As many of you know, this past fall my husband and our two children and I moved to a new house. We had lived in our previous house for 10 years, and while it was a lovely house, we felt that with homeschooling and a home-based business, we needed more room. One thing we were looking for was a basement that could be a combination classroom/playroom for the children. The house we chose not only had a spacious basement, but it was a walkout with sliding glass doors leading to our backyard and a large picture window (lots of natural light!)
Yesterday I was surfing the internet when I happened upon the website of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. If you’re not familiar with it, Bill Gates (founder of Microsoft) and his wife, Melinda, run a charitable foundation that funds projects all over the world, including those that combat poverty and disease.
It's that time again - time for family, friends, festivities, and traditions. What would Christmas be without Santa? And what would Santa be without another fun Montessori discussion? Well, it's a topic that seems to need some re-visiting. As many of you might remember, a few years ago I addressed the burning question about whether or not parents should tell their children the truth about Santa. Maria Montessori thought that telling kids about Santa and letting them believe he really exists was wrong, and would lead to doubt later on when they found out the truth. I personally feel somewhat similar, and have not told my kids that Santa is real or that gifts come from Santa.
I’ve been thinking about this post for a long time, wondering if I should really go ahead and write it, and it seems like a good idea that I do it. Running a business like mine is interesting. On one hand, I do not need a warehouse or inventory, which greatly simplifies my business; on the other hand, the items I sell could be passed around and used by multiple people without me knowing.
It’s been awhile since I talked about where we are in our homeschooling efforts. My children and I have continued to work every day in spite of the move to a new house and the construction going on as we finish our basement. It’s been wild, actually!
Tomorrow is an exciting day for me. My children and I are traveling to Canada to see my dad's family, including my grandmother who will be 101 at the end of the month. Some of you might remember that my grandfather passed away last December at the age of 106 (longevity runs in my family!). I didn't get to see him before he died so I am anxious to spend some time with my grandmother.
Recently I’ve seen or heard a few questions about what it means to “follow the child”. It’s one of those Montessori phrases we throw around, but what does it really mean? Since Maria Montessori divides ages into 6-year cycles, it’s helpful to do so for this topic as well. In the 0-6 age group, following the child typically means observing the child in the classroom and using their interests and level of ability as a guide.
One of my favorite topics related to Montessori is how to go about organizing all the wonderful materials. Being "hands-on" means lots of stuff, and that means finding a place to put all of it. One thing I've used successfully for many years is wheeled carts. These usually have three drawers, and can be found all over (from Target to the Container Store). I currently have three of them, one drawer per curricular area: Art, Science, and Practical Life; History, Geography, and Math/Geometry; and Biology, Language, and Math.
I know you haven't seen a lot of me lately, but I'm still around. This move has been a huge effort and things are calming down. Soon, I will have more time to put into blogging and making new materials...but not just because the move is almost over. For several years, my husband, Bruce, and I have talked about him quitting his job in the corporate world and joining me full time with Montessori for Everyone. There's so much more that could be done with MFE, but with me also homeschooling it's hard to expand the business.
I love the materials in the sensorial area of the Montessori classroom - they speak to the tactile learner in all of us. What impresses me most about how humans learn is how often we use more than one sense to explore.