I recently posted a description of how we approach children’s Bible study in our home. This time I thought I’d take it a step further and show you step-by-step what a day of homeschool in Our Montessori Home looks like. This particular day was last week, I think Thursday. Not every day looks like this, but it can give you an idea of our approach.
As previously explained, we start the preschool period with Bible study. We either do that in the reading corner of the playroom, on the front porch, or on a blanket in the back yard. This day was a front porch day. The children sit on the porch swing with me for catechism, memory verses, and Bible study.
Then they dance and go wild while singing hymns. On this day, they were having so much fun, we sang 3 hymns (and I mean the full hymn – all four or five verses!), and Drama Queen sang almost all of it along with me.
After prayer time, we headed inside. On a typical day, I give each child one new lesson, and they choose which other materials they want to work with during the rest of the time. They only have permission to use materials they’ve already had a lesson on.
I started by giving Mr. BANG a new lesson with the Pink Tower. He previously had the original lesson with it, where I taught him to stack each cube in the middle of the previous one. Today I showed him a different way he can stack them by matching up a corner, making two smooth sides.
Drama Queen, in the background, had gotten out a rug and chose to work with some insect cards.
When she finished her work, she put the cards away, then rolled up her rug and put it in the rug basket.
Next, I gave her the Tactile Numbers lesson.
When Mr. BANG had put away the pink tower, he chose to work with the Sandpaper Globe. Now, Nienhuis and copycat companies make beautiful globes for children to use. The first one has sandpaper to represent land and a smooth surface to represent water. The second one has a different color to represent each continent. I skipped the globes entirely with Drama Queen, but I do really think they’re wonderful. So I have made my own fairly pathetic version of the sandpaper globe for Mr. BANG. I just cut sandpaper into the general shapes of the continents and taped it on a small globe a friend gave me years ago. It’s not much, but it does the trick.
Next, Drama Queen did some more work with the Tactile Letters and Mr. BANG practiced with the Binomial Cube.
One work that Drama Queen especially likes to practice is sewing buttons. In the left picture, she’s measuring out her thread. On the right, she’s tying a knot in her thread after putting it through the needle.
Many times the children like to take a break and watch the other child work for a minute or two. I have given them a lesson on how to do this without distracting the working child. Drama Queen has sewed buttons on several of these little squares. She excitedly tells me that she’s making a rain coat for me. 🙂
Mr. BANG got inspired I guess, because he chose the Button Frame for his next work. Then he worked with the Snap Frame.
Both children have fun with the Fabrics and like wearing the blindfold, but don’t actually like it to cover their eyes! So they just keep their eyes closed as I put two pieces of cloth in their hands and let them determine whether or not the fabric is the same.
The children can do Walking on the Line at any point. It’s a good way to practice coordination and balance, but also is just a fun, relaxing activity. We’ve made it a pattern that when it’s time for the preschool day to come to a close, I start walking on the line. That’s the signal for them to finish up their work and put it away so they can join me on the line.
One other note about the Montessori materials. In an actual Montessori classroom, there are about 30 children within a 3-year age range (3-6, 6-9, etc.) A big part of the Montessori experience is having the opportunity to learn by watching the older children, and having the opportunity to teach by helping out the younger children. I realized early on that my children were missing out on that opportunity. So during the time I’m not giving lessons, I practice with any lessons in the room, just like they do. That has worked really well. I’ve noticed that it inspires them to work with materials they haven’t worked with in awhile, and gives them a reminder of how to work with the materials properly without me having to give them another direct lesson.
We usually end our preschool day by reading poetry and singing a few typical children’s songs. I think the poetry reading is their favorite part of the whole preschool day! During singing, again they get to dance around and play instruments, which they love!
On this day, Drama Queen did some drumming…and Mr. BANG buried himself in pillows!
This day was a little unusual. Drama Queen had been asking to do more Land and Water Form work. It was a great day for it, so I decided to do all the rest of our preschool work, and THEN head outside to make the land and water forms.
To do this, they first shovel some sand from the backyard into their bins. (The sand is leftover from the previous residents, as well as from when we dump sand out of the water play table.) If the water play table is not already filled with water, I do that. Then I show them a card with one type of land or water form and help them construct it with their sand. Once it has been formed, they fill in the water spaces with water from the water play table. There is an actual Montessori material for this, but it’s one that I’ve chosen not to buy or make.
Once we do a few of those…it’s time to simply have fun playing in mud!! 😀