Sunday, August 30, 2009

A must read article

I just read this article, and read through all of the comments at the bottom. Great lively comments and a great read.
Feel free to leave your comments here to let me know what you think of it.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Gearin' up for home learning

I ordered a few things from different places, and it all came on the same day.
Some things we won't use right away, but we'll have it for when we do need it.
By the way, there is a sale right now at through Aug. 31. They have tons of stuff at 50 percent off. I ordered one shipment from them a couple of weeks ago, and it came yesterday.  When I realized the sale was about to end I shopped around for a box of beads we need and found they are much more expensive at other suppliers, so I ordered some beads before they jump to more than $100.
I'm researching the history of mathematics so I can tell the story with excitement and enthusiasm, and instill a sense of wonder for Sean. I've never been very fired up about math, so this will be helpful for me. I think I'm going to learn more by teaching than I ever did before.
Last week we had a play date. I met Shane through one of the Internet homeschool groups and she incorporates Montessori into her son's Waldorf curriculum. They are heavy on the Waldorf, and we're going to be heavy on the Montessori with a little bit of Waldorf mixed in. (More on that in another post.)
So JJ has many, many beautiful and wonderful Waldorf-inspired toys, and Sean had a very good time engaging in the imaginative play with him. The boys had a great time playing and the moms had a good time talking about all sorts of things, including homeschool.
Today Sean and I took a trip to the science center. We plan to go another day when we can spend more time there, but honestly I think the Children's Museum offers more interesting exhibits for Sean's age group. The science center is great, but I think older kids enjoy it more. However, it did provide a nice segue into our math lesson next week.
We found this nifty water lifter is credited to Archemedes, the Greek mathematician.      

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Journey Begins

Sean has spent three years in a Montessori classroom, and will be in first grade this year. However, he will be in first grade at home. Though the school he attended offers classes through 9th grade, I can no longer afford to pay tuition, and I know the public school system is in trouble.

Our first day of home learning, as we call it, will be Sept. 2.

I have started gathering Montessori materials, and I am reading everything I can to prepare and create a curriculum.

This blog will include the highlights of our journey, and I plan to post pictures, share links to web sites and also share what is working and what isn't.

After a conversation with a friend the other day, I realized there is a stereotype, an expectation of what a homeschool mother is. I want to note that I am not a stay-at-home mom with a wonderful husband who makes a lot of money, a cat, a dog a white picket fence and the perfect life. I'm about 180 degrees from all of that.

I am a single mom, and I work. I work hard, but I am blessed to work from home. On the rare occasion that I have to go in to the office or do some other activity away from home, I am blessed to have a family member who sometimes sits with Sean. I also have teenagers from church who babysit once in a while. We're real people, and we juggle activities, family time, and we spend a lot of time on the road.

So far, I have signed up for a homeschool Meetup group through Yahoo Meetup groups. I don't know if any of the members use Montessori method, but hope. I have made a connection with some other Montessori homeschool moms through a group called Playgroup6. These are not likely to be face-to-face friends because these people live all over the country. But I'm getting great ideas from their e-mail exchanges, and I find all of them to be very friendly and helpful. I also signed up with another group through e-mail and hope to either find more homeschool families closer to where we live, or post something on craigslist to try to create a group here.

I bought the book, "Teaching Montessori in the Home The School Years," by Elizabeth G. Hainstock. From what I can tell, though the book has a copyright of 1971, it is still relevant as the Montessori materials and curriculum have not changed. I bought this book on ebay, it was very affordable (only $6.95 US) and I believe it will be a wonderful resource.

Other resources include an affordable curriculum at, which provides printable materials and links to other invaluable sites that offer free pdf downloads.

I have found others at This one has so much great information, and just one of the many items on this site that I love is a timeline that begins with 23rd Century B.C. and takes us to the present. It provides complete instructions for creating and presenting the material. This particular piece includes an image of a manger, and uses the birth of Christ as the center of human history.

I'm finding this site to be my favorite so far. There is a large selection of free downloads, and this site also offers printable lesson plans. Of course in Montessori education the child is free to choose from the lesson plan to create their own, so it includes many choices. The free downloads are not part of the lessons listed on the plans, so I am finding myself searching for the materials to fill out the lesson plan.

I have made an e-mail connection with a few Montessori homeschool parents who live pretty far from us, but I hope to set up play dates once in a while--for me really, but Sean will come along too. :-)

I have the blessing of a certified Montessori teacher available whenever I have a question, because Sean's best friend's mom teaches lower elementary (6-9 years) at the school he attended.

Her first piece of advice for us was to buy the stamp game. I found one on ebay for a great deal, and we are waiting for its arrival. I also bought some materials from at quite a reduced price. Some of it was even cheaper than listings on ebay. (Look for more information on this in a later post.)

Here's another site I've read through and I'm certain I will refer to many times,

I'm finding there are quite a few Montessori homeschool parents, but most of them are the under 5s age group.

I truly believe in this method of education, and I've seen it work. Sean has a beautiful love of learning, the confidence that comes with learning on his own, and a compassion for others that I hope to nurture. We will not only focus on the academics, we will be out in our community learning and doing.

We welcome you to follow us,

Marsha and Sean