Our choice to homeschool has been predetermined many years ago. I’ve spent hours meditating on this decision, thinking of the best ways to implement the Montessori approach and self-directed learning in the home environment. I have to say, only this year after my daughter turned 5, I realize that this is precisely what I was dreaming about and even more.
Homeschooling has become such an essential part of me, as a mum, my place to escape for a short period of three days a week from all other responsibilities and enjoy one-on-one time with my children.
I love the creative side of it – preparation of activities, being able to observe and connect with children, understand their passion, and watch them be, develop, learn, and explore.
I found it very hard to truly connect on a daily basis when attending to other things – working from home or doing house chores. However, when we are together in that shared space when our thoughts and focus are all centered, we, in fact, are together.
Below are a few snippets of some of the activities we’ve done with my 5yo daughter. I try to cover as many areas as possible, but we are never in a rush. I feel that it is still essential for the child to have plenty of time for playing, reading, and listening to the stories.
I aim to create as many opportunities for open-ended play as possible. To balance out the time we spend at home she has music and swimming lessons and attends a local forest school.
Montessori classroom structure is reflected in our home environment which helps to organize and plan the learning process. The primary areas we focus on are Practical Life, Fine Motor, Language, Math, Geography, Science, and Art.
Practical life activities are centered around learning to master everyday skills that assist the child to become more self-sufficient. As children grow and develop, practical life experiences lay a solid foundation for them to become masters of their free time. They do not rely on parents and others to organize and fill it in. Learning to be independent early on in life enables them to have zero time for boredom.
I can honestly say I have not seen my daughter look like she is bored. From the moment she wakes up her hands are busy, whether it is drawing, playing with LEGO, preparing a snack, or reading. This is why my primary goal is to teach as many skills as possible so she can master them in her own time. I am talking about such things as weaving, sewing, cooking, gardening, etc.
Reading practice using Montessori Nature printable cards – Rhyming Words – Montessori Pink, Blue and Green Series.
We work with the moveable alphabet practically every day at this stage. In this picture, after learning about different types of transportation Blossom used it to construct words. Montessori three-part cards are great for incorporating into work with the moveable alphabet since it allows an opportunity for the child to do a self-assessment at the end and correct all mistakes without an adult’s assistance.
Rhyme match-up activity – identifying two rhyming words with Rhyming Words – Montessori Pink, Blue, and Green Series. I have noticed that children enjoy playing rhyming games, and was not surprised to see that this printable was a big hit with my daughter.
Mirror often replaces playmat as it creates additional dimension, especially when it comes to loose part play and play with shapes. An acrylic mirror is the best option for children to be able to play safely. Wooden pattern blocks are brilliant for creative, open-ended play. My daughter plays with them on a daily basis.
One-to-one correspondence activity – identifying the missing number.
I am very particular about the materials that I purchase. There are a couple of Montessori math materials that we’ve been using a lot to teach a variety of different mathematical concepts. For example, the hundred board, small number rods, and math beads.
With only three days of Montessori work a week, there is quite a bit of time left for working on art projects. I included just a couple of examples in this post. I also plan to incorporate more media and various projects in the future.
After reading one of our favorite books “Words are like faces“, Blossom decided to “paint” some words she came up with for the activity.
After planting seeds, it is always a good idea to do a follow-up activity. Here Blossom is working with a sheet from Play Life Cycle printable.
After observing water take different forms, we used LEGO for a hands-on activity to explain how molecule structure changes, and why we see the water turn into ice or gas. The concept is simple enough, but the topic is a bit advanced for a primary student. This is something we will be coming back to talk about in the future.
Sometimes Blossom insists on taking our learning outdoors. I pack up a minimum amount of materials we may need to do activities, and we play it by ear, mostly looking for spontaneous learning opportunities. There is always plenty to choose from in the natural environment.
We love discovering different shapes and forms presented in nature. Nature walk offers excellent opportunities to collect different leaves. Later we look at them and their structure at home. The next follow-up activity is to find out what types of trees they belong to and create “My Leaf Book”.
Having a collection of children’s activity books to access whenever they would like to get inspiration to make something interesting can be quite handy.
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