I'm Ashley, a mom of two boys: Hudson, age 7 and Lincoln, age 5. We have been using Guidepost at Home's Family Framework and Elementary Distance Learning for a little over 2 months since the schools closed. I want to share a little of our Montessori journey at home. I'd also love to hear from other parents about their Montessori at home!
To begin with, a disclaimer, my home is not a Montessori home. While I appreciate and value the importance of the Montessori approach, we had not (yet) adapted our home to reflect these principles. When the school closed and we had to promptly adjust to distance learning, it took a lot of trial and error before we found what worked for us.
I met with the Parent Concierge to problem solve what were my biggest pain points at the time, the noise level, and the productivity of each of our family members. She suggested moving my office into the children's "classroom," which honestly seemed like a terrible idea at the time! I couldn't wrap my head around how I would get any work done or be able to focus in that environment but I committed to giving it a try. I am happy to report that she was right and we are all more productive now than I ever thought possible! They needed an adult present. Even if I am not hovering over them and paying attention to every detail, they need to know that I am accessible if needed. As time has gone on, they have become more comfortable in their routines and are much more independent in their work, allowing me more time to focus on my work.
Our Home Workspace
So, I want to share this in hopes that it may help another family. I'll also be a little vulnerable in sharing because I know this is far from perfect from a Montessori perspective. But that is the beauty in all of this - it doesn't have to be perfect to be meaningful! We are learning as we go and the resources available on the Family Framework continue to make this more manageable. Take a peek inside our "classroom/office" in this quick video tour. We repurposed a lot of furniture from other rooms and turned this from a spare bedroom into our combined workspace. Because we don't use it for any other purpose, it gives us the feeling of going to work/school even though we aren't leaving the house.
DIY Montessori Materials
We also enjoyed getting creative to make some of the materials they use in the classroom so that we could continue that work at home. I love to craft and this gave me an opportunity to get the boys involved in a project with me as we made DIY Sandpaper Letters and Numerals.
Another activity both boys have enjoyed is using Tangrams. In the Children's House class, they use the Constructive Triangles to help children understand that most plane shapes can be formed using a variety of triangles. The Tangrams serve a similar purpose and also help children develop spatial awareness and problem-solving skills.
Elementary Distance Learning
The elementary distance learning experience is a bit different than the 0-6 experience as the children are becoming more independent, more social, and are more ready for deeper academic lessons. It is a mixture of small group lessons given by a trained guide (I am off the hook here!) followed up with hands-on, offline work to reinforce the skills. Hudson is especially loving the math and science lessons. After the first of the Five Great Stories, The Story of the Universe, he was so excited to create a volcano. With his list of supplies, he raced off to the garage and came back with a funnel. I'm not even sure where he found it or how he knew it was there but apparently he had been eyeing it for a while because he thought it looked just like a volcano and would be perfect to use for this experiment. He asked me to video him so that he could show his teacher and classmates. He is normally very shy and reserved so it was fun to see him come out of his shell when he did this work!
Contribute to the Video Series
I would love to hear from other families that have found ways to implement Montessori at home. Please feel free to share your ideas and what is working in your homes! We will be featuring a variety of ideas from real families, like yours!
Once you join Family Framework, you will get access to our private parent community on Facebook where we can continue sharing ideas like these. If you are already a member of Family Framework, request access to the Parent Communities here: 0-6 Families, Elementary Families.
Guidepost Montessori is a a global network of schools serving 3,500+ families with early education programs, including Emergency Care for Essential Workers (ECEW) during the COVID-19 crisis. Looking for more free content? Download Guidepost Parent from the App Store for personalized Montessori inspiration and activities.