Montessori at home

Nope, I haven’t started homeschooling.

Sir A has just started Montessori. We started him early, at 2y8m, since Lady S is due two days after his birthday and we wanted him well settled by the time she arrived. With the summer holidays between now and then, he would only have had a couple of weeks (or a few, depending on her tardiness or otherwise) to settle, and since I foresaw both the settling and the adjusting to no longer being the baby as difficult for him, I wanted as much time as possible! Besides which, he’s very advanced for his age. I say this not to boast, but because it’s true. Lord B wasn’t particularly late with things, still within normal, but Sir A is at the same stage or more advanced in pretty much everything, compared to when Lord B started at Montessori a year ago. And they’re 17 months apart.

Amazingly he has taken to the classroom really well. The first few days I went with him, but found it exhausting, and plus he wouldn’t really talk to the teachers with me there, so we took the plunge and left him. He was not happy, but his wonderful teacher found things to interest him and he settled into work quickly. The day after, he settled faster, and faster the day after that. The second week there were no tears when we left him (though he looked displeased in the extreme and was all worried about going while in transit). On his last day in the week just gone, he came running up at home time, announcing “I did sports; I did a big drump in the sandpit!” (longjump). He’s so obviously so proud of all his achievements – emotionally, staying there without us, talking to other children etc; and practically, working really hard!

His first morning off he just wanted to work. By work I mean not play with trains all morning, like he normally would, but vacuum, cut, make himself snacks. These are things he’s shown interesting in in the past, but only for short periods.

Lord B is now attending school 2 full days and 3 mornings. He is so much happier when he’s been there all day, but between Sir A starting and me not wanting to make lunch everyday just yet and various other practicalities we probably won’t add in extra afternoons till Sir A goes to 5 mornings.

And now to the point. Boys are insane. We’ve been having a lot of trouble with them lately, just going nuts and not listening and basically being normal little boys without a purposeful channel for their energy. I won’t go into details here, but Amazing Husband and I have also been going insane as a result. However, when given the chance to work, they exhibit self discipline and calmness. I mean of course they do; that’s what Montessori is all about. But until now, I haven’t been able to provide an environment where they can work, because I don’t have the skills or training to do it all from scratch, and I don’t have a Montessori classroom full of children who know what they’re doing for Sir A to learn from.

So, now that Sir A is learning how to use Montessori principles and activities from people who can teach them properly, and in an environment where it’s easier to work than turn into a puppy (or cat, though I suspect he does that cat thing sometimes anyway), it’s suddenly all possible for this to happen at home too.

I have no intention of creating an entire homeschool with all the materials I would find in a classroom, but I do have some plans that are already underway. Basically I’m putting together inexpensive activities, most of which they would find in their classroom so they already know how to use them, largely around practical life. It’s a little tricky with non-practical life activities since Lord B has learnt so much more than Sir A, but I have a suspicion that Sir A will catch up with quite a bit rather quickly. So there will be a few things only Lord B can do, a few things he’s no longer interested in, and quite a lot that both of them find useful.

I’m going to make a proper shelf, cos if I could buy one suitable it’d be SO expensive. It needs to long and deep and low, with shelves not too far apart. In the meantime, I’m using this, which has the first few activities set up already (I will need to rotate these regularly until the big shelf is ready), and I think I might borrow an empty shelf in a bookshelf in the lounge too.

At the top is a cleaning kit (duster, spray bottle and clothes, and squidgy), a bucket and brush for water painting outside (Lord B has been doing this at school), pencils/coloured pencils and paper for drawing; middle shelf has materials for cutting and gluing; bottom shelf currently has a matching puzzle, a bead threading activity, and a sensory activity.

At the top is a cleaning kit (duster, spray bottle and cloths, and squidgy), a bucket and brush for water painting outside (Lord B has been doing this at school), pencils/coloured pencils and paper for drawing; middle shelf has materials for cutting and gluing; bottom shelf currently has a matching puzzle, a bead threading activity, and a sensory activity.

I am going to move the basket with floor mats into the dining room too, but for table work Lord B will use the dining room table and Sir A will use the little table in the kitchen. This keeps them separate so they can do their own work without constantly worrying what the other is doing, which has always been an issue in the past.

Lord B doing cutting and gluing. Perk of working at home: he gets to work in nothing but undies and a dressing gown.

Lord B doing cutting and gluing. Perk of working at home: he gets to work in nothing but undies and a dressing gown.

Sir A drawing. Perk of working at home: you get to keep working when the call of nature comes.

Sir A drawing. Perk of working at home: you get to keep working when the call of nature comes.

Now you may think I’m dreaming and all this will be a total flop. Well, maybe, but I suspect not. I think my biggest challenge is going to be having enough materials to keep them going over the day (and I’ll put links below to posts where I’m collecting activities to prepare), and my goal is to have this done by the Christmas holidays. My other big challenge is having them work as independently as possible so I can do my own work (of course some stuff they can help with/learn to do for me), which is one reason I want things to be as similar to school as possible – so they just pick up the tray or basket and know what to do.

So far we’ve actually had a lot of success. The afternoon I took the above pictures, Sir A was working and Lord B didn’t know what to do. I suggested playing with his turning tractor (which had been on holiday in the garage with most of their other toys – also a story for another post), which he did for about 5 minutes, then he went and got the cutting work and did that for a while, even turning down rompie pomps with Daddy till he was finished. It is just simply amazing what such small children are capable of in terms on concentration, self-direction, and self-discipline when given the right opportunities!

I’ve plenty more to say on the topic but it will have to wait. For now, which was the main point of this post, here are links to posts where I’m collecting ideas which are easy and cheap, plus links to my pinterest pages, plus an awesome website for printables: (oh, and for baskets and small crockery items, op shops are the place to go. Especially for baskets. Dollar shops have heaps of bits and pieces and some art supplies too. Hammer Hardware is great for kids’ outdoor tools, and other random stuff, and I imagine the Warehouse will be good for quite a few things too. I will also be trawling trademe and visiting the dump shop at some point. And David’s Emporium.)

https://rosemarysruminations.wordpress.com/2013/11/02/montessori-activities-practical-life/

https://rosemarysruminations.wordpress.com/2013/11/02/montessori-activities-sensory/

https://rosemarysruminations.wordpress.com/2013/11/02/montessori-activities-science/

https://rosemarysruminations.wordpress.com/2013/11/02/montessori-activities-geography/

The awesome printables website: http://www.montessoriprintshop.com/Free_Montessori_Downloads.html for free stuff, and browse for cheap other stuff.

Pinterest boards: note, not all activities are strictly Montessori or currently relevant to my children. Or necessarily 100% accurately categorised.

http://www.pinterest.com/donkeybird/montessori/

http://www.pinterest.com/donkeybird/toddler-activities/

http://www.pinterest.com/donkeybird/maths/

http://www.pinterest.com/donkeybird/geography/

http://www.pinterest.com/donkeybird/biology/

http://www.pinterest.com/donkeybird/sensory/

http://www.pinterest.com/donkeybird/practical-life/

http://www.pinterest.com/donkeybird/re/

http://www.pinterest.com/donkeybird/astronomy/

http://www.pinterest.com/donkeybird/science/

http://www.pinterest.com/donkeybird/language/

http://www.pinterest.com/donkeybird/pe/

Extra stuff I’ve come across:

http://livingmontessorinow.com/2011/10/13/how-to-start-using-montessori-at-home/

Advertisements
Comments
2 Responses to “Montessori at home”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: