One of the most frequently-asked questions is, how do you homeschool when you have a baby?
So I will share with you what our first day of school with a new baby looked like. We didn’t try to do as much as usual, since we were coming off of a one-week break, and it’s never a good idea to try to do too much the first day back after a break of any kind. We also aren’t feeling pressured to make up time, because we only took two days off for Christmas break, the 24th and 25th. We worked all of the other days that our friends were off. That is one of the benefits of homeschooling: You can take a break when your family needs it! And when you don’t need it, you can keep on working. In fact, this day of school for us was a day off for our public school friends, since we had 10 inches of snow the day before!
This is what we were able to do on Monday, with a one-week old baby.
I made this material last weekend. It’s the Montessori Dot Game. Traditionally it’s all on one board, with space for the equation to the right, but I wanted to use what I had on hand at home. And what I had were these two picture frames. So I designed the sheets to fit in the frames, stuck them in there, and now I have the material that we can use with dry-erase markers.
This is a Children’s House or primary material, for 3-6 years of age, and I presented it to Miss Adventuress. It’s a material that takes her a little bit closer to abstraction and the addition algorithm.
This is the equation Miss Adventuress invented and then solved using the dot game board. I’m going to write a more detailed post about this material in another entry, because it’s simple to make and use, and would be useful for any teacher, not just Montessori guides.
Mr. Scientist bought me these flowers when the baby was born, and Miss Aventuress felt she needed to dissect one of them. I gave her permission, and away she went. 🙂 One classic Montessori material is a puzzle with the parts of the flower, but Montessori method emphasizes having real experiences in daily life with a subject first, before using other materials to explore it. It’s much better for Miss Adventuress to begin with this kind of flower experience before learning all of the names of the parts of the flower and their functions.
Miss Adventuress made a drawing of the flower before she began dissecting it. We used an encyclopedia to find the names of some of the parts she found, and Mr. Scientist helped her make a slide to study with the microscope. She also used the small magnifying glass on the right.
After helping Miss Adventuress with her flower, Mr. Scientist had his head full of plants. He decided to plant some beans. He did that, and then I reminded him that scientists always write down their experiments and their results. First he told me that he needed me to print another copy of a plant diary I’d given him before. But this time I told him he could make his own table. He didn’t like that suggestion, but once I assured him that I would help if he needed it, and suggested he use a ruler when he complained that his lines wouldn’t be straight, he got to work. And his table ended up using both pages in his notebook, and includes lots more information than I would have required. It’s always better that students do anything for themselves they are able to do. As Maria Montessori said, any unnecessary help is a hindrance.
After dissecting the flower, Miss Adventuress asked if she could paint it, too. She’s very interested in watercolors lately, and decided to use them this time, too. She asked for red, blue, yellow, black, and white, and mixed them to get the colors she wanted. She ended up painting a rainbow instead of a flower…sometimes plans change! 🙂
Meanwhile, Miss Braveheart and I were reading some books, and I got out the attribute blocks. We didn’t do anything specific with them, just played and explored.
And all of this was possible because the baby was sleeping like this in my lap. 🙂
When Miss Braveheart saw that Miss Adventuress was painting, she needed to paint, too. I don’t give her the expensive watercolors; thankfully she’s happy with these ones for now!
And since the girls were painting, Mr. Scientist decided that it looked like a good idea to him, too. He worked very hard mixing the perfect green for this painting. He worked so long on it, in fact, that he said he’d have to continue tomorrow. It’s really fun to see how his painting process changes as he grows; it seems like so little time since he was painting in the same style as Miss Braveheart!
And we finished up with an electromagnet experiment, from a kit we got from Home Science Tools. In this experiment we observed the effect of the magnetic field on the compasses, and how far the magnetic field extended around the coils.
And of course they played outside; you just can’t miss out on the chance to play in all that snow!
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