I'm a big proponant of giving the children a learning environment. I think it encourages the children to see everyday life as a learning opportunity and helps develop a love of learning. I also think that children are designed (by the Great Designer) to learn. Giving them #1 - a fertile environment that #2 - fits their size (therefore doesn't make thing harder for them) only taps into their #3 - predesigned zeal for learning.
- We have books EVERYWHERE! It's a joy!
- They have seating that fits their bodies (if they'd ever use them).
- They each have their own space for their stuff. They have their own pencil boxes with their own supplies, they have their own baskets or boxes to put their books and we have a place for art projects and other projects (I'll have to tell you about my binder system, someday).
- We have a math center (it's in the picture) and a reading center for the younger kids.
How has our homeschool learning environment developed?
We started with one child at a child's table learning one-on-one with a set curriculum. Eventually, I made Montessori materials for the younger children growing into schooling. We now have children laying on floors, or sitting where ever they please. Most do their school rather independently and come to Mom for questions. I also direct (teach) certain subjects that require my input, like reading to them from a science book to ensure they're understanding the concepts or drilling all their vocabulary up to that point in Latin.
Many of the children are grouped together by ability rather than separated by grade in Science, History, Religion & Foreign Language. For example my 3rd grader joins my 5th grader in Latin, but also joins her 1st grade brother in History.
Some of the things you see stored in our math center is our :
~Math-U-See blocks and the ever present decimal street that I made from a file folder, construction paper homes, number cards and had it all laminated. (By the way, the Math-U-See program ROCKS!)
*I actually have 2 different versions of Decimal Street.
*One is described in the MUS book and fits the blocks exactly.
*The other is made from file folders taped together and has additions of Decimal Street houses with lakes in the shape of a comma separating the additions (top picture). Lake Thousand is the first lake, then after another housing addition of decimal street, Lake Million. I made blue comma cards with the names of the lakes that they use with it to teach extended place value.
~Behind the MUS blocks is our geoboards and to the right of the table is our teddybear counters.
~ Then we have miscellaneous math materials we've made or bought in the top left box.
~We also have translucent geometric solids (but they're not solid and you can put lots of mini-m&m's in them on the bottom left box.