1st Five Items You Need to Start Montessori Homeschooling at the Elementary Level

In the little over a year that I’ve been homeschooling using Montessori Methodologies, I’ve learned quite a bit.  And there are things I wish someone would have told me before I started.  One of those things was which resources are worth my time and money.  Sure, there are lots of low to no cost materials available on the web.  And I do use those.  But there are a few “staples,” I wish someone would have recommended to me when I was first starting out on this journey.

Today, someone asked me what they needed to get started teaching using Montessori Elementary in their home.  This post is my feeble attempt to answer the question.  I’ve bought many things in the last year.  Some have been great, while others, well, simply not as great.   Below are the *first *five things I would purchase if I had to start over again.

1.)  Albums.  I’ve tried many and paid for some of them.  But hands down the best I’ve found so far are these F.REE Montessori albums .  I have found it helpful to print all of the albums and do so printing four sheets to a page so as to save paper as there are MANY pages here to print out.  When I need some of the resources in different sizes, I just print them out full size or as needed.

2.)  Paper based materials. For these I highly recommend the CD collection from http://www.MontessoriforEveryone.com.  It has just about everything you could possibly need on it.  The owner is a trained AMI AMS teacher who is presently homeschooling her children.  She is continuing to add more lower elementary materials on a monthly basis or at least updating things that needed updated.  If something you bought on the CD is updated, she invites you to request the updated .pdf at no charge.  And if you buy the CD, you receive a coupon code to purchase new .pdf’s at 50% off.

3.) A Resource for the Great Lessons. I truly love Miss Barbara’s Great Lesson CD.  Like the albums listed above, I have printed these materials out as well, 4 pages per sheet and print larger pages as needed.

4.)  Printer, laminater & paper cutter. There are lots of materials on these CD’s and lots of extensions that I make myself.  Some of them simply hold up better laminated.

5.)  Hole Punch, Book Rings & those really small rubber bands. I go through a lot of these.  Once you cut things apart, you need a way to manage them.  Rubber bands are great for things that are okay to have come apart.  Controls, however, are better suited for book rings.  Let’s face it.  Montessori work has lots of little pieces and parts.  And when some of these pieces and parts become separated, it’s just easier to have–stealing from the world of web-speak– the control be static…not dynamic in the hands of little people.

With these materials on hand, you’ve made a very good start.

In an upcoming post I will talk about long term storage and presentation storage of the work as well Montessori hard good suppliers.

In the interim, happy printing, laminating and paper cutting!

Montessori Animal Kindgom Taxonomy

We’re working on Animal Kingdom Taxonomy today.  Ana and Aidan were introduced to the concept in pre-school and continue to enjoy exploring this work.

Aidan likes organizing things right now–hard to believe if you look at his work area–but taxonomy is a fit for him.  Aidan classified his own species today.

Ana is working on classifying the topic for her writing class:  a Sea Wasp.  She is very interested in language right now, specifically prefixes, suffixes and root words, so this work with its strong latin focus is right up her alley.  She is so interested in language right now, across so many areas that on Sunday when Papa was visiting we made a discovery.  She had completed some element sorting work and proclaimed that manganese is magnetic because it begins with ‘mag.’  At least she’s thinking, right?  I mean, working on making true leaps to abstraction.

Not quite correctly on this front, but the capacity is there and that in and of itself is an exciting thing.

I made this inverted triangle classification form for the kids to use with their taxonomy work until they have the taxa committed to memory.

Hope it is useful to my homeschooling friends!

Decoding & Encoding: Montessori Learn to Read

Today I was able to watch a friend work with their child and it reminded me of the importance of allowing a child the chance to use their own decoding skills when learning how to read.

My son is learning to read largely by using Montessori Three Part Cards and Classified Nomenclature cards.  The clues that the pictures on these cards give help a child to develop confidence in their ability to try to ‘solve,’ or decode a word.

Don’t get me wrong.  Picture books and easy readers are great.  We use them and will continue to.  And there are days when I simply “tell,” him what a word is that is set before him in a book or on a sign.

But what a great sense of accomplishment a child can feel when they are able to figure out what just one word might be relative to a picture on a card.

And how amazingly advanced the words can be when there is only one word and one picture.

The next time a word shows up in a child’s easy reader that they previously learned on their own, be sure that they will be thrilled to share that they “already know that word!”