Getting Started with Montessori Homeschooling


For the overwhelmed, tired, and confused parent.


So you’ve fallen head over heels with the Montessori method, you know THIS truly is the way kids learn best, you want to go all in immediately but you’re not sure where to start? This was ME!


While I was completing my BA in Educational Studies, I developed a loathing of the public school system; where was I suppose to send my kids now!? One of our research paper topics was to discuss trends in education. This is when I first learned about Montessori. I was totally overwhelmed by all the information, but absolutely intrigued! I had to reach out to my professor and convinced her to let me change my topic to write about why Montessori education was NOT simply a trend.


Long story short – I LOVE Montessori! I knew this was the type of education all children deserved and I wanted to provide my own children with it. This will be the beginning of a series sharing what I’ve learned and how we are implementing Montessori into our home. I hope this will ultimately save you time, peace of mind, and give you the confidence you need to get started!



First things first: If you haven’t already, read The Absorbent Mind by Dr. Maria Montessori! You’ll be blown away and develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of her philosophy. If you’re totally new to Montessori, check out this post that breaks down the philosophy into bite sized chunks.


Second: DON’T GO BUY ALL THE THINGS!!!!

This is so, SO, SO important (and it happens to be the first mistake I made🤦🏽‍♀️).
Perhaps you’ve heard this before from other Montessorians, but it’s worth repeating: “IT’S NOT ABOUT THE MATERIALS, IT’S ABOUT THE PHILOSOPHY.” (Repeat 10x, print and hang up somewhere you’ll see, if you’re addict to buying learning materials like me. 🤪) Don’t worry, I’ll get to discussing materials in a later post. Also an important note, don’t feel like you need to wait to have alllllll the materials before you can get started. You can get started as soon as you’re done reading this article. Yes, there is great importance in a prepared environment but Montessori homeschooling is rooted in the attitude of the guide, in this case that is you.


Third: Begin taking a deep interest in observing your children. Encourage their independence. This is KEY to homeschooling successfully. You are their guide. In a child-friendly, prepared environment, the children will teach themselves.

Fourth: Actively learn and put into practice respectful parenting methods. Respect for the child is the most important part of the Montessori philosophy. Even if you do already practice respectful parenting, there is always more to learn. Check out Janet Lansbury, Kristin Mariella, and L.R. Knost. They have so much wisdom to offer! If you’re looking for more peer support in this area, I have loved being apart of the “Gentle Parenting Catholics” group on Facebook.

Fifth: Evaluate your home environment. Can our children easily help themselves in everyday tasks due to materials being made accessible? Such as dressing themselves, putting away their belongings, helping with house hold chores, etc. A quick google search will provide you with TONS of lists with examples of practical life skills to work on with your children.

In my next post we’ll talk about Montessori homeschool “curriculum” (albums). Click here to read my previous post about the Montessori philosophy.

Lent 2020 (FREE beautiful prayer cards!)


I’ve always had a tough time sticking to my Lenten practices, so this year I taped up some visual reminders and used Jenna’s printable to organize my thoughts. You can find this worksheet in Jenna’s Etsy shop: “callherhappy”

Here are the links to the prayer cards I’ve made to aid in putting my Lenten practices into place.

The Regina Calei prayer is said in place of the Angelus during the Easter season. So I’ve included that one as well.

Angelus & Regina Calei

Psalm 23

Bite-Sized Montessori


Unraveling the complex web of the Montessori Method.


Montessori’s principles are actually very basic when boiled down to the core – so don’t worry, I’ll keep this short! There is a lot of info out there between books and blogs; it can feel overwhelming to sift through it all. If you do have time to read just one book I’d recommend The Absorbent Mind by Dr. Maria Montessori.

Let’s dive in!

What is “Montessori”?


“Montessori” is the last name of the world- renowned Italian Doctor, Maria Montessori (1870-1952). Based on her scientific observations from birth to adulthood, she developed the novel idea to educate the whole child from birth. Her methods have been popular for over 100 years and have been shown through short and long term studies to be successful in every cultural they’ve been implemented.

The 3 main points of the Montessori Method:
1. Creating a child-centered educational approach.
2. Views the child as a natural learner who is capable of initiating learning and acquiring knowledge when provided with a prepared environment.
3. Values the development of the whole child: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.

That’s really it! 3 simply points.


To expand upon that, University of Virginia Professor, Angeline S. Lillard, Ph.D. has made know that there are 8 Fundamental Principles of Montessori education that provide children with superior educational outcomes. You can read more about those here.

If you’d like to get even more into the details of the Montessori philosophy see my compilation below.

The Montessori philosophy:

  • The Montessori materials are secondary to the Montessori philosophy
  • Respect of the child
  • Individually of each child
  • Freedom of choice
  • “Freedom within limits”
  • Children participate in the making of rules
  • Self-disciple
  • Children learn through hands on experiences
  • Montessori work is child-directed and self-correcting
  • The child possesses an “absorbent mind” with an inner motivation to learn
  • Children teach themselves
  • Children learn by observing others
  • Opportunities for self-discovery rather than being told
  • Once a work has been demonstrated the child is free to use it without correction from the teacher unless the child is abusing the work or harming others
  • The teacher’s role to observe the child and follow the child’s lead
  • The Montessori teacher thinks of themselves to be a guide or a director rather than a teacher
  • A “prepared environment” of carefully prepared shelves with materials for the child to direct their own learning
  • The teacher/guide/director is a link or a catalyst between the child and the prepared environment
  • Independence of the child from the teacher
  • Children possess a natural desire to care for themselves and their environment and typically prefer not to have things done for them
  • The child develops a sense of responsibility and caring for the environment
  • Mixed ages where the younger children learn by emulating older children and older children learn by helping younger children
  • Each child learns at their own pace and is allowed to progress at their own pace
  • Every child has an inner need to grow physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually
  • The child has a natural love of order
  • Children learn by a natural desire of repetition
  • Children go through various “sensitive periods” where they are drawn to a material with a window of opportunity to easily absorb certain information
  • Education of the whole child
  • Non-competitiveness
  • Work from the whole to the parts
  • The wonder of discovery of the natural world with an overview of the whole universe

Phew! So maybe I didn’t keep it all that short- but hopefully breaking it down into these smaller chunks will make it easier to process.


Further Recommended Reading:

Basic Montessori Philosophy-

The Absorbent Mind by Dr. Maria Montessori

Discovery of the Child by Dr. Maria Montessori

The Secret of Childhood by Dr. Maria Montessori

Dr. Montessori’s own Handbook: A Short Guide to Her Ideas and Materials by Dr. Maria Montessori

Spiritual Formation using the Montessori Methods-

The Child and The Church by Dr. Maria Montessori

The Religious Potential of the Child: Experiencing Scripture and Liturgy With Young Children by Sofia Cavalletti

Listening to God with Children by Gianna Gobbi

The Good Shepherd and the Child: A Joyful Journey by Sofia Cavalletti and others

The Religious Potential of the Child: 6 to 12 years old by Sofia Cavalletti

The Mass Explained to Children by Dr. Maria Montessori (Explains The Traditional Latin Mass)

Advanced Montessori-

The Advanced Montessori Method I by Dr. Maria Montessori

The Advanced Montessori Method II by Dr. Maria Montessori

Education for a New World by Dr. Maria Montessori

Peace and Education by Dr. Maria Montessori

DIY Montessori Phonics Boxes


Learning Beginning Letter Sounds


To learn letter sounds we’ve been using:

+ DIY Montessori phonics boxes

+ ABC See, Hear, Do

The phonics boxes aid in making the abstract topic of letter sounds more concrete. The ABC see, hear, do book combines visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning for phonemic awareness. Both resources are very easy to implement and have been tons of fun to use.

**Note: The Montessori approach calls for teaching letter sounds before letter names…. but I didn’t know about Montessori before I started teaching my son the names of letters. 🙈🤷‍♀️


How to make:

  • Purchase a hardware storage box
    • (I found Lowe’s to have the cheapest option but you can find the same one Amazon as well)
  • Print, cut, and attach labels with tape to the fronts of the drawers
  • Fill each drawer with various items that represent the letter and items that begin with the letter

Here’s a peek inside what’s in some of our drawers.

In every drawer I included an upper and lower case magnet, tiny animals , picture cards, and any other little odds and ends I could find around the house.

To print the picture cards small enough to fit into the drawers listed above: under the “Scale” option, select “Custom” in the print preview. Type “75” to shrink the pictures to scale.

***Since this material’s focus is for the child to learn beginning letter sounds, it’s important to make sure you only include objects that “say” the letter’s most common letter sound. For example I found a little plastic cheetah that I was going to include in the letter C drawer, but realized it wouldn’t work because the word “cheetah” says “ch” rather then “c”.

We chose not to purchase anything extra to fill the boxes since we already had so many tiny toys on hand. If you rather purchase a complete set of miniatures that can be found here ($),here ($$)and here ($$$).


There are SO many ways you can use this fun learning tool. Here are a couple of ideas:

•as an adjunct to a preschool “letter of the week” curriculum
•as a review tool for a child who’s mastered letter names and sounds but isn’t quite ready for reading
•simply as an invitation to learn and play

My son has learned much more then just letter sounds from this tool.

+ His vocabulary has grown.

Playing with the items provides opportunity to introduce even more words that begin with that letter! For example: playing with the tiny starfish while learning about the letter “s” may lead to discussion of seahorses, seals, sailboats, etc.

For each item we discuss the letter sound first and foremost but we also describe what it looks like, how it feels, what we can do with it, etc.

+ He’s learned how to clean up after himself and stay organized.

We make sure to put the items back in the correct drawers and that the drawers are in the right alphabetical order.

Be sure to tag me if you make one! I’d love to see how it turns out 🙂

Free ABC Saint Flash Cards

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So… I forgot to schedule in any type of Saint study this year! I wasn’t keen on purchasing something extra and couldn’t find anything for free that stood out to me, till I stumbled upon archive.org. Archive.org features millions of books, movies, music, and more- for FREE!

There I found “An Alphabet of Saints” by Robert Hugh Benson. This book is a British classic from 1905! I re-formatted the pages to be 5×7 flash cards for easy print and use purposes.

Each card features:

+ vintage sketch of a scene from the life of a saint with the corresponding letter

+ a short biographical summary of the saint’s life, mission, and feast day

+ sweet rhythmic poem about the saint

We’ll be studying 1 Saint per unit (every 2 weeks).

Download your free flash cards HERE!

You can find the ABC scripture verse cards pictured on the right HERE.

If you’d prefer a hard copy of “An Alphabet of Saints” that can be found HERE

Or check out the free version online HERE



I recommend printing the Saint flash cards single-sided on card stock and laminating for longevity.




Disclaimer: This book is in the public domain thus it is free to use for personal and commercial use. Some words may be faded and difficult to read due to the book being over 100 years old.