"Supposing I said there was a planet without schools or teachers, study was unknown, and yet the inhabitants - doing nothing but living and walking about - came to know all things, to carry in their minds the whole of learning: would you not think I was romancing? Well, just this, which seems so fanciful as to be nothing but the invention of a fertile imagination, is a reality. It is the child's way of learning. This is the path he follows. He learns everything without knowing he is learning it, and in doing so passes little from the unconscious to the conscious, treading always in the paths of
joy and love."
~ Maria Montessori ~
joy and love."
~ Maria Montessori ~
"In nomine Patris et Spiritus Sancti. Amen." These are the words that I heard coming from Patrick's mouth as he sat down for lunch, today. I was surprised. I knew that he knew how to make the sign of the cross in English, but I did not realize that he had been listening to his siblings say, "In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti. Amen." God has blessed His little ones with an incredible ability to learn.
Shortly after lunch, Patrick got our Lauri Noah's Ark Puzzle, placed it on the coffee table, took all the pieces out, and started to do it. I remembered doing this puzzle with his eldest sister at a similar age, but I had no idea that Patrick could do the puzzle. Upon completing the puzzle, he went on to do it two more times. After finishing the puzzle for the third time, he said, "Please take a photo of me. I'm finished." We have not taught Patrick his manners (please, thank you, etc.), he has picked up on them by listening and observing.
One of the reasons I love homeschooling is because I get to observe my children learning. I have found that given a loving and nurturing environment, children (especially young children) will naturally learn. So, what does that loving and nurturing environment look like in our home in regards to Patrick? Our days are usually somewhat organized and fairly similar. When Patrick wakes up, I change his diaper. We go to the kitchen and I get bowls on the table, while Patrick gets spoons. I pour his cereal and he sometimes pours his milk into his bowl. After breakfast, he takes his bowl to the sink and then he gets dressed with some assistance from me.
We say our morning prayers and then I give all of the children a short Latin lesson (Patrick plays in the living room). Patrick and Theresa are then free to decide what they want to do. Popular choices include drawing, working with the Lauri Shape and Color Sorter, designing with our Pattern Blocks, playing with Theresa's Playmobil Noah's Ark, driving his trains or cars, building with blocks or duplos, etc. At some point during the morning, I usually find that my three eldest are all working independently on something and I take this opportunity to read books to Patrick and Theresa. Patrick's favorite books are The Poky Little Puppy, The Boy with a Drum, and Angus and the Ducks.
We eat lunch together and then I read to all of the children. Patrick occasionally sits next to me and listens, but he usually occupies himself with something in the living room. After our read-aloud, the children play outside. Some days, Patrick runs, climbs, slides, and swings. Other days, he finds enjoyment working with our child-size garden tools. When he comes inside, he is usually ready for a nap and enjoys snuggling with me and listening to a story before he falls asleep. If he is not ready for a nap, then I have learned that I am going to be busy.
Our day ends with dinner, baths, bible, the Rosary, and listening to more stories. Patrick enjoys participating in all of these activities with varying degrees of interest. Regardless of his degree of interest, I know that he is usually listening and always learning.