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:
The Most Valuable Lesson
I would love to say that the first official day of our homeschool year started off peacefully, but that would be a big fat lie. I did everything right; we discussed a routine, prepared our environment, and set expectations for the week. And yet, when Monday rolled around and I reminded my son that it was time to practice writing (his biggest challenge), I was met with all kinds of resistance.
I expected his push-back. And he expected me to respond as I do most of the time: with empathy, trust…
Five Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Homeschooling
My kids and I began homeschooling halfway through the school year when I left my Montessori teaching job, and at first I invested all my energy into re-creating a small classroom in my living room. I had visions of my children happily engaging in my inspiring lessons. But instead of harmony and joyful learning, there was apathy and avoidance of anything that remotely resembled what they knew as school.
Humbled and defeated, I gave up my visions of my one-room schoolhouse. I wiped away tears o…
On Being "The Older Child"
After 10 weeks of lockdown-schooling, when June 1st arrived and parts of our city reopened, I called for a homeschooling break. My kids agreed, and we spent three lazy weeks picnicking in the park, reading, and playing.
My children have always been creative, and they have plenty of LEGOs and art supplies to stay busy and engaged, but by the end of those three weeks I sensed a certain restless energy - a need for a project and a goal much bigger than what their emerging imaginations could envisi…
How to Encourage Skills Practice
The school year is coming to a close. Some of us have children who are not quite on par with society's academic standards, and this can be a cause for concern. On the one hand, we want them to relax during the summer. On the other hand, we know the value of consistent practice to master skills that don't come naturally.
I live this struggle with my son, so I decided to set an expectation of summer writing practice to ensure he continues making progress. I had a conversation with him, and it…
"I'm not telling you it's going to be easy - I'm telling you it's going to be worth it."
- Art Williams
Maybe you're just starting to homeschool...Or perhaps you've been a home educator for years. Either way, the road can be bumpy and the journey can be daunting. I hope these suggestions empower, reassure, and inspire you to keep going. Use them as a jumping-off point or as a way to re-calibrate your compass. And remember that in homeschooling, change is the only constant, because we'…
Practical Life: What, Why, How
You can give your child lots of Montessori experiences around the home without making or buying a single Montessori material. Welcome to the world of Practical Life!
Practical Life activities (household chores, construction, handwork) prepare children to be successful in life. But we’re not just talking about sending them to college knowing how to wash and cook…
Practical Life helps your child learn planning, organization, concentration, problem-solving, follow-through, frustration tole…
Experience Before Explanation
Have you ever tried to teach a concept to your child, only to have them moan: “Why do I have to learn this?” Did you ever ask yourself that same question when you were in school?
The sad truth is that we often struggle to give our children an accurate answer because we don't really know why they have to learn what they do! Those of us who were educated in conventional schools were trained to believe that you study to get good grades, so you can get into a quality college, and eventually have a …
Craving Freedom and Needing Structure
Amidst all the color-coded hour-by-hour homeschool schedules flooding social media, I want to offer a different take on how to help your child organize their day if you have a child who paradoxically craves freedom and needs structure.
I created for my eight-year-old twice-exceptional second-grader a pie graph showing the amount of time (out of a 24-hour day) he can spend exploring/reading/playing/learning what he's passionate about, vs. the amount of time I would like him to focus on practicin…
Tomorrow we'll have the first Supermoon of the year - the Worm Moon! Do you know where the name comes from? Here's a short story I wrote (meant to be told orally). I hope you can share it with your children, or at least enjoy its message.
Look up! What do you notice? Did you observe that the full moon is larger than usual? We call it a Supermoon, and your eyes aren’t deceiving you… The moon IS larger than usual because it's closer than usual, and that's because the moon’s orbit aro…
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