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July 10, 2019

Summertime Homeschooling in the Second Plane

Earlier this spring, I asked my son Henry what he would like to do for the summer. He was finishing up his second year in lower elementary at a Montessori public school. Typically, we mostly keep it slow in the summer. But, in the past he has attended either a few summer camps or a private Montessori school a couple of days a week. Much to my surprise, Henry didn't want to do any of those activities but wanted to "homeschool."

A look at our Montessori second plane homeschooling materials.

That was just fine with me! I took the money I had budgeted for summer camp and rolled it into a few Montessori and non-Montessori materials that would fit his needs and interests. Some of these materials were things I made a judgment call about, and some where suggestions by his guide.

Just a note, Henry is neurodiverse. We do not share, at this time, specifics about his exact diagnosis or needs. The materials have been chosen with this in mind. Use this post for inspiration, but follow your own child. 

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Here's a look at some of those materials: 


Henry is a strong reader, reading above his typical grade level. So as far as specific reading goes we read to him each day, but he also has 30 minutes of time per day where he reads aloud or to himself. This is something we would ask for him to do regardless of his summer plans. So this summer, most of our work focuses on grammar and writing. We are using: 

Montessori Grammar Symbols - using these to decode sentences that I have hand written and other DIY grammar work 

DIY Grammar Work - I have been making small envelopes containing words from different parts of speech (like nouns/proper nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, etc.) and labeling them with a Montessori grammar stencil. Some of this work is asking him to match parts of speech, sort into proper categories, or create funny sentences. Many of the words relate to his favorite topic - Star Wars. I've been adding and changing these all the time as he masters concepts. Similar printables for this kind of work can be found online, I just write the words on card stock in the appropriate colors. 

*Star Wars Reading and Writing Third Grade - Explores a variety of language concepts some of which he is familiar with, some he is not. Star Wars provides good motivation for him. I like that they isolate and build on concepts in a very accessible way, but is obviously worksheets instead of physical manipulation. 

*Star Wars MadLibs - A fun way to review and solidify the grammar work we have been doing.

A look at our Montessori second plane homeschooling materials.

Waseca Biomes Water Cycle Mat - This was my biggest purchase for the summer, but it has so many uses that it will be making lots of appearances on this list! It comes with a whole selection of grammar work, and right now we are using it to solidify and label (in a much more concrete way than the worksheets! parts of speech).

*Typing Club - Henry is also learning to type this summer. He is mostly screen free here at home and at school. But, his needs make typing necessary and I really like the simplicity of this program. He does 15-20 minutes on it each day. 


Math is an area where Henry shows less interest and therefore it's a bit harder to engage him in this work. But, with some creativity and support we are making it happen. Here's what we are using: 

The Stamp Game - This is a versatile work that is used in his lower elementary classroom for all four major math functions. Right now we is using for addition and subtraction but will soon add multiplication. His guide asked for him to practice more with this. 

Multiplication Bead Board - This is more limited in function, but is a concrete way for him to learn his multiplication math facts, and understand just how multiplication works. 

Problem Cards - These cards from Maitiri Learning are laminated and have both static and dynamic problems for him to solve. Henry could also make his own problems, but doesn't often chose to do this.

A look at our Montessori second plane homeschooling materials.

Large Bead Frame - Henry's guide asked that we work with this material this summer, it helps move him toward abstraction and solve larger problems. So far, it's been much more popular than the stamp game. 

*Star Wars Second Grade Math - a good review of the concepts Henry already knows, plus just some fun puzzles that get him more interested in math. 


Science is such a broad and fun area in the Montessori classroom! I wish I could have purchased/made all the things to really dive into the subject, but time/budget really limits that. So, I'm sticking to a few fun things and letting lots of time outdoors do the rest! 

Waseca Biomes Water Cycle Mat - This mat also teaches a variety of science subjects including learning about the layers of the atmosphere, the water cycle, cloud types, biomes and more. This really is something we could explore together for years.

Test Tube Set - We've had this for awhile, but we are using for a few different types of science experiments. 

*How to Think Like a Scientist - We are using this living book to explore the scientific method and do some simple science experiments

Geography/Culture/Cosmic Education

If you have been following our Montessori journey from the beginning, then you know that Henry has always had a serious interest in all things geography! Even all these years later that still holds true for him. 

*USA Puzzle Map {similar to what we have} - We have a magnetic puzzle map that we are using to learn about the United States this summer. We are using an atlas {ours is out of print, but this is the newer addition} to create a book of the states. Exploring each state's region, capital, industries, and special features. If/When we finish this project, I hope to use this atlas for more in-depth US study.  This is still by far Henry's favorite thing we are doing this summer. 

*Timelines of Everything - Timelines are so important for elementary children and found in many areas of the lower elementary classroom. This book is a great way to explore different historical and cultural events and concepts 

A look at our Montessori second plane homeschooling materials.

*Where Is/What Was/Who Was Book Series - We have been reading these together on a variety of historical people, events, and places. We have then been using some of our other reference books to explore these topics further.  

And, that's it for now! I've been sharing bits of our homeschool work in action on Instagram stories, so don't miss those. We'll see where the rest of the summer takes us, but I think we have lots here to explore. It's been fun working with him in a more academic sense again. 

* - items marked are not traditional Montessori materials but are things we are supplementing with. 

What is your second plane child doing this summer? Have you incorporated any school work at home during summer vacation?

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Anonymous said…
Really appreciate your blog. Just want to say that I respect the choice to keep Henry's diagnosis private. You've already shared so much about him and giving him (and his future) privacy in this way is so wise.