What the FPIES?


October 14th is Global FPIES day.

Why do I care?

Well it turns out this little guy has it.  We will be too busy managing this rare disease to blog about it often, but I wanted to take a chance today to explain a little more about it for those who (like the me of two months ago) have never heard of it before.

The CWOM and The FNOP


A couple weeks ago we had one of those magical Montessori-homeschooling-Catholic moments that only come along with the patience that goes with being all of these things.

As the Year of Mercy draws to a close, we have been reviewing and studying the Corporal Works of Mercy (that's the CWOM).   I like to create my own card work for topics like this that follow the Montessori style of organization.  I believe that this makes the unfamiliar, familiar for my kids and helps them make connections between areas of study.  At the end of the day true education demands that all content be understood in an inner-connected fashion.

September 2016 in Review


This was a busy month for the Indahl crew!


In September, we have been initiated into the *club* that is the Nutcracker family.  I have three dancers and two of them were old enough to audition for this years production.  Aidan will be playing Fritz (a surprise to be sure!) and Kylee will be a mouse.  Between regular classes and rehearsal we are at the studio five days/week.  Everyone has been enjoying it, however, and I've been working on lots of knitting projects.  Maybe some Christmas projects will even be finished this year?  Maybe.



Blended Multi Age Bird Study


 We use a blended approach to Montessori, with our unit study style themes and our integration of Classical approaches.  I am asked a lot about what this really looks like, so I wanted to put together a few more examples.  People tell me that it can't be done to teach such a large range of ages the same subject at the same time, but I assure you that it can!  Truth be told, it's when I start to separate the kids I go crazy!

Here are all the things that we do to study birds across a range of ages.  Every child doesn't do every activity every time through the subject, but over time they continually build a deeper and deeper level of knowledge.  It isn't about learning a certain list of facts or reading a certain set of literature, but about sinking into a subject instead of floating on the surface.

Lucie! Lucie! Lucie!


Last Monday, Lucie was climbing on the back of a chair and took quite the tumble into our piano.  Sometimes I'm not sure if a wound needs stitches or not, but this time..... it was more than clear.  In fact, it might be the first time I've actually freaked out a little bit.   (Ok, more than a little bit....I was totally shrieking at Tim to get upstairs RIGHT NOW!)  Tim and I both drove Lucie to the ER and left the kids together until our friend Leigh could come over and get them.  When we left Logan was sitting in the middle of the floor with his prayer box with chaos going on around him.  Leigh later told me that he wouldn't leave with her without his prayer box...so sweet that one!

If you are a social media follower you probably saw part of this story somewhere.  I ran into several friends this weekend, however, that had only seen one part of the story so I thought I would share the whole saga beginning to end.

Core Montessori: Miniature Environments

Miniature Environments Title 

What is a miniature environment?

The miniature environment is one of the most powerful and versatile tools of the Montessori language program.  A miniature environment can literally be any themed set of materials.  The most common children's house environment is the farm, in fact I've met people who know Montessori who never knew there was more to it than that.  There is usually a defined playing area (table, floor rug/mat), lots of accessories, and labels (a combination of blank and prewritten).

With non readers, this activity is used to build an extensive vocabulary.  For early readers and writers, this is an opportunity for basic encoding (writing) and decoding (reading) practice.  For older students, the miniature environment provides more advanced writing practice and again builds a sophisticated technical vocabulary about a topic.  Writing practice can be factual or fictional as the child develops their imagination in the early elementary years.

Christina Rossetti


 A few weeks ago, a friend stopped by to pick my brain about "going deep" in our studies.  If there is one thing the Montessori method does extremely well it is to dig deep into the corners of a subject and expose new information even for the guide.  My friend was looking for tips on how to add depth to her curriculum when there are so many things that she wants to cover each year and was facing a broad range of students.

This has been a struggle for me in implementing what I consider to be the full Montessori curriculum.  Realistically I just can't do it properly for everyone, so instead I take bits and pieces from the Classical, Charlotte Mason, and Unit Study approaches and use Montessori philosophy and techniques to make it work.

Here is one example of a way we go deep using this approach.