We've added three new items to our regular school routine and the three are not specifically montessori. I wanted something different but at the same time something really close to the montessori principles. I liked what I saw about these and here they are:
All About Spelling - Level 1
So far we love this program! We do a quick 5-10 minute lesson every other day or at least twice a week. D is breezing through the first 10 or so lessons as it is the basic pink series stuff. I love how it is hands on just like Montessori. It has blue and red letter tiles that are used to spell out words. D has such an enthusiasm for spelling words that this program is perfect to teach her the rules for spelling.
RightStart Mathematics - Level B
As much as I love Montessori Math, with a curious toddler around it is becoming increasingly difficult for us to get into the school room and get un-interrupted time to work on stuff. RightStart was developed by a Montessori Teacher and uses almost the same Montessori concrete approach to learning math. Another awesome feature that I love about this program is how the concepts are re-inforced by playing games instead of putting the child through various repetition worksheets. D definitely is not a worksheet gal. So far we are loving this and we are going very slow, every other day or just twice a week. D asks most of the times to play games and I love how she is learning!
Five in a Row- Volume 1
I first came across FIAR here. I love Laura and was intrigued, so I went on the website to find out what FIAR was all about. You basically read from a collection of carefully chosen books and you do this for five consecutive days. Each day after reading the story you can decide to do one or more activities in different subject areas. There is no set list of activities and this gives the flexibility to do all or just a few. I tried out just one story first and D was so enthusiastic about it. If you go to the FIAR forums the common practice is to create one lap book per book you read and collect all the activities you did for the week there. I like that we can look back to see how and what we did! What I most love about this program is the awesome collection of books. This has introduced us to a new wonderful set of books and has made us think about books and their contents in ways I would have never been able to do so myself. Another plus is that because of the flexibility of this program, what I do is put together some trays based on the book we are rowing and let D work at it at her pace. Once she is done, I save it for her lap book. For now our local library has almost all of the books in Volume 1 and for those that aren't available locally we use the inter-library loan feature and get at it.
Another awesome thing about doing FIAR is that we are reading so much more now that M is so interested in reading too. Anytime D and I read a book, M wants me to read her, her books! It is so cute when she gets her books and climbs onto my lap ready to read! She never did that before!
The biggest advantage to doing all three of the above is that we don't have to always get into the school room to do schooling. With M getting increasingly curious about D's work, it is very difficult for us to do schooling when she is awake. We do these on our dining table well out of reach of M. I usually give something interesting to engage M and spend the 10 - 15 mins that we get to do our stuff. I have a small area setup in the kitchen near the dining area dedicated to storing these materials. I love that I don't have to prepare stuff before hand, just need to open the manual and start our lesson! I am hoping that once M gets a little bigger and once I am able to set some rules with her, we will spend more time in the school room and get back to full fledged montessori. For now this is working for us and D seems interested and happy. We are still continuing with Montessori based stuff in other subject areas and finding time to work on these as time permits! D is only four and I love how homeschooling is giving us the flexibility to adapt our learning methodologies to our current lifestyle!