10 Tips for Easy Homeschool Planning

Have Your Best Homeschool Year Yet With These Great Planning Tips


What is it that happens between the fresh excitement of homeschool planning and the Spring slump? Why do we go from being motivated, organized, and passionate to burned out? The back-to-school season is a season of excitement. Even those who homeschool year-round feel it. The season comes with a crisp touch in the air and a renewed motivation in our hearts. Only to find a few months later we’re exhausted, disorganized, and in a slump.

Burnout at Home and in the Classroom

 

I came to homeschooling after years of working in schools. First, I worked in a traditional Montessori Preschool for almost a decade. It was actually my first ever “real” job. I stayed in that job throughout college. My head-of-school gave me a chance to work in every single classroom. I also worked in the before & after school program. I even helped in administration and office duties. Throughout college and my first few years after graduation, I continued to work in education in one capacity or another.

 

After a few years, I landed at an incredible school for Learning Disabled and Special Needs kids.   I worked in a K-2 class and sometimes substituted with older kids. I was given the chance to see many different teaching styles and approaches. I stayed there for several years until my son was born. Now I continue my work in education as an at-home-educator with Montessori homeschooling.

 

Why do I tell you this? Because teachers burn out too! In fact, I observed that many teachers burn out faster than moms at home. What I have observed through all my years in education is something that seems to separate those who burn out from those who don’t. Systems and organization. Those who came into a school year with an organizational system seemed to stay motivated. I also noticed they were much less likely to get in over their heads. Yes, the systems adapted as the year progressed. And, yes, sometimes things didn’t work.   Now I have worked my way from class educator to home educator. I find so much value in having good systems in place to bring ease to our days.

Today I hope to offer a few homeschool time management tips. It is my hope these tips will be something you can incorporate to avoid slump and overwhelm later

 

Back-to-School Time Management Tips

 

Pick a method and stick with it- Don’t “throw the baby out with the bathwater” too fast. It takes at least 40 days to adjust to a new routine. Just because a routine or planning method doesn’t work at first, doesn’t mean it will never work. You may need more time to iron out the wrinkles.

 

Expect the unexpected- We lay out our bright, shiny new schedule at the beginning of the year. Then life happens. Someone gets sick. There’s a job transfer. You face a death in the family. Your schedule gets out of whack and you get frustrated. Leave in flex time! Add in a few “buffer” days- sort of like how public schools add in extra days for snow days.

 

Buffer your day- Often we forget to add in transitional time to our daily routine. It can take children a while to transition from activity to activity. This is not because they are stubborn or not listening. It’s because their brains take longer to transition and transition is sometimes hard. Give yourself a 5-10 minute buffer between each activity. You may even need to make that longer if you have young children, a baby at home, or a child with special needs. This can make a dramatic change in your homeschool routine.

 

Plan like a funnel- Start out with a broad overview of where you hope to be by the end of the year. Then schedule out each element. It can be helpful to have goals for each month set at the beginning of the school year. Then, perhaps, only do a detailed schedule for every six-eight weeks. Keeping the idea of a funnel in mind is helpful. Broad for what’s to come, narrow for what’s happening now.

 

Schedule in time for YOU- Give yourself at least an hour a week of YOU time. No kids, no responsibility. Make it two if you can. An hour to relax and unwind alone does remarkable things. If you can add in another hour to take time to learn and nurture your interests, even better.

 

Track your time- Use a time tracker app, a Bullet Journal spread, or a piece of paper. Write out everything you spend your time on in a week. Then evaluate it and see what you can drop, outsource, or needs better balance. Use this to help inform your decisions about scheduling.
 

Put it down in paper and pen (or pencil)- The neurological process is different when we plan with paper vs digital. Using real paper and writing out goals, schedules, and plans can be revolutionary in and of itself. We even made it easy for you with a beautiful FREE printable planner. Homeschool planning takes on a new life on paper!

 

Give loop scheduling a try- Instead of scheduling specific subjects on certain days, try looping. This way if you have something come up on, say your “History Tuesday” you won’t miss it. To loop, write down the subjects you want to cover daily and the subjects you want to cover weekly. Start at the top of your weekly list and cover at least one of those subjects a day. The next day, move to the next subject(s) on the list. Then if you miss a day of school, you won’t miss a topic- you move to what’s next on the loop.

 

Follow the lead of the child- This is a core component of a Montessori education. If your child needs to spend an entire quarter covering the same 4 sections in Math Book 1, that ’s ok. Adjust your plans to follow their lead. This also applies you find your child dawdles, struggles with focus, or seems to zone out. We’ll talk more about this in an upcoming blog. Montessori homeschooling is the perfect environment to follow your child’s lead.


Get a little help from ShillerLearning- We have made planning easy for both parents and students. Check out our FREE printable planners- there’s a set for homeschool parents that we brought you last month. This month, we’re happy to bring you a Student Planner Pack. In it you’ll find back-to-school activities your kids will love. We have activities like timer races, schedule card creation, cutting strips, clockworks, and more! Plus it has a FREE Student printable planner to help your child get organized along with you!


Focus on your next best thing- A time will come in planning, or in your year when you’ll get overwhelmed. Or an unexpected situation will arise, a new baby will come, etc. and your schedule will get backed up. In those moments of overwhelm, ask yourself “What is my best next thing?” Maybe that’s working on Math, or maybe it’s going out back to lay in the grass and watch the clouds. In moments of overwhelming- all you need to focus on is one thing at a time. No matter what it is, go from one best thing to the next and before you know it- you’ll be feeling calmer.

 

I hope some of these tips and tricks are helpful. I would love to hear about some of the things you do to help schedule and plan too. Plus, make sure to check out these other blogs and resources:


Montessori Homeschool Parent Planner Pack


How The Montessori Three-Period Lesson Changed My Homeschool


TED Talks For Homeschool Reading Inspiration

 

We hope this pack will encourage you to enjoy and learn more about Homeschooling. Plus this month’s pack is just as free as fresh air and sunshine! So download it now and start reading with your child!


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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Free Montessori Thanksgiving Printables

12+ FREE Montessori Activities for Thanksgiving


Autumn is upon us. The crisp cool air lingers throughout the day. Beautiful fall leaves line our streets. In our homeschool we have found the steady flow of our school year. We embrace relaxed mornings in our jammies and afternoon math by the fire. Our printers whir out warm Thanksgiving printables that we work on over a slice of hot apple pie.  What’s not to love about this time of year?

Showing Gratitude in Our Homeschool

 

A spirit of thankfulness and gratitude is always a good spirit to have. It’s especially prevalent this time of year. As we approach Thanksgiving, here are some ideas to incorporate a spirit of gratitude and thankfulness into the rhythm of your schooling.  

 

  • Stick a poster board or large piece of butcher paper on your wall. Encourage your children to record moments of gratitude throughout the day. For example, your youngest might write about how they were thankful their older sibling helped them with math.

  • Research your family history. Find out where your ancestors immigrated from. Learn more about their journey to get here, what early life was like, and the lineage of people who brought you to this moment in history. Learning about our past can be a great way to bring gratitude for where we’re at today.

  • Tell your family members thank you more often. So often we ignore the simple act of thanking one another for their kindness.

  • Make “caught in the act” cards. Write the word “caught in the act of ___________” on a small paper, or make business card size cards. Everyone in the family gets a stack. Family members hand them out to one another to show appreciation for one another. Examples of times you may wish to use them, when you see someone else doing a kind deed, going above and beyond, or working hard at something they struggle with. Fill in the blank for the recipient.

  • Write “Thank You” notes as part of your daily Language Arts or Writing time.

  • Visit your local library and do something nice for the librarians. As homeschoolers, librarians are some of our best helpers! Bring them a nice card, ask if there’s a way you can help, or tidy up the toys.

  • Cook a meal for a local military or public service member’s family.

  • Start a “Thankfulness Jar.” You’ll find all the information on starting this in the FREE Activity Pack download below.

 

FREE Montessori Activities and Thanksgiving Printables

 

In the spirit of gratitude and harvest season, we have put together this Homeschooling Harvest Pack. You’ll find activities for preschoolers through teens, including works for mixed ages to work on together. This pack of free Montessori activities is one you may want to include in your shelf works. It would also be fun to have these Thanksgiving printables available while you’re in Thanksgiving-prep-mode.  

 

You’ll find a couple projects designed to enhance your Thanksgiving meal. We included a fun and easy craft for your student to make place cards to put around the table. They’ll also learn how to roll napkins. It’s amazing what pride and joy our children find when they get to contribute something beautiful to the family table. We also have included a couple Thanksgiving research activities. Your children might enjoy sharing what they have learned over the Thanksgiving table.

 

Your students may also enjoy completing these activities on Thanksgiving Day if they start to get a little restless. The Apple Taste Test Comparison would be a fun activity for the whole family over Thanksgiving weekend.

We hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving and are able to find a new season of joy and gratitude in your homeschool this year. Make sure to fill out the form below for your download of our Harvest Activity Pack.


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, now homeschooling her dear son - an only child. Her family resides in an Airstream parked in Washington state. She loves Washington's outdoor opportunities. When not homeschooling, she also blogs, works as a virtual assistant, and loves reading and creating hand-lettering pieces.


The Family Guide to Homeschool Conventions

Finding Inspiration to Refresh and Renew Your Homeschool:

The Family Guide to Homeschool Conventions


Homeschool convention season is in full swing. Conventions are a wonderful way to connect with other local homeschooling families, discover new curriculum, hear expert talks, and find refreshment. Often by this time of the year, we’re in the winter doldrums and may be beginning to feel burnt out on homeschooling. Perhaps we’re using a curriculum that’s not working well for our children, perhaps we’re struggling to find time management to get it all done or feeling pressure from family members about our homeschool choices. Find yourself a great convention to renew and find inspiration for the rest of our school year and the school ear to come.

 

However, they can also be incredibly overwhelming. With of people, tables, information overload. We hope to help you navigate homeschool conventions and get the most out of your experiences.

 

·        Pick wisely- it can be tempting to go to every convention in your area. Pick the main one you’re interested in and start with it this year. You can always try another convention next year.

·        Use the buddy system. If you have another homeschooling friend, go together! Especially if one of you has been to this conference before.

·       Connect in-person. Homeschool conventions are a fantastic way to meet people you know from online groups. Make sure to exchange numbers or pick a time & place for the members of your group to meet. Beautiful friendships can form from meeting your digital friends at conventions!

·        Get help with the kids. Many homeschool conventions offer a kid’s program. If not, consider getting a sitter or attending with your spouse, mom, mother-in-law, etc. Having another set of hands to help with kids ensures you can get all the information you want, ask lots of questions to vendors, and have a well-deserved break.

·        Make a schedule. Your convention will provide a master schedule of events. There will most likely be more to do than you’re able to do in your time there. Make your own schedule so you can get everything in that you’re hoping for. Make sure to think about what you’re hoping to accomplish most. If you’re most in need of curriculum, budget more time for looking through the tables. If you’re most going for the social time, budget that in. Allow some wiggle room too.

·        Check the rules. Yes, homeschool conventions have rules. Some have rules regarding what you can and cannot bring, as well as helpful suggestions on what to wear.

·       Familiarize yourself with the area. Do you need to bring your own food? If you have food allergies, make sure there is a restaurant nearby that you can safely eat at or see if there is a cafeteria or tables at the convention for you to eat a sack lunch. Scope out a park for the kids to burn off some energy at, and check out local attractions If you can tack on some extra time.

·       Budget your money and bring cash. It can be tempting to splurge on the sales you’ll find. Before you know it, you’ve spent an entire paycheck! Make sure to budget BEFORE you go. And bring cash, oftentimes at the end of conventions, vendors will have deep discounts on the materials left on-hand for cash payments only.

·        Look over the vendor list first. Your convention materials will provide a vendor list. Scope out their website, blog, and social media outlets before the conference. Make a list of questions you want to ask any vendors and know who your “must see,” “would like to see,” and “avoid” vendors are.

·        Know what you need and want. Before you go, make sure to make a list of your top priorities for what to buy, who to meet, and what to learn.

·        Scope out the venue. If you can, scope it out BEFORE the event & you create your schedule. This will help you get an idea for how big the event is. Sometimes larger conventions will even have a map on their website beforehand. When you arrive at the convention, do a quick walkthrough of the venue. Don’t stop, don’t talk to anyone yet. Just get a feel for it and scope out where your “must see” tables are.

·        Bring a rolling suitcase or comfortable bag. If you’re planning to buy a lot, bring a rolling suitcase or small cart to put all your purchases in. This will help you avoid having to haul heavy books through the exhibition hall.

·        Keep an extra bag on hand (or 2). Having an extra small-bag for flyers is always a clever idea. Then you can quickly sort out the flyers you’re interested in and what need to go in the recycling bin. A second bag for freebies is a good idea too.

·        Bring address labels. These conventions have giveaways galore- you could spend the entire time filling out entry forms, or bring sticky labels to plop on and go! Make sure they include address, number, and email address.

·        Hydrate, eat and be comfortable. Those cute shoes you have that are super uncomfortable?   Don’t even think about them. Wear comfortable shoes, your feet will thank you. Drink plenty of water & make sure to keep a snack in your bag for each member of your family. It’s easy to lose track of time in great convention halls that have no windows!

·        Don’t forget a notebook. You’re going to want to take a lot of notes. Bring a notebook and a couple pens.

·        Take some time to reflect afterwards. Give yourself time to discuss what you learned with family and friends, to incorporate any changes you learned, and to journal. Perhaps you can get together with friends from the convention and talk about what you all learned together.

·        Enjoy!!! Homeschool conventions can feel like summer camp for grownups 😊 Enjoy, ride the post-convention joy for a while and find refreshment & renewal from your convention experience.

Come visit us at the following conventions:

NDHSA Home Educators Convention

Jamestown Civic Center

212 3rd Ave NE
Jamestown, ND 58401

February 28 -March 2, 2019

Rogers, AR 72758
March 21 - 23, 2019

Indianapolis, IN 46205
March 22 - 23, 2019

Nashville, TN 37214
March 28 - 30, 2019

St. Charles, MO 63303
March 28 - 30, 2019

Kansas City, MO 64153
April 4 - 6, 2019

175 W Kellogg Blvd

St Paul, MN 55102
April 11 - 13, 2019

Waco, TX 76701
April 11 -13, 2019

Wichita, KS 67202
April 12 - 13, 2019

Cincinnati, OH 45202
April 25 - 27, 2019

Worcester, MA 01608
April 25 - 27, 2019

1000 Galleria Cir

Birmingham, AL 35244
April 26 - 27, 2019

Oklahoma City, OK
May 2 - 4, 2019

Dallas, TX 75201,
May 9 - 11, 2019

Mobile, AL 36602
May 9 - 11, 2019

Lansing, MI 48933
May 17 - 18, 2019

6700 North Gaylord Rockies Boulevard

Aurora, CO 80019

May 23 - 25, 2019

Orlando, FL 32819
May 23 - 25, 2019

Vienna, VA

May 30 - 31, 2019

Bourbonnais, IL 60914

May 30 - June 1, 2019

301 W 5th St

Winston-Salem, NC 27101

May 30 - June 1, 2019

 1601 Lake Robbins Dr

The Woodlands, TX 77380,

May 30 - June 1, 2019

400 N High St,

Columbus, OH 43215

May 30 - June 1, 2019

Richmond, VA 23219

June 6 - 8, 2019

Denver, CO 80239

June 13 - 15, 2019

Ontario, CA 91764

June 13 - 15, 2019

Lancaster, PA 17603

June 14 - 15, 2019

Tacoma, WA 98421

June 21 - 22, 2019

Fredericksburg, VA 22401

June 21 - 22, 2019

3700 Knox Butte Rd E

Albany, OR 97322

June 28-29, 2019

July 11 - 13, 2019

July 11-13, 2019

July 18 - 20, 2019

Atlanta, GA 30339

July 25 - 27, 2019

Rochester, NY 14604

August 1 - 3, 2019

Jacksonville, FL 32204

August 8 -10, 2019

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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 works as a Virtual Assistant and loves reading and creating hand-lettering pieces.

 


FREE Montessori-style Summer Activity Pack for Homeschoolers

FREE Montessori Based Summer Activity Pack for Homeschoolers


Summertime is often when many of us take a break from homeschooling. Even if we school year-round, we usually go a bit lighter in the summer to enjoy those nice warm days while we’re able. It’s the perfect time to work on nailing down skills our students have previously struggled with and explore a new subject of interest. We are thrilled to bring you this free summer activity pack. It’s perfect for homeschoolers, or families looking for engaging activities for kids who are out of school.

Summer Activities For Kids

 

In this over 30 page activity pack, you’ll find gobs of easy to put together activities and the free printables you’ve come to know and love from ShillerLearning. In addition to the activities in this pack, here are more ideas to curb hearing “Mom, I’m bored!” this summer.

 

  • Create Your Own Lesson- Kids are constantly saying “if I was in charge I would..” Give them the chance to do it their way! Set them loose with materials and let them design their own dream homeschool or summer lesson plan. Take them to the library and let them grab a bunch of books on something they are interested in, encourage them to create their own learning, and see what they come up with! You might be pleasantly surprised as they come up with something to implement into your homeschool, create an awesome game or (shhhh, don’t tell them) learn a new skill.

  • You-Pick farms- This is always fun way to create family memories. Find a local you-pick farm and head out to pick your own food. Oftentimes these farms are growing berries and sometimes what you eat as you pick are free. Then bring them home and enjoy baking, canning, or freezing of your bounty. Check out fallingfruit.org to see free local you-pick options too!

  • Progressive Game Night (or afternoon)- Some participation and help coordinating might be needed on the part of parents for this one, but it is so fun! (Plus, of course, parental supervision). Get together with neighbors and nearby friends. Have each family pick a lawn game, board game or outdoor activity (like sidewalk chalk or sprinklers). The kids can work together to decide who will do which activity, make a master map ahead of time and set the schedule. Each home can host something different for a fun afternoon, or evening, of time together and exercise as you bike, or walk, between houses. Make sure to invite lots of friends, have plenty of healthy snacks & water, and have a blast! This is a fun activity around 4th of July weekend

  • Amazing Race- Let the kids come up with their own version of the Amazing Race. Have them create activities and pit stops to do around your house, the block or your town. Then let them get together with friends and play out their show. Older kids might even enjoy filming and making their own episode.

How to Use this Free Activity Pack

 

There’s no right or wrong way to implement this pack. We’ve provided you with an extensive book list covering all reading abilities. It is our hope that you’ll grab some of these books for your students to enjoy this summer. The rest of the pack is pretty open-ended. You can work through it in order, pick and choose the activities you’d like to do, let the kids pick, do one a day or do them all in a week. It’s really up to you! Most require little to no prep-work and only a few need materials. It’s good to peek ahead and see what you might need to pre-purchase or borrow from a friend.

 

What’s Inside?

 

You'll find over a dozen activities. We have Montessori-inspired works like Nomenclature cards, map work, and even a matching game. Then we’ve included a couple easy summer crafts followed by nature activities. Many of these nature activities would be awesome to do on a camping trip but can easily be done in your own yard or at a local park. Lastly we end the pack with a couple delicious recipes of some ice-cold treats to enjoy on these hot summer days!

 

We hope you’ll enjoy this pack and have the best summer yet.

 


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 Colorado. She loves Colorado’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 >

 

21 Free Montessori Based Winter Printable Activities

Fun Holiday-themed Activities to Engage Your Children with Math and Language Arts



If you haven’t seen our free winter printables pack yet you are in for a treat. This pack is the perfect addition for your Montessori based at home schooling. But I don’t want to spoil the surprise or bore you to tears by describing every detail of all 32 activities. So I wrote a little poem that I’d like to read to you instead. Or you can just watch Jonathan read it to you in the video below...

Twas 16 days before Christmas and all through the town
The printers where whirring, putting ink down;
ShillerLearning’s FREE activity pack was created with care,
To enrich homeschooling for kids everywhere;

The children were nestled in their homeschool room,
Where winter Montessori works would be done soon;
And mamma with her printables, all fresh from her pack,
Which she just printed from her Windows or Mac,

When out from the works there arose so much learning,
The children were matching shapes by carefully turning.
Away to the mailbox I flew like a flash,
To get greeting cards for lacing which were done in a dash.

The snowmen with numbers were done with a nod
Gave the children practice learning even and odd,
When, even numbers came with snowflakes cut out,
The students learned those with a shout!

With 3-part cards, of a winter theme,
I knew in a moment they were learning.
More eager than beavers the learning came,
And the children pointed and said objects by name;

Now snowflake! now coat! Now, sled and hat!
On we continue learning words on our mat!
To the top of the shelf the winter works go,
We’ve even matched flakes of snow.

As the achievement badges are colored and done,
The children learned and had fun,
So until next month we will now wait,
For the new ShillerLearning printable pack, which will also be great.

...Happy Holidays from ShillerLearning! We hope you enjoy the first of our monthly printable packs. Every month you'll find a brand new FREE Montessori based pack.

Here are some things about this pack in particular that we think you'll love. It...

  • Is 100% FREE!!

  • Designed to be used as standalone works. But for those of you who do have our curriculum, we include some suggestions from our materials. You will still be able to use these packs without them though.

  • For many ages. Most activities are for the preschool crowd. But we also do some activities for older children. And even some that can be enjoyed by all your kids together.

  • Includes a wide range of Montessori subjects

  • Is print and go. Just like our lessons, it requires very little prep work

  • Brings all of the fun of the holiday season to Montessori

We're excited to bring these to you! Click the link below to get your own copy of the 21 free Montessori activities with printables. And don't forget to take photos of your kids having fun with them too! We love seeing your family enjoy Montessori-based fun on our Facebook page.


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 >

 


Montessori Works Made from Craft Supplies

5 Montessori Works You Can Create With Materials From Your Craft Supplies


Montessori materials can be extremely expensive. The cost of materials is often off-putting to families looking to begin homeschooling, or a co-op.   I know when I began working in a Montessori school, I was amazed at the sheer amount of materials and works. Our head of school happened to be a frugal and financially-minded woman who had a lot of creative ideas to save on costs.   When I began homeschooling my son, I decided to look in my arts and crafts supplies to make my own Montessori Materials for our homeschool. These are some of my favorite works which you can easily create yourself at home!

The Top 5 DIY Montessori Materials

Montessori Color Matching

 

This work can be created with tissue paper, colored paper or cardstock. You have a couple options for variations.

 

Beginning color matching- Clip out two 2-inch x 2-inch squares of 6 different colors of paper. Use the same type of paper in each color for very young children (2 and under), for older children try using different types of paper. The child will then match the correct sets of colors to one another.

 

More advanced color matching- Use the squares of paper from above and cut one into smaller squares. Start with 3 colors at a time. Place 3 of the larger squares at the top of the work area and all the smaller squares into a bowl. Allow the student to place the smaller squares on the proper corresponding larger square. This also works well with beads, buttons, or other small items in the corresponding colors. You can also choose to cut our circles, hearts, or any other shape you desire for the child to use for matching.

Math Counters

 

Counters are a huge part of Montessori Math. These are extremely easy to create yourself from beads or buttons. It is fun to change out the counters based on the month, using hearts in February and pumpkins in the Fall, for example. You may also want to cut out counters into the desired shapes from paper. Wrapping paper can also be fun to use and cut out the little shapes found on the pattern.

Fabric Textures

 

Texture matching with different fabrics is a classic Montessori material. Raid that basket of unused fabric for 4-6 different textures of fabric. Cut them into equal sized squares (usually somewhere between 4-inch x 4-inch to 6-inch x 6-inch). Younger students match the fabrics by touch and sight. Older students can be blindfolded to match the fabric textures by feeling only. It’s also fun to put the fabric scraps into a bag or pillow case and have the child find a match by feel. This also works well with different grits of sandpaper.

Lacing Cards

 

Save your old greeting cards for this one! Or, use scrapbooking paper, or cardstock. Use a hole punch to punch around the outside of the card. Provide the child with a child-safe needle and some string or thread. Then allow them to lace around the card. This is also a pretty activity to create holiday decorations when laced by hand with ribbon. Older students can work on different types of stitches and even different patterns.

Pouring, Spooning and Scooping

 

Gather up all those cute little things in your arts and crafts supplies. You know what I mean, all those cute buttons, marbles, small trinkets, and beads in the $1 bins that you just can’t resist and then never do anything with (or is that only me?). These, along with basic dried beans and rice, make the perfect materials for Practical Life works. Use them in the ShillerLearning pouring cups to practice pouring back and forth or pouring into cups and bowls. Place them into a bowl and allow kids to practice spooning them back and forth between bowls. Give students a small child-sized ladle and watch as they ladle the materials. The possibilities are endless.

 

Hope you enjoy these easy to create Montessori works. Go raid your arts and crafts supplies and see what you can come up with, we’d love to see your DIY works!


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 >