A Year of Montessori Learning: July

JULY

July! Where did you go July? This month somehow seemed to fly by, and at the same time contain some of the longest days of the year. We packed a lot into this crazy month, not to mention harvesting millions and millions of pounds of blueberries and blackberries, and I think we did pretty darn well! We tried our best to get out and about, do our own thing a little bit and give Taylor a break from having to balance a crazy work life with home life. We had lots of adventures just the two of us, and while I’m feeling pretty tired and happy to see this busy season go, it’s been a really, really sweet time.

Emmett has started to communicate A LOT this month. Even if it’s the same word over and over again, he’s got stuff to say and he’s going to say it! He’s putting together sentences, usually about cars, Cash or tractors, and I know it’s a normal day if I’ve heard my name roughly 14,000 times. He’s got enthusiasm, big emotions and a great memory, and it’s so fun to watch him explore and begin to understand the world.

His concentration is increasing, he’s obsessed with bear books, and Thomas the Train books, and pretty much just books in general. He made the leap to storybooks this last month, able to turn the pages gently and without ripping, and hasn’t been drawn as much to his collection of board books. Unless they’re about tractors of course. He plays with his model tractors endlessly, and toward the end of the month became captivated by using them to dump things into a dump truck.

His coordination and dexterity has exploded and he is growing like crazy! Since the beginning of the summer, he’s gone up three shoe sizes and the 2T clothes aren’t looking quite so big as they once did. My baby! Well, my baby is gone, but in his place is the sweetest, most curious, funny, loving and hilarious little boy. I love him so.

Theme:
Music-Β Music was a FUN theme. Between the shelves full of instruments, our custom playlist, a Red Yarn concert and plenty of time singing along to Thomas in the car, this may have been our favorite theme yet. There was just so much to do, think about, talk about. Emmett really got the concept of dancing and singing, requesting I sing “Down on Papa’s Farm” (our remix of “Grandpa’s Farm”) many MANY times every day. It was the only thing that got him to sleep on our tent adventures, kept him calm on our many road trips and well, I guess it just felt fitting. Music month, indeed. I exercised my vocal cords more than I have in quite some time. I’m ready for his song repertoire to expand a bit into different music, but it was really fun just the same.

Books:
Well, we officially have a reading enthusiast. Emmett has always liked books, but just in the last couple weeks he’s started to ask to read all throughout the day. He’ll sit down with a basket of books by himself, crawl in my lap and instruct ask me to read. He wants to read at breakfast and lunch, always at bedtime, and anytime I sit down at the computer in the office and try to get anything done, he’s climbing up my chair and plunking down, repeating “Yeah Mama,” until I set my work aside. I’m not going to lie to you, it’s kind of my favorite.

Emmett really enjoyed a few of the books from the library specifically, so I figured they were worth expanding on. Clap your Hands, Animal Music and Drum City were all favorites of ours, and we read them at lunch every single day. They all had lovely rhyming text that was just as musical to read as the subject matter. Emmett loved the animals in Clap Your Hands and Animal Music, and thought the kids in Drum City were hilariously entertaining. Not all of these books were particularly “Montessori-esque,” due to the fact that they featured singing and dancing animals, but I think that’s ok now and again. Emmett also really liked the simple little book titled Music, that’s basically an encyclopedia of instruments. I even think it helped him with the matching work I had on his shelves.

Library: Music. Thomas & Friends CD. Thomas the Tank Engine. Clap Your Hands. Drum City. Listen to the Birds. Animal Music. M is for Music.

Our Collection:Β The Wheels on the Bus. Each Peach Pear Plum. Thomas Mini-Books. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. What a Wonderful World. Bear Sees Colors. Adventures of Barefoot Critters. Barnyard Dance. Itsy Bitsy Spider.

Adventures:
Oh boy have we had some adventures this month! Sadly, they’ve been without Taylor, but Emmett and I decided to be brave and really live it up this month. We started with a trip to Albany for the Red Yarn concert, followed closely by a trip to Lincoln City, where Emmett picked out his first sand toys, ate his first fish and chips at Mo’s and spent hours enjoying the sand and water. Next up was our fly-fishing trip to Central Oregon, where he got to meet his first trout thanks to Richard, slept in his first sleeping bag, lost his hat in the river and sucked down a Huckleberry milkshake at record speed. Just a few days after we got back, we packed up the car again and had a wild trip to Triangle Lake with family, where he got to play with cousins, ride in the boat and watch his mama waterski.

I’m so proud of how well he did on our adventures and I think we both feel so much more confident in our ability to set out on our own. I’ve really enjoyed being a part of the Wild + Free Community this last year and the resources and materials they provide have only further strengthened my resolve to raise my kids outside. If you’ve got young kiddos at home or are interested in homeschooling in any way, they’ve been such an encouragement and inspiration to me. Check them out!

Projects:
We were so busy having adventures this month that we didn’t get to too many projects, but the main one I had in mind was a craft with blank music sheets. Emmett used his dot paints to decorate the sheets, and then I made each dot into music notes with a sharpie. Super fancy, I know. But they’re bright and fun and it was really the first time I’ve seen him focus on anything with art supplies, instead of just constantly trying to eat them. I mean there was some of that, but not as much as in the past. It was fun even!

Shelves/Toys:
Emmett’s shelves this month were almost entirely musical instruments. To supplement our small set of Melissa and Doug wooden instruments, we borrowed some from Auntie Melissa and all month long Emmett pulled those babies off the shelf and made a ruckus. I tried to have a bit of “circle time” at least once a week, where we sat down and actually sang along/tried to play some sort of organized tune, but often just let him explore which instruments made which sounds. He was into it.

I also purchased the Musical Instruments Sound Puzzle and Musical Instruments Toob. Both of these items were quite popular, and I feel like this puzzle really helped Emmett fine-tune his puzzling skills. He’s doing the rest of them with much greater ease, and it’s so fun to watch! I also printed out and laminated these musical discovery cards to make a matching game, and despite a lot of the instruments looking similar, Emmett could do most of it with minimal assistance. He loved everything on his shelves this month, and played with it all every day.

He’s still obsessed with his barn, tractors of any kind, and most recently dump trucks and trains. Little boys are the BEST.

Playlist:
In addition to rocking out to this musically inspired playlist almost everyday, I tried to have Emmett help me pick out and put on a record pretty frequently. We also listened to a Thomas CD in the car, and a classical music cd we checked out from the library, as well as our regular Raffi and WeeSing Nursery Rhymes. I tried to throw in a few songs that gave us that summertime vibe, and it was fun to have upbeat tunes blasting every day.

July | Music

Since we are well into August’s theme, Montessori Spaces, I can truthfully say that I’m really struggling with this one. We already have Montessori spaces set up in our kitchen, living room, Emmett’s room and the bathroom, and its proving a bit difficult to make the theme translate to shelves and activities. So far I’ve just kind of followed some of Emmett’s current interests for our shelves and I guess I’m just going to try to fine-tune our spaces and make sure I’m including Emmett in my daily activities as much as possible. We’ll see how it goes!

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One Comment

  1. You are an amazing mom. Creating opportunities and activities for your sweet little boy. Raffi was a favorite music tape in our house…there’s a spider on your head, on your head! (Cade and Lucas would put an object on their head and squeal like crazy)
    Keep enjoying each stage…they only get sweeter