At Home #3: Giving Lessons

Here are suggestions for how you can give your child lessons.  Remember in the Montessori classroom, when we say “lessons” we mean introducing your child to a “work”.  Once introduced, your child works on his/her own to master the work on which you’ve given the lesson.

  1. Appropriate: Choose lessons based on your child’s level of development, ability, and interest.
  2. Prepared: Have your materials prepared before calling your child to the lesson.
  3. Show more, say less: Keep lessons short, simple – fewer words, more demonstration. Show the child and let the child watch what you’re doing.
  4. Stay: Have the child stay with the lesson until it’s complete.
  5. Try: Let the child try while you are there, so you’re sure s/he understands.
  6. Follow-up: Right after the lesson, ask if your child would like to do the work right away.  If the child says no, smile, put the new work in the work area, and say, “Since you’ve had this lesson, you can take this work out any time.”
  7. Variety: Give lessons in the various areas:  numbers (math), sounds/pre-reading (language), sensorial, practical life, art, cultural/science, and handwriting.
  8. Follow your child: Give more lessons in areas where your child shows the greatest interest (there may be more than one, and it may change) so you can take advantage of the enthusiasm for that area, and continue to give lessons in other areas to pique their interest.
  9. Independent learner: Lessons are one-on-one with your child, but the actual work should be for the child to try alone.  You are there if your child needs a little reminder lesson, a little guidance, or to check the completed work, but the majority of your child’s works should not require that you sit with him/her the entire time.
  10. Be happy: Be happy with your child; don’t be discouraged if s/he isn’t currently interested in a particular area.  They all learn to read and do math – at different times and with different levels of interest – but those who learn when they want to learn, learn best!

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