I'm not sure what Maria Montessori would think about the work contracts. She seemed to like so much the idea of flow (without actually having that concept named that during her time), that I'm not sure the idea of the contract fits well. Maybe at the high school level. I'm thinking of bringing them in to help create a work focus around here. Here's some stuff I've found online on this topic. I'd also love to hear people's thoughts on work contracts!
"From age six on, students design contracts with the teacher to guide their required work, to balance their general work, and to teach them to become responsible for their own time management and education."
Of course, I don't know that just because it's common enough to show up here that it means it fits with the Montessori philosophy.
" And every child has a form to help him track his daily progress as he fulfills his work contract, covering subject by subject step by step according to the individualized path that he and his teacher have agreed to."
There's mention on this page http://www.steppingstonesmontessorischool.com/html/upper_elementary.html of work contracts, but the very fact that they use Saxon math for the upper elementary has me raising an eyebrow. Yes, it's great that the students can go their own pace, but...
I have read other stuff in the past but can't find it. In any case, part of me is feeling that a contract at this point is rather coercive. My goal is to just get more work happening. So, more of an agreement between us, or an understanding, that work is expected to go on. A chart or checklist or something similar could be used to help track work and to provide ideas of things to do. I guess me insisting on a particular subject each week, or getting them to agree to something ;), would fit within the realm of a contract. I don't like that I have to insist on those things, although I suppose if I could manage to focus on the idea of having them see the need for certain items, or simply me taking the time to say, "Hey, come pick a lesson," I can cover with them all the things I'd like for them to cover.