6 Reasons Homeschool Works Better Than Public School For Our Family

6 Reasons Homeschool Works Better Than Public School For Our Family


When Jonathan grows up he might sit me down to have a stern talk for all the “schooling experiments” I’ve put him though...

 

At only 7-years-old, my son has done Montessori homeschool for preschool, attended school at a local farm, attended a Montessori school for preschool and Kindergarten, and is now homeschooling again. One of the great things about homeschooling, is that the option is always there to change. If one isn’t working, there’s no reason to not say “this isn’t working for us, let’s give learning a different approach.”

A Montessori homeschool and Montessori classroom share many similarities. But there’s a lot different about that can completely change your child’s attitude. These activities can take your child from loving school --- to hating it with a passion. It really depends on your child’s learning style. Homeschoolers and teachers can learn a lot from one another. Making a decision about the type of schooling to pursue for our child is no easy task. They’ll both have pros and cons as well as similarities and differences.

 

Differences and Similarities to Consider Between Montessori Homeschool and a Montessori Classroom

 

  • Expertise in the Montessori Method - This is the most obvious. In a Montessori school, you’ll have at least one teacher who is Montessori certified. They’ll have extensive training on the Montessori method and will continue to receive ongoing training. There are a lot of good resources available for parents to learn, it can be time consuming and overwhelming to sort through all of it. We have a lot of great resources here on the blog and our You Tube channel to help you learn about the Montessori method.
     

  • Access to materials -  Montessori materials aren’t always cheap. And you always seem to need just one more manipulative before your homeschool is “perfect”. In a classroom, you have the benefit of not having to purchase materials. Homeschoolers can make a lot of materials on their own. You may also sell them second hand when their students are done with them. ShillerLearning kits are an affordable way to purchase materials for classroom, or homeschool.

  • Experiences - Both approaches are going to have drastically different access to experiences. While you might not be able to provide some of the visitors and school-wide events that a school might have at home, homeschool experiences can be unique too. As a homeschooler you can hit the road and do school from anywhere, take the day off to attend special local events, learn from Grandparents and Great Grandparents, and pursue unique interests.

 

  • Family involvement - There is an emphasis on family involvement in a Montessori school. Events will occur all year for families to take part in, parent volunteer opportunities will be available, parent visiting nights, and most Montessori schools have a lot less homework than public school so students can be more involved at home. Students who are homeschooling will have much more intimate family involvement, but a Montessori school is still going to keep the family involved.

  • Schedule - This is often one of the key points for parents between deciding what they’d like their child’s schooling to look like. For some families, the thought of having to get up and get their child off to school is stressful. Others find structure and routine ok and wouldn’t be intimidated by getting their student out the door in the morning. Homeschooling offers the ability to have a more relaxed schedule and avoids the time spent in the carpool line twice a day.
     

  • Real-life experience - Maria Montessori emphasized the importance of using real materials and real life experiences for children. In a school this is going to be in a much more prepared environment with child size items. At home they’ll be getting the real life experience right alongside you.

Selecting and evaluating our children’s educational choices is an important decision to make. It also doesn’t need to be the final answer. Determine your pros & cons, your priorities and make a decision. Remember that it’s not written in stone and you can make changes.

 

 

Want more tips on making a decision or transition to homeschooling? Check out these posts-

From Classic School to Homeschool: 8 Tips for New Homeschoolers

How to Choose the Correct Math Level for Your Child

TED Talks For Homeschool Reading Inspiration


See Inside Our Montessori-Based Kits

Math Kit I - PreK to 3rd Grade

Language Arts A - PreK to 1st Grade

Amanda Osenga

Amanda is a former Montessori teacher who is now homeschooling her only child, a seven-year-old boy. Her family resides in an Airstream that is parked in Washington. She loves Washington's outdoor opportunities. When she’s not schooling, she also blogs at TreehouseDaily.com, works as a Virtual Assistant and loves reading and creating hand-lettering pieces.

The Treehouse Daily >

 


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Montessori Toddler Development Tips

How Montessori Toddler Development Tips Give Kids Independence


The toddler and preschool years can be trying. It takes forever to get out the door. Personalities are being developed and then the word “no” has been discovered. Independence is being evaluated- and tested! We want to foster the development of our tiny little humans, yes. And- sometimes we just need to get out the door! It can be far too easy to fall into the habit of doing everything for our kids. Yet with a little bit of work, we can foster independence and make life easier for ourselves too!

 

Winter can be an especially difficult time with young children at home. Getting out the door takes a lot more clothing and gears. We have more layers, more buttons, more snaps, and laces. We’re also stuck indoors a lot more often and working hard to keep cabin fever away. This is the perfect time of year to put a few systems in place. We can use the benefit of the extra time indoors to start fostering more of the independence our children yearn for!

Montessori Toddler Development Tips Help Toddlers & Preschoolers With Independence

 

The Montessori method places a large focus on independence for kids. In a Montessori classroom, you’ll find this everywhere. There are kid-size sinks where you’ll see even tiny children washing dishes after a meal. Kid-size cleaning supplies are provided and children happily clean up after themselves. Shoes are set neatly along the wall with coats hung tidily on pegs. One of my favorite things, when I worked at a Montessori school, was the tiny little vases and fresh flowers. Even our 2-year-olds got in on these daily activities. Most Montessori toddler programs even have tiny little toilets and sinks. (It’s worth it to take a tour of a local Montessori school to check it out! Homeschoolers can garnish a lot of ideas by checking out a classroom set up!)  

 

Not only are the classes set up to be friendly to toddler development, the kids joyfully participate. While it’s not logistical for homeschoolers to have quite a set-up, there is a lot that we can do. If we set our children up for success, they’ll be able to fall into a routine much easier. As we give them skills towards independence, suddenly these years become much smoother and more joy-filled.

 

Putting these systems in place don’t have to be time-consuming. You can start with a few things this winter.

  • Set up shelves.  

 

In a Montessori setup, there’s a place for everything and everything has its place. When you walk into a Montessori home- you’ll know right away. There will be low shelves at the child’s height with a few items. Skip the overflowing toy bins. Skip the catch-all drawers. Provide a few low shelves with just a few items on them. The toys can be rotated out on a regular basis. By setting things up this way, even the youngest of children know exactly where the toy goes when they are done playing with it. Toddler development can be fostered with an easy-to-access space for your children.  

 

I will never forget how cute it was watching my son toddle back and forth from his shelf to put things away. He even started to “get” the concept as a crawler- the toys were not put back in exactly the right spot but they made it back to the shelf. Part of the reason playrooms get so messy is because kids get too overwhelmed. They get stuck with decision fatigue and too much stimulation and don’t know how to even clean up. Setting up a few shelves for littles can be huge at home- especially for mothers raising a large family.

 

  • Create a cubby.  

 

Yes, we all think of cubbies when we think of preschool. Kids LOVE to have their own little cubby area by the door. Even if it’s just a shoe box and a stick-on-the wall hook for their coat. If kids are provided a space all their own, putting away their “gear” becomes much easier. Providing kids with a little Montessori toddler cubby helps organize your home in amazing ways!

 

When my son was little he had space right next to the door. It was a small box for his shoes, a small box for his hat, mittens & scarf, and a little hook for his coat. As a tiny child, it was great to have a spot right at the front door that was nice and organized and all his own. He even took part in selecting everything. I’ve seen parents build cubbies out of wood and let their children decorate them too.

 

  • Work on shoe skills.  

 

Yes, learning to tie shoes is hard. Yes, toddler shoes can be the thing of nightmares. Some children won’t be able to do this for quite some time. If you can at least get your child independently putting on and taking off their shoes, that can save a lot of time. Put some time into it when you’re not trying to rush out the door! Snow boots are a good way to practice because they’re easier to slip into. (Practice putting on a hat, coat, and mittens help too!)

 

  • Tag at the toes.

 

Oh, friends, the tag at the toes is one of the best kept Montessori toddler secrets. We’ve posted a video below. If you’re unable to watch, this is the idea. Children unzip their coats and place them on the ground in front of them. The coat is placed so the tag is at the child’s toes. The child can then bend down, stick their arms through the arm holes and flip the coat up and over their head. It takes a bit of practice but is hands down the easiest way to teach kids to get their coats on.

 

Plus, it’s super cute! I used to love watching a classroom full of kids doing this when I taught.

  • Coat on backward.

 

For trips where you’re child needs to get in a car seat, putting a coat on backward is a great trick to have up your sleeve. Toddler development means little ones need to be in still. Carseats and bulky coats aren’t a safe combination. When the weather is cold, we want our children to be warm and safe in the car. Kids can get strapped into their car seat and then slip their coat on backward to stay warm in the car. Kids can learn how to do this with practice. Strap them into their seats in a nice, warm car when you’re not rushing trying to get somewhere. Take the time to practice and it’ll save you a lot of work when you’re trying to get somewhere on time. (Or teach them tag at the toes with a nice, warm, thin fleece that can be worn in a car seat.)

 

  • Purchase a tiny snow shovel and push broom.  

 

Kids LOVE to help shovel snow. Granted, tiny children aren’t going to be clearing a ton of snow. But they really enjoy it. It gives them a sense of accomplishment and the ability to help. (Plus it tires them out so they’ll take a good nap!)

 

  • Build a love of learning.  

 

Winter is the perfect time to cozy up inside and foster a love of learning. Young children can use our kits, and we include activities for them in our monthly printable packs. Everything is set up in a way designed to help foster toddler development and the independence your child desires. Plus the educational skills you desire!

 

When we foster independence from an early age, our kids needs are met much easier. Toddlers are misunderstood. It’s hard to be such a bitty person in a great big world. With a few simple steps, we can help set them up for success! Stay tuned for more tips on setting up a Montessori-inspired home for even the youngest members of your family.


See Inside Our Montessori-Based Kits

Math Kit I - PreK to 3rd Grade

Language Arts A - PreK to 1st Grade

Amanda Osenga

Amanda is a former Montessori teacher who is now homeschooling her only child, a seven-year-old boy. Her family resides in an Airstream that is parked in Washington. She loves Washington's outdoor opportunities. When she’s not schooling, she also blogs at TreehouseDaily.com, works as a Virtual Assistant and loves reading and creating hand-lettering pieces.

The Treehouse Daily >

 


How to Avoid Pitfalls In a Mid-Year Homeschool Curriculum Switch

How to Avoid Pitfalls In a Homeschool Curriculum Switch


Did you know a large majority of homeschoolers who change curriculum, do so mid-year? If something isn’t working for you- don’t torture yourself (or your kids) with it! Part of the joy of home education is that we can customize it. If something needs tweaking, we have the freedom to adjust. Even if it means a mid-year change.

 

Switching curriculum can be a bit anxiety provoking. We already know how to homeschool. It can make us start to second guess our ability when we need to make a change. It doesn’t need to! Not all materials follow the same scope and sequence. Not all curriculum covers the same things for the same ages. Even discerning which levels your student(s) need can be difficult. Especially with a mid-year switch. If you’re ready to take the leap of faith to a mid-year switch, we hope this information will be helpful.

How to Avoid Pitfalls in a Mid-Year Homeschool Curriculum Switch

 

Signs you might want to think about switching your homeschool curriculum

 

How do you know if a mid-year switch is right for you? If you’re finding yourself in any of these situations, you may want to think about a change:

 

  • Your children dread school

 

  • Arguments occur over lessons

 

  • Tears! There should not be tears in school

 

  • You don’t like teaching the materials

 

  • The materials are requiring too much prep work

 

  • Special needs or learning disabilities are diagnosed

 

  • Major life change occurs- such as the birth of a baby, major move or job change, significant illness, or any other circumstance that changes your schedule

 

  • The kids are bored

 

  • School is stressful

 

  • Lessons are too challenging

 

  • Lessons are too easy

 

  • Lessons don’t make sense

 

  • It doesn’t fit your student’s learning style

 

  • You find yourself browsing other choices online

 

  • Something new came onto your radar you can’t stop thinking about

 

  • You don’t like it- no other reason needed

 

If any of these are relatable, it’s safe to say a mid-year switch may be in your path.

How to decide what to switch to

 

If you know a switch is needed, how do you decide what to move onto? Unless you have fallen in love with something else- you’ll need to find something new.

 

First, make a list of the reasons why you want to switch. Think through everything you don’t love about your current materials. Write down all the concerns, problems, frustrations, etc. This doesn’t need to be in-depth. Jot them down and get them out of your mind and on to paper. No guilt. No worries.  

 

Next, Look over the list to see if there’s any way you can modify your homeschool curriculum. If you don’t like it because it’s too easy, can you skip ahead to lessons later on? If the children are getting bored but you love the material, can you shorten the length of time on lessons? Often quality is much more valuable than quantity. If the lessons don’t fit your child’s learning style, can you make a few simple adjustments to fix it? Start looking into options if you can’t find a way to modify what you’re working with currently.

 

Then, make a list of anything you liked from your previous materials. Also, make a list of things you’d like to see in your new materials. Use those phrases for your web search. Hop onto your favorite homeschool forum or Facebook group to ask for suggestions. By thinking through it all, you have good keywords to search for and generate discussions.

 

Last, pull the plug. Sell your old materials and move onto something new. No guilt over not seeing the other material through to completion. This is why we homeschool. For freedom and flexibility!

What to do when the new materials arrive

 

The materials have come. Your bright, shiny new curriculum is here. What do you do next? Go to the middle and start from there? Start at the beginning? It feels a lot easier to start at the new year right from the start. Don’t be scared! It doesn’t have to be difficult to figure out where to start. You won’t need to sit down and read through every single lesson trying to decide what your student does and does not need to cover. Take the joy in knowing how to homeschool and get ready to make your journey even better.

 

ShillerLearning has made this process totally pain-free and easy. You could switch curriculum mid-year, a month into school, or with only a few weeks left. We’ve set it up to be easy to know exactly where to start, and exactly what lessons to cover.  

 

In each of our books, we have assessments. They’re not boring blue book tests. No filling in bubbles, confusing multiple choice, or stress. ShillerLearning testing is multisensory; these are set up in a way that is fun and engaging for kids. We hear all the time from parents how excited their children are when they get to an assessment section. (It happens to be my son’s favorite part, he literally jumps up and down.)  

 

Everything is 100% scripted for you. All you need to do is open up the first book and read the script. Have the manipulatives for the book available as well. Depending on the level of knowledge with Montessori materials, you may wish to briefly introduce the materials. If neither of you are familiar with them, don’t worry. The assessment will help you figure out exactly what lessons you need to cover with which materials. (Told you we made it easy!)

 

How to determine the starting point for your new homeschool curriculum:

 

1. Grab a pencil for your student, and something for you to write notes on.  

 

2. Open up to the first assessment in the first book of your kit. They are called “Review Tests” in the book. We have you go through them first to see what exactly needs to be covered. Then you go through them again after finishing the section to assess competency and closure. You’ll also want to have the answer guide available.

 

3. Read the brief opening script about what the assessment is.

 

4. Begin the assessment. All you need to do is read the script. Each question tells you which lesson number covers that subject. If the child is unable to answer the question, make note of the lesson number you need to cover.

  • If a student knows the answer but still wants to cover that lesson, that’s fine too! Children often like to repeat lessons or subjects. We call this gaining competency and closure.
  • If the child knows all the answers to the first review test, move onto the next one. You may need to complete several review tests before getting to the right section for your student. In some cases, you may even need to move onto another book. (In the case that you find you’ve purchased the wrong kit, please give us a call and we’ll swap you out for the proper kit! You also have the option of purchasing the diagnostic tests to help determine which kit is right for your student.)

 

5. Begin at the first lesson your child needed to cover. As you work through the materials, allow them the opportunity to work through all the lessons if they desire. It’s always ok for students to cover a lesson even if the review test didn’t say they needed to.

 

6. Enjoy the peace, joy, and ease that comes from an open-and-go curriculum that covers all the learning styles!

Like this? Check out this post on Choosing a Homeschool Math Curriculum.


See Inside Our Montessori-Based Kits

Math Kit I - PreK to 3rd Grade

Language Arts A - PreK to 1st Grade

Amanda Osenga

Amanda is a former Montessori teacher who is now homeschooling her only child, a seven-year-old boy. Her family resides in an Airstream that is parked in Washington. She loves Washington's outdoor opportunities. When she’s not schooling, she also blogs at TreehouseDaily.com, works as a Virtual Assistant and loves reading and creating hand-lettering pieces.

The Treehouse Daily >

 


History of Montessori Part One

History of Montessori.

Part One


The first Montessori school opened in 1907. Since then thousands of children worldwide have received this one-of-a-kind education. The unique learning methods have been adopted by homeschoolers, charter schools, private schools, and public schools alike. Educational researchers spend hours pouring over Dr. Montessori’s writings. All in hopes to gain a better understanding of her principles. This educational approach continues to thrive over 100 years later. Let’s take a look back to the humble beginnings.

Maria Montessori’s Early Life and Education

 

Maria Montessori was born on August 31, 1870, in Chiaravalle, Italy, to parents Alessandro Montessori and Renilde Stoppani. She and her mother had a close relationship. Her mother was encouraging and supported her continued education. Her father was not pleased with Maria’s desire for further education. Remember, this was an era where females were not highly educated.  

 

At age 12, her family moved to Rome. It was here Maria got the chance to further her education. She enrolled at a technical school. Her desire to study engineering, science, and mathematics was strong. In spite of cultural norms of those subjects being classified as for boys only. Her parents encouraged her to become a teacher, a traditionally female job at the time. She persisted in her studies and was permitted to attend an all-boys school.  

 

After a time, Montessori decided to pursue medicine. This was an area of study women had not previously been allowed to study in before. Her choice created conflict between her and her father. Her mother supported her decision, which created conflict in their marriage. Dr. Montessori emerged as a peacemaker between her parents on many occasions throughout her life. Again, she persisted and thrived in her education. Montessori studied a variety of subjects including anthropology, psychology, and Latin.  

 

It would be her experiences with her own education that would begin to form the model for her schools. Soon Montessori discovered what she did and did not like about educational approaches at the time. Females were not allowed to dissect a cadaver in the presence of males. Maria would spend hours alone at night working on cadavers to complete her education. She faced backlash and harassment from fellow students. Quickly her professors and classmates saw her potential as she thrived in medical school.

 

She became the first female doctor in Italy in 1896. This same year she was selected to represent Italy’s women at a feminist conference. During this time she would begin to advocate for working women and child labor. This would set the stage for her revolutionary contribution to children.

 

Her education would continue throughout her life. She would go on to audit classes in pedagogy. Additionally, she was a life-long learning through reading. She devoured every book she could get her hands on about educational approach from the last 200 years.  

Work With Children Begins

 

Although Dr. Montessori did not set out to work with children, her path slowly unfolded before her. She found herself working at a psychiatric hospital for children with profound special needs. It was during this period that she began to evaluate educational approaches for children. She would become an international voice for the treatment of these children. Research, advocacy, and education became her focus. She dove into studies from Jean-Marc Itard and Edouard Séguin as her theories developed.

 

Montessori observed the patterns of behavior among these children. They spent their days placed in a plain white room. Her research began with toys and manipulatives. The educational theories would gradually develop as she worked to give the children in the hospitals a better life. Montessori began to believe that these children did not need more medicine but a chance for an education.

 

Culture in that period meant that many children in Rome were left alone all day; parents would go to work and children would be left home. Many children began working at a young age; education was not valued. Montessori began advocating for working children and children left at home instead of at school.

 

"To assist a child we must provide him with an environment which will enable him to develop freely."

Maria Montessori

 

By 1900 Montessori had become such a voice for education she was given a teaching position herself. Here she would train teachers of children deemed developmentally delayed or disabled. She would continue to study educational approaches between typical children and delayed children. This would form the foundation for the development of her “sensitive periods” and multisensory approach to learning.

 

Make no doubt, Dr. Maria Montessori made an irreplaceable impact on education. Her early years of forming schools and further developing her theories are fascinating. Come back again in a few weeks to read Part 2 of the History of Montessori!


See Inside Our Montessori-Based Kits

Math Kit I - PreK to 3rd Grade

Language Arts A - PreK to 1st Grade

Amanda Osenga

Amanda is a former Montessori teacher who is now homeschooling her only child, a seven-year-old boy. Her family resides in an Airstream that is parked in Washington. She loves Washington's outdoor opportunities. When she’s not schooling, she also blogs at TreehouseDaily.com, works as a Virtual Assistant and loves reading and creating hand-lettering pieces.

The Treehouse Daily >

 

Multisensory Shopping Made Easy

Multisensory Shopping Made Easy- Introducing ShillerLearning’s Partner Products


All The Best Multisensory Play and Learning In One Place

 

One of the great things about the Internet is the ability to find anything. Literally, anything you want in the world can be found with a few clicks. Anything you’d like to own can show up on your doorstep in a few days. Never before has the world been so accessible to us. The downside of this is that we have more information than ever to wade through.  

 

Want to learn a new skill? Easily done. But first, you have to sort through thousands, or millions, of results. Have a kid who wants to research electricity? Something is out there! There may hours worth of digging through info to find what they love. Looking for engaging, tested, hands-on, multisensory resources? You can easily get trapped spending hours browsing. We’ve all come to develop a love/hate relationship with this. The world is extremely accessible but it comes with a price. The value of our time and energy becomes compromised with so much available.

Multisensory Shopping Made Fast & Easy

 

As homeschool parents, our time is valuable. We don’t have hours to spend sifting through websites. Our children need us available. Our home tasks await. Plus, our own personal study and self-care demand our time. Spending hours on end trying to find that Ocarina for our children isn’t going to be an option. Sometimes we just give up trying to find the science kit because there are too many options out there!

 

The Montessori community is a beautiful one. You’ll find Montessori homeschoolers throughout the world. People creating hands-on learning for their children. This community is also a highly creative community. It’s easy to get sucked down the product rabbit hole. We all love the classic wooden toys, kinesthetic materials, and instruments.

 

Introducing ShillerLearning’s Partner Products

 

ShillerLearning is proud to announce our new partner products! While traveling the country over the years exhibiting at homeschool and other educator conventions, we have come across some amazing resources; we’ve been scouring the Internet for you. All to bring you an easy one-stop space to find what you need for your children!

 

Here’s what you’ll find and love:

 

  • High-quality wooden toys

 

  • Beautiful musical instruments

 

  • Hands-on play and learning materials in a wide range of subjects

 

  • Homeschool curriculum enhancements

 

  • Math and language arts materials for ages beyond what ShillerLearning’s curriculum covers

 

  • Science kits

 

  • Great gift ideas for all ages- even adults!

 

  • An easy to navigate shop

 

 

  • Building blocks and kits

 

 

  • Low prices

 

  • Kapla blocks and instructions

 

  • Educational games for the whole family

 

  • Multisensory materials for all ages

 

  • Personalized learning tools

 

  • The best quality products we could find

 

  • More coming on a regular basis!

See something missing you think we should add? Let us know! Have a favorite multisensory product or education brand you’re surprised isn't included? Shoot us a message or give us a call!

 

Check out this amazing new resource. We’ve put it together with care and love. You’ll save time, money, and stress. We hope it helps make your home education richer (and easier!)


See Inside Our Montessori-Based Kits

Math Kit I - PreK to 3rd Grade

Language Arts A - PreK to 1st Grade

Amanda Osenga

Amanda is a former Montessori teacher who is now homeschooling her only child, a seven-year-old boy. Her family resides in an Airstream that is parked in Washington. She loves Washington's outdoor opportunities. When she’s not schooling, she also blogs at TreehouseDaily.com, works as a Virtual Assistant and loves reading and creating hand-lettering pieces.

The Treehouse Daily >

 

Homeschool Black Friday Deals

The Best Homeschool Black Friday Deals!


Black Friday shopping is upon us. This can be a fantastic time to save big money on homeschool curriculum and materials. We’ve rounded up a few deals for you.  

Black Friday Shopping tips:

 

Shopping smart and making a plan can save you even more on Black Friday! Here are a few tips:

 

 

  • Set a budget and a wish list. My Mama always says “just because it’s on sale, does not mean you NEED it.” If you have been scoping something out all year waiting for it to go on sale, grab it. If it’s something you just saw for the first time and you’ve already blown all your Black Friday spending money, wait until next year to decide if you want it then.

 

  • Use your resources wisely. Check out sites like Ibotta, Ebates, Honey, and Swagbucks to get more bang for your buck with shopping.

 

 

  • Find out about return policies. Sometimes companies alter their return policy on Black Friday-Cyber Monday.

Black Friday Deals for Montessori Homeschoolers

 

Make sure to check out ShillerLearning Black Friday sales:

 

Shop at explore.shillermath.com to save 20% on ShillerLearning kits, books, and audio cd’s and receive FREE shipping with promo code CYBER18 on orders over $60, plus receive a rebate of up to $50 on your kit purchase ($20 of any 2 kits, $30 off of 3, $40 of 4, or $50 off of all 5 ShillerLearning kits). Offer valid 11/22/18 to 11/28/18.

 

 

  • Little Passports- $10 off a Monthly Subscription, $20 off a 6 Month Subscription, $40 off a 12 Month SubscriptionUse code: BESTDEAL at checkout

 

  • Color Thru History- “Through Black Friday, you can lock in the special price of just $11/month for the life of your subscription!”

 

 

  • Softstar Shoes- At the time of this blog publication, they had not yet released their deal but they usually have a large sale. Softstar shoes are popular shoes among the Montessori community.

 

Need some great gifts? Check out our NEW Partner Products. Brand new this holiday shopping season.

 

  • Melissa and Doug toys are popular among Montessori families. They always have FANTASTIC Black Friday-Cyber Monday deals.

 

 

  • Kloo- 25% off their foreign language learning games. Sign up for the newsletter to get the coupon code and save on top of their already marked down prices!

 

  • Tegu Blocks are also popular among the Montessori world and usually have good sales over the holiday weekend.

 

  • Check out Educents for curriculum materials. Lots go on sale around Black Friday-Cyber Monday!

 

Don’t forget to check out the office supply & craft stores for deals on art, craft, and office supplies! You’d be surprised what gets marked down.

 

What Black Friday deals have you found? What tips do you have to save money on homeschool materials?  

 

Like this? Check out these tips for saving money on homeschooling:

Montessori Works Made From Craft Supplies

Free Montessori Activities and Printables

Do you know these 5 important ways to save money homeschooling?


See Inside Our Montessori-Based Kits

Math Kit I - PreK to 3rd Grade

Language Arts A - PreK to 1st Grade

Amanda Osenga

Amanda is a former Montessori teacher who is now homeschooling her only child, a seven-year-old boy. Her family resides in an Airstream that is parked in Washington. She loves Washington's outdoor opportunities. When she’s not schooling, she also blogs at TreehouseDaily.com, works as a Virtual Assistant and loves reading and creating hand-lettering pieces.

The Treehouse Daily >

 

Phenology Wheel for Homeschool Nature Study

Phenology Wheel for Homeschool Nature Study


“There must be provision for the child to have contact with nature, to understand and appreciate the order, the harmony and the beauty in nature… so that the child may better understand and participate in the marvelous things which civilization creates.”

 

Maria Montessori


How to Start Using a Phenology Wheel, and Why You’d Want To!

 

A huge trend among homeschooling families is nature study. In an era where we are indoors more than ever before in human history, getting our kids (and ourselves) outside more often is a huge benefit. In addition to the popular nature journal, a Phenology wheel can be an excellent addition to nature study for homeschoolers, and parents alike.

Phenolo What?!?!

 

Phenology sounds like something you might see on a nameplate at a doctors office. In reality, Phenology is the study and observation of natural events and cycles. Typically, people are studying climate & seasonal changes. Phenology is a fantastic way to get more in touch with the tune of nature and observe the subtle changes the Earth gives us of where we’ve been, and what’s to come.

 

What is a Phenology Wheel?

 

A Phenology wheel is simply a way to document your observations in one spot. It allows you to make note of your observations and keep an easy-to-use record of what you’ve seen. Phenology wheels help us to stop and reflect on something we might not otherwise notice. When we work on phenology wheel, we notice the changes in plants, trees, wildlife, weather, and ourselves in a way we never have before. The wheel enables our children to notice small details and to grasp the calendar in a new way.

Generally, people draw their observations and use the wheel as a visual guide and enhancement to their nature journal. However, if you’re not artistic (or have a student who does not like to draw) the wheel can be written on instead. The wheel itself is simply a circle broken up into equal sections. Traditionally, the wheel is made to reflect one year, so it is broken up into twelve sections. We will use this model as our example.

 

How do I get started?

 

Making a Phenology Wheel is easy. It just requires a compass, protractor, pencil, ruler, and art supplies (alternatively, a large enough circular object to trace would work). You can make your own or use the template we’ve provided below get it here.  
 

  • Begin by making a large circle on the center of your paper
  • Next, make a small circle within in- about a ¼-½ inch smaller than your first circle
  • Next, make a small circle in the very middle of your larger circle- a couple inches across is good
  • Divide your two inner circles into even sections of 12 (this is a great math opportunity!)
  • Don’t divide up that outer ring you created
  • Time to label
  • Around the outside ring, label your seasons (people often color coordinate this as well)
  • The first “layer” gets the months of the year written at the top of each section
  • Leave the inner ring blank for now

 

How to use your Phenology Wheel?

 

Now that you have set up your wheel, how on Earth do you put it to work? To a certain extent, this is totally up to you. The natural world, your current Science study, and the interest of your homeschoolers can be your guide. Pick two different things to study throughout the year, we’ll give you some ideas below. Also, pick a day of the month to make your observations (it’s ok if you get off a day or two in either direction.)

 

You’ll head out on your designated day each month and make your notes and artwork to have a beautiful visual record at the end of the year. The outer wheel and inner wheel can be used to observe two different things, two different aspects of the same thing, or one for drawing and one for written notes. As the year progresses, you’ll begin observing more astutely and keenly what changes are happening right under your eyes that you might not have otherwise notices.

 

If desired, spend time studying what you’re observing from books and documentaries as well. Perhaps you could even visit with a local expert or arrange a class at a nature center. You can even adapt the science portion of your homeschool curriculum to include information on what you’re documenting.
 

Here are a few ideas for observation:

 

  • Use the outer circle to observe an animal, and the inner a place in your yard

  • Observe your household pet’s fur and habit changes throughout the year

  • Make note of the changes sees in a tree and an area with wildflowers

  • Go to the beach at the low time and make note of the animals seen on the outer circle, and tide times on the inner

  • Use the wheel to document the height/weight of your student(s), and something they learned, a first, or something they loved each month

  • Observe the sky and stars

  • Make note of the fur on your favorite zoo animal and any other changes taken in their living environment.

 

This method can also be used on a smaller scale. Perhaps set up a wheel for a month or two observation of the growth of your favorite garden vegetable! Or if you live somewhere with snow, observe the different types of snowflakes and the weather when they fall. This is also a popular way to observe the moon cycles each night over the course of a month.

As you can see, there are countless ways to incorporate this tool into your at homeschool curriculum. The entire family can observe the same thing, or everyone can choose to study something different. Depending on the approach you take, you could be including, art, science, research, reading, and math with this beautiful project.

 

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Amanda Osenga

Amanda is a former Montessori teacher who is now homeschooling her only child, an eight-year-old boy. Her family resides in an Airstream that is parked in Washington. She loves Washington’s outdoor opportunities. When she’s not schooling, she also blogs at TreehouseDaily.com, works as a Virtual Assistant and loves reading and creating hand-lettering pieces.

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