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.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Small Home Montessori - Elementary - What we're doing

The space:
We have an 850 square foot apartment with a large bathroom and a tiny kitchen. Yeah, they could have shifted that space!

Legoboy has the smaller of the two bedrooms (less than 1/3 of less than 1/2 the apartment); I have the master bedroom (the full third end of the apartment (including the walk-in closet).

We had primary set up in Legoboy's bedroom; his clothes went to my closet (on a lower rack on wheels; he has the bottom half of the dresser which is also in the closet). There was a small couch in his room for his bed. I removed the closet doors to extend the space, placing the map cabinet in the closet, with shelving above and behind it.

We even had the bells in there:
IKEA shelf (no longer sell that particular one :( ) on side
placed on top of a coffee table
Sensorial materials below.
The mess above is stuff I swapped up/down. 

My bedroom was/is the library (umpteen shelves), sewing room, and holds my bed. The tops of the bookcases and the shelves in the closet are "storage", which right now equates to empty boxes because we have been trying to move into a house for the last 6+ years.

The hallway had a rack with science supplies; the lower cupboards in the kitchen contained items for Legoboy's use (practical life, dishes, etc.). The bathroom has the art easel and 2 sets of drawers of art supplies.

As we entered elementary, we were slowing adding and replacing the primary materials, but then moved our whole set-up to the local school building to offer a Montessori homeschool co-op, which last some time. We brought materials back and forth as needed; not ideal, but allowed us to have some space at home to get through some other projects. Now we have had to move everything back home and, well, we've just not fully set up. We get out what we need, when we need it. Much less than ideal (less visual options as reminders) but now we are in upper elementary, we need the materials less and less anyway.

So what have we done for elementary?
The classroom sized charts and other large flat items are in the living room closet.

Side by side shelving in Legoboy's room allows us to store items while allowing him to keep his couch-bed, desk and plethora of bookcases.
I can't find the photo of this room off-hand. I will add it if I remember to do so before this posts goes live ;)

Science supplies are in a kitchen cupboard. The hallway has been replaced with the keyboard and our huge 5-gallon bucket of coconut oil. Looking closely you can see we have two maps on the wall (a world map and a US cloth map made by Legoboy with a print from Joann Fabric); two space posters; a globe; art/writing supplies in the far back corner. And this area connects his bedroom, my bedroom, the bathroom and kitchen; I am standing in the living room to take the photo. And the dictionary because he was "hiding" it from me - the whole thing about hiding stuff in plain sight. Yep.

I keep thinking it is all temporary as we look for a rental (you'd have to know the area to understand why this is taking forever), but reality is, he's 10 now. Yes I want to offer a co-op of sorts when we move into a house, but he himself is coming to the end of most of these materials anyway. My heart is breaking and joyful at the same time - that tug of not wanting him to grow up yet, but seeing the wonderful young man he is becoming. :)

But all these materials? 
I totally GET the folks who consider the multiplicity of materials compared to living a simple lifestyle. Not wanting our children to live an indulgenced lifestyle where they get all these expensive (or time-consuming materials) all to themselves. Or to have a tightly filled home when Montessori herself promoted simplicity, beauty in sparsity. My home right now is not the ideal. But it is not Montessori materials cluttering it up. It is all of my own unfinished projects. It continues to improve and I love every inch of free space and time we have as projects finish up; it is a long uphill battle from clingy to clutter-FREE. Montessori HELPED! ;)

My balance to those concerns that I also share?
The joy in sharing these materials with others in one fashion or another certainly goes a long way. We have these blessings, we share them. With local children via co-op and tutoring, with the blogging world, with other homeschool parents wanting to do Montessori at home.

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