Writing Your Own Montessori Albums

Geography times 3

If you have looked into purchasing Montessori Albums at all, you know how expensive they can be. There are various options available online (even for free) but for many homeschooling moms, those albums are simply too much. We can't afford to buy every material. Not to mention, we don't have the storage space for all of it. Not only that, but the albums themselves are bulky! Tim's albums take up no less than 20 3" binders for full lessons for 6-12. Many of us have found that a blended method works better for us anyways, so why spend the money on an album we may not need or be able to get the most use out of?

My suggestion, is (obviously) that we don't.

Writing your own albums may sound completely overwhelming, and in many ways it is a big job, but really it is simply organizing what you are already doing into one place.

You will need a 3" binder, page protectors, and dividing tabs. I like the pocket dividers so I can put things I haven't had time to file or use frequently.

My album is divided into 8 tabs** 
This year I hope to add a section for Religion/Faith and a section for Fine Arts/Music. If all of your kids are beyond the infant/toddler stage, or you don't do anything specific at that age, you may not need that category.

The first thing I put behind each tab is a list of all of the materials for each subject area and a brief description of the approach to the subject. Are you using a rotating history model? Are you using a purchased curriculum for math? Are you using Living Books? Montessori Materials? This is honestly the most time consuming step of the process. I created all of my introductions myself using the computer. Give yourself an assignment to tackle one or two subject areas per week to spread the work out.

Next is adding any copy masters or lesson plans you already have. When I order from Montessori Services, the materials often come with a brief lesson plan/overview of the material so I add those to the correct category. My master copies for card work and other activities are also filed behind the appropriate tab. I try to add things roughly in the order we use them (either sequentially or annually).

Heidi, I have all this stuff on my computer already- why waste the paper and the space to print it all off at once?

In short, because by the time you have been homeschooling for a few years you probably have a folder on your computer that is full of things you have downloaded. Half of which you have probably forgotten you have, the other half of which you can't find quickly when you need them.

Each month your album will grow as you make your plans for the month and find your resources. With multiple children and multiple ages you will be able to create a custom curriculum album for your family. When the second child reaches the same age the first is now you will already have what worked all together in one place for easy access. No weeding through to find adaptations for materials you don't have. No spending money on something you haven't tried on your own family, in your own home, with your own children. Eventually you may find you need to delve into a second album.

This is not a sit down in one night project, but it is a project that is well worth its weight in gold. Almost every homeschooling mom I know adapts her curriculum in some way or another, this is an affordable way to organize those adaptations to be most useful in the future!

**Links updated to include scope and sequence posts that have been added since this post was written.


Kylie said...

And I also think some kind of version of this for any homeschooling mother (montessori or not) would work well. Thanks for sharing :)

Heidi said...

I agree Kylie, especially anyone who is using something not out of a box.