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, April 17, 2012

Exercises of Practical Life - Elementary

What do we do in elementary practical life in our home?

There is no concise list. The idea is to provide practical life exercises needed for the children's specific needs. Ideally, they've left primary with basic skills in cleaning, basic food preparation (including cooking with a toaster oven or similar), polishing, care of self, care of clothing, work cycle completion.

Teaching practical life skills seems to come more naturally at this age because historically children have begun to learn these things at this age. We chose to teach certain skills at primary because there is a joy in just doing the activity in and of itself. Now those things are integrated and the child's mind and hands are free to move on to focus on things that are now of deep interest. By the adolescent years, they should have enough tools to work through the emotional changes with grace and health.

Now, in elementary, they are on to bigger things than at primary. In our home over the past two years, we have slowly incorporated the following lessons; I do not pretend this list is complete!
  • continuing ALL skills from primary
  • answering the phone
  • taking a brief message
  • placing a phone call
  • using the sewing machine
  • following a very, very basic sewing pattern
  • continuing with cross-stitch, crochet (trying to add knitting)
  • weaving
  • indoor gardening - will add worm composting soon (edited: it took us a while to get the worms set up! almost 3 years!!!)
  • woodworking (Home Depot, at home, at Papa's) - sanding, patterning
  • using a video camera with still and moving images
  • changing light bulbs
  • charging batteries of various kinds (phone, computer, rechargable batteries)
  • reading a map (inside buildings, road maps)
  • using fusible web to make some clothing and stuffed animal repairs
  • household repairs as they come up (just include the children in everything)
  • selecting merchandise at the store for supplies for our home businesses
  • grocery shopping lists
  • basic budgeting - household
  • basic budgeting - personal expenses
  • pet care (as much as possible at others' homes)
  • emergency situations (when/how to call 911, what to do if someone collapses)
  • very basic first aid care
  • how to handle various social situations
  • interviewing at the museum
The list goes on. :) 

Editing to add: In reality, practical life is all around us; as much as possible to include our children in the real day-to-day events and occurrences in our lives, providing them skills through the lives that we adults lead, we won't need "trays" anywhere near as often as places such a Pinterest seem to suggest. Keep it real - keep it straight-forward. If it's not straight-forward, how can YOU improve yourself and/or the task at hand to make it straight-forward and include your child(ren)?

Just food for thought! 

1 comment:

  1. Add lighting a match to this list ;)

    making candles is more of art and history - lots of fun!