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home environment

Craving Freedom and Needing Structure

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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...

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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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How to Montessori Your Home

Welcome! Come on in... I'm Zach and this is my home. I was born in my parents' bedroom upstairs and have spent my entire life - a whopping 16 months - living here. I love what my parents have done with the place and I want to share my favorite spots with you.

Let's begin in the kitchen. When I started being strong enough to open the drawers on my own, my mom had to do some re-arranging. She moved all the chemicals to the bathroom (the only cabinet in the house with a child-proof lock). She put...

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A Place for the Potty

We have two of the world's tiniest bathrooms, so when I decided 7 months ago that I would help Zach develop toileting awareness, I had to find a way to incorporate potties and clean & dirty underwear bins into pretty tight spaces. Our arrangement has worked out beautifully, which is great because I spend a big chunk of my day kneeling by the potty! We use the Baby Bjorn high backed potty, and I got the underwear bins at the Container Store. We keep a couple of books on rotation between...

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Zach's Activity Area

We live in a small two-bedroom condo, which has posed some fun challenges as we work to continually adapt Zachary's environment to meet his growing needs. One of the four areas that make up a Montessori baby room is the activity area, where the little one has the opportunity to stretch out, roll around, observe mobiles, and play independently. It is a simple set-up, consisting of a low mirror and a thin pad or large rug. A hook or tripod for hanging mobiles is also essential. Eventually, a...

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Preparing the Home

My dear friend Jeanne-Marie Paynel of Voila Montessori gives a fabulous interview regarding the importance of preparing your home to greet your newborn child. Enjoy!

http://peaceinyourhome.com/preparing-the-home-for-baby-a-montessori-perspective/

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As easy as a ribbon, a bracelet, and a bell

While Zachary observed his Gobbi mobile recently, I realized that from one day to the next he had started moving his arms. These movements weren't the reflexive jerks of a newborn; they seemed to have a different energy and trajectory.

I mentioned this to my husband, so he decided to hold out a rattle near Zach's right arm to see what would happen. Zach flung out his arm repeatedly while keeping his eyes fixed on the rattle, and several times struck the toy, causing it to chime happily.

This...

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Mobiles, part I

Our baby is due in 4 weeks, so I've been working feverishly to create materials that will support his development in the months to come.

One of the first materials a newborn is introduced to (after a couple of weeks of adapting to his surroundings) is the Munari mobile. This black & white mobile hangs close enough to the baby's face so he can focus on it with his limited range of vision (about 12-14 inches) but far enough so he can't accidentally swat it with his flailing arms and legs.

Why...

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