Montessori at Home
If you are homeschooling or supporting your child in online classes, you must have spent a great deal of time pondering how to best juggle your child’s mandatory online classes and assignments in an environment that had, so far, only been a synonym for play and recreation after a long school day – your own home! Have you yourself worked from home at any point of your life, you would know that it can easily spiral into procrastination without discipline and good organisation. And the work is there – waiting and piling up. Your New Year’s resolution never to bring work home again becomes obsolete, as your workplace IS your home!
Even though children, especially preschoolers, will not fall into this trap (but teens might!) it is still very important to have an assigned space to work on their school assignments – a place that will be designed to instill discipline, order and routine – for a limited portion of the day. Don’t let the title sidetrack you from reading further if your child does not attend a Montessori school. Keep reading, as the tips laid down below are so simple and obvious. And if you are a Montessori parent who thinks that only by purchasing that expensive Nienhuis apparatus, you can have Montessori at your Home, let me dissuade you. Montessori is a method and curriculum is a content – which can be delivered in many different ways.
Montessori principles at home
Give yourself a role of “custodian of the environment”, arranging your child’s learning corner in a way that once the homeschool work cycle starts, they won’t be needing you at all. This means you will display their daily tasks on lower shelves and equip the space with child-sized furniture. This does not have to break the bank – IKEA has wonderful kids furniture section and you can always opt for second hand. Older children can participate in preparing the daily tasks by creating to-do lists, printing worksheets for the day, sharpening pencils, etc. at the end of each day for the following day or early in the morning. In fact, this can be a part of their daily routine.
Support the freedom to explore by allowing your child to choose the order in which they will fulfill their tasks – as long as there is a mutual agreement that all the task will be done by the end of the day. Don’t micromanage, but trust your child and provide positive feedback. Younger children might benefit from having pictures of their tasks displayed on a schedule, so they can tick-off the ones they finish. Having a snack table and a small home library, as well as the art corner, would be great additions to relax and recharge before embarking onto the next task.
Make those shelves aesthetically pleasing by neatly displaying whatever it is on them. This works for toys, not only your home-classroom. Support your child’s increasing need for order throughout the environment. Keep toys organised into open boxes, trays and baskets – cars with cars, Lego with Lego – avoiding clutter. You can periodically change items on their learning shelves: creating and following themes might be a good idea.