Learning at home (Montessori-based) homeschooling tips #1

Hi there,

In Australia, we are going into the last week (Week 10) of school for Term 1, then a two week Easter holiday break, followed by Term 2 starting. For us though, as mentioned in a previous post, I decided to pull my two children out of school for weeks 9 and 10 of term 1 and we are choosing to learn at home (homeschool) for Term 2 but in collaboration with my children’s Montessori school’s program. I don’t know all the specifics as to how the online program will run, but I will share more when Term 2 starts with weekly updates.

So far we have been given some helpful tips and ideas to use at home which caters to my children’s specific age group. I have just added some (not all) of the notes I took below;

General learning at home notes:

  • The Prepared Environment- For younger children- the learning environment is your home and surroundings- but there is no need to replicate the school environment at home. Finding ways to support independence, engage in meaningful tasks and supplement learning through various activities keeping in mind the developmental needs and characteristics of the child and their interests.
  • Children’s activities should be enjoyable, thoughtful, challenging and rewarding.
  • Children need to feel connected to their learning– it’s more about the process than the completion of work/assignments.
  • Learning with a sense of exploration, curiosity, and discovery- results in deeper and more meaningful experiences.
  • Foster ownership and responsibility in learning– with choice, participation in planning and organising tasks, conversation/s, finding good resources and sharing of knowledge.
  • The Uninterrupted Work Cycle– blocks of time in order to explore their work deeply.

3-6 years (Children’s House)

  • Repetition, routine, mastery of movement, choice, order.
  • 3-5 Years (Practical Life and Sensorial)
  • 5-6 Years (Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, and Math).
  • Morning and afternoon uninterrupted work cycle.
  • Always make time for snack/lunch and movement.

6-9 Years (Lower Primary)

  • Plan and organise own work (with guidance)- journal writing
  • Opportunities to build from their interests (project work, creative writing) for example
  • Establish and follow a daily learning routine
  • Safe, quiet space to learn.
  • Presentation/sharing time- opportunities to share and present work- (describe, explain and express yourself)
  • Always make time for snack/lunch and movement.
  • Core Subjects- Math, Language, Geometry, Geography. Afternoons are usually for Biology and Research. Specialist Classes- French, P.E and Health, Technology and Music.
  • 30 minutes of silent reading (afternoons)
  • Letter writing to family/friends (via email or post/mail)

Practical Life Ideas:

  • Gardening
  • Cooking/Baking
  • Dishwashing
  • Flower arranging
  • Water plants
  • Set the table for meals
  • Food prep- prepare own snack
  • Have access to water to get oneself a drink when thirsty

My eldest says that in her Lower Primary classroom each child has a ‘care of environment’ chore that they do each week (roster changes each Monday) usually consisting of;

  • Sorting recycling
  • Putting classroom scraps into outdoor compost bin or worm farm
  • Dishwashing
  • Cleaning/dusting shelves
  • Watering indoor plants
  • Feeding class pet- fish
  • Clean/dust work shelves
  • Tidy bookshelf
  • Floor- pick up rubbish, sometimes sweep if needs be.

Some things we will include during our homeschooling time;

  • Going for nature walks
  • Following along to a Yoga or aerobic kids class (Youtube)
  • Baking (bread)
  • Board games and card games
  • Jigsaw puzzles
  • Snuggling on the couch with pillows and blankets and reading a good book together
  • Watching family-friendly movies
  • Science experiments
  • Outdoor art
  • Lego building
  • Gardening (we are setting up a kitchen garden)
Homeschool journals
Journal writing- a way to gather thoughts and plan/prepare for the day.
Homeschool workbooks and folders
Miss 8’s homeschool workbooks (writing and number work), sketchbook and folders (for displaying work and storing ‘working on and finished work’. My youngest has the same items except his writing books are Grade 1 level.

How to talk to children about the COVID-A9- Coronavirus (some tips I was given);

  1. Don’t be afraid to discuss coronavirus with your children- look at the conversation as an opportunity to convey the facts and set the emotional tone.
  2. Be developmentally appropriate- try to answer your child’s questions (honestly and clearly) without causing overwhelm.
  3. Take your cues from your child- invite your child to tell you anything they may have heard and how they feel, giving them the opportunity to ask questions.
  4. Deal with your own anxiety- deal with your own anxiety and once you are calm, talk to your child.
  5. Be reassuring and focus on what you are doing to stay safe- empathize the safety precautions you are taking.
  6. Stick to routine/rhythms (where possible)-children don’t like uncertainty so staying rooted in routines/rhythms and predictability is going to be helpful right now.
  7. Keep talking- keep the lines of communication open.

At this point, before Term 2 starts and I have more guidance from my children’s classroom Teachers (Directors), we are just taking it one day at a time and focusing on my children’s interests and what they want to work on during the day.

Resources:

  • Trillium Montessori- Montessori Parent Coronavirus Survival Guide- View contents HERE and download link via Amazon.

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