About Deb Chitwood & her Blog
Deb is a winner of Top 25 Homeschooling Moms - 2013
Do you have any tips for helping kids concentrate on their studies?
Start young, if possible, by introducing lots of practical life activities. Activities for care of self, care of the environment, control of movement, and grace and courtesy help children develop order, concentration, control, and independence as preschoolers. Those qualities are important throughout life. Following your child’s interests at any age encourages concentration. I have a post with 5 Ways to Help Your Child Develop Concentration: http://livingmontessorinow.com/2012/06/04/montessori-monday-help-your-child-develop-concentration/
What's an educational game or activity you and your kids love?
We used unit studies in our homeschooling, and my now-adult children loved reading books together and doing hands-on activities for each theme. I have a post with a list of all the unit studies I’ve published posts about at Living Montessori Now: http://livingmontessorinow.com/2011/08/23/should-you-use-unit-studies/
How do you encourage a love of reading in your kids?
Our house is filled with books. From the time my kids were babies, we spent LOTS of time reading together. Even as teenagers, my kids enjoyed family reading time. I used Montessori phonics activities to make learning to read an easy and fun process. I tell about all the different ways I encouraged a love of reading in this post: http://livingmontessorinow.com/2012/08/07/how-to-help-your-child-treasure-books/
What are your favorite blog posts?
What's a good way to motivate and support children who are struggling to learn a certain school subject?
View All Answers
“Our aim is not only to make the child understand, and still less to force him to memorize, but so to touch his imagination as to enthuse him to his innermost core.” – Maria Montessori
In Montessori education, the focus is on following the child. I truly believe that following the child’s interests is the best way to help a child who’s struggling with a certain subject … and to help any child meet his or her potential. This can work with any age. I've found Montessori principles helpful as a Montessori preschool teacher, homeschooling my children through high school, and encouraging my children as adults.
Develop a unit study based on an interest of your child, providing plenty of interest-based activities in the subject that’s causing difficulties … or just provide interest-based activities in that particular subject area. If you can, use concrete, hands-on activities to help your child understand abstract concepts. That’s very important with young children and helpful at any age (especially with kinesthetic learners). When your child is concentrating, don’t interrupt. Let your child complete a cycle of activity. And have faith that if you follow your child, your child will want to – and can – learn.
What's a great finger food that your kids love? Please include a link.
View All Answers
My two now-adult children are lifelong vegetarians who have always loved peanut butter. My daughter especially loved raisins as a young child. So Ants on a Log became a favorite snack at our house. We used Montessori principles, and my children learned how to prepare their own snacks.
How I introduced food-preparation activities, including Ants on a Log: http://livingmontessorinow.com/2010/07/08/favorite-recipes-for-preschoolers-are-often-the-easiest/
I also have a roundup post with many other Montessori-inspired food-preparation ideas for young children: http://livingmontessorinow.com/2011/11/08/montessori-inspired-food-preparation-for-preschoolers/
Have you found a terrific printable toy? Share the link, and let us know what ages it's best for.
View All Answers
Spoonful has a Build a Barnyard Scene Paper Craft. This can be a fun toy for 3-5 year olds, or it can be used to make an inexpensive DIY Montessori grammar farm (http://livingmontessorinow.com/2011/05/16/activity-of-the-week-the-montessori-grammar-farm/)!