If you were to describe our homeschool in a single word, it would have to be “eclectic”. I take what I like best from different philosophies and curriculum and use them in a way that fits best for my children. The Montessori Method has always appealed to me, and from my children’s earliest days I have been incorporating its principles into our home. Like us, you do not have to follow a strictly Montessori approach to benefit from its many wonderful ideas.
Here are some simple ways you can use Montessori ideas in your home to create an environment which fosters learning and independence in young children:
- Adding child-sized furniture to your home. A small table and chair set to work at will allow comfortable and correct posture for writing, reading, art, and play activities.
- Bring things down to the child’s level to give them greater independence and self-mastery in an adult sized world. Examples include – low hooks at the entry way to your home for their coats, or in the bathroom for a hand towel, a low drawer or shelf in the kitchen filled with any dishes or silverware they can safely use themselves, likewise a low shelf in the refrigerator or kitchen cupboard with healthy snacks and drinks that they are allowed to eat.
- Create an organized space for toys, books, and educational materials. Low shelves with open storage, such as baskets or trays, each holding a specific set of toys (like a set of wooden blocks or a basket of Lego). Having toys organized (instead of in one big toy box) teaches order, makes it easier for children to select what they want to play with, and easier from them to tidy up after they have finished with that activity.
- Divide toys into a few sets, bringing out only one set at a time, then periodically rotate them (though beloved toys and books should always be kept out). This keeps toys novel and interesting and the environment uncluttered, allowing children to really focus on mastering an activity.
- Create an art corner where art supplies are organized, sharpened, and ready to use. If having art supplies out all the time makes you squeamish with visions of decorated walls and furniture, then have them in an organizer like an art caddy that is easy for you to just pull out and be ready for use.
Kami can be found writing about eclectic homeschooling ideas, such as Montessori inspired workboxes at her blog Nurturing the tender years.