Child-led learning: tips and advice on home learning

A child learns best through experiences during their early years – and there are many experiences that are readily accessible in the home. Whether it’s breaking away from a reliance on digital entertainment, organising the home to encourage spontaneous learning, or uncovering soft skills, there’s something that every parent can gain from Montessori over the coming weeks.

Here are nine tips on what parents can do to bring Montessori education to the home as the environment becomes a place for life, work, and learning.

  • Create a daily routine

Setting out a structure for the day is important when home schooling. Your child may find it difficult to adjust from the normality of the school day, and the lack of peer support to keep them engaged and motivated. Help them to set up their own routine that works for them – this may be working in periods of time (led by the child), or at a particular time of the day when they feel most receptive. Ensure the day is broken up into manageable activities and scattered with lots of breaks for unstructured learning and downtime. However, the key is to allow the child to decide when it wants to do something else rather than break it into set time periods.

  • Set up a home school area

As always start with your child/children: first, choose a room/area and simply observe how they use the space: Does it allow mobility, the freedom to move, explore, and choose? Are the things the child needs within reach? Are the things the child needs well organised and easy to locate? Often a small change can make a big difference in how children use a space; think about what you want them to get out of the space and make adjustments accordingly. For older children, if you can, position a desk in a quiet space in your home where they can keep their laptop, textbooks and any notes. Having their own dedicated learning space will help them to focus. They may also need your help finding online resources or to provide tools like exercise books, pens, pencils, and sticky notes.

  • A dedicated play area.

For example, for younger children, rather than having a toy box to hold your child’s toys, organise a special area, designed just for them. It could be a corner of a room with a rug that they play on. If you can, perhaps create low shelving where children can access their toys and equipment and put them back neatly. These make your child feel that his or her work and belongings really matter

  • Use digital to aid your child’s learning but don’t over rely on it.

Instead, slow down to your child’s pace. Spend time sharing the things that he or she is excited about or interested in. For toddlers, aged 2-3yrs, engage them in practical learning through taking part in daily household routines such as setting a table for meals, helping to wash up or load the dishwasher or washing machine, and organising cupboards. Give them little tasks such as making sure that their shoes are neatly put away and their coat is hung on a low hook

  • Learning is all around you.

Encourage imagination through ‘loose parts play’and use household objects to create toys. For example, you could experiment with a variety of objects that will make interesting shadows, explore ways of changing the shape and size of their shadow patterns. Get them to make drawings of the shadows and talk about their representations. Simple activities like this have a range of benefits for younger children, helping to familiarise them with vocabulary, improve skills such as writing, drawing, and tracing

  • Dedicated roles and responsibilities.

For primary school children, this could meanlooking after their own room and keeping it clean and tidy, or managing an aspect of running the household. For example, helping to plan and cook simple, healthy meals based on food availability provides a great opportunity to learn about new cultures, how to be frugal, and utilise the resources they have available – and it could even become a long-term hobby or spark a career! (Many of the Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, such as the founders of Google and Amazon are ex-Montessorians who credit Montessori with their success)

  • Nurture nature.

If getting into the outdoors is tricky, look to bring the outdoors into the home. This can be done by encouraging children to tend to plants, or planting seeds in window boxes, or out in the garden. Observing birds through a window is also a great activity. Notice their shape, their beaks, their wing size, their colouring, and research them further online

  • Enriching the mind with music.

Try making your own instruments and musical games out of what’s around you. For example, rice in sealed container could make a percussion instrument, a chopstick and a bottle with water can be used to create a sound. Record instrument sounds and play them back to see if your child can get the answer right, or create a music trivia game where you act out the answers

  • Embrace the new normal.

Most importantly, don’t feel pressured to make every moment “an educational one”. Your child will benefit from being with you; enjoy this time together, invite your child to participate in your daily routines with you and talk with your child and support them as they make sense of this new situation. Through this, learning will happen

Taken from Montessori International Training Page

Daily Challenge

Timothee has drawn his bedroom in scale 1:10. He measured the beds and the size of the room to figure out the scale. 

And Jan drew their living room and I think there is some symmetry work with pasta shapes and a rainbow also in this photo.

Daily Challenge

All of you have been very busy. Don’t forget to share so that other parents can use your ideas. The great thing is that everyone has a unique take on the challenges. We had some glorious photos from Jason and his sister Ivy who are already for Easter making Easter egg bunting. Jason has also become friends with ‘Siri’. He asks Siri “Where’s the longest river in the world?” “What does the biggest paper made box look like?” or “Show me the solar system.”

Bertie and Rupert had such a busy day yesterday, it was great to see some practical Montessori activities going on.

Daily Challenge

Your drawings and work with symmetry are brilliant! Leo had a great time looking for symmetrical objects and chose to draw an ‘idea’ that he  found in an old magazine. Ayden made another clever drawing of an aeroplane wing and practised his times tables with the Waldorf multiplication circles his mum had found online. Can you see the symmetry of 6 and 4, 7 and 3? Aurora drew a symmetrical spider and Daisy and Eve found the symmetry in Mickey Mouse.

They also shared something  that you could all have a go with. Arrange Skittles on a plate, add layer of water and watch the patterns appear. “The Science bit” is the diffusion of molecules moving from high density to low density.

Daily Challenge

Some of you got started on the daily challenge to make a mini beast habitat. Others continued your search for mini beasts. Jason found lots of worms and fed them to the chickens. Otis and Eli found this butterfly when out on their walk. Jack had two new lambs this morning.  And helped his daddy to spray the umbilical cord with purple antiseptic spray. Then he went off to pick nettles for soup. Nettle soup lunch!  Delicious!!!

Bertie and Rupert made a hedgehog house with daddy, just in time for a chilly night!

Denbigh found a fox in the back garden this morning. He checked around for fox footprints, but we didn’t have any luck. He then made Billy Goats Gruff puppets, made a bridge with sticks, coloured a river in chalk, and acted out the story.

Next daily challenge will be on Monday

Four Little Ducks Called Geoff!

So, shortly before we had to close due to the COVID 19 virus we took delivery of 6 duck eggs complete with incubator. A day later we were blessed with one little duck and shortly after three more. We named them all Geoff (don’t ask me why, but it stuck). They brought a great deal of pleasure to us whilst we were still at school and then took up residence at the Everley household. They grew to be extremely demanding not wanting to be left alone not even for a minute. So, during the day their cage sat on my dining room table keeping Jack company whilst working from home. They have now been collected to go back to the farm and we have a huge duck shaped hole in our hearts and our house is so much quieter.

Daily Challenge

Once again I had some lovely photographs and messages. Olivia made nature bracelets for a garden adventure or walk collecting things to stick on your bracelet (sticky tape round your wrist) and Angelo and Kamillah found some dandelions, Periwinkle and Daffodils. Sylvan and Blythe made a flower collage. Denbigh continued with his worm searching and watched a video on YouTube about earthworms and learned about how they move house in the rain. He also did some chalk drawing and writing outside. Aurora went out and spotted lots of flowers today! Aurora sends her love to you all, especially Mrs Manning.

Frederic and Philippe focused on flower observation rather than identification and true to form the twins still wanted to create in the morning, so we made a flower from recycled materials to show Carpel and stamens and petals.  Sylvan and Blythe painted flowers and Bertie and Rupert had a great time hunting for flowers to identify! Chloe spotted lots of flowers on her walk today and then Chloe and drew some with chalk on the driveway.


Daily Challenge

I have terrific parents and pupils. Another page!
Niamh found bugs in the greenhouse, she found: Eddy the slug, Sparkle Rainbow the short worm, Sparkle the long worm, Paw Patrol the Centipede, Willy the Woodlouse and a spider. She was a real David Attenborough and found deer footprints, she made drawings of what she found and then set them free.

Rupert and Bertie had a wonderful time outdoors and joined in the mini beast challenge. They found lots whilst preparing the soil and planting seeds, Rupert particularly enjoyed the worms and Bertie was fascinated by an ants nest, then they made Bee Mobiles to welcome the bees back to our garden after the long winter and hung them at the front of the playhouse.