Our homeschooling journey is something that consumes my heart and mind these days. I guess because it is unknown territory that we are walking into. So far it has brought great fruit and I feel that our everyday life is bursting in colors like never before. My daughter’s “whys” have got a completely new dimension, and I love, love, love how excited she got from receiving a magnifying glass by mail the other day. I would like to share what happened when we emerged into our Montessori work 3 – hour session. You can read about our Homeschooling routine in this post. I hand-picked a list of Montessori materials for our classroom. Aside from this list we also use some natural toys and materials that carry educational purpose.
Here is a list of general guidelines that I follow during the Montessori 3-hour cycle to help it run smoother keeping children engaged
- Always follow the child’s lead and build future lessons upon it;
- Give as much vocabulary, knowledge, and information as possible on the topic of conversation. I will explain this one. Once a child is focused on a topic and is in the moment when all his or her life is surrounded by that scorpion or whatever creepy thing it can be- you know they are hooked. It means that they are keen to listen to you talk about it for as long as the interest lasts. This is a perfect opportunity to throw as many complex words and facts (of course still within their ability grasp), he or she will soak it in like a sponge;
- Print when possible. I replace wooden puzzles with printables I can laminate and work with instead. It took us one week to master Globe 1,2, and the Continents World Puzzle. I used to blow up a simple Globe to explain the same concept about Land and Water. We colored in and laminated our world map with continents. She is a happy Montessori camper who can recite all continents and point to each on any given world map, our puzzles fit on one shelf and we saved literally hundreds of dollars.
- Homeschooling a child is very different from teaching a whole classroom for obvious reasons. Homeschooled children master Montessori materials at a much faster rate sometimes, since they have more opportunities for one-on-one demonstrations and activity choice can never be as broad as in a classroom.
- You can see my printables here and sign up to get access to free educational materials at the bottom of this post;
- Follow the sequence of presentations and always take learning to the next level. Knowing the Montessori curriculum and scope and sequence is very crucial. At times, I jump to the next presentation too soon, but I do try to go back and revisit material/ subject if I notice a gap;
Use as many natural materials as possible. This is more or less activity with natural loose parts from Natural ReSourcer; These materials are incredibly versatile and can be adapted to many different areas of learning.
- Think outside the box. I aim to utilize our materials to make as much use out of them as possible. For example, the metal insets get great to use every single day. We learned about parts of a butterfly with their help.
It is handy for doing art and fine motor activities as well.
“The child must see for himself what he can do, and it is important to give him not only the means of education but also to supply him with indicators which tell him his mistakes……The child’s interest in doing better, and his own constant checking and testing, are so important to him that his progress is assured. His very nature tends toward exactitude and the ways of obtaining it appeal to him.” M. Montessori
There are phrases that I repeat almost every time we take off to the next activity:
“We always finish our work”.
“We keep on trying until we work it out”.
“We always check”.
“We always concentrate during our work. We learn when we make mistakes and fix them. If we are not focusing we can’t notice mistakes. It means we can’t fix them. We can’t learn if we do not fix mistakes.”
Now, feel free to share your favorite part of your homeschool Montessori work cycle in the comments below.
I invite you to join my Montessori Nature Homeschool Community if you are looking to connect with like-minded homeschoolers or if you need help getting started and would like to learn how to incorporate Montessori principles and natural learning into your everyday life.
Anastasia is the founder of Montessori Nature, a blog about Montessori - inspired and Nature-based explorations. She taught in a Montessori setting for 10 years and has been practicing the Montessori way of learning and living for the last 19 years. She loves designing engaging educational printables for children. Learn more here.