Montessori Inspired Learning Week

So… I admit, I am a nerdy Mom.  And I love it.  I love teaching and creating things that interests my son and drives him to learn and play at the same time.  I am always looking for things for us to do.

I am also a freakishly organized person.  So I list-make.  A lot.

So over the last year I made a calendar of things that my son and I can do throughout the week to learn and grow together.  It offers options when I am feeling uninspired and gives us fun things to do when we’re bored.  It often serves as a stepping stone to more things to do together.

Preface:  My son is “two and three quarters” and a real firecracker.  I love him to bits.  He’s independent and a free spirit.  I am studying to be a Montessori teacher and love the influence of the educational philosophy.  I love that it inspires children to learn for themselves.  It creates self-trust, confidence, community, and a love of learning.

Brief intro to Montessori:  I dig Montessori.  It’s a passion of mine and most people quickly regret asking me what it is because I won’t stop talking.  I’ll talk them through the whole playground play and walk home with them and sit with them as they’re making dinner talking about ALL THE WONDERS of this philosophy.  They’ll be putting their kids to bed and I’d still be talking breathlessly about how great it is.  What can I say?  It’s awesome.  So, I’m going to try to be brief here and explain a little teensy bit about it so you can see where I am coming from…

Montessori teaches the usual math and reading, but they also stress that children must actively learn peace, community, respect, practical life, sensorial activities, and care of self.  The teachers (“guides”) model behavior such as how and when to say excuse me, how to build a sandwich, or how to clean up after oneself.  With these “lessons”, child learns how to be responsible and helpful within their own community.  Sensorial work is important because Montessori saw the importance of the manipulation of objects to aid the child in better understanding his environment. Through the child’s work with Sensorial material, the child is helped to make abstractions, they are helped in making distinctions in his environment, and the child is given the knowledge not through word of mouth, but through his own experiences. Being able to do it themselves (and we’ve all heard “I do it myself” before)  is helpful for the child.  It builds independence and confidence.  It also helps with those moments described as “terrible twos”, often children just want control over their environment.  Just watch the look on their face after they complete such a task.  It’s beautiful 🙂

(You have no IDEA how hard that was.  Expect a thesis next week about my love for Montessori.  RM readers, beware.)

  The Nerdiness:  The Learning Week Worksheet:

I have included sections in my learning week to build skills for caring for one’s community, care of self, sensorial activities, and practical life as well as the usual literacy and math work in this learning week worksheet.

One sheet is for three weeks.  This is so I don’t have to do it every week (saving time) and not so long that it doesn’t accurately follow his development.  I usually sit down with this sheet,  a few children’s learning books or websites, and a glass of wine and create it while I watch the  Bachelorette or something.  It’s fun and super easy to create!

On the bottom of this sheet, I have also detailed things that I want to remember throughout the week:

Reading/telling stories/singing songs and the jobs sections speak for themselves.

I want to model respect in our home, so every night we say what we’re thankful for before we eat dinner.  Usually Liam goes on a long tangent about horses or Buzz and Woody and I alternate between being thankful for my beautiful adorable son or  for the silence that follows bedtime.  😉

The 3 Period Lesson is a teaching strategy that was created by Edouard Seguin and used in Montessori schools.  You begin by naming the object (this is a circle), then when the child has mastered it you being the association of it (Which one is the circle?), then  recalling the new and old knowledge (What is this?  -Circle, What is this? – square) etc.  It is especially important in this developmental stage, when children are sponges (or have the absorbent mind, as Maria Montessori said) and are learning so many words and concepts at once.

I also wanted to actively teach peace.  These examples listed are a few that I noticed my son needs practice on or I wanted him to be really good with.

Notes:  I am an artsy, grammar loving, nerdy Mom.  I am a woman of many talents, but math is not one of them.  I am completely uninspired and useless when it comes to coming up with games or things for us to do.  I started using the IXL site as inspiration for us.  My son does two or three activities a day and when he’s done with each one, he gets a sticker.  I think it’s super helpful and gives me ideas for the rest of the week.  He loves how the ribbons pop up after several right answers and really loves to pick out a sticker when we’re done.

We also do several field trips around town (zoo, pool, visiting cows at UW Vet School, etc) and make crafts to work on (spattering paint around July 4th, glueing parts of sailboat for summer weeks, etc).   This worksheet provides some ideas for us to work with as we go through our week.

So, without further ado…

Here is the Blank Learning Week

And here is our Example of Learning Week

Have Fun with it!

Do you organize your week for learning?  What do you like to do?  Are you a nerdy Mom as well?