Two of the widest read posts I have written in the past few months discussed refreshing the environment and homeschool a large family with the Montessori method. With Caleb off to school now, both of those areas have required a bit of a shift again. Aidan is still working with materials, to be sure, but he is working with them less and less. Logan and Kylee are still in primary works and don't require the same breadth of material. The combination of these factors means I actually got to move some things out of my schoolroom!
I was able to take most of the tall shelves and swap them out for lower ones which makes my dining room feel much larger. Tim said we probably added 3-4 feet of visual space at our eye level. I also rearranged a couple shelves to make more of an early childhood corner.
The shifting ages, also means that my focus during the day will change. Aidan works relatively independently, with a typical presentation schedule of one lesson/day. I have to monitor assignments/follow up and correct his work, but during work time he doesn't usually need a lot. Kylee and Logan now get an early childhood trained person with time to be an early childhood person! My head is full of ideas on how this might look, but this week I've been focusing on providing more extensions for their work. I've done reasonably well with presenting materials, but less well providing for follow up ideas and suggestions.
I focused on sensorial extensions this week, making a set of extension cards for the knob less cylinders, red rods, and pink tower/brown stair.
Knobless Cylinder cards are from Montessori Print Shop. They are designed to be printed one design per page so that the cylinders can be matched directly to the bases, but I didn't want to (a) use that much ink and (b) use that much paper. Instead I printed them 4 to a page and laminated and cut them apart into cards. The designs look the same as they would, just smaller. This is a good level of challenge for Kylee.
The Red Rod and Pink Tower/Brown Stair extensions are a free download from Montessori Works. I printed those the size they were (4x6 photos) and laminated and cut them to be a similar size as the knob less cylinder cards. I did take out a couple that I felt were more just building and less exploring the relationships between the sizes of the two materials. Logan has been really into these extensions already, although for some reason, he can't seem to get them back on the shelf correctly (see above). I know that with time that will come, however, so I don't worry!