me of my own days :) I love your kitchen and all of the great pics of your kids.
I did make them! I was actually inspired by our watercolor pallet! I literally just painted a circle on the canvas of each color in the exact order they are on the tray! You can find the tray here: (aff)
Unknown said…
I love how focused Henry is when he's cooking -- there's just something about cooking and food prep that really REALLY makes them concentrate hard. It pleasantly surprises me over and over again. And you're right -- so much goes on during the day, and each day is so different, that it's hard to feature everything on a post like this. I bet I left out a bunch of stuff too, and mine is already a pretty long post! I love this glimpse into your beautiful days. :)
Jennifer said…
Loved getting an insight into your days - and we have that Bissel manual vacuum, too! I didn't like it at first because our carpets at our apartment were longer and it was really hard to operate - but in our new home, the carpets are shorter and it works great!
I love this little look into your day with such a young kiddo. It truly shows the concept of following the child at the youngest of ages. You're flexible and willing to do what's needed, but at the same time not hovering over them and keeping them on task etc. I'm kind of envious in a way as a set up like this doesn't work well with special needs kiddos. And I promise I won't take offense to the comment about a checklist. Lol. ;) This really is such a fabulous post. Oh, and I love how you mentioned how often your husband takes the lead. I love the mornings with my kiddos however by 7 PM I am DONE! That's when my husband takes over with bedtime routines etc.
I love this little look into your day with such a young kiddo. It truly shows the concept of following the child at the youngest of ages. You're flexible and willing to do what's needed, but at the same time not hovering over them and keeping them on task etc. I'm kind of envious in a way as a set up like this doesn't work well with special needs kiddos. And I promise I won't take offense to the comment about a checklist. Lol. ;) This really is such a fabulous post. Oh, and I love how you mentioned how often your husband takes the lead. I love the mornings with my kiddos however by 7 PM I am DONE! That's when my husband takes over with bedtime routines etc.
I really appreciate the honesty and sincerity in this daily routine post. My husband also helps with the meals in our home. It's wonderful! I'm also not a morning person. :) Your kids look like they are really enjoying life - Montessori style!
Unknown said…
What a sweet post! It is full of reality and I love how education is intertwined with independent time and collaborative time. Beautiful!
Bess Wuertz said…
I love seeing how your entire family works together each day. The meal prep is amazing! I love the peaceful feel.
Unknown said…
Thank you so much for this wonderful one-day-example! May I ask you a question? You mentioned that during the quiet time Henry doesn't have an option of staying with you. How do you reinforce that or how did you implement this in the beginning? I mean, what if he refuses to do it. Would you use the technique of bringing him back to his room even though he is crying? Your day looked like there is no crying, whining involved, everything seems to be so peaceful. I, on the other hand, have to fight with my little one to get her to nap or put her to sleep at bedtime. With her, even the idea of quiet time would be impossible without me sitting there with her and reading books to her. That's why I am asking.Thanks in advance!
Jenboilerfan said…
Where do you get all of your wooden trays and nice baskets. I have realized that in our attempt to keep things organized we have just closed up the viewing of toys from our boys by using the fabric totes.
Marry said…
They look so cute. Love to be there to play with them. It would be interesting.
Unknown said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
cosmina dinu said…
Hello! Your house looks very peaceful :) I do have some specific curiosities: 1. How old is Nora? 2. Is she going to nap by herself? (my 25 mo old little daughter would not fall asleep without us - either for nap or bedtime). 3. Any advice on motivating kids to clean after themselves? We started really early (before 1 year old) but I do not know whether I should just model this behaviour without being very insistent or to insist like crazy that she puts back her very toy? thanks a lot
Julie said…
This is such a great post! Can you tell me where the art is from in the picture that shows the kids painting? Thanks so much!
Anita said…
Really great post with beautiful photos! And your blog looks great, stunning design!

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