One hallmark of Montessori is the multi-level environment. In a Montessori school classrooms usually have about a 3 year age span. During their time in the class students get to experience being the youngest, and also the most experienced. Students learn to work with peers who they can mentor, and also peers who can mentor them. Individualized learning paths are not obvious to everyone in the room because students may be taking on different learning roles in different tasks.
In addition, the Montessori materials are often used multiple times to introduce or practice different concepts. A student can be inspired by a more advanced student and use the same material at the appropriate level.
A homeschool is almost by default a multi-age environment, though the individual student roles probably don’t change as much.
In the last week we’ve had two occasions where the girls have used the same material in their own way. In one instance, Daisy asked to use the same material at Funball. In another we all started working on a project together and the girls naturally fell into the roles they needed to take.
Funball’s been working with the fraction circles on and off, having various fraction multiplication lessons. Daisy hasn’t used these for a while, and asked to do what her sister was doing – so she got started on some sensorial fraction addition! Being able to use the same materials as her big sister has absolutely inspired Daisy to pull this material out more than I think she would otherwise.
In the middle of the week, as part of our Ancient Egypt work, we were building pyramids with little wooden blocks (from the dollar store!) and Daisy was counting the blocks. Arranging them was also great fine-motor practice for her and also an exercise in patience since we had to start rebuilding a few times! Funball has been doing introductory square and cube work, so she was recording the number of blocks in each level in notation, equation, and value form. At the top few levels of the pyramid Daisy was able to skip count the rows too! This activity in particular was a great opportunity for the girls to work together and practice the skill they each needed to practice.
The fraction circles are homemade. If you have a Cricut or other cutting machine, you can pick up the files to make your own in my Etsy store!