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Our Montessori Homeschool – Behind the Scenes Week 1

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Montessori at Home

Get a behind-the-scenes peek at our Montessori homeschool for a 4.5-year-old and 2.5 year old. Ideas or Montessori activities & materials!

I’m excited to start a new series today!

We’re homeschooling our almost 5-year-old and 2.5-year-old this year. Every month or so I’ll be sharing a detailed look at what we did one week in our Montessori homeschool classroom.

But first, here are a few details on our overall approach to Montessori Homeschool at this stage.

Our Approach to Montessori Homeschool

  • We’re not yet doing any “formal homeschooling” for our toddler. She is at the age where she thrives on free exploration and her work at this stage is more about mastering every day tasks than anything academic. That said, because she watches her big brother do his work every morning, she sometimes wants a similar activity so we do have some Montessori-inspired work on a shelf for her that I’ll be sharing along the way.
  • My almost 5 year old does Montessori homeschool work about 4 mornings a week, usually for around 2-3 hours. Sometimes he works for longer and sometimes we abandon traditional work and go outside or play instruments together (his favorite way to blow off steam) if it’s just not working that day.
  • We usually do more structured homeschool work just 4 days a week so that we have one morning to go explore a state park or go to the lake beach nearby. After all, one of the benefits of homeschool is the flexibility to fit in these other experiences that make childhood (and parenthood) so rich! We also don’t take a formal summer break so I don’t worry about it too much if we don’t get as much done one week.
  • We start every morning reading together. Each of my children chooses a book for me to read to them and then my son practices reading to me. Having this relaxing but defined start to the day really helps us get going!
  • I have no idea how long we’ll homeschool. While we already had a few Montessori homeschool materials when my son was 3, we started in earnest with the start of Covid when we realized we wouldn’t be sending him to preschool in the fall. That said, we are all loving it at the moment so I could see us continuing for years!

Now, on to the “behind the scenes” peek. This is what one week in August looked like for our Montessori homeschool setup:

A Week of Montessori Homeschool

Monday

Paper Sewing Sewing with Kids
Toddler Necklace Making
  • I read to the kids and then James read a few pages from Paddington. He’s at the point in reading where he’s starting to be able to read books he chooses, but it’s still quite challenging for him. Sometimes he reads from a “reader” (like Bob books) and sometimes he chooses a different book to try.
  • After reading, James did story writing, which is one of his favorite works to choose. Right now, he draws a picture and then dictates his story to me. I write it in yellow and he traces over the words. He loves writing what I refer to as “fan fiction”. He bases many of his stories on Winnie the Pooh or his new favorite series, the Mister Men and Little Miss collections.
  • I gave James a lesson on paper sewing. I cannot recommend this sewing kit enough if you’re like me and want to expose your child to sewing, but get easily overwhelmed in craft stores. Lilah was interested as well, so I gave her a lesson in necklace making afterward.
  • James and Lilah did “car painting” together, using little race cars to zoom the paint across the paper. They both enjoyed this a lot and I believe Lilah’s favorite part was washing the paintbrushes in the sink afterward. (I don’t remember where I first saw this activity, but it’s similar to this)
  • After this, we went for a walk around the neighborhood. Lilah has just learned to ride her balance bike. She loves it, but is very slow at this point. I told my son a story while we walked to help him be patient while we walked at a snail’s (err…toddler’s) pace.

Tuesday

Colored Bead Box Addition Montessori Materials
  • I read to the kids and then James read a bit of Paddington and then Brown Bear, Brown Bear.
  • James worked on addition with the colored bead box. This is one of my favorite materials for Montessori homeschool because it is SO versatile. Right now, he uses the beads for addition, multiplication and snake game. He’s also used them to practice the teens and tens and to understand counting by 5’s on the clock and I plan to introduce number chains (skip counting) with these beads soon. After he finished his addition problems, he asked to do multiplication so he did that as well.
  • James did a Magnetic / Non-magnetic sorting work.
  • We played Bird Bingo.

Wednesday

Movable Alphabet Phonograms
  • I read to the children and then James read me 3 Bob books.
  • He did Movable Alphabet, practicing the “sh” and “oo” phonograms. He wrote three of the words, which is generally our goal at this point.
  • James did the Lifecycle of a Frog work.
  • He ended the homeschool portion of the morning with paper sewing.

Thursday

Lovevery Blocks
  • I read to them and then James read 3 Bob books.
  • It was a beautiful day so we took our work outside. James spent the rest of the morning doing Movable Alphabet. He built Paw Patrol words….not the most “Montessori” but he was so into it and so focused. I love to see him loving the work and part of that is letting him choose.
  • While he worked, Lilah practiced carefully walking around his rug and played with one of my favorite toys of all time, the Lovevery blocks. She built little benches. She then used our tree blocks to practice balancing and jumping off of them.

Friday

Wisconsin State Park Hiking with Kids

As we do most weeks, we took one morning off from more structured school work. We went to a lovely state park that is just ten minutes from the house. It turned out the trail was flooded from all of the rain we’ve been getting but we walked around the pretty neighborhood by the park and then found a nice spot to have a snack and practice climbing trees!

I then read some Frog and Toad to the children before we went home. I love bringing books with us when we go to parks or go to the beach. I find it’s a great way to end on a calm note and transition into leaving.

Thoughts on the Week

I loved this week because James was engaged and enthusiastic about his work all week. (This is not always the case!) He didn’t do as much math as I’d necessarily like but I’ve noticed he really goes in waves with what he’s more drawn toward – math, language, etc. and I’m trying my best to follow the child and trust that it all balances out in the end.

Another thing I loved about this week was watching James’s interest in sewing grow. My friend and former coworker Natalie is an expert seamstress and I always loved watching her share her love of sewing with the kids in our class. That said, we’ve been traveling for the past year and I didn’t manage to include nearly as much sewing as I would have liked. I’m super pleased to include more and more sewing on our Montessori homeschool shelves and to watch James and Lilahs’ interest and skills grow.

Finally, I want to note that Lilah is super independent and easily entertains herself most of the time. This makes our homeschool efforts SO much easier. This was not the case when she was younger so don’t get discouraged if you’re trying to balance homeschooling an older child with a baby or toddler who is in a stage where they need lots of attention 🙂

Montessori Materials (& Extras) Used This Week

Montessori Work Rug

Movable Alphabet

Montessori Bead Box

Lifecycle of a Frog

Story Writing Notebook

Sewing Box (I read about this on this post from How We Montessori and we love it!)

Bird Bingo

Bob Books

Paddington Treasury

Brown Bear, Brown Bear

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