Montessori Elementary Homeschool Blog - with documentation of our infant Montessori, toddler Montessori, and primary Montessori experiences; as well as preparation for the upcoming adolescent Montessori homeschool years.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Montessori at Home: Infants and Toddlers

There have been SO MANY questions of late about what to do with infants; how to setup a Montessori environment for toddlers...

Legoboy, over a year ago, put together this list of then-current links to our infant Montessori and toddler Montessori experiences - I am copying/pasting its current version below.

I did find more old pictures that I want to get posted - but in the meantime, I thought I would highlight some of how we did Montessori at home, during a few moves (and a few months of no consistent home), and in small spaces (like the house we stayed in where we only had the bedroom!).


Infant & Toddler

Our Infant Toddler homeschooling Montessori Trails:

More to be posted as I get through our older photos :)


Exercises of Practical Life in Infancy

Infancy: Home at Last

Infancy: Our Adaptations

Infants, Toddlers and Toothpicks


Infants, Toddlers and Toothpicks

Toddler Montessori at Home

Infants and Toddlers at Home

Starting Montessori with a 2-Year -Old

Exercises of Practical Life in Our Home

Toddlerhood - Montessori Home Environment

Legoboy's First Dictionary

Last Updated: Legoboy
December 11, 2013

Monday, February 16, 2015

Vermi-Composting Part 2 - Building the new Bins

The worms are doing quite well! 

One little friend in the corner. 

Another from the other side. 

What caption would fit here? 

With the drill bit, he could do 3 at a time, so he stacked a 4th underneath
to ensure he didn't into the material below. 

He acts like he doesn't want to drill. So I said, "Oh just plug it in!"
"Just line it up here."
"Just squeeze the power button."

Amazing how powerful the word "just" can be ;) 

In the meantime, I was tracing, cutting and sanding 2 inch wide
strips for the frames to hold plastic sheets over the basement windows. 

Working totally independently now. 

Pretending to sand the rough edges (and tunnels from the melted portions!)

Authentic sanding

Bin #1 (the original - transferred into the new deeper, now drilled bin)
The bottom bin received no holes so it can catch the worm tea. 

The second one - a deeper bin with the drilled holes
placed in the original bin to catch the worm tea.
I moved about half the worms to this one. 

The second one I made more full by adding the rest of our fruit/veggies scraps that has been sitting in our garage and some soil from a dead plant and some more dry stuff. This one I will leave sit, removing the lid each day for a time, until it is almost fully composted; then we'll place the next bin on top of it (placing the lid on top of the new bin) so the worms can crawl up through the bottom holes, leaving the completed compost behind. When the worms are fully migrated, we'll take that finished bin out of the stack and use the compost!

Everything I read talks about that worm tea. And all the good worm compost bins I could have paid $65 or more for include a spigot in the bottom portion to drain the tea. I wonder how LONG it takes to get any?

I caught him peeking in on the worms earlier today - he claims he thinks they are creepy now that we have them and he throws a dramatic "AAAH!!!!" every time he sees them and I am around. Without an audience though? Well, I'll see if I can catch him in the act!

Elementary Montessori Practical Life - an updated post

I recently updated this post of for elementary Montessori exercises of practical life

Take a look and tell me what you think!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Biology: Vermi-composting

Yep. Counts for school ;)


Composting. With worms.
Montessori elementary practical life in action.
or is it biology?
or geography?
Actually - practical life at the elementary level is integrated into every subject. 

The container just to get started.
Our real bins arrive soon. 
Our "real bins" are still going to be homemade; I simply can't justify spending $65 on the cheapest variety; $120 on the one I really want... And Legoboy approved (actually he was the one who balked at the price first!). So we have bins coming about twice the size of the above (6 of them for $30) - drill holes in the bottoms; the bottom bin will be placed inside a tub we already have, for liquid (worm tea) to drain from it; then we start filling the bottom bin; as it gets pretty full, we place the next bin on top of it with some scrumptious yummies for the wormies - they crawl upward through the holes (the bottom of the top bin rests on the top of the compost below) as they have less food below and more options above. As that one fills, we add another bin. Eventually, the bottom one is pretty much worm-free (doesn't have to be perfect) - and we have perfect compost for both indoor plants and our outdoor garden.

Just have to lift the bins and remove the bottom one. The liquid we have a hose set up to suck up the "worm tea" which is also good for enriching the soil around plants.


I was looking for a drawer system - so we could move drawers around and not deal with lifting out bins -- but I couldn't find one I liked. I sent Legoboy on a mission to find one and he came up empty too. Some close calls, but we both really like the systems where *we* don't move the worms - the worms transport themselves, so the next bin up needs to touch the compost below...

(if anyone has ideas, please share!!!)

Here is one little guy!  

We ordered a 250-count bag. Comes with the worms and some soil.
Our mailman placed these on our front porch in 32 degree temps. 

Yep. SOMETHING told me I better stop at home between dropping off Legoboy to tae-kwon-do and going to the atrium. Sure enough, a small white priority mail box was sitting on my freezing porch. 

It looks like they are no worse for the wear! 

Less than 12 hours - they've made some nice tunnels!
How did we know how many to order? Recommendations seem all over the place - and it does depend on the size of your bins. In the end, Legoboy decided we should go with one person's recommendation which really seemed to hit home: buy the smaller amounts and the worms will adjust to their environment. Everything we read agrees that the worms WILL adjust - they will not lay eggs if there is not enough food; but they will lay more eggs when there is more food and more space. They naturally balanced themselves out --- so why buy more that might die, when we can spend less money and let them "be fertile and multiply" - even if it is worms, let's create life instead of intend to destroy it. 

Cool. Then he has his joke below. Sigh. 

Legoboy is ok with the worms; but when it came time to actually look at them? 

"Ewwww! I am STAYing OUT of the kitchen!" (where we have the bin sitting for now - it will be moved to our basement once I get the windows better insulated.)

Today's reaction? Well, I will post all of the video attempts - none of which correspond to yesterday's reaction - and all of which highlight his goofy personality ;) 





I guess we count this as a preparation for adolescence. Learning those individual skills now (in elementary) that will be useful then. 

It is creeping closer and closer..... 

Exercises of Practical Life at the elementary level should be integrated into all areas of life and study. Children participate in Goings Out, so need lessons on finding their way on a map, planning bus or vehicle driving routes, exploring options for other forms of transportations, making phone calls to inquire about available products or set up an interview, interviewing skills, and the list goes on - just for Goings Out.

This leaves me yet pondering primary level practical life - if elementary practical life is SO practical, why DO we decide to get into the froo-froo stuff at primary? We tong-transfer pom-poms to the tops of golf tees to help with fine motor skills, but what else? It's just not *practical* - and there are SO MANY *real* practical life activities we can incorporate to practice those fine motor skills AND build skills in other areas.

Every primary (3-6) Montessori material might be intended to have one direct aim- one main purpose - but the indirect aims for some of the materials are almost endless! They are just that deep.

So let's keep up the standard! Real practical life in primary; moving into real (and integrated) practical life in elementary; leading into continued real practical life in adolescence and beyond!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Montessori Homeschool Week - February - Friday

This was a stay-at-home day. It has been a full out-of-house week and I really am a homebody. Legoboy could go either way, but really does like to be home too. In fact, he put together his favorite schedule as a joke:

(not finished with adding images and descriptions - posting anyway)

It was a pretty low-key day, even though we both had big plans. We just needed to veg ;)

He worked on some science experiments.

A session of his apologetics course

Christian Heritage Art lesson 6 of level 5

Played the piano - actually worked on a lesson this time

Read through his magazines some more.

He finally had time to work on EEME and he somehow forgot. That happens!

We talked about putting away our Christmas decorations. Then did nothing about it.

He spent a lot of personal time LEGO building.

Watch Shark Tank to see what kind of business ideas people come up with.

Our other links to past Montessori Homeschool weeks:
Montessori Homeschool Week - February - Thursday
Montessori Homeschool Week - February - Wednesday
Montessori Homeschool Week - February - Tuesday
Montessori Homeschool Week - February - Monday
Montessori Homeschool Week - February - Work Plan for the Week

A Week in the Life of Legoboy - Friday (includes links for Monday-Thursday)