Yoga For Kids with a Homeschool Yoga Practice

Enjoy the Benefits of Yoga For Kids with a Homeschool Yoga Practice


In nearly every Montessori classroom, you’ll find children participating in yoga. The entire class may take part at once, or a station may be set up with pose cards for the children to practice independently.  

If you think about it, these two make an excellent pair. Both approaches flow with a certain, never forced order. Both are known for their ability to bring calm, focus, and joy. Yoga for kids (and adults) can bring about remarkable benefits. When combined with Montessori education, you’ve got a winning combination! Beginning a homeschool yoga practice is easy.

How to Get Started With Homeschool Yoga


How Yoga and Montessori Go Hand-in-Hand


A Montessori education is unlike anything else. Yoga is a form of movement unlike anything else. While Maria Montessori did not teach it, she did encourage purposeful movement. We find movement with care, grace, mindfulness, and awareness incorporated into everything she taught. Children in a Montessori setting move unlike children in any other education approach. This integrates perfectly with yoga!

Personal space and order are valued in both as well. In yoga, we have our mat. In Montessori, we have our work mat. These don’t exist because we’re trying to separate ourselves. They exist for order, visual-spatial balance, space to focus, promotion of good work habits, and more. Sometimes we may do “partner poses” or work on lessons together. This only happens when both individuals are ready and willing.



“An education capable of saving humanity is no small undertaking: it involves the spiritual development of man, the enhancement of his value as an individual, and the preparation of young people to times in which they live.”

- Maria Montessori

 

Both are focused on developing the whole person. With our educational approach, we develop the whole person in mind, body, and soul. Yoga for kids does the same. It isn’t about hitting the perfect pose and movement - it’s about moving with ease, grace, and awareness. Sounds a lot like Montessori speak, doesn’t it? Yoga has been proven to have profound effects on the nervous system, stress levels, brain development, critical thinking, organ health, and more. Montessori education has many of the same benefits. In both, we find a calming and centering effect on children. When used together, you bring an entirely new dimension to your homeschool.

Regular practice is often described as bringing peace. This was a key desire for Dr. Montessori - to help children find peace not only in the world, but in themselves. Peace with who they are. Peace in managing stress. Handling conflict with peace. You’ll even find a “peace object” in most classrooms. (These are excellent to have at home too!)

Getting Started


There are tons of yoga resources; you can find books, videos, cards, and classes! It can be hard to decide where to start. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Find a class to attend on a regular basis - Mommy and Me classes are common at a lot of libraries and rec centers
  • Teach yourself with an at-home practice
  • Pre-made lesson plans are a great option
  • Children can lead themselves with videos, making it easy to ensure they’re moving through the poses properly
  • Cards or a book can be nice to leave out on the shelf for children to get to whenever they want

    When beginning homeschool yoga, begin with basic poses. If you decide to get a children’s program, they’ll all begin with more basic postures. If you decide to work through poses on your own, begin with the foundation. Throughout the practice, it’s beneficial to make sure kids are working through the poses properly. It's possible to hurt yourself when doing a pose improperly. By starting with a foundation, we allow our children the chance to get a feel for the flow and the calm before starting more difficult poses.

    Don’t forget about trying some of the breathing exercises. Children of all ages love Lion's Breath. Alternative nostril breathing is usually a favorite for teens. While a mat is not 100% necessary, it can be helpful. If you don’t have a mat, try a towel on top of the carpet.  

Great Poses to Start with Include:

 

  • Cobbler's Pose

 

  • Downward Facing Dog

 

  • Butterfly

 

  • Shoulder Rolls

 

  • Child’s Pose

 

  • Bridge

 

  • Runner’s Lunge

 

  • Hero Pose

 

  • Neck Circles

 

  • Forward Bend (seated and standing)

 

  • Standing Spin

 

  • Mountain

 

  • Leg Up the Wall

 

  • Cobra

 

  • Warrior I and II

 

  • Sun Salutations (a nice beginner sequence)

 

  • Shavasana (aka “Resting Pose”) - this is typically how practice is ended

    Whatever you do, remember to do it with ease, joy, and a spirit of learning. It is also a good idea to check with your child’s doctor before beginning practice.

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. She loves Washington's outdoor opportunities. When she’s not schooling, she also blogs, works as a virtual assistant, loves reading. and creating hand-lettering pieces.


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Give Your Child the World, One Continent at a Time

Do you have a child that is curious about the world? Do you want to introduce your child to other cultures?

It is important to educate our children to be good global citizens. To achieve this our children need to have a good understanding of our world.

Children begin to develop a sense of their place in the world at a very young age. Informal geography can be introduced as soon as they begin to show interest in these things. Maps, globes, books, movies, documentaries, songs, puzzles, games, and pictures are all helpful teaching tools to drive your child’s interests.



Give Your Child the World,

One Continent at a Time


The geography of a region affects the lifestyle of its inhabitants. Learning about world geography and cultures helps children to understand current events and our place in the world. Studying geography gives us an opportunity to observe and analyze the natural environment and the diversity of plant, animal, and human life.

What is culture? Culture is simply the way of life of a group of people. These groups could consist of people from the same family, school, workplace, church, neighborhood, town, city, county, state, or country. Each person can be a part of multiple small cultural groups that make up their personal culture.

Why is world culture important? Are your children benefiting from learning about world cultures? Teaching world culture to our children at an early age gives them a better understanding of the world. Children are naturally accepting of others, and as parents we need to nourish that natural acceptance.

 

"Give the world to the small child." - Maria Montessori


Geography is a subject that homeschool parents can struggle to teach. Resources can be costly, boring, time-consuming to create, or all of the above. A homeschool geography curriculum doesn’t have to be expensive! ShillerLearning strives to make these subjects accessible for all students and has created a NEW activity pack that will feed that curiosity!

In the ShillerLearning Geography Literature Pack, we’ve included a literature list of beautiful books that will help teach geography and give in-depth exposure to cultures around the world. You’ll be able to find most selections at your local library. This activity pack takes you on a narrative tour of the continents - and takes the stress out of teaching world geography and culture to your preschool and elementary children.

 

Travel with us to every continent to learn about the different cultures around the world! Topics include historical and geographical landmarks, foods, sports, and native animals. Add sensorial exploration of these continents by partnering this pack with the ShillerLearning Around the World in 80 Activities Pack.

We'd love to see your children at work learning about geography and culture. Tag @shillerlearning on your favorite social.

Amanda Crawford

Amanda Crawford lives in East Tennessee with her seven children and husband of sixteen years. Amanda has a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture with a concentration in Education, a Masters in Instructional Leadership, and Ed.S. in Instructional Leadership. She taught high school agriculture for eight years in a public school. When her oldest was 3, Amanda transitioned to her new role as a stay-at-home/homeschooling mom. To prepare for kindergarten with her oldest in 2015, Amanda excitedly attended her first homeschool convention where she and her family discovered the ShillerLearning math and language arts curriculum. Seeing how the kids were drawn to the hands-on manipulatives at the booth and then using the curriculum with her kids for about 6 months, Amanda joined the ShillerLearning team and has been helping other homeschool families through online events and at conventions across the country.

See Inside Our Kits

Language Arts Kit A (PreK/K-G1)

Language Arts Kit B (G1-G4)


Kids Love This Homeschool Freebie Bundle


Freebies are a great way to try a variety of homeschool curriculum resources. ShillerLearning has the best pack of free samples around! There are over two hundred pages of homeschool freebies waiting for you in the ShillerLearning Homeschool Freebie Bundle. You’ll find math activities for pre-k through pre-algebra, language arts lessons for preschoolers through 4th-grade students, plus coordinating homeschool planners for both parents and students with beautiful printables, tips on structuring your homeschool day, goal setting, encouragement, and more.

And it’s all free. No catch.

To start planning for your best homeschool year yet and to try no-lesson prep, Montessori-based, multisensory lessons, download your ShillerLearning Homeschool Freebie Bundle today. These activities will help your child reach his or her full potential and have fun while doing so.

Your family will enjoy the samples activities from:

 

Math Lesson Book 1 (Math Kit I)
Shapes
Finding 1’s on the number grid
Absolute and relative estimation
Inequalities using the number line

 

Math Lesson Book 2 (Math Kit I)
Number Patterns
Addition to 6 with pictures
Roman numeral X
Counting by squares

 

Math Lesson Book 3 (Math Kit I)
4-digit subtraction with exchange
Days of the week review
Mirror images
Geometry: area of a rectangle

 

Fractions Lesson Book (Fractions Kit)
Identifying fractions
Naming fractions
Writing fractions
Fraction equivalence
Fraction addition: same denominator (ninths)
Fractions of an hour
Fraction sequences
Fraction strips
Least common denominator using prime factors
Multiplying fractions

 

Math lesson Book 4 (Math Kit II)
Law of commutativity
Percent etymology and symbol
Operations
Average
Visual addition and subtraction
Decimal numbers: thousandths


Math Lesson Book 5 (Math Kit II)
Absolute value
Lines, segments, and rays
Logic
Strange magic square
Geometry solids
Appropriate time measures
The protractor and the radius
Sequencing using division
Multiplication patterns for even and odd
Set unions and intersects

 

Math Lesson Book 6 (Math Kit II)
Cube views
Graphing curves
Sum of the angles in a triangle
Playing cards: counting points
Solving for unknowns
Rational numbers
Area of a circle
Degrees in a triangle


Language Arts Lesson Book 1 (LA Kit A)
Montessori insets (shapes): triangle
The letter d
Words that begin with d
Words starting with d
The four seasons
Aural training game
Mother Goose rhyme
Posture

 

Language Arts Lesson Book 2 (LA Kit A)
Introducing oneself
Retelling a story
Parts of speech: verb
Montessori insets (shapes): oval
Holding the pencil: tripod grip
Days of the week
Pattern practice

Language Arts Lesson Book 3 (LA Kit A)
Retelling a story
Story-telling practice
Montessori insets (shapes): circle
Color identification
Peripheral vision
Short-term memory practice

Language Arts Lesson Book 4 (LA Kit A)
Telling a story
Comparatives
Identifying unknown things
The months of the year
Touch typing: no peeking!
Geography: etymology
Parts of speech: adjective
Geography: land and water
Rhyme ee
Introduction to Shakespeare

 

 



Language Arts Lesson Book 5 (LA Kit B)
Introduction to the circle kit
Typing introduction/review
Parts of speech: verb
Parts of speech: noun grammar symbol
Other languages: Spanish
Consonant blends: /ch/
How to tell a story: suspense
Book report

 

Language Arts Lesson Book 6 (LA Kit B)
Keeping the eyes and head still
Shakespeare Sonnet #18
Other forms of communication
Part of speech: adjective
Long u: silent e
Diagramming parts of speech: preposition
Trees and measurement

 

Language Arts Lesson Book 7 (LA Kit B)
Short a words
Principled thinking
Song for 10 tough words
Script-writing your name
Dollars
Nonfiction: biography
Touch typing: emails and phone numbers

 

Language Arts Lesson Book 8 (LA Kit B)
Synonyms
First, second, and third person singular
Infinitives
Puns
Can vs. may
Contractions
Diagramming parts of speech: adverb
Parts of speech: conjunction
Subjects and predicates

 

We would love to hear about your favorite activity in the freebie bundle. Tag @ShillerLearning on social media or comment below!

Would you like to try more hands-on learning at home?

All ShillerLearning kits come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Open and use the manipulatives and even write in the book. If you are not completely satisfied with your purchase, send it back for a full refund of your kit purchase price.


Antoinette LaGrossa

Veteran homeschool mom of five, Antoinette LaGrossa has been homeschooling since 2001. Having experienced her family’s frustration with multiple math programs, Antoinette understands the struggle that can come with teaching math. Everything changed in 2004 when she tried ShillerMath. She quickly joined the ShillerLearning team and has been supporting home educators for almost two decades - sharing hands-on learning tips, encouragement, and practical experience from homeschooling five very different children. Antoinette speaks at conventions across the country and is host of ShillerLearning’s Tuesdays@2.




21 Free Montessori Based Winter Printable Activities

Fun Winter-Themed Activities to Engage Your Children with Math & Language Arts



If you haven’t seen our winter printables pack yet you are in for a treat. This pack is a perfect addition to your homeschool, no matter what type of homeschooler you are: Montessori, Classical, Charlotte Mason, Unschooling, Unit Study, or Eclectic. 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 to read. Or you can just watch Jonathan recite it 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 pack we will now wait,
For the new ShillerLearning printable pack, which will also be great.

...Happy Holidays from ShillerLearning! We hope you enjoy this beautifully designed free printable pack.

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

  • Is 100% FREE!!

  • Brings Montessori fun of the season to homeschooling through winter.

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

  • For many ages. Most activities are for the preschool and early elementary crowd. 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.

  • Designed to be used as standalone works. However, for those of you who have ShillerLearning math or language arts curriculum, we include some suggestions from our materials. You'll still be able to use these packs without them though.

     

Request your own copy of the 21 free Montessori activities with beautiful 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 now homeschooling her only child. Amanda and her family reside 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 creating hand-lettering pieces.


8 Thanksgiving-Themed Montessori Activities Using Household Materials

Preparing for your family's Thanksgiving feast is a great way to spend time with each other and have fun! Thanksgiving brings family traditions that have been cherished for generations. For those who may not have space for extra bodies, consider creating an area such as the kitchen table for your child’s workspace or offer a floor table.

In this blog post, we add a few practical life lessons to our Thanksgiving-themed homeschool shelves plus activities to help prepare the table where the family feast will be on display. Nut Grinding, Butter Churning, Thanksgiving Punch, Flower Arranging, Table Setting, Note Cards, Feather in the Top, and Water Transfer not only allow your preschool to early elementary child to participate in helping to prepare a Thanksgiving feast for all to love but will also develop muscles for writing and motor skills, learn about simple mechanics, and prepare for mathematics.




8 Thanksgiving-Themed Montessori Activities Using Household Materials

Nut Grinding

What you need:

  • Nut grinder or a zip seal plastic bag with a small hammer
  • Nuts of your child’s choice

 

What to do:

If you are using a nut grinder, simply add the nuts with no shell in the top of the grinder. Put the lid on and allow your child to crank the handle. Your child will notice the grinded nuts in the jar.

If you are using a plastic bag and hammer, put nuts without the shell into the bag and seal. Allow your child to use a hammer to crush the nuts in the bag.

One you have crushed nuts, feel free to store them for later use for Thanksgiving desserts, salads, or casseroles.

You may want to use them for a yummy snack such as caramel drizzled apples, topped with nuts.




Butter Churning

What you need:

  • Butter churner or mason jar (If you wish to cheat you can use a mixer.)
  • Heavy whipping cream
  • Cheesecloth or fine strainer

 

What to do:

Set the whipping cream out and allow it to warm to room temperature.

Once the cream is warmed to room temperature, then pour it in the mason jar, mixer bowl, or churn jar.

Shake or churn until the cream starts to thicken into a solid. This is where the mixer can come in handy. It takes a little bit before the process is completed.

Next, separate the liquid from the butter using a cheesecloth or strainer. Once all the liquid is separated, use an airtight container to store your butter.




Punch Activity

What you need:

  • Construction paper
  • Printed image
  • Cork board or carpet sample for local hardware store (this is just used to protect the surface you're working on from the puncher)
  • Pin punch or awl (found at a local craft store)

 

What to do:
In this activity, we use a printed image to punch holes to transfer the image onto a beautiful piece of paper. To start, have your child pick a printed image. Then put the cork board down on the table and place the construction paper on top of the cork board.


Then place the printed image on top of the construction paper. Have your child follow the black line on the image and punch small holes closely together to create the image on their construction paper.




Flower Arranging

What you need:

  • Assorted fresh flowers
  • Small vases
  • Funnel
  • Small creamer pitcher with water
  • Scissors
  • Towel for wiping any spills


What to do:

Have your child select the flowers they wish to use for the arrangement. Your child may use scissors to cut the flowers. Your child will need to measure to ensure the stems are at the desired height in the vase by holding the main flower next to the vase and trimming the stem accordingly.


Once your child has the flowers they wish to use, have them pour a small amount of water into the vase using the funnel and small pitcher of water. Now your child can arrange the flowers as they wish in their vase. Have your child put their new arrangement where they choose such as the kitchen table, coffee table, end table or maybe on the kitchen counter.


Be sure your child cleans everything up and places everything back on the shelf when they are done.





Table Setting

What you need:

  • Placemats
  • Drinking glasses
  • Knifes, fork, spoons
  • Plates


What to do:

Show your child how to set the table and then have your child try. Once your child has a good understanding of how to set the table, allow them to do the whole table by themselves. A table setting printable is available in the Grace & Courtesy Activity Pack.



Name Cards

What you need:

  • Pen
  • Paper or cardstock
  • Art supplies for decorating the cards
  • List of names of people who will be attending Thanksgiving dinner


What to do:

Give your child a list of names of people who will be attending Thanksgiving dinner. Next, fold the paper or cardstock in half so the name card is freestanding and then flatten the paper out so your child knows where to write.

Now, have your child write each name on the paper. You may even offer your child to choose where people will sit by placing the name card on the plate they just set.



Feather in the Top

What you need:

  • Feathers
  • Parmesan cheese shaker (this type of container works best) or pepper shaker

 

What to do:
Show your child how to place the feathers in the hole on the shaker one at a time.

Allow your child to try. Once your child has an understanding of what to do, you may let them work independently. Add a decorative ribbon and this can make a beautiful accent piece in the Thanksgiving table display.




Water Transfer

What you need:

  • Towel
  • Two small cups, glasses, or bowls
  • Dropper
  • Optional: food coloring or natural coloring agent (ex: turmeric, beet powder, red onion peels)


What to do:

Place a small amount of water in one container. If you wish, add fall-inspired food coloring. Now, show your child how to move the water to the other empty container using the dropper. If a single drop spills on the work space, IMMEDIATELY stop and wipe the spill up. This teaches the child to be mindful of messes and to clean up after themselves. This task may seem simple but there is a lot of learning within this single activity. It teaches the child patience from watching the drop leave the dropper. It slows the child’s mind and body by using the dropper to move the water instead of pouring. It also shows the child how suction works.




I hope these Thanksgiving activities have inspired you to bring some Montessori-style learning into your homeschool. Please feel free to share your homeschool adventures with these Thanksgiving-inspire works on Facebook or Instagram #ShillerLearning. Here is a photo of our seasonal shelf.



Check back soon for more inspiring Montessori ideas.


From our family at Shiller Learning to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!


Jessica Zahner

Jessica Zahner has been working in education for 15 years - in both AMI and AMS Montessori schools. Assisting children with learning challenges, including students on the Autism Spectrum and other at risk students, is one of her specialties. As a homeschool mom she and her daughter are traversing the unique experience of home education of an only child. Jessica is fondly known for her passion for Practical Life and loves teaching parents why and how these skills are foundational for their children. The Zahners live on a working ranch and enjoy farming, gardening, and country life. When not caring for their livestock, enjoying practical homeschooling with her daughter, or working with Shiller Learning customers, you might find Jessica enjoying a perfectly brewed cup of tea from herbs grown in their abundant tea garden.

 


See inside our open 'n' go Montessori-based homeschool kits

4 Fall Montessori Homeschool Activities for Preschool and Early Elementary

With the sound of rustling leaves underfoot, Halloween comes to an end and your little goblin is gearing up for the big gobble day. Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Crisp weather, blazing fall foliage, and the aroma of pumpkin spice delight young and old alike. Bringing autumn into the homeschool is a beautiful way to engage children.



4 Fall Montessori Homeschool Activities

for preschool and early elementary


Here are a few simple-to-pull-together activities, perfect for adding the season to homeschool days or windy weekends with preschool and early elementary students. Children of all ages - and even Thanksgiving guests - may enjoy working with the smelling jars.

These Montessori-based activities engage fine motor, classification, and critical thinking skills. The sensory integration is important for brain development and makes learning fun!


Sorting Tray


Materials:
Small basket or tray that can be carried by the child
3 bowls or similar containers
Fall filler material that can be sorted by color or object
Optional: tweezers or tongs for moving the materials

 

Children love to sort objects. For this activity you’ll need three different objects that come in a set. I used what is called vase filler, found at the local craft store. If you wish, take your child on a nature walk and collect items such as different colored leaves, acorns, pinecones, twigs, feathers, etc. You can also use assorted nuts.

Show your child how to sort the materials and then allow your child to try.

You can make this challenging by simply having three different sizes of twigs. Have the child sort the twigs based on the size. This would be a great opportunity to work on words groups such as “big, bigger, biggest,” “small, smaller, smallest,” “small, medium, large,” “thin and thick,” or “short and tall.”

 



Smelling Jars


Materials:
Small basket or tray
6 or more clear glass or plastic spice containers
3 or more spices
Optional blindfold

 

There is a mystery about smelling objects we are unfamiliar with. It's fun to satisfy our curiosity through our senses. Scents have a powerful effect on memory. There are certain smells that can evoke memories decades old. Select aromas that remind your family of autumn, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, dried oranges, pumpkin spice, celery seed (think Thanksgiving stuffing) or even crumbled dried leaves from the yard.
In this demonstration, I used 3 spices. For each selection, fill two jars with enough material to provide scent. Shown are 6 jars total, with 3 spices placed in 2 jars each.

Invite your child to join you. This activity can be done at a table on the floor. Use a 3-finger grip when holding each jar. Take each jar out and line them horizontally from left to right. Starting with the far left bottle, look at each spice together, name it, note it’s characteristics, holding the jar beneath your nose generously inhale the aroma. What does the scent remind you of?

Note that each spice is in two jars. Mix the two sets of jars into random order. Put the blindfold on yourself and demonstrate matching the jars by scent. Remove the blindfold and check your work.

Offer the blindfold to your child, randomly mix the order of the jars, and ask your child to match the scents. Once the child is done, have the child check their own work by looking to see if the spices match one another based on how they look.

An alternate activity is to identify the scents by name while blindfolded or with eyes closed.

 



Corn Dissection

Materials:
Small basket or tray
Indian corn (there is an amazing variety available)
Tweezers
Magnifying glass

 

 

 

When introducing the ear of corn, encourage the child to carefully examine and appreciate the corn. The child can use the magnifying glass to see all of the beautiful details. Demonstrate how to take a kernel of corn off the cob. Allow the child to use the tweezers to take the kernels off the cob.

Older children can keep an observation journal, draw pictures of what they see and/or writing about it.

 



Pumpkin Washing


Materials:
Small basket or tray
Pumpkin
Scrub brush
Bowl (water can be poured into the bowl once at the workspace)
Small towel for drying


Children enjoy water works and pumpkin washing is a great addition to the fall homeschool schedule. Using a scrub brush, show the child how to wash the pumpkin. Then teach the child how to dry the pumpkin. Make sure to take extra care to clean the crevices. When the child is done, demonstrate how to clean and put everything neatly away.

 

We would love to see your child at work with these fall works. Tag @shillerlearning when sharing on social media.


Jessica Zahner

Jessica Zahner has been working in education for 15 years - in both AMI and AMS Montessori schools. Assisting children with learning challenges, including students on the Autism Spectrum and other at risk students, is one of her specialties. As a homeschool mom she and her daughter are traversing the unique experience of home education of an only child. Jessica is fondly known for her passion for Practical Life and loves teaching parents why and how these skills are foundational for their children. The Zahners live on a working ranch and enjoy farming, gardening, and country life. When not caring for their livestock, enjoying practical homeschooling with her daughter, or working with Shiller Learning customers, you might find Jessica enjoying a perfectly brewed cup of tea from herbs grown in their abundant tea garden.

 

See Inside Our Kits

Language Arts Kit A (PreK/K-G1)

Language Arts Kit B (G1-G4)


Turn Table Scraps into Ooey Gooey Wormy Goods

Turn Table Scraps into

Ooey Gooey Wormy Goods



Do you ever wonder what can be done with the scraps left over from preparing meals? As I was preparing dinner one night, I thought to myself, there seems to be so much waste from our family’s kitchen scraps. Egg shells, potato peels, celery, carrots, squash, and the list goes on. This observation inspired some research. I found something called “vermicomposting.” Simply put, it’s using worms to break down food waste.

 

Did your homeschool mom mind shout, “Science project!” as you read that? Yes, this practical life activity can also check off the homeschool science fair display box.

 

Worms produce “castings” which are in turn used for fertilizing plants. According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, vegetables nourished with worm castings, produced 30% larger vegetables. Results like that make for impressive charts and graphs.

 

In this blog post, I’ll show you how to create your own vermicomposting worm bin. You may already have a lot of the supplies on hand. This is a great way to teach your child how even the smallest organism contributes in a big way to our daily life; to be more mindful about what they are throwing out; and about recycling.

 

You could offer extension activities to maximize learning with your worm bin. Extensions ideas include:

Research Projects:

What Worms Eat
How Worm Composting Works
Worms Life Cycle
Different Species of Worms

 

Early Homeschool Math Skills:

Using your ShillerLearning number tiles, work with your child on number recognition. Set a number in front of your child and have your child make worms out of playdough. For example, if you set the number 7 in front of your child, have your child create 7 worms and place them under the number.

 

You can use the same approach for working with addition and subtraction as well. These extensions are perfect for students in Math Kit I.

 

Homeschool Language Skills:

Provide your child with a science journal to keep with their worm bin. They can write about their worm bin and record observations of what is happening. You can even offer creative writing to allow your child to use their imagination and create a story about their worms. This activity is a perfect accompaniment to Language Arts Kit B.

 

Complete vermicomposting bin instructions are below. I encourage you to allow your child to look for and collect the red wiggler worms needed for their bin. You can easily find red wigglers on the soil surface where the grass has been covered. If you have a flower pot that has been sitting on the grass for awhile, you will probably find red wiggler worms under it.

 

Allow your child to gather the dirt as well. Children love collecting materials; it feels like a treasure hunt!

 

To start you will need some basic items:

 

  • Two Plastic Bins

 

  • One lid to fit the bins

 

  • ¼” drill bit or a screw tip

 

  • Drill

 

  • Shredded newspaper

 

  • Dirt or compost starter

 

  • Worms - be sure to use red wigglers

 

  • Permanent marker, stickers, decals, or bedazzler to decorate your bin (This is not a must, but can be an enjoyable part of the project.)

 

What to do:

Step 1: Using your stickers or decals, decorate your bin using decals and stickers if you wish. Set this bin aside.

 

Step 2: Using the second plastic bin, a drill, drill bit or screw tip, drill holes at the bottom of one plastic bin. Be sure to NOT drill holes in the bin you decorated.

 

Step 3: Using the same plastic bin from Step 2, drill holes on the side all the way around ONLY at the top, using the same items from Step 2. You do not want your worms getting out.

 

Step 4:  Using the drill, drill bit or screw tip and lid, drill holes in the lid.

 

Step 5:  Put the plastic bin with the holes in it inside the bin you decorated with stickers and decals.

 

Step 6: Line the bottom of the plastic bin with newspaper or a paper bag.

 

Step 7:  Add shredded newspaper. Make sure to spray water on the newspaper.

 

Step 8:  Add dirt or compost starter. Make sure to spray water on your soil. You want it to be damp like a dampened sponge.

 

Step 9:  Mix dirt and newspaper together.

 

Step 10:  Add worms.

 

Final Step: Add veggie scraps.

Make sure you feed your worms at least once a week. And always keep their environment damp like a dampened sponge.

Jessica Zahner

Jessica Zahner has been working in education for 15 years - in both AMI and AMS Montessori schools. Assisting children with learning challenges, including students on the Autism Spectrum and other at risk students, is one of her specialties. As a homeschool mom she and her daughter are traversing the unique experience of home education of an only child. Jessica is fondly known for her passion for Practical Life and loves teaching parents why and how these skills are foundational for their children. The Zahners live on a working ranch and enjoy farming, gardening, and country life. When not caring for their livestock, enjoying practical homeschooling with her daughter, or working with Shiller Learning customers, you might find Jessica enjoying a perfectly brewed cup of tea from herbs grown in their abundant tea garden.

 

Want to See Inside Our Montessori-Based Kits?

Language Arts Kit A (PreK/K-G1)

Language Arts Kit B (G1-G4)


This DIY project is a great way to teach your child how even the smallest organism contributes in a big way to our daily life; to be more mindful about what they are throwing out; and about recycling. Extension activities for math and language arts!