Finding Montessori

Sunday, May 21, 2017

After my daughter had her first birthday, 
I started looking into learning activities for her to do at home. 
 She didn't enjoy playing with her toys, rather she would dump them on the floor
 or only play with them for 5 minutes. But she loved "helping" her mommy. 

Anything I was doing she wanted to do too. My Pinterest boards were getting full of ideas but I didn't know where to start. Worksheets? Coloring pages?  Then I seen a post about Montessori practical life "work". That was the first time I have ever heard of Montessori. My daughter who was around 18 months at the time loved to do these simple repetitive tasks that they were talking about. Pouring was her favorite! So I presented her with her first work; transferring beans from pitcher to a cup. I could see it in my little girl, she was gaining so much confidence and independence. At that point I realized I wasn't observing and meeting her needs correctly.

So I hit the books and I read Dr. Montessori's Own Handbook. That book is amazing! Dr. Maria Montessori was pure genius and worked very hard for all those children. I loved reading about how she observed the children and made all of the beautiful materials. After getting a deeper understanding of the planes of development and the sensitive periods (see below for chart), parenting seemed so much easier. It was if I could understand more of why my child did the actions she did. Why she preferred matching objects and cleaning over playing with her overflowing box of toys. My stars were finally aligning.

photo credit sammamishmontessori

Montessori really stole my heart but I knew even before I had children I wanted to homeschool. I thought Montessori would only work in a group setting, not at home. But slowly realized I  could apply the Montessori way into our home, especially the practical life area. For instance in a typical Montessori classroom they have dressing frames with buttons and zippers to teach the child. We realized we didn't need to purchase those because we had a closet full of clothes right in front of us at home.  At the time I was learning a lot but mostly how to observe a child and not disturb them.

We setup a small classroom in our basement and I gradually began to buy and make materials for her to work on. When she turned 3 years old I bought our first Montessori curriculum. By the time summer rolled around when she was 3 1/2 years old she was able to build words with the movable alphabet and could read simple short stories. We both have grown tremendously since starting our homeschooling journey. We still dabble a little into different styles of learning. But, our main focus and core is Montessori, following the child's lead and giving them loads of opportunities to do just that.

Daily reminder for myself and all of you reading is...
The world is a big place but the universe is even bigger.

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