Who Taught Wyatt How to Write?
Peter and Margaret had heard that children in Montessori schools were precocious learners. Their neighbor's five-year old daughter, Jenny began to read and write while she attended the local Montessori school. They didn’t know much about the method, but when the time came to enroll their three-year old son Wyatt in a pre-school, they decided to give Montessori a chance.
To their dismay, Wyatt didn’t seem to do anything academic during his first year of Montessori, but he sure was active! He was…
Montessori Field Notes: The One-Work Challenge
Q: My child chooses the same work over and over, and doesn't want to do more challenging activities. Please help!
We want to give the world to the child and it’s only natural to feel concerned when they hyper-focus on one work in the beautiful sea of choices we offer. We know time is precious and it can feel maddening to watch them let it slip away by “repeating,” especially as they get older.
Here are three Montessori-aligned steps you can take:
Connecting math, language, history and other academic subjects to your child's real-life experiences makes learning relevant, increases participation, and supports development. A hands-on home calendar is an ideal tool to learn and practice a variety of skills (whether you homeschool or not!). It also provides many opportunities for cultural explorations. Here's how we use it in our home... MATH: The first day of each month, I take down the calendar numbers, divide them into three piles (1-10…
Long Live the Short Chains
The Montessori Short Chains and Arrows pack a big learning punch and are often under-utilized. They're great for a homeschool environment because they don't take up any shelf space. Their initial purpose is to help the child first count linearly and then skip-count. But when your child is comfortable with these two concepts, you can use the chains for much more! Here are four ideas...
Find the number: Ask the child to set out the hundred chain with the corresponding arrows, while you c…
Unschooling: Soap Bubble Edition
Sometimes learning is what happens while you're busy decluttering the back patio...
My four-year-old found an old bubble wand and asked if we could make bubbles, so I googled this recipe and we set to work. She had a great time measuring, pouring and stirring, and she got to experience sugar disappearing in water to make a solution (yay, science and vocabulary!).
We were having so much fun blowing bubbles on our back patio that my seven-year-old decided to join the party. He wanted to see ho…
On a recent date night at a local bookstore (exciting, I know), my husband came across Good-Night Yoga: A Pose-By-Pose Bedtime Story. Neither of us practice yoga, but we'd been trying to find activities we can do as a family in the evenings that will engage both a three-year-old and a seven-year-old AND that will help us transition peacefully into the bedtime routine.
We've been reading and yoga-ing with this book a couple of evenings a week for the past month, and it's become on of our favo…
Over the years of working in Montessori classrooms I've met many children who are eager to attend lessons, engage in follow-up work, and share their new knowledge. And then there are the occasional "puzzles" (as my son's Primary guide once referred to him). How do you know if you live or work with a puzzle-child? Puzzle-children are those for whom learning comes easily but who see most teaching as a hindrance to their own learning agenda. On a good day, they grumpily humor your agenda for a s…
When Help Is A Hindrance
Few clean-ups seem as overwhelming as that of the Montessori fractions. The halves through sevenths are easy enough for most children, but the 27 hard-to-distinguish red wedges that make up the eighths, ninths, and tenths can leave even Elementary children feeling stuck and discouraged.
I've inherited Montessori fractions in several of my classrooms, and I've often found that a well-meaning predecessor had written the corresponding value on the underside of each fraction piece. At first gla…
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