The goal of early childhood education should be to activate the child’s own natural desire to learn. Maria Montessori
I decided that it is time for us to share activities that our Montessori preschool home classroom is buzzing with. Talking homeschooling journey has been a very interesting and strange adventure for me. I had to adapt and change my approach from what I used to do teaching in a classroom. Creating and running homeschooling routine with a baby on board is more of a challenge than a journey. But we persevere and I wouldn’t have any other way. When preparing for Montessori learning 3 – hour cycle I take inspiration from our daily life, places we visit, conversation with our daughter, events that happen. This is why I do not plan and present themed activities. I believe knowing curriculum is the key. Children are very astute at creating their own flow of learning and progressing from one subject of interest to another. Allowing them this power leads to a great result when they become equipped with ability to organise their own time and following inner guide, feeling confident in their decisions. I share the most popular choices from our 3-6 Montessori environment. I probably should mention that our Montessori home classroom does not include Practical Life activities as such – traditionally presented on trays. These are all part of daily life incorporated in the most natural way. I make my aim to follow the child and reserve at least two days a week when we do not have an agenda or meet-ups. Our day can include Montessori work from shelves or something that Blossom naturally is interested in at this point in time. Sometimes we can spend our morning washing toys (incorporating all the steps as we would for Practical Life activity in a classroom) or furniture outside, or sewing a pillow for her doll.
Here is a glimpse of our Montessori homeschooling days..
Learning about the continents. Before we started using a map that is different to Montessori world map I made sure Blossom was 100% confident identifying continents by their location and colour. Once she could point any continent we started working with this large World Map.
Learning to recognise various cultural differences in traditional clothing from country to country.
Montessori continents song was never as much fun to sing for Blossom as when she was doing it while jumping from continent to continent. This was a very effective way to revisit location of the continents on the map. Another way to do it is to draw a rough map with all seven continents with a chalk outside and invite children hop as they sing The Continent Song.
We found great value in materials that are not specifically Montessori but spark child’s curiosity and engage them in discovering new fascinating facts.
Learning names of the states of Australia. Blossom traced state of Queensland and did push pinning and colouring of the state.
Building the Decanomial Square – teaches child to discriminate shape sizes and build a square. Another name for this Montessori work – the Square of Pythagoras – sensorial materials that represents the times tables. For some reason I fell in love with this material during my Montessori training and could not wait to present it to Blossom. You can watch video of a teacher working on the Decanomial Square here.
DIY Sequin Boards are very simple to assemble. You can download my version of Seguin boards (A and B) by signing up to Montessori Nature updates at the bottom of the post. Montessori math beads are some of the most frequently used materials in our homeschool classroom at the moment. Golden beads – 10 bars can be found here. For those who are not familiar with the Seguin board presentation, you can watch it here.
As I mentioned before, we enjoy experimenting with materials and find different ways to use it, still within their original purpose.
Or not.. 🙂 This was done to satisfy Blossom’s great interest in spiders. We talked and discussed these creatures and their habits. Next thing I see – she is using Montessori math beads for making a model of a spider. She did request my assistance. As we made this spider and web together we talked about number of legs and eyes spiders have, what they eat and how they catch their prey.
I found that one of the most valuable lessons children are taught when working with Botany materials – the understanding of the natural processes. They touch and feel living matter which gives them more appreciation for nature.
Children learn to notice tiny details and beauty in ordinary things, like flowers. Also they LOVE to learn new vocabulary. Learning parts of the flowers, for instance, almost broke my tongue, encouraged her to come up with her own ways to remember new words by repeating them over and over again casually throwing it in conversation.
Learning new language is always very effective when it is something child is interested it. We discovered a jellyfish on a shore one day. Guess what we did the next day..
Mystery Bag with Montessori materials. This game assists in learning names of Montessori materials. We picked one object from various Montessori materials and placed them one at a time in the mystery bag. She had to close her eyes and feel object with her hands in the bag trying to guess what Montessori material set it belongs to.
I have to mention that my daughter now attends Forest School in the area once a week. I can’t emphasise strongly enough how amazing this program is. We also attend swimming pool, Sunday school and 0-5 singing sessions once a week. Practical Life activities – essential part of our everyday life, as I mentioned earlier – cooking, making fruit snacks, mopping, dusting, folding clothes, checking mail box, baking – something we encourage our 4 yo to take active part of on daily basis.