10 Tips for Easy Homeschool Planning

Have Your Best Homeschool Year Yet With These Great Planning Tips

What is it that happens between the fresh excitement of homeschool planning and the spring slump? Why do we go from being motivated, organized, and passionate to burned out? The back-to-school season is a season of excitement. Even those who homeschool year-round feel it. The season comes with a crisp touch in the air and a renewed motivation in our hearts. Only to find a few months later we’re exhausted, disorganized, and in a slump.

Burnout at Home and in the Classroom


I came to homeschooling after years of working in schools. First, I worked in a traditional Montessori preschool for almost a decade. It was actually my first ever “real” job. I stayed in that job throughout college. My head-of-school gave me a chance to work in every single classroom. I also worked in the before & after school program. I even helped in administration and office duties. Throughout college and my first few years after graduation, I continued to work in education in one capacity or another.


After a few years, I landed at an incredible school for special needs kids.   I worked in a K-2 class and sometimes substituted with older kids. I was given the chance to see many different teaching styles and approaches. I stayed there for several years until my son was born. Now I continue my work in education as an at-home-educator with Montessori homeschooling.


Why do I tell you this? Because teachers burn out too! In fact, I observed that many teachers burn out faster than moms at home. What I have observed through all my years in education is something that seems to separate those who burn out from those who don’t.


Systems and Organization

Those who came into a school year with an organizational system seemed to stay motivated. I also noticed they were much less likely to get in over their heads. Yes, the systems adapted as the year progressed. And, yes, sometimes things didn’t work.   Now I have worked my way from class educator to home educator. I find so much value in having good systems in place to bring ease to our days.

Today I hope to offer a few homeschool time management tips. It is my hope these tips will be something you can incorporate to avoid slump and overwhelm later


Back-to-School Time Management Tips


Pick a method and stick with it- Don’t “throw the baby out with the bathwater” too fast. It takes at least 40 days to adjust to a new routine. Just because a routine or planning method doesn’t work at first, doesn’t mean it will never work. You may need more time to iron out the wrinkles.


Expect the unexpected- We lay out our bright, shiny new schedule at the beginning of the year. Then life happens. Someone gets sick. There’s a job transfer. You face a death in the family. Your schedule gets out of whack and you get frustrated. Leave in flex time! Add in a few “buffer” days- sort of like how public schools add in extra days for snow days.


Buffer your day- Often we forget to add in transitional time to our daily routine. It can take children a while to transition from activity to activity. This is not because they are stubborn or not listening. It’s because their brains take longer to transition and transition is sometimes hard. Give yourself a 5-10 minute buffer between each activity. You may even need to make that longer if you have young children, a baby at home, or a child with special needs. This can make a dramatic change in your homeschool routine.


Plan like a funnel- Start out with a broad overview of where you hope to be by the end of the year. Then schedule out each element. It can be helpful to have goals for each month set at the beginning of the school year. Then, perhaps, only do a detailed schedule for every six-eight weeks. Keeping the idea of a funnel in mind is helpful. Broad for what’s to come, narrow for what’s happening now.


Schedule in time for YOU- Give yourself at least an hour a week of YOU time. No kids, no responsibility. Make it two if you can. An hour to relax and unwind alone does remarkable things. If you can add in another hour to take time to learn and nurture your interests, even better.


Track your time- Use a time tracker app, a Bullet Journal spread, or a piece of paper. Write out everything you spend your time on in a week. Then evaluate it and see what you can drop, outsource, or needs better balance. Use this to help inform your decisions about scheduling.

Put it down in paper and pen (or pencil)- The neurological process is different when we plan with paper vs digital. Using real paper and writing out goals, schedules, and plans can be revolutionary in and of itself. We even made it easy for you with a beautiful FREE printable planner. Homeschool planning takes on a new life on paper!


Give loop scheduling a try- Instead of scheduling specific subjects on certain days, try looping. This way if you have something come up on, say your “History Tuesday” you won’t miss it. To loop, write down the subjects you want to cover daily and the subjects you want to cover weekly. Start at the top of your weekly list and cover at least one of those subjects a day. The next day, move to the next subject(s) on the list. Then if you miss a day of school, you won’t miss a topic- you move to what’s next on the loop.


Follow the lead of the child- This is a core component of a Montessori education. If your child needs to spend an entire quarter covering the same 4 sections in Math Book 1, that ’s ok. Adjust your plans to follow their lead. This also applies you find your child dawdles, struggles with focus, or seems to zone out. We’ll talk more about this in an upcoming blog. Montessori homeschooling is the perfect environment to follow your child’s lead.

Get a little help from ShillerLearning- We have made planning easy for both parents and students. Check out our FREE printable planners- there’s a set for homeschool parents that we brought you last month. This month, we’re happy to bring you a Student Planner Pack. In it you’ll find back-to-school activities your kids will love. We have activities like timer races, schedule card creation, cutting strips, clockworks, and more! Plus it has a FREE Student printable planner to help your child get organized along with you!

Focus on your next best thing- A time will come in planning, or in your year when you’ll get overwhelmed. Or an unexpected situation will arise, a new baby will come, etc. and your schedule will get backed up. In those moments of overwhelm, ask yourself “What is my best next thing?” Maybe that’s working on Math, or maybe it’s going out back to lay in the grass and watch the clouds. In moments of overwhelming- all you need to focus on is one thing at a time. No matter what it is, go from one best thing to the next and before you know it- you’ll be feeling calmer.


I hope some of these tips and tricks are helpful. I would love to hear about some of the things you do to help schedule and plan too. Plus, make sure to check out these other blogs and resources:

Montessori Homeschool Parent Planner Pack

How The Montessori Three-Period Lesson Changed My Homeschool

TED Talks For Homeschool Reading Inspiration


We hope this pack will encourage you to enjoy and learn more about Homeschooling. Plus this month’s pack is just as free as fresh air and sunshine! So download it now and start reading with your child!

See Inside Our Montessori-Based Kits

Math Kit I - PreK to 3rd Grade

Language Arts A - PreK to 1st Grade

Amanda Osenga

Amanda is a former Montessori teacher, now homeschooling her dear son - an only child. Her family resides in an Airstream parked in Washington State and loves Washington's outdoor opportunities. When not homeschooling, Amanda blogs, loves reading, and creates hand-lettering pieces.

Leave a comment:

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Other articles:

21 Free Montessori Based Winter Printable Activities

Fun Winter-Themed Activities to Engage Your Children with Math & Language Arts

If you haven’t seen our winter printables pack yet you are in for a treat. This pack is a perfect addition to your homeschool, no matter what type of homeschooler you are: Montessori, Classical, Charlotte Mason, Unschooling, Unit Study, or Eclectic. I don’t want to spoil the surprise or bore you to tears by describing every detail of all 32 activities, so I wrote a little poem to read. Or you can just watch Jonathan recite it in the video below...

Twas 16 days before Christmas and all through the town
The printers where whirring, putting ink down;
ShillerLearning’s FREE activity pack was created with care,
To enrich homeschooling for kids everywhere;

The children were nestled in their homeschool room,
Where winter Montessori works would be done soon;
And mamma with her printables, all fresh from her pack,
Which she just printed from her Windows or Mac,

When out from the works there arose so much learning,
The children were matching shapes by carefully turning.
Away to the mailbox I flew like a flash,
To get greeting cards for lacing which were done in a dash.

The snowmen with numbers were done with a nod
Gave the children practice learning even and odd,
When, even numbers came with snowflakes cut out,
The students learned those with a shout!

With 3-part cards, of a winter theme,
I knew in a moment they were learning.
More eager than beavers the learning came,
And the children pointed and said objects by name;

Now snowflake! now coat! Now, sled and hat!
On we continue learning words on our mat!
To the top of the shelf the winter works go,
We’ve even matched flakes of snow.

As the achievement badges are colored and done,
The children learned and had fun,
So until next pack we will now wait,
For the new ShillerLearning printable pack, which will also be great.

...Happy Holidays from ShillerLearning! We hope you enjoy this beautifully designed free printable pack.

Here are some things about this pack in particular that we think you'll love. It...

  • Is 100% FREE!!

  • Brings Montessori fun of the season to homeschooling through winter.

  • Is print and go. Just like our lessons, it requires very little prep work.

  • For many ages. Most activities are for the preschool and early elementary crowd. We also do some activities for older children and even some that can be enjoyed by all your kids together.

  • Includes a wide range of Montessori subjects.

  • Designed to be used as standalone works. However, for those of you who have ShillerLearning math or language arts curriculum, we include some suggestions from our materials. You'll still be able to use these packs without them though.


Request your own copy of the 21 free Montessori activities with beautiful printables.

And don't forget to take photos of your kids having fun with them too! We love seeing your family enjoy Montessori-based fun on our Facebook page.

See Inside Our Montessori-Based Kits

Math Kit I - PreK to 3rd Grade

Language Arts A - PreK to 1st Grade

Amanda Osenga

Amanda is a former Montessori teacher now homeschooling her only child. Amanda and her family reside in an Airstream parked in Washington State. She loves Washington's outdoor opportunities. When not homeschooling, she also blogs, works as a virtual assistant, and loves creating hand-lettering pieces.

Homeschool Teacher Appreciation Coupon Pack Freebie

Teacher Appreciation Week is May 1st through 7th – running right into Mother’s Day on May 8th.

It’s a perfect time to highlight all the ways that homeschool teachers guide their learners in the education journey. ShillerLearning has created a FREE downloadable pack of simple thank you coupons redeemable for a variety of family activities.

Share the printable with your child and invite them to participate in Teacher Appreciation Week. Print them in color on fancy paper or in black and white on plain paper for your child to color and decorate. If your child is not yet reading, read through the different activities. The pictures will help them to remember the activity on each slip.

The coupons to be gifted are chosen by the student. Each child may show appreciation differently. While one may carefully select a single activity as a grand gift, another may opt to give many or all coupons and surprise you throughout the week. As with learning, there is no one right way.

The recipient chooses when to use a coupon. If your child has a day with a rough patch, redemption of a coupon for an activity may help everyone to pivot - and redeem the day.

Thank you for all you do to lead the next generation in fulfilling their potential!

Antoinette LaGrossa

Veteran homeschool mom of five, Antoinette LaGrossa has been homeschooling since 2001. Having experienced her family’s frustration with multiple math programs, Antoinette understands the struggle that can come with teaching math. Everything changed in 2004 when she tried ShillerMath. She quickly joined the ShillerLearning team and has been supporting home educators for almost two decades - sharing hands-on learning tips, encouragement, and practical experience from homeschooling five very different children. Antoinette speaks at conventions across the country and is host of ShillerLearning’s Tuesdays@2.


See Inside Our Kits

Language Arts Kit A (PreK/K-G1)

Language Arts Kit B (G1-G4)

The Family Guide to Homeschool Conventions

Finding Inspiration to Refresh and Renew Your Homeschool

The Family Guide to Homeschool Conventions

Homeschool convention season is kicking off! ShillerLearning homeschool coaches LOVE convention season and can't wait to meet new homeschool parents. Most homeschool conventions run from March through July.  


Why should you attend an in-person convention?


Conventions provide so many opportunities for homeschooling families. You can flip through the curriculum that you've been eyeing online, connect with families in your area, gain encouragement and inspiration from the many wonderful speakers, and get prepared for the next year of your homeschool journey.

Have you ever walked into a convention center and felt immediately overwhelmed? I have. When I was first starting my homeschool journey, I attended a convention with a close friend that was also beginning her homeschooling journey. We looked at the session titles and descriptions online to try and prepare ourselves for the weekend.

When we arrived at the convention we realized that there was so much more going on than we had planned for. Some of the sessions we tried to attend were full. We were shocked to see people sitting on the floor and standing outside. We tried to go to the exhibit hall between sessions; it was shoulder-to-shoulder people. We quickly realized that we had no clue where to start.

As we stood outside the exhibit hall we must have looked as lost and confused as we felt. A veteran homeschool mom approached us and was able to help us wrap our head around all of the goodies. She gave us some great tips to get the most out of our first convention.

I've now attended multiple conventions as both an attendee and an exhibitor. With the help of some other veteran homeschool moms at ShillerLearning, I have compiled a list of things that I hope will help you get prepared to attend a homeschool convention in your area.

  • Decide which convention you want to attend:

I haven't been to a bad homeschool convention yet, so pick the convention that works best for your family and budget. Don't feel like you have to travel to a destination convention to get the most out of attending. Find the convention that best fits your needs and budget. And, yes, there are destination conventions!

  • Get familiar with the area and venue:

Take the stress out of travel by getting familiar with the area. Know where to park, look up area attractions, find nearby parks if you need to take a break, find what restaurants are nearby (and if they are allergy friendly if necessary).

  • Decide who you are going with:

A. Make it a family event: Homeschool conventions are excellent family events. Make sure you check the specific rules for the convention that you will be attending before you go, so you know if your kids will be allowed to shop on their own in the exhibit hall or if they will need to stay with you. Some conventions also have wonderful kid and teen programs that kids can enjoy while you shop and attend sessions on your own. If the convention you are attending does not have a kids program, try to take someone (spouse, gradparent, etc) with you that can help with the kids while you are talking to vendors in the exhibit hall. Take the FREE ShillerLearning Roadschooling Activity Pack to keep the kids occupied with fun activities in the car and during the event.

B. Take a friend: I've met several moms over the years that use homeschool conventions as a mom's getaway. If you could use some time away, plan a trip with some of your homeschool mom friends.

  • Know the vendors:

If the convention you are attending lists the vendors online, get famliar with the vendors before you go. Visit their website to find out what curriculum they offer.

  • Be flexible with your schedule:

Most homeschool conventions will post a schedule of events online so that you can plan your trip before you get there but be flexible in your planning. Things arise that cause event organizers to make last minute adjustments to the schedule. When you check in, ask for the most updated schedule (some events print schedules and others may use an app).

  • Make time to go to the exhibit hall:

The exhibit halls are full of vendors with tons of yummy curriculum on display. This is the best time to flip through some of those books that you've been interested in. I found that the exhibit hall isn't as croweded when there are sessions going on. That was my favorite time to go browse as an attendee!

  • Bring a good bag to carry things:

Even if you don't plan to buy anything, you will have the opportunity to pick up many wonderful freebies and infromation packs from the vendors. Bring an easy-to-carry or rolling bag. I like to take a carry-on size rolling suitcase in with me. Make sure the venue doesn't have any bag restrictions before you go.

  • Bring snacks:

If the venue allows outside food and drinks, bring them! Snacks and drinks can get expensive for your whole family at some of the convention venues. I've seen families bring rolling coolers. I pack a small cooler in my carry-on suitcase. Some venues do not allow outside food and drinks inside the venue, but you can always plan time to go back to the car for lunch.

  • Set a budget:

The exhibit halls have so much wonderful curriculum and homeschool resources, and the vendors are usually running great sales. Set a budget ahead of time so you don't overspend. Bring cash or have a way to keep track of your purchases so that you don't go over budget.

  • Shop before you buy:

Don't make impulse purchase. Take the time to go through through the whole exhibit hall, making a list of things that you want before you start buying anything. Prioritize your list and make sure your purhases stay within that budget you made.

  • Ask vendors if they offer free shipping:

ShillerLearning offers free shipping at conventions! Many others do this also. This allows you to buy the things at a discounted price and have it shipped to your door so you don't have to carry around heavy boxes.

  • Dress in comfortable layers:

If you are spending all day at a convention, you don't want to be miserable. The convention hall might be hot while the speaker rooms are freeing. Dressing in layers will allow you to be comfortable regardless of the room temperature.

  • Wear comfortable shoes:

Leave those super cute but uncomfrtable shoes at home! Some of the homeschool convention venues are huge and you will be on your feet in the exhibit hall and walking from one session to another.

  • Bring something to take notes:

Bring a notebook, tablet, laptop, or even your phone to take notes in. You will want to take notes during sessions and jot down things that speakers say.

  • Sign up for giveaways:

Many vendors will offer giveaways during hte convention. make sure to sign up for those when you visit their booth. If you don't want to write your information multiple times bring address labels that you can stick on the vendor forms. Include your name, phone number, email address, and mailing address. Be sure to sign up for the ShillerLearning convention give-away at our booth!

  • Have FUN:

These events should be fun and refreshing for you. Don't stress and remember to enjoy your trip!

Visit ShillerLearning at these 2022 homeschool conventions:

March 4-5, 2022


THE Homeschool Family Expo


Klein United Methodist Church

5920 FM 2920

Spring, TX 77388

March 17-19, 2022


Great Homeschool Conventions - Greenville, South Carolina


Greenville Convention Center

1 Exposition Dr

Greenville, SC 29607

March 24-26, 2022


Great Homeschool Conventions - Missouri Homeschool Convention


St. Charles Convention Center

1 Convention Center Plaza

St. Charles, MO 63303

March 31-April 2, 2022


Teach Them Diligently Homeschool Convention - Round Rock


Kalahari Resort and Conventions

3001 Kalahari Blvd

Round Rock, TX 78665

April 21-23, 2022


Great Homeschool Conventions - Midwest Homeschool Convention


Duke Energy Convention Center

525 Elm St.

Cincinnati, OH 45202

April 21-23, 2022


Texas Homeschool Coalition - Allen


Delta Allen Hotel

777 Watters Creek Blvd

Allen, TX 75013

May 5-7, 2022


Teach Them Diligently Homeschool Convention - Pigeon Forge, TN


LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge

2986 Teaster Ln

Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

May 26-28, 2022


FPEA - Florida Homeschool Convention


Rosen Shingle Creek

9939 Universal Blvd

Orlando, FL 32819

May 26-28, 2022


Texas Homeschool Coalition - The Woodlands


The Woodlands Waterway Mariott

1602 Lake Robbins Drive

The Woodlands, TX 77380

 June 9-11, 2022


39th Annual Virginia Homeschool Convention


Greater Richmond Convention Center

403 N 3rd St

Richmond, VA 23219

June 16-18, 2022


Rocky Mountain Homeschool Conference 


Crowne Plaza Denver Airport Convention Center

15500 E 40th Ave

Denver, CO 80239

June 16-18, 2022


Great Homeschool Conventions - California Homeschool Convention


Ontario Convention Center

2000 E Convention Center Way

Ontario, CA 91764

July 15-16, 2022


AFHE - Arizona Families Home Education Convention


Phoenix Convention Center

33 S. Third Street

Phoenix, AZ 85004

Stop by the ShillerLearning booth to say hi!

Amanda Crawford

Amanda Crawford lives in East Tennessee with her seven children and husband of sixteen years. Amanda has a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture with a concentration in Education, a Masters in Instructional Leadership, and Ed.S. in Instructional Leadership. She taught high school agriculture for eight years in a public school. When her oldest was 3, Amanda transitioned to her new role as a stay-at-home/homeschooling mom. To prepare for kindergarten with her oldest in 2015, Amanda excitedly attended her first homeschool convention where she and her family discovered the ShillerLearning math and language arts curriculum. Seeing how the kids were drawn to the hands-on manipulatives at the booth and then using the curriculum with her kids for about 6 months, Amanda joined the ShillerLearning team and has been helping other homeschool families through online events and at conventions across the country.

See Inside Our Kits

Language Arts Kit A (PreK/K-G1)

Language Arts Kit B (G1-G4)

Give Your Child the World, One Continent at a Time

Do you have a child that is curious about the world? Do you want to introduce your child to other cultures?

It is important to educate our children to be good global citizens. To achieve this our children need to have a good understanding of our world.

Children begin to develop a sense of their place in the world at a very young age. Informal geography can be introduced as soon as they begin to show interest in these things. Maps, globes, books, movies, documentaries, songs, puzzles, games, and pictures are all helpful teaching tools to drive your child’s interests.

Give Your Child the World,

One Continent at a Time

The geography of a region affects the lifestyle of its inhabitants. Learning about world geography and cultures helps children to understand current events and our place in the world. Studying geography gives us an opportunity to observe and analyze the natural environment and the diversity of plant, animal, and human life.

What is culture? Culture is simply the way of life of a group of people. These groups could consist of people from the same family, school, workplace, church, neighborhood, town, city, county, state, or country. Each person can be a part of multiple small cultural groups that make up their personal culture.

Why is world culture important? Are your children benefiting from learning about world cultures? Teaching world culture to our children at an early age gives them a better understanding of the world. Children are naturally accepting of others, and as parents we need to nourish that natural acceptance.


"Give the world to the small child." - Maria Montessori

Geography is a subject that homeschool parents can struggle to teach. Resources can be costly, boring, time-consuming to create, or all of the above. A homeschool geography curriculum doesn’t have to be expensive! ShillerLearning strives to make these subjects accessible for all students and has created a NEW activity pack that will feed that curiosity!

In the ShillerLearning Geography Literature Pack, we’ve included a literature list of beautiful books that will help teach geography and give in-depth exposure to cultures around the world. You’ll be able to find most selections at your local library. This activity pack takes you on a narrative tour of the continents - and takes the stress out of teaching world geography and culture to your preschool and elementary children.


Travel with us to every continent to learn about the different cultures around the world! Topics include historical and geographical landmarks, foods, sports, and native animals. Add sensorial exploration of these continents by partnering this pack with the ShillerLearning Around the World in 80 Activities Pack.

We'd love to see your children at work learning about geography and culture. Tag @shillerlearning on your favorite social.

Amanda Crawford

Amanda Crawford lives in East Tennessee with her seven children and husband of sixteen years. Amanda has a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture with a concentration in Education, a Masters in Instructional Leadership, and Ed.S. in Instructional Leadership. She taught high school agriculture for eight years in a public school. When her oldest was 3, Amanda transitioned to her new role as a stay-at-home/homeschooling mom. To prepare for kindergarten with her oldest in 2015, Amanda excitedly attended her first homeschool convention where she and her family discovered the ShillerLearning math and language arts curriculum. Seeing how the kids were drawn to the hands-on manipulatives at the booth and then using the curriculum with her kids for about 6 months, Amanda joined the ShillerLearning team and has been helping other homeschool families through online events and at conventions across the country.

See Inside Our Kits

Language Arts Kit A (PreK/K-G1)

Language Arts Kit B (G1-G4)

Kids Love This Homeschool Freebie Bundle

Freebies are a great way to try a variety of homeschool curriculum resources. ShillerLearning has the best pack of free samples around! There are over two hundred pages of homeschool freebies waiting for you in the ShillerLearning Homeschool Freebie Bundle. You’ll find math activities for pre-k through pre-algebra, language arts lessons for preschoolers through 4th-grade students, plus coordinating homeschool planners for both parents and students with beautiful printables, tips on structuring your homeschool day, goal setting, encouragement, and more.

And it’s all free. No catch.

To start planning for your best homeschool year yet and to try no-lesson prep, Montessori-based, multisensory lessons, download your ShillerLearning Homeschool Freebie Bundle today. These activities will help your child reach his or her full potential and have fun while doing so.

Your family will enjoy the samples activities from:


Math Lesson Book 1 (Math Kit I)
Finding 1’s on the number grid
Absolute and relative estimation
Inequalities using the number line


Math Lesson Book 2 (Math Kit I)
Number Patterns
Addition to 6 with pictures
Roman numeral X
Counting by squares


Math Lesson Book 3 (Math Kit I)
4-digit subtraction with exchange
Days of the week review
Mirror images
Geometry: area of a rectangle


Fractions Lesson Book (Fractions Kit)
Identifying fractions
Naming fractions
Writing fractions
Fraction equivalence
Fraction addition: same denominator (ninths)
Fractions of an hour
Fraction sequences
Fraction strips
Least common denominator using prime factors
Multiplying fractions


Math lesson Book 4 (Math Kit II)
Law of commutativity
Percent etymology and symbol
Visual addition and subtraction
Decimal numbers: thousandths

Math Lesson Book 5 (Math Kit II)
Absolute value
Lines, segments, and rays
Strange magic square
Geometry solids
Appropriate time measures
The protractor and the radius
Sequencing using division
Multiplication patterns for even and odd
Set unions and intersects


Math Lesson Book 6 (Math Kit II)
Cube views
Graphing curves
Sum of the angles in a triangle
Playing cards: counting points
Solving for unknowns
Rational numbers
Area of a circle
Degrees in a triangle

Language Arts Lesson Book 1 (LA Kit A)
Montessori insets (shapes): triangle
The letter d
Words that begin with d
Words starting with d
The four seasons
Aural training game
Mother Goose rhyme


Language Arts Lesson Book 2 (LA Kit A)
Introducing oneself
Retelling a story
Parts of speech: verb
Montessori insets (shapes): oval
Holding the pencil: tripod grip
Days of the week
Pattern practice

Language Arts Lesson Book 3 (LA Kit A)
Retelling a story
Story-telling practice
Montessori insets (shapes): circle
Color identification
Peripheral vision
Short-term memory practice

Language Arts Lesson Book 4 (LA Kit A)
Telling a story
Identifying unknown things
The months of the year
Touch typing: no peeking!
Geography: etymology
Parts of speech: adjective
Geography: land and water
Rhyme ee
Introduction to Shakespeare



Language Arts Lesson Book 5 (LA Kit B)
Introduction to the circle kit
Typing introduction/review
Parts of speech: verb
Parts of speech: noun grammar symbol
Other languages: Spanish
Consonant blends: /ch/
How to tell a story: suspense
Book report


Language Arts Lesson Book 6 (LA Kit B)
Keeping the eyes and head still
Shakespeare Sonnet #18
Other forms of communication
Part of speech: adjective
Long u: silent e
Diagramming parts of speech: preposition
Trees and measurement


Language Arts Lesson Book 7 (LA Kit B)
Short a words
Principled thinking
Song for 10 tough words
Script-writing your name
Nonfiction: biography
Touch typing: emails and phone numbers


Language Arts Lesson Book 8 (LA Kit B)
First, second, and third person singular
Can vs. may
Diagramming parts of speech: adverb
Parts of speech: conjunction
Subjects and predicates


We would love to hear about your favorite activity in the freebie bundle. Tag @ShillerLearning on social media or comment below!

Would you like to try more hands-on learning at home?

All ShillerLearning kits come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Open and use the manipulatives and even write in the book. If you are not completely satisfied with your purchase, send it back for a full refund of your kit purchase price.

Antoinette LaGrossa

Veteran homeschool mom of five, Antoinette LaGrossa has been homeschooling since 2001. Having experienced her family’s frustration with multiple math programs, Antoinette understands the struggle that can come with teaching math. Everything changed in 2004 when she tried ShillerMath. She quickly joined the ShillerLearning team and has been supporting home educators for almost two decades - sharing hands-on learning tips, encouragement, and practical experience from homeschooling five very different children. Antoinette speaks at conventions across the country and is host of ShillerLearning’s Tuesdays@2.

8 Thanksgiving-Themed Montessori Activities Using Household Materials

Preparing for your family's Thanksgiving feast is a great way to spend time with each other and have fun! Thanksgiving brings family traditions that have been cherished for generations. For those who may not have space for extra bodies, consider creating an area such as the kitchen table for your child’s workspace or offer a floor table.

In this blog post, we add a few practical life lessons to our Thanksgiving-themed homeschool shelves plus activities to help prepare the table where the family feast will be on display. Nut Grinding, Butter Churning, Thanksgiving Punch, Flower Arranging, Table Setting, Note Cards, Feather in the Top, and Water Transfer not only allow your preschool to early elementary child to participate in helping to prepare a Thanksgiving feast for all to love but will also develop muscles for writing and motor skills, learn about simple mechanics, and prepare for mathematics.

8 Thanksgiving-Themed Montessori Activities Using Household Materials

Nut Grinding

What you need:

  • Nut grinder or a zip seal plastic bag with a small hammer
  • Nuts of your child’s choice


What to do:

If you are using a nut grinder, simply add the nuts with no shell in the top of the grinder. Put the lid on and allow your child to crank the handle. Your child will notice the grinded nuts in the jar.

If you are using a plastic bag and hammer, put nuts without the shell into the bag and seal. Allow your child to use a hammer to crush the nuts in the bag.

One you have crushed nuts, feel free to store them for later use for Thanksgiving desserts, salads, or casseroles.

You may want to use them for a yummy snack such as caramel drizzled apples, topped with nuts.

Butter Churning

What you need:

  • Butter churner or mason jar (If you wish to cheat you can use a mixer.)
  • Heavy whipping cream
  • Cheesecloth or fine strainer


What to do:

Set the whipping cream out and allow it to warm to room temperature.

Once the cream is warmed to room temperature, then pour it in the mason jar, mixer bowl, or churn jar.

Shake or churn until the cream starts to thicken into a solid. This is where the mixer can come in handy. It takes a little bit before the process is completed.

Next, separate the liquid from the butter using a cheesecloth or strainer. Once all the liquid is separated, use an airtight container to store your butter.

Punch Activity

What you need:

  • Construction paper
  • Printed image
  • Cork board or carpet sample for local hardware store (this is just used to protect the surface you're working on from the puncher)
  • Pin punch or awl (found at a local craft store)


What to do:
In this activity, we use a printed image to punch holes to transfer the image onto a beautiful piece of paper. To start, have your child pick a printed image. Then put the cork board down on the table and place the construction paper on top of the cork board.

Then place the printed image on top of the construction paper. Have your child follow the black line on the image and punch small holes closely together to create the image on their construction paper.

Flower Arranging

What you need:

  • Assorted fresh flowers
  • Small vases
  • Funnel
  • Small creamer pitcher with water
  • Scissors
  • Towel for wiping any spills

What to do:

Have your child select the flowers they wish to use for the arrangement. Your child may use scissors to cut the flowers. Your child will need to measure to ensure the stems are at the desired height in the vase by holding the main flower next to the vase and trimming the stem accordingly.

Once your child has the flowers they wish to use, have them pour a small amount of water into the vase using the funnel and small pitcher of water. Now your child can arrange the flowers as they wish in their vase. Have your child put their new arrangement where they choose such as the kitchen table, coffee table, end table or maybe on the kitchen counter.

Be sure your child cleans everything up and places everything back on the shelf when they are done.

Table Setting

What you need:

  • Placemats
  • Drinking glasses
  • Knifes, fork, spoons
  • Plates

What to do:

Show your child how to set the table and then have your child try. Once your child has a good understanding of how to set the table, allow them to do the whole table by themselves. A table setting printable is available in the Grace & Courtesy Activity Pack.

Name Cards

What you need:

  • Pen
  • Paper or cardstock
  • Art supplies for decorating the cards
  • List of names of people who will be attending Thanksgiving dinner

What to do:

Give your child a list of names of people who will be attending Thanksgiving dinner. Next, fold the paper or cardstock in half so the name card is freestanding and then flatten the paper out so your child knows where to write.

Now, have your child write each name on the paper. You may even offer your child to choose where people will sit by placing the name card on the plate they just set.

Feather in the Top

What you need:

  • Feathers
  • Parmesan cheese shaker (this type of container works best) or pepper shaker


What to do:
Show your child how to place the feathers in the hole on the shaker one at a time.

Allow your child to try. Once your child has an understanding of what to do, you may let them work independently. Add a decorative ribbon and this can make a beautiful accent piece in the Thanksgiving table display.

Water Transfer

What you need:

  • Towel
  • Two small cups, glasses, or bowls
  • Dropper
  • Optional: food coloring or natural coloring agent (ex: turmeric, beet powder, red onion peels)

What to do:

Place a small amount of water in one container. If you wish, add fall-inspired food coloring. Now, show your child how to move the water to the other empty container using the dropper. If a single drop spills on the work space, IMMEDIATELY stop and wipe the spill up. This teaches the child to be mindful of messes and to clean up after themselves. This task may seem simple but there is a lot of learning within this single activity. It teaches the child patience from watching the drop leave the dropper. It slows the child’s mind and body by using the dropper to move the water instead of pouring. It also shows the child how suction works.

I hope these Thanksgiving activities have inspired you to bring some Montessori-style learning into your homeschool. Please feel free to share your homeschool adventures with these Thanksgiving-inspire works on Facebook or Instagram #ShillerLearning. Here is a photo of our seasonal shelf.

Check back soon for more inspiring Montessori ideas.

From our family at Shiller Learning to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

Jessica Zahner

Jessica Zahner has been working in education for 15 years - in both AMI and AMS Montessori schools. Assisting children with learning challenges, including students on the Autism Spectrum and other at risk students, is one of her specialties. As a homeschool mom she and her daughter are traversing the unique experience of home education of an only child. Jessica is fondly known for her passion for Practical Life and loves teaching parents why and how these skills are foundational for their children. The Zahners live on a working ranch and enjoy farming, gardening, and country life. When not caring for their livestock, enjoying practical homeschooling with her daughter, or working with Shiller Learning customers, you might find Jessica enjoying a perfectly brewed cup of tea from herbs grown in their abundant tea garden.


See inside our open 'n' go Montessori-based homeschool kits