Saturday, August 21, 2010

A question

I'm looking for advice from the other Montessori moms out there.

So, the Sensorial, Language, and Math parts of Montessori have a nicely planned out flow. I know what to start with and what to move to when Nugget demonstrates that she's ready.

For more thematic study, I have the curriculum from New Child that I'm kind of following.

But Practical Life.


Okay, confession time. I really don't like thinking of and assembling Practical Life activities. I kind of feel like I'd like to focus more on Sensorial and other "harder" areas than PL during the small amount of time we tend to be in the room. And it seems like there's opportunities during the day outside of the room to work on PL sort of things (dressing herself, pouring in the sandbox, spooning in the beans, cooking with me, etc).

So I'm pondering dropping PL activities from the room.

But I'm torn about it. She is of the age when you usually focus on PL. I'm slightly worried that without PL, she won't have as much to do (on the other hand, maybe it'll lead her to choose more of the Sensorial).

On the other hand, isn't the household environment the absolute best place to learn the skills of daily life?

So what do you do with Practical Life in your Montessori homeschool?


  1. I actually do set them up, in both the natural setting and in the homeschool room. I've learned that both of my girls are naturally drawn to them and will do them for a really long time before moving on to something else. That, and there are activities across all subject areas that can be reinforced with practical life (right now I have a sorting activity out where she is sorting sea life by color--which hits at sea life--science, color, sorting, pincer grasp, various shades of color, etc.)

    Now of course, it's really really great to introduce this stuff in the natural setting. But there is a progression that the montessori albums I am using recommend so that the children are developing appropriate use of the fingers, whole hand, wrist, etc. For me personally, it was a little hard to have all of it accomplished in the natural settings because the albums I use have over 300 practical life things that are introduced over the 3 year period. LOL! Practical life is actually extremely important at this age, which is why there are usually 2-3 times more practical life presentations each week than all of the other subject groups. It may seem simple, but they are all teaching very important things. For example, scooping from left to right prepares the child for reading left to write and writing left to write. The pincher grasp in sorting prepares them for holding a pencil.

    (Oh, and this is AllyRae from MDC, btw. I love reading about Nugget since my little one is about the same age. :) )

    So, I do both.

  2. My daughter loves the PL activities and will spend a long time working with them. I try to have at least one whole-hand, one wrist-turning, and one three-finger grasping activity within the school room at a time. Other areas such as care of environment, care of self and grace & courtesy are done naturally during the day as the opportunity arises.

  3. I do a bit of both. Like Crunchy and Green, I tend to keep the wrist and three finger activities in the school room, but Bear actually doesn't choose them much, or she chooses them and then does them just once the whole week.

  4. I noticed you mentioned that you used the New Child curriculum. How do you like it? I'm slowly learning about Montessori materials and presentation and would love a more thematic approach to go along with it. Since this is my first year homeschooling, my brain is on overload and I feel like I don't have the time to create themes for this year, so I'd love some sort of starting point. Just curious what you thought about the curriculum and if you thought it was worth it. Thanks!

  5. Another person for both. Most of our PL activities take place around the house. However, remember that one of the tenets of Montessori is that the child should be able to choose his work during the work period and will (hopefully) choose work that his body and mind NEEDS at that time. If they "need" PL and it's not available during your work time that's not such a good thing. We keep many PL works in our classroom. Me Too is at an age where the main body of his work is supposed to be PL anyway...Kal-El almost always starts with PL, moves on to other work and builds up to a "big work" mid-cycle, follows that with more PL as a "break" and builds up to another "big work" at the end of the cycle. I think you have to have them available.


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