Friday, February 26, 2010

Opinions on geometric items

Now that we're almost a month into our Montessori work, I'm considering filling in our supplies a bit. I'm pretty sure I want to get some Geometric Solids, but the prices for them on the Montessori sites are pretty high. I've found some sets of wooden solids online which include nearly all of the typical Montessori solids and more (except for the egg shape, strangely, but I think that would be pretty easy to find in a craft store, especially around Easter). My only real concern is that I think these are smaller than the Montessori solids -- they're about 2-3 inches.

If you have the Geometric Solids, do you like them? What size are they, and what do you think about that size?

I'm also pondering the Geometric Cabinet. Buying one is likely out of our price range, but I'm considering making a version. It would take quite a bit of effort, though, and I want to make sure we'd get a fair amount of use out of it. Do you have one? Does it get used regularly and for a variety of activities?

Any other materials you use and love in your homeschooling?


  1. I am asking myself the exact same question about the geometric cabinet at this point. I have yet to find an answer to my question.
    How are you planning to make it?

  2. Well, I'm still collecting ideas and working out a mental plan. The best ideas I've seen so far are to use a wire puzzle holder to hold the "drawers", and to make the shapes from vinyl floor tiles.

    There's a lot about the actual mechanics of making them that I'm unsure about, though. My big hang-up is that I'm not sure I'm going to be able to cut things accurately enough that they'll be able to go in at any rotation (especially the circles).

    I don't think I've seen or read any reports online of homemade versions that anyone is really in love with, and there's no consensus on the best way to do it. Which makes me think it's really, really hard. But $150+ dollars! On one material!


  3. The natural geometric solids we have are smaller than the blue ones most places sell. I felt a little bad about that at first, but Beeper didn't. He didn't know or care. He enjoyed them and learned from them just the same.

    Then I watched the Homfray video about them. She says something along the lines of, "The solids a lot of companies make now are too big and heavy for these small children. You wouldn't want that."

  4. I bought the large blue ones from Kid Advance. I haven't introduced them to Bear yet, but we have smaller, plain wooden geometric solids that we use a lot. I kind of regret having bought the bigger ones, but unfortunately, I had already bought them when I read Evenspor's post about which materials to buy and what not. I think Bear will like them anyway since they are smoother and blue and we will use them to match them to our small ones. I would go for the smaller ones.

    I also debated about the geometric cabinet, but was warned that most homeschoolers who owned it regretted it and it didn't get much use.
    Watch the Homfray videos. The key is to have the essence of the Montessori method and of the particular exercise. It doesn't necessarily have to be done exactly as written in Gettman or another album.

  5. Forgot to mention: we love our moveable alphabet which we made from tagboard scrapbook letters stored in a plastic beading case. The whole thing cost me about 10 dollars including the case.

  6. Have you considered using foam board for the Geometric Cabinet? They sell it at art supply stores. It's basically two pieces of poster board with a 1/4" to 1/2" piece of foam glued between it. You can buy it in big sheets and different colors too. I haven't priced out the costs, but it seems to me it should be pretty easy to make the forms with the board using an Exacto knife to cut out the shapes. I am just starting to homeschool Montessori and that's what I am planning on doing.

  7. I'd thought about foam core, but I'm not sure I could cut curved shapes accurately enough that they would look good and fit no matter their orientation. It's one of my front runners, though.

  8. I would recommend using a glass or cookie cutter to cut the shapes rather than going free hand. It's pretty easy to cut a circle using a glass as a guide with a sharp blade.

    Check out this link to foamboard at Dick Blick:

    It costs $5.93 per 20 x 30 sheet (less if you buy in bulk. My guess it would cost you about $6 per tray if you buy two sheets (one blue and one yellow), but each in half (to make two puzzles, each 15 X 20). Cut out the shapes from the yellow sheet, glue the yellow board and blue board together (so the blue is the backer), and use colored contact paper to make the cut out pieces the same color as the bottom pieces. If you wanted to spend more, you could buy a separate sheet for the inset pieces.


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