Today, I’m giving you a sneak peek into our Montessori Homeschool Set-up.
Although it is less of a focus on Sugar, Spice and Glitter then it used to be, I actually started this blog to share our Montessori homeschooling journey.
We’re a little bit more eclectic these days (and I would get so bored if I only wrote about that one aspect of our lives every day), but the Montessori Method still forms the majority of our homeschool work, as you will see today.
I started with attempting to DIY many of our Montessori Materials, but as I became increasingly confident that we were going to homeschool — and realized how much work saving money with DIYs actually was — I made the decision to invest in the entire Montessori Primary curriculum, and most of the Montessori Elementary curriculum.
The amount of stress that I avoid by not having to come up with alternatives to all of the materials was worth the investment for me, but if real Montessori materials are not an option for you, I still think that you can successfully implement the Montessori Method and have started collecting some fabulous ideas for DIYs and alternatives. I have also reviewed all of the materials that we’ve purchased so you can know what to avoid and what is worth the investment.
I love having a separate room dedicated to our homeschool set-up and materials for a few reasons:
- it is a special space for Ella (and older kids when we have them in our preschool) away from toddler shenanigans
- children can work separately from the noise and clutter of the rest of the home
- if the children make a mess, I am less overwhelmed than if it was in a shared living space and can be more patient when encouraging clean-up
- children can have a safe spot for long-term projects that doesn’t impact how we live in our home
- we are more likely to do work everyday if it is permanently set-up rather than something we have to set-up each day
- it validates the importance of Ella’s work
Of course, if you need to be able to put up and take down your homeschool set-up each day, there are ways to do that which still give the freedoms of an entire room:
- homeschool carts that can be rolled into a corner when not in use
- homeschool cabinets with designated shelves for on-going work or projects
- timers, signs, or other indications that the room is functioning as a homeschool space to encourage others to respect the work process
- ear covers or sound machines to block out noise from siblings (or even mom)
While I can (and probably will) write an entire post on things to consider when setting up your homeschool space, today I just want to focus on sharing ours with you.
Montessori Homeschool Room Tour
To answer two reader questions – the rug is a fair-trade woven plastic that lies incredibly flat and is easy for the children to roll out of the way, while adding some beauty to our room. This rug seems similar — both were incredibly affordable compared to typical throw rugs.
And, the shelving – except for the light table and geography cabinet – is utility hardware store shelving. I prefer it to the square Ikea-type shelving many Montessorians buy, as we have more openness on the shelves, and we don’t have to awkwardly position trays to fit in the square space.
Working from the left to right when you enter the room:
Independent Work Area
- We have two child-sized tables each with their own chair which face the wall. This allows the children to focus on their independent work, but they also have the freedom to move their furniture around as desired, as long as it doesn’t impact the other people using the room. (Our last group of preschoolers has graduated so she has had the room to herself for a couple of weeks.)
- These tables have basic stationary supplies and our daily workbooks (not Montessori, but something I grudgingly accept as a material my daughter loves) — we also like to add flowers from our garden.
- I used to have my bulletin board set up like Counting Coconut’s board, but I actually just stripped it down after our last graduation.
- To me, a bulletin board should reflect the interests of the child and communicate the relevant information about their day so they can help be an active participant in their daily planning and decision-making.
- Ella has a tripod and a hand-me-down camera that she is learning how to use. This is an ongoing project that she has been exploring for a couple of months (and I will share with you about that soon)
- We have a basket of several small work rugs for children to do their work on. Read our posts about the Montessori Work Rug here and here.
- This is one of my favourite investments. Our light table is a Reggio-inspired material that compliments our Montessori work nicely. I’ll make a note to write an indepth post about how we use our light table in learning
Paper Chain of Kindness
- We start a new chain every month – read about the paper chain of kindness here.
- One of our favourite topics, we love our Geography Cabinet materials. Placing a child-friendly map above your geography materials is a great way to provoke children into deeper learning. My hope is to eventually replace this one for a pin-punched map created by Ella.
- On top of the cabinet are:
- We also keep a giant basket of animal figurines, our pin punch materials, and a flag matching game on an adjacent shelf
Practical Life Shelf
Note: I took pictures of these shelves exactly as they were when I entered the room. So, you’ll notice that some materials are on the wrong shelves, which happens when children put things away. I wanted to share an honest example of what our homeschool room looks like – not something that an adult has staged!
- On the floor in front of the shelf we have the Montessori Dressing Frame rack.
- We change out the trays for our Montessori Practical Life work often and we also like to incorporate some “toy” materials, like our Sorting Pie and Lock House
- The plastic tub in the corner stores Ella’s snap circuits board. The batteries are currently stored in the tub, in a plastic bag because just Ella is using the room – if there were multiple children in the room, I would keep the batteries separate for safety precaution
- We’ve mostly moved past the sensorial curriculum, but I’ve kept two shelves of our favourites plus the Pink Tower and Brown Stair around for Ella to revisit when she needs something calm and meditative to do
- This shelf currently contains:
- Sound cylinders
- Scent bottles
- Baric tablets
- Thermic tablets
- Touch tablets
- Knobbed cylinders
- Geography overflow: pin punch pad, flag matching game, animal miniatures
- Brown Stair (lying in front)
- Pink Tower (to the side)
- Ella has mostly been doing math work sheets recently, as she hit a stumbling block in her long division work. We actually made the decision to remove all but a few math works from the room so she could have a break – the two remaining being the “earliest” math materials, which will hopefully allow her to review and feel confidence in the subject again. I will slowly start re-introducing work that is at her level when she is ready
- This shelf currently contains:
- Spindle box
- Sandpaper numbers
- Bead Stairs
- Pressure cylinders (supposed to be with Sensorial)
- Two sets of geometric solids
- Binomial cube
- Knobless cylinders (again, supposed to be with Sensorial)
- Scale and weighted numbers
- Two math board games
- Letter alphabet puzzles
- As Ella is an emerging reader working through the Pink Series, this is probably our most crowded shelf
- This shelf currently contains:
- A simple metal filing system works as our Biology Puzzle Shelf. We only have room for 7 puzzles, so I switch them out based on what Ella is currently interested in.
- I also provide 3-part cards corresponding to the puzzles, in small Ziplock bags on the puzzle shelves.
- This is an essential part of our home and emotional intelligence development. Read more about it here.
- These three shelves change out according to our interests and sometimes the bottom shelf and floor below are used to store on-going projects. (Check out our unit studies to see how we use our themed shelves.)
- Any child-sized cleaning materials that don’t currently fit on the Practical Life Shelves are stored here, empowering the children to clean up their own messes.
Check out some Montessori homeschool room tours from my fellow Montessori homeschool bloggers: