How to Improve your Experience
with your Child at Home
Relationships between humans can be quite tricky to navigate; especially between you and your child. If your child spends part or all of their time in school virtually, this will undoubtably create even more tension.
This year, my district opted for 100% virtual learning. As we roll into winter, I am noticing a growing restlessness within many of the kids. This is normal, of course. In the physical classroom, winter months can be a challenge too. I am sure virtual school will add another layer to this, making the next few months even more complex.
Usually, I remedy restlessness with a little extra recess at the end of the day. When weather permits, I find it helpful to let students blow off some steam on the playground. I hope for a mild winter so we can all get outside as much as possible and do the same at home. A good night’s sleep, a hearty meal and some fresh air mixed with a dose of Vitamin D makes a world of difference!
Variety is the Spice of Life
I’m learning there are opportunities in the virtual setting students might not have available in a physical setting. We are trying to take advantage of every (free) quality virtual opportunity presented to us. Whether it be a virtual ‘field trip,’ a creative writing workshop or a virtual treasure hunt.
My strategy is to offer as much variety as I can in our virtual setting. This way, the kids may not feel as bored with the ins and outs, the day to day routine. I encourage this approach at home (but of course, you know your child best!).
Last week I shared a list of independent, non-screen work extensions to be used at home. I have included that list again here. Remind your child to think outside the box and be creative! Print this list out at home (if you can) and have it available for them to peruse during those ‘I’m bored’ moments. In the classroom, being ‘bored’ sometimes means, “I’m stuck” or “this is hard and I need help moving forward.”
Thank you all for your hard work at home and the support you are providing your children during this difficult time. I continue to try to look for the positives and to emphasize them during class time. Some days are more difficult than others. I try to remind them (and myself) we will get through this and what we are doing is for the greater good. The kids continue to be good sports!
How to Improve your Relationship
with your Child at Home
Educators understand that the relationship we have at school with your child is often very different than the relationship you have at home. I try to maintain my objectivity while most students do their best to follow through on our classroom expectations. Home dynamics are very different.
I recently read an interesting article entitled, “How To Improve Every Relationship You Have With One Step” by Purdeep Sangha. It discusses how having a shared goal will positively impact your relationship.
When two people are in a relationship, there are two brains working together. You are two people experiencing the world differently. No matter how close you are to the other person, your brains will never think the same. There’s a lot of benefits to multiple perspectives but it also creates challenges.
Ask your child what they want to achieve this school year. What are their goals? Express the goals you would like to see (such as spending a bit of time each night reading or writing together or working with one another on organization). Together, create a new shared goal, specifically for at home learning.
The two of you can write it out, like a contract, and post it on the refrigerator. When tension rises, revisit the contract. This is a great way to diffuse conflict too. A shared goal will remove much of the tension and will empower the other person to feel you’re helping them get what they want. It’s a win-win!
Follow the Child:
Extension Activity Ideas for Home
The number one at-home tool you have is your Montessori child. Don’t believe them when they say, “I don’t know what to do.” Over the span of my teaching career, I have met very few students who were incapable of making independent work choices. With some gentle guidance, even the most obstinate child will come realize they have the power to pursue their interests.
Here are some activity suggestions children might choose from to delve more deeply into detail. If your child is a bit older and able to take on the responsibility, you could even print these ideas out and make them available for your child to explore on their own.
In those “I’m bored” moments, remind them of this list and review it together. You can add your own ideas to the list as well! You know the child best, so adjust accordingly.
• Outer space studies, dark matter, nebula, plasma
• Composition and different types of soil
• Study of the formation of rocks, ages of mountains and mountain ranges
• Rivers of the world and their importance to their countries or continents
• Water treatment centers, history of the supply of drinking water
• Study of climates, temperature and rainfall graphing
• Droughts: when and where they occurred, what impact do they have on life?
• Study of industries, research on forest decomposition
• Investigating extinct animals or species and determining why they are extinct
• Exploring an endangered species and what efforts are underway to save them
• History of the domestication of animals and plants to modern day cloning
• Vegetable garden, flower gardens, genetically modified foods, medicinal plants
• Viruses and bacteria, world epidemics
Math and Geometry:
• History of math concepts and number base systems
• Computers, binary system, the digital age
• Metric vs. Standard measurement systems & their histories
• Study of the language of math (bushel, gallon, mile)
• Relationship between architecture and geometry
• Mathematics of music, history of music, study of composers
• Money and investing, currency and the history of coins
• History of art, metals, jewelry making
• Paleontology, anthropology and archaeological studies
• Deeper study of stone age cultures: where they are found and their significance
• Religious migration and other movements of people over time
• Explorers: both on earth and in outer space
• Early trappers and their discoveries, what impact they have had on life
• Study of the cities built up along the water ways: Why did they develop there?
• Tools and utensils, mechanics and simple machines
• How countries have come together (UN, NATO, EU, OPEC, etc.)
• Racial tension, women’s rights, labor unions
• Family roots, family traditions such as cooking and recipes
• Comparison of art produced by different groups of people around the world
• History of women in art, quilting
• More in-depth study of literary devices
• Script such as Arabic, Japanese, Chinese
• Deeper study of poetry (meter, types of poetry)
• Study of our country’s literature or of world literature
• Brail or sign language
• Drama, speeches, public speaking, debate
In the words of Dr. Montessori,
“Follow the Child!”
Montessori Elementary School Learning
by Maria Montessori International Academy
“How to Improve Every Relationship You Have with One Step”
by Purdeep Sangha