Thursday, February 21, 2008

My Montessori Classroom and Materials

EGAD!!! I haven't posted since 2006, which is very, very sad. So, I've changed the name and the focus of this blog, so that (hopefully) I will remember it exists.

I'm now homeschooling my pre-school daughter using the Montessori method, and I would like to use this as a pictoral and written account of this adventure.

Here is my homeschool classroom:

My daughter, now 3 1/2 is fascinated with geography. She just adores studying that map. We're now learning the location of the continents while doing a unit on Antarctica. Hopefully this will counteract the winter "blahs" that have been invading our household.

Here you can see my Montessori materials. Some I made, and some I bought.

Now for the detailed close-ups, plus how I use them...

Above, you can see the yellow knobless cylinders and my version of the colour tablets box #2. I bought both the cylinders and the colour tablets - although the box of colour tablets I bought was box #3. Rather than going to the expense of getting both box #2 and box #3 (box #1 would have been way too easy!), I have taken out a dark and a light tablet of every shade in box #3, so that she can match two differing shade of the same colour before sorting a range of shades.

This is our geography set-up. I bought the map of the world on e-Bay, and then traced and cut out each continent/piece on black bristol board and glued them onto a piece of cardstock onto which I had printed the name of the continent. The National Geographic "Our World" is a fantastic beginner atlas (Canadians, make sure you get the Updated Edition so that you get a two-page spread of Canada and its provinces, otherwise you'll just get the U.S. and its states!) - and the pictures are actually deliberately made to look like puzzle pieces (did they hear about Montessori???) and the "Antarctica" book is from Usborne. Soon we will have a little globe:

I've been painting (and painting and painting) this globe for her, and it looks so good. But I've come to hate South-East Asia and the Arctic - WAY too many TEENY-TINY islands!!!

My miserable failure of sandpaper letters. I went about it entirely the wrong way, and the only difference between the red and the sandpaper letters is the colour - the painted area is WAY too rough. Next time: I'll mount red bristol board on the wood and then mount the sandpaper letter on the bristol board. MUCH easier!

Practical Life activities: pouring rice and using a turkey baster to transfer water. She LOVES the turkey baster activity.

Dressing frames. I made them with "paint your own" photo frames and tea towels from the dollar store, a variety of buttons from Mum, some hook-and-eyes from I don't know where, pretty white upholstery tacks from the hardware store, and belts from a different dollar store. I have a few more in the making now.

Four little cups and a variety of buttons for a sorting activity. Note the oh-so-classy Cheez-Whiz bottle as a holder!

My number rods (small) in a tin. I nagged my father into cutting a square dowel into the right lengths for me, but I measured them in inches, rather than centimetres. Mostly for his sake (Dad refuses to use metric), but also so they would be a little larger than the classic small number rods.

A little peek into our phonetic "mystery bags." Letter, lion, and letter; Tambourine, train, and towel; Hat, heart, and horse.

Ahhh... the teacher's corner - the messiest spot in the room. What can I say??? I try!

Next time: pictures of activies in progress...

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At 12:00 a.m. , Blogger Janis said...

I love this bright, beautiful classroom and seeing what E's learning! I can't believe you've actually remembered this blog too... and that I kept checking after so long ;)

At 7:26 p.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

How did you first present maps/geography? I am wanting to do this with my dd-4, but I am not sure what to do after the sandpaper globe. any thoughts?

At 8:05 a.m. , Blogger My Boys' Teacher said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 4:44 p.m. , Blogger HomeSchooler said...

Hello Andrea,

I bought the globe at Wal-Mart for $10 (it's less in the U.S.) and sanded it very lightly with super-fine grade sandpaper. It was 320 grit, if I remember correctly. Then I primed it with a latex primer. I realised right at the beginning that I'd have to prime only the continent/ocean I was about to paint as the primer made identifying the end of an ocean and the beginning of a continent quite a challenge. Then I painted with acrylics. I found that, depending on the colour, I had to put on several coats. Because I made the map so detailed (including so many tiny islands and being very precise in edging the continents) it took much longer than it ought to have. It's one of those times when being a perfectionist should give way to getting the job done in a reasonable amount of time! Good luck!

At 12:08 p.m. , Blogger txjgyu said...

so great, you made Montessori Materials by yourself, and I would like to do by myself but ... no idea with here.
Hope can learn from you!

btw, my younger son also prebaby who is healthy now!

God bless,
Tks, Jean

At 2:33 p.m. , Blogger Karen said...

I love your bright, colorful and beauitful classroom!! Before I made my blog, a montessori mom and friend, sent me your blog, and I was very helpful for my start as montessori mom!!! lol, I'm soo HAPPY that you're blogging again!!!!! Thanks!!

God bless your beautiful family!!

At 7:48 p.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love your blog. As a mother to two children that attend Montessori schools, I found it a challenge to be creative at home. My brain doesn't function in teacher mode...but your examples are great and I am going to copy many of them. Thank you for sharing.

At 2:46 a.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there,
Thank you so much for sharing- I am in the process of doing EXACTLY the same- prep and making as many materials as possible. You've inspired me to make the maps myself too- any chance of letting me know exactly which maps you bought and how you made the puzzle look so professional.
You and your family are an inspiration.

At 11:45 p.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great blog. You seem very dedicated. I had been looking at the Montessori Research and Developmet material and with your great review I think I will go ahead and purchase. By the way I have bought some montessori material that is very inexpensive at they have Mr.Nienhus approval and I am satisfied with their material. I bought the metal insets, spindles box, and the knobbed cylinders. I also wanted to suggest a montessori based religious curriculum called catechesis of the good shepherd. You can find more information on the website It is christian based, since it uses the Bible. Mostly Episcopalian and Catholics use it from what I've seen. I took my training with them and I fell in love with my catholic faith again. I hope this information is helpful to you. Elizabeth


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