Tag Archives: Education

Happy Birthday Maria Montessori!

Maria Montessori is the mother of the educational system baring her name. Her educational methods are what I use in teaching my children. Her methods are tough in over 20,000 public schools world-wide and a large number of home schools.

The focus of Montessori methods is the child instead of the teacher. The student learns at their own pace, using their natural learning style and in subjects that interest them. Here is how the 4homefrys apply the basic Montessori principles.

  1. Structure:Having a learning environment and schedule centered around the children is the key to starting this style of education. Children need to feel comfortable, independent and free to make choices (with boundaries and time lines).
    1.  After given instructions and time guidelines the homefrys are free to choose where to sit. They quickly figured out that lessons requiring writing are better done at the desk and other lessons are good for the comfy chairs or class room couch.
    2.  They are free to get up to get a drink or healthy snack with out asking….they know the time guidelines.
    3. They are free to work as a team or individually.
  2. Real Life Skills: When the homefrys were younger they had chores, now they household responsibilities that are directly related to real life because they are real life.
    1. The little homefrys are responsible for preparing the monthly food menu, budgeting and preparing the meals. Imagine no more “what’s for dinner”.
    2. Community work is very important to us and the kids make decisions on what we are going to do, who we support and why. This month helping those effected by the latest hurricane will be a priority. It is amazing to see the kids cut extra nuggets from the menu to help those in need.
    3. They are not given an allowance but we do post ‘help wanted” signs from time to time. They must apply for the job and then must meet or exceed the expectations for the job to get paid.
  3. Promote Concentration and Focus: Even for kids who have “focus issues” the best way to learn focus is to engage them in topics of interest.
    1. We have a range of topics and lesson options for the kids to choose from. My oldest is a history and reading guru (3 levels above) so all subject lessons for her are build around those two things. (her choice not ours)
    2. Creating an environment where self learning occurs is essential to focus.
  4. Nurture inner motivation:Learning for the sake of accomplishment instead of rewards is the key.
    1. We do not give “stars” or other rewards for work done and praise is only given for effort not for the actual work. The joy a 6 grader feels after reading chapter 1 of a college level book (Read…not understood) on their own is the inner drive that keeps adults learning and growing.

Montessori education allows kids to have the freedom and support to question everything, investigate subjects as deep as they want, learn from their success and mistakes. The Montessori methods we use produce confident, enthusiastic, self-directed learners. They are able to think critically, work collaboratively, and act boldly—skills that are always in high demand.


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Filed under Education, Home School, Parenting

Cook 1 day and eat for a Month

The 4homefrys have cooked in bulk for several years now. This method of meal preparation saves money and allows us to eat healthy, preservative free food. Here are some of the steps we take to prepare.

  1. Plan a Menu – if you have never planned a months worth of meals it maybe overwhelming; try starting with a week. We sit down as a family and plan both lunches and dinner. Breakfast is my job and I do this weekly (bacon, sausage, fresh biscuits and egg tortillas)
  2.  Go shopping – we shop at Sam’s Club and Publix for bulk items. We go to a farmers market for veggies and the butcher or farmer for the meat. We happen to live close to the gulf so getting fresh fish is easy for our family.
  3. Prep the food– This is the kids favorite part. The kids love to prepare all the fresh veggies, bag some for stew, cut some for dehydration, and some for roasting. My wife and I prepare the meat. The chicken is mostly grilled but some is blanched. The Blanched chicken becomes stew, soup or homemade nuggets.
    • TIP: Dehydrating veggies (tomatoes, sweet potatoes, peas and carrot slices taste like “potato chips” when seasoned. This is very healthy and cheaper than chips bought in a store.

Ready to roast a batch

Ready for dehydration

4. Store it – We then package and freeze. When practical we arrange the freezer packs by the week which makes it easy to take from freezer to fridge without pulling the wrong items.

    • TIP – Storing meat in a homemade sauce or its juices will let it keep for about 5 months.

This weeks food

5. Eat it  –  After cooking all day we feed the kids some shrimp and mac and cheese (they pick their menu) and yes the mac & cheese is the homemade kind with real cheese. We eat a fresh greens salad with roasted garlic tomatoes, seared shrimp in a garlic butter sauce and feta cheese. Fresh bread and radishes (just for me) completes the meal.



Filed under Education, Home School, Parenting