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.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Making Space for the Child

Fore-note: This is a draft post from when we were still living in our tiny apartment. Some interesting tidbits still in here ;)

I don't even remember ever having the maps in that location! Ha!

Oh! This article at Maria Montessori blog sums it up SO nicely!

The article (go read it!) briefly describes the difference between a home that welcomes children by making them part of the family dynamic and a home that separates child/adult spaces.

Is it good for a child to have a "children's space" to go to? Sure. It can be. But if that is coupled with "you don't belong where the adults are", it's not well-balanced.

My son's toys are in the living room. I want him to LIVE in the living room. Yes, he has school and Legos in his room - and a 3 year old tomato plant - and some personal effects.

Playing with the materials ;)
These were set up in the small bedroom for a long time. 
He wants to keep his clothing in my own walk-in closet - he has a lower clothing rack for hanging his clothes; and the bottom 3 dresser drawers. I only need 2 of the drawers anyway, so it works well to have 1 dresser and share it.

His food is my food - we don't have "mom's stash", though we might have certain foods that he likes that I don't and vice-versa (he has some peppermint extract that he uses in his own recipes that I don't care for, for example). When he was younger, he had his own pitchers for milk, juice and water with appropriate daily servings - yes, they were his "own" but he had free access to them in the main/only refrigerator in his house ---- I provided ways for him to access the family dynamic of the home without entirely separating him out.

Some of us have separate school spaces - classrooms in our homes. These are great for those who have the space! And when we have that well-balanced with the children still learning and exploring in all areas of life, and the family spending time with the "Montessori school" supplies together, having fun - then the children have a fantastic Montessori homeschool!
Setting up the bead cabinet in the hall of our new home. 

In our small apartment, we've had to take the very, very integrated approach - by necessity. I keep saying "I want a separate classroom" - and maybe part of me still does, especially for things like math supplies; and to have a dedicated science shelf again (had one; transitioned to co-op; transitioning back home with a full key-board in the science shelf's place doesn't work so hot! Time to get projects cleaned up in my room so we have more space in there ;) ).

Multi-purpose the bead cabinet ;) 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Botany Illustrations

Neat side exhibit at our local museum recently:

Zoom in on this one! Look at the letter s in sassafras! It looks like "saffafras"!
This led to more conversations about the change in handwriting over the years.
And how necessary it is to maintain cursive writing - personalized writing - so that
we can continue to communicate with your ancestors.  

Such beautiful illustrations!

Even as recently as the last century, we were publishing books
in both Latin and English.
And I thought Latin was a dead language !?

We bought this one.
LOVE it! 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Dictionaries and Thesauruses in the Montessori Homeschool

It is important to NOT just have one resource - one dictionary, one thesaurus, one atlas, one encyclopedia set. No ONE resource is complete - no one resource will meet the needs of every child (or even every need of ONE child). There are different types, different focus for each one, different style that will appeal to different ages and personalities.

So don't be afraid to have a few on hand - thrift stores and library sales are great places to hunt down such materials; and utilize the library for its resources (and visit a few different libraries!). Explore what each one has; if you find a particular resource that is used a LOT in your home or school, that would be the one to invest in ;)

Thus, what follows is a(n incomplete) sampling of what is in our home for our family's purposes and our co-op/tutoring purposes.

This is not a definitive list.

In fact, this isn't even all that we have here - it is simply the ones I could find still on the bookshelves and not buried in the stacks of books that my son reads through on a *daily* basis. ;) But these are all used at least several times a year, if not weekly. When we moved, we culled some books; and last year I culled a LOT of books that we just weren't using. So this is what we have :)

2 sets of Science Encyclopedias - one is OLD but still pretty good.
The other is newer (ok, it's from my childhood, but my childhood isn't old ;) )
The newer set even came with a project book. 

Found in the basement when we moved in. Interesting stuff.
Taber's Cyclopedica Medical Dictionary

These are atlases and maybe need their own post???
The Kingfisher People's Book of Oceans
ChildCraft's Whole Wide World

More atlases
My World - Globe
Activity Atlas
Picture Atlas
Reader's Digest Children's World Atlas
(these were all Goodwill finds)

Webster's New Explorer Dictionary of Word Origins

Huh. More atlases. I was looking for dictionaries and thesauruses!
Where in the World is Geo?
HarperCollins Concise World Atlas (we LOVE this one!)

Scholastic Student Thesaurus
Encyclopedia of the Animal World
(the project book from above)
American Heritage Student Thesaurus

Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary
 Go here for a picture of my then-3-year-old reading the above BIG red dictionary. 
Legoboy's First Dictionary
NO dictionary is "too old" for a child! 

My First Encyclopedia
(we also have "My First Dictionary" around here somewhere)

The Lincoln Writing Dictionary for Children