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Montessori Materials

Montessori Essentials: Grammar Boxes

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When I began homeschooling my kids in a 1,000 sq. ft. condo, I spent a few days pondering which materials were truly essential and which we could live without. I narrowed down our math essentials, but was stumped by the language materials.  How was I going to fit a huge set of wooden Grammar Boxes into our very limited shelf space?  It was during this moment of panic that I discovered Jennifer Kilgore and Branch to Bloom.  Jennifer had the ingenious idea of converting the...

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Story of Chemistry: Part I

I wrote this story a while back for the Upper Elementary group I inherited that hadn't been exposed to chemistry. I never got around to writing Part II but if you take on that challenge, let me know!

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Pretty much all that we see or touch in our seemingly solid existence is made from an unimaginable number of tiny atoms, each a different type of element or building block. When you combine these atoms in different ways, they make up everything that we can see in the Universe.

Do you...

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The Art of Introducing a Lesson

Often, the most challenging part of giving a lesson is getting the children excited and ready to learn. Here are seven strategies to ensure your presentation gets off to a good start.

1. Check your attitude: You need to believe in the value of what you're going to present. The children will smell your fear or hesitation a mile away. If a particular topic scares you, spend more time with it. Read, listen to podcasts, watch videos, use your hands to explore the concept, and find new ways of...

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Long Live the Short Chains

The Montessori Short Chains and Arrows pack a big learning punch and are often under-utilized.IMG_4716 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...

IMG_4657Find the number: Ask the child to set out the hundred chain with the corresponding arrows, while you cut up a...

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Moon-tessori (haha, couldn't resist)

"You're great at this homeschooling thing because you're a teacher... I don't think I could do it because I don't know much about anything."

I can't tell you how many times I've heard this phrase since we started homeschooling two months ago, coming from the most capable and well-prepared mothers in my circle of friends. So here's a little secret... I don't know everything. Heck, I don't know most things! But I don't let that hold me back from learning and sharing with my children. Here's an...

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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. Screen Shot 2019-02-16 at 7.03.31 AMI'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...

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Tricks of the Three-Period Lesson

3plIn an earlier article we discussed the basics of using the Three-Period Lesson to introduce vocabulary. Did you try it with your child? How did it go?

Veteran Montessori guides will tell you that when you give a child a lesson, things don’t always go the way you expect them to. You might have noticed this when you tried doing the Three-Period Lesson with your child. If things didn’t go exactly as you planned, don’t fret! Click here to read a helpful articleand watch the video to learn great...

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Simple Is Better

egg-and-cupMost commercial toys try to cram a lot of “bang for their buck”. Imagine, with just one toy, your child will be able to learn colors, numbers and shapes! She’ll practice sorting and stacking while listening to classical music, and each time she does it right, the toy will light up and shout out “Good job!”

This sounds like a great toy, right? Wrong! The best toys are the simplest ones… Click here to find out why and watch a short video!

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Food for Thought

I'm reading an excellent book called Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television, published in 1978. The author is not a scientist, and never claims to be. He doesn't have answers, just observations and questions that most of us have never even thought to ponder.
There's a section that talks about how television messes with your senses.
Think about it: On your screen, you're watching a shot of two people walking on a distant hillside, yet you can clearly hear what they're...

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The Five Keys to Making Montessori Materials

banana2Last week we talked about preparing our home to help our children be successful. This week, let’s focus on Montessori materials. How hard is it to make them? What should you keep in mind?

Click here to learn more and watch a short video!

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