Since our first week of homeschooling felt like such a success, I knew that I wanted to add some Montessori materials/activities. That meant it was time to do some more research into the Montessori method. Before my oldest was even born, I started reading up on Dr. Maria Montessori and her work. We incorporated some Montessori principles when Miss I was younger (0-3). However, when Miss I turned 3, we were house hunting and staying with family, so we lost some of the control we had over our environment. Now that we’re in our own home, it has opened the possibilities up again, but I have a new age group to learn about. My daughter loves puzzles and figuring things out with her hands, so I felt like Montessori materials would really engage her. I also like the independence that Montessori activities encourage and the respect they require from adults.
In our first homeschooling unit, I’m focusing on language, since that’s where I need to inspire Miss I more. We tend to focus on one subject at a time, and since there’s so much for ME to learn, I think focusing on the Montessori Primary Language materials is a good place to start. Somehow, during all of my searching, I finally found Montessori World. It’s a no-frills website with detailed information about Maria Montessori, the Montessori Method, and some training videos of Margaret Homfray, who trained under Maria Montessori and served as her translator for some time. That’s the exact kind of information that I’ve been looking for, and I’m enjoying watching the videos, even though there are over 20 hours of content in the videos alone.
Back to our evolving curriculum: I really like the idea of incorporating an alphabet object i-spy and the sandpaper letters into our daily letter practice. I also like the idea of using the moveable alphabet to form all of the words that we will encounter in Pirate Pat before we even read the book. So, of course, I started looking for some Montessori sandpaper letters and a moveable alphabet online. Unfortunately, most of what I found on Amazon was above my target price range (I don’t want to spend $20+ on each material).
I was leaning most closely towards the Didax Letters above, but some reviews stated that the sandpaper was too rough to use, that it fell off, and they don’t use the D’Nealian font, which is the more traditional Montessori approach. Likewise, I was interested in the Educational Insights lowercase magnets or the Learning Resources letters, but I didn’t know if 42 letters would be enough, and again, I didn’t want to spend nearly $20 on ONE activity.
I also began to notice the different fonts that are available with all of the items, but I wanted more font consistency in our resources, so I decided to DIY my materials to get an exact solution that would fit our budget AND our needs better than what I could find commercially available. According to Margaret Homfray, Montessori materials should be functional, attractive, and correct, which I know I’m capable of producing. I’ve already finished my moveable alphabet, and I’m half-way through my sandpaper letters, and I can’t wait to share more on the blog tomorrow!