Unit 6: Cultural
The study of geography helps us understand our place in the universe. The study of science helps us learn how to classify all of the plants, animals, minerals, and even man-made objects that surround us. Cultural / Social studies help us understand and respect one another’s similarities and differences. Humans are so incredibly diverse and yet our politics and social interactions not yet fair and just. Little children must be part of this greater conversation.
The themes generated within this unit can be endless - and also absolutely essential, because our mission as Montessori-focused homeschool educators is to bring about peace, both in our children’s inner lives and in the global community, one tiny lesson at a time.
Your Learning Journal / Workbook is both your guide to this week’s topic and a place for your reflections. Next, you’re going to want that checklist of materials and explanations of the activities on hand.
Lesson: Intro to Cultural Subjects
Lesson: Here You Are
Lesson: A Special Study
1. Singing about the solar system is a sure-fire way to energize your children and get them naming those planets in order! This song is adorable and easy to sing. Give it a try and let me know what you think. I’ve met the songwriter/singer of this one - he’s the principal of a Montessori school and writes a lot of songs for Montessori children.
2. Hands-on learning is always a win when it comes to those big, abstract “untouchable” concepts. I recommend investing in a set of tactile 3D planets. My friend Nicole created an amazing map for her children to use, and it is so inspirational to me! I want to do this! But if sewing is feeling a bit too time consuming to you (let’s be real), think about other ways you might use your 3D planets to demonstrate the solar system.
3. I’ve done a version of this map myself, both in the classroom and with my own children. Mine were basic pin-punched circles from construction paper, but I really love the idea of painting the planets and using mixed media (originated by the child!) to make them. In this post, a homeschooling mom gives an example of how this solar study fit into her home life in a fuss-free way.
4. Happy birthday to youuuuu! Do you know the Montessori way to celebrate? Read here to learn more about this special planetary-based celebration.
5. This is just too cool not to share. The activity is listed in your toolkit, but you’ll see a good visual here of the explanation of how we make a flat map of the spherical Earth.
6. The land and water globe (or a tactile map) could be your child’s first introduction to the land masses on Earth that we call Continents. A colored globe (with each continent being a different color to easily identify) is also a classic Montessori material.
Neither are essential for the home, but they are both really beautiful materials that children are drawn to. Read the two posts linked here and tell us how you plan to make continents a tactile and visually appealing experience for your own children. Read article 1 here. Read article 2 here.
7. This is the song I learned as a little girl and so I sang it for the Montessori community on YouTube so that others could learn the tune and cadence. It’s easy to remember and easy to sing. But did you know that different peoples on Earth view continents differently? I’ve had a lot of fascinating conversations from both South Americans and Australians who have a different knowledge base of what constitutes a “continent” based on their own geography and cultural distinctions.
8. A classic Montessori geography work - this punching activity strengthens fine motor skills and allows children to think for a long time about the shape of each continent.
9. Read about how this parent created the landforms with her children naturally using a source of water and mud/sand, and then also how she reinforced the concept at home creatively.
10. Take a look at these seed lessons. Which would you like to try with your child?
11. Rock scrubbing: it’s such a simple idea, but children LOVE IT!
12. This is one approach you might enjoy doing with your child. Rather than having a cultural collection in one box, create seven boxes and collect pictures and trinkets representing each one.
13. This is something we've been doing recently that's 100% inspiring. If this sighting service is available for your area, when you sign up for emails, they will tell you exactly when and for how long the ISS will be visible in the sky.
One morning, I got an email that said it would be visible at 7:34pm for 5 minutes.
We were in the car driving home from a pumpkin patch and there was tons of traffic, so we were stuck in the car for hours...but while driving through the valley, we looked up at 7:34 and there was the space station, shining brightly.
We watched it speed across the sky. It did take exactly five minutes to cross the horizon before it was gone. We were left with awe and wonder that there we just saw some astronauts pass by.
14. Here’s a nicely written article about the peace curriculum in Montessori education.
15. Going a little deeper, this article sheds some light on the beliefs of both Gandhi and Montessori in regards to raising peaceful children - written from the perspective of a Montessori classroom teacher.
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