About this time last year, I sent papers to my son's school disenrolling him (is that a word?). For my own personal reasons, I no longer wanted him to continue at his current school, and with not a lot of other foreign schools in the area, the choice was obvious to homeschool him. I was a bit nervous, what if I screwed up, where would I find all the things he needed to know, etc etc. HELLO, he was only going to be in first grade and coming out of kindergarten, he could read fluently, spell great, and add and subtract, he was already beyond first grade, so I stopped worrying so much about the "things he needed to know" part of it. I was always searching online for first grade montessori information and came up with very little. If I narrowed my search to Montessori, I got a lot of the preschool stuff, but over time and with some help from his prior montessori teacher, I was able to find a wealth of information. It took me until about November or December to really figure it out. Anyways, the first year is always a learning experience, so going into my second year, I have already picked out all my topics and almost ordered all my supplies, we are ready to roll!
Here are some montessori sites that I like to look at for ideas, you can adapt preschool/kindergarten ideas, by adding more challenges to the work.
My Montessori Journey- this woman provides in depth detail and pictures about the work she presents to her class, I love her ideas!
Itty Bitty Love- great pics and ideas here too, although it's not been updated in a while, still a great resource
Montessori for Everyone- she has LOADS of downloadable (some free, some cost money) montessori cards, activities, and if you read her blog, especially in the archives, she has tons of info and articles on how to set up your classroom, montessori folders that are available, training etc.
Montessori materials- this has tons of free downloadable montessori activities and ways to make the materials on your own.
Snails Trail- this mom's blog has some terrific ideas and pictures of activities that she does with her two kids at home
Think- they post weekly challenges of using household objects to complete a building task
Playing by the book- this mom uses topics from books she reads to do activities with her kids, she does some great reviews and comparisons of books on the same topic, I used this to choose some opera books for us for next year.
Teach kids art- she has some great art project ideas
Enchanted Learning- A TON of printable activities on a HUGE amount of topics! It has a $20 annual fee, but it's worth it, I used it a lot.
Okay, so how did I come up with my topics???
First, I had subscribed to weekly reader. I LOVE weekly reader, it's a small 4 page "magazine" for kids, each month you get four issues and at the beginning of the year, they give you a calendar with the topics for each week of the school year, a lot of times, I would try to coordinate what he was reading with some activities (ex: poetry month, apple picking, presidents day). In fact, we like it so much, we're getting subscriptions for preschool, kindergarten, and grade 3 (because N reads so good, we got grade 2 this year).
Second, I found this great site with all the holidays in the year, some are wacky, but we tried to celebrate them all, it was fun, and made each day more interesting, but if you look ahead, it can help you plan what books to read (like we read about Johnny Appleseed on Jonny Appleseed's birthday), and/or to have a fun party. Under each month, there is a link for more holidays for that month, click there, there's almost one for everyday of every month!
Third, I just knew things my son liked, so I knew learning would be easier and more fun studying things he enjoyed.
Here are the topics we chose for next year:
Cars and things that move
Once we choose a topic, we buy a LOT of books on it, mainly non-fiction and find a few hands-on activities to go with it. In the next few days, I'll put a post up showing how we display our topic stuff, we have one shelf for all the books and the top is where we put all the hands-on activities pertaining to it.
For our materials, I mainly use one set of Montessori Manuals that I love that I bought from North American Montessori Center.
This year, I used Math I, Math II, Language Arts, Matter and Astronomy, and Physical Geography. For next year, I ordered Botany, Zoology, Cultural Geography, and the Classroom Guide. These are all from the Lower Elementary selection. I also have the blackline CD, the main thing I like is the mastery checklists because they show you what you should cover in year 1, year 2, year 3. The manuals are designed for age 6-9.
I will put a separate link on the side to the sites I bought our supplies from. I hope this helps anyone if you are ever searching to homeschool or just to have fun educational stuff to do with your kids at your house.