Pre Reading Skills with I-Spy Books

Pre Reading

Look & find, or I-spy, books are a favorite around here and they have a great dual purpose of promoting visual discrimination, a key pre reading skill.  Visual discrimination, or the ability to see how two things are different or the same and how they relate to each other, is how a child eventually learns to tell the difference between an "a" and an "o" or a "p", "b", "d", and "q".

Playing more advanced levels of the traditional Montessori I-Spy games using beginning and ending sounds combines auditory and visual discrimination.  All of this can happen developmentally before kids need to be looking at the letters at all!  In fact, the more you play these games before (long before!) introducing letters and sounds the more easily your child will be able to make the jump to writing and reading.

Which teacher-geeks me out just how cool the brain really is.

It's ok if you don't get quite as excited about this stuff as I do.  You can still reap the many advantages of I-Spy without all the nerdy back information about what effect it is having on your child's brain.  Look and find books are a great way to do that.   Here are a few of our favorite collections.

5 Reasons This Homeschool Blogging Convert Wrote A Book About The Rosary

5 Reasons

As my latest writing project starts circulating in the coming weeks, I know that some people might wonder who on earth is this Heidi Indahl person anyway?  What qualifies her to talk about the rosary or pregnancy and infant loss?

On first glance, coming to this blog or following me on social media just might leave a person even more confused!

Here are five(ish) answers that question.

Two Beginner Herbal Recipes for Your Little Gatherer

Herbal Recipes Cover 

 I have wild children.  By this, I mean they would be outside in our woods all day, every day- and sometimes they are.  They love to make their own little herbal concoctions and pretend brews and once spent an entire summer stocking their fort with little remedies for every ailment they could image.

It's not just pretend play, however, and in the spring they watch carefully for some of their favorite edible and useful friends.  Dandelion, violet, chickweed (which is often a fall find around here, but occasionally they get lucky in spring so they always watch for it), and plantain are some of their favorites.   While we do make tinctures, oils, infusions, and more for our family medicine cabinet, they also enjoy making a few simple herbal treats this time of year.  Here are two that even a beginner can master.

New! Subscriber Only Page!

How many times have you seen your child try something successfully (or not so successfully) after they have observed you doing the same task many times?  Our children observe us and the Montessori method teaches us how to observe them.

Montessori methods and philosophy are beautiful tools to support your family's daily life and homeschooling.  Here at Work & Play, Day by Day we are committed to helping you on that journey.   While there are many blogs describing the method and materials of Montessori, I want this to be a place that all are welcome to see it in action (the beautiful and the messy) and figure out how to best take advantage of all the approach has to offer for your family. 

It doesn't really matter where your child goes to school, how many you have, and if you know anything about Montessori.  All you need is the genuine desire to develop your child into a capable and confident human being of character.  

I am here to help.

I have been intermittently publishing a newsletter primarily aimed at homeschooling for the past several months.  As I have built a deeper relationship with some of these subscribers, I realized that there is a huge need for a place to talk about the more practical side of raising a family with Montessori (heck, just raising a family period!) and my recent posting along those lines has been heavily influenced by their input.  I want all of you to be a part of that.  

If you are here and you are reading, your voice is important to me!

You can subscribe to our newsletter at any time in the yellow bar at the top of this website.  Enter your email and the next time I send a mailing, it will include the link to a special area of this website dedicated to providing some of my favorite resources for FREE.**  You can also sign up by clicking here.

PLUS!   I have an incentive going with my mailing list members that for every 50 new subscribers we bring in, I will add another resource to the page for up to 500 additional subscribers!  After that, I will add a new resource every 100 for another 500.  

Free stuff is good, but MORE FREE STUFF is even better, yes?!

You are already here, let's make sure you are getting everything out of the experience as you can.  Sign up today for inspiring Montessori photo quotes you can display in your home as a reminder of the beauty of childhood and for a set of Montessori-inspired games to help you get started!

**As a small-time blogger, I don't have the cash flow to pay for an automated MailChimp response for new subscribers right now so I have to manually send these emails in batches.  If you are super excited about your free materials and just can't wait, go ahead and send an email to and I will get you the link sooner!  

Kids in the Kitchen: Tots to Tweens

Kids Kitchen Post Header

In almost 14 years of parenting, I have done a ton of cooking with my kids and now they do a lot of cooking on their own.  Some of it has been very formal and intentional in its Montessori application and other parts have been more free-form.

Keep reading for a snapshot of what those 14 years, rearranged from tots to tweens looks like in action.

Large Families Need Lockers

Entry Transformation 

 Nothing goes further towards keeping a house neat and orderly than solidly established entry/exit procedures.  The easier it is for the smallest family members to take responsibility for their own belongings in clear and well-defined spaces, the easier it is to implement said entry/exit procedures.  The entryway is an area that every family should consider setting up in a child-accessible, Montessori way.

Timelines for Family Catechesis

Timelines header 

 The Montessori approach to homeschooling has given me a natural appreciation for the many ways to approach learning through timelines.  As time has gone on, our use of timelines has moved more and more into family catechesis as well.  Here are some ideas to get your family started with faith-inspired timelines!