21 Free Montessori-Based Winter Printable Activities

Fun Holiday-themed Activities to Engage Your Children with Math and Language Arts


If you haven’t seen our winter printables pack yet you are in for a treat. But I don’t want to spoil the surprise or bore you to tears by describing every detail of all 32 activities. So I wrote a little poem that I’d like to read to you instead...

‘Twas 16 days before Christmas and all through the town
The printers where whirring, putting ink down;
ShillerLearning’s FREE activity pack was created with care,
To enrich homeschooling for kids everywhere;

The children were nestled in their homeschool room,
Where winter Montessori works would be done soon;
And mamma with her printables, all fresh from her pack,
Which she just printed from her Windows or Mac,

When out from the works there arose so much learning,
The children were matching shapes by carefully turning.
Away to the mailbox I flew like a flash,
To get greeting cards for lacing which were done in a dash.

The snowmen with numbers were done with a nod
Gave the children practice learning even and odd,
When, even numbers came with snowflakes cut out,
The students learned those with a shout!

With 3-part cards, of a winter theme,
I knew in a moment they were learning.
More eager than beavers the learning came,
And the children pointed and said objects by name;

Now snowflake! now coat! Now, sled and hat!
On we continue learning words on our mat!
To the top of the shelf the winter works go,
We’ve even matched flakes of snow.

As the achievement badges are colored and done,
The children learned and had fun,
So until next month we will now wait,
For the new ShillerLearning printable pack, which will also be great.

...Happy Holidays from ShillerLearning! We hope you enjoy the first of our monthly printable packs. Every month you'll find a brand new FREE Montessori based pack.

Here are some things about this pack in particular that we think you'll love. It...

  • Is 100% FREE!!

  • Designed to be used as standalone works. But for those of you who do have our curriculum, we include some suggestions from our materials. You will still be able to use these packs without them though.

  • For many ages. Most activities are for the preschool crowd. But we also do some activities for older children. And even some that can be enjoyed by all your kids together.

  • Includes a wide range of Montessori subjects

  • Is print and go. Just like our lessons, it requires very little prep work

  • Brings all of the fun of the holiday season to Montessori

We're excited to bring these to you! Click the link below to get your own copy of the 32 free Montessori activities with printables. And don't forget to take photos of your kids having fun with them too! We love seeing your family enjoy Montessori-based fun on our Facebook page.


Amanda Osenga

Amanda homeschools with her son and husband across the states in an airstream. She runs the Treehouse Daily blog with musings from a crunchy living, Airstream renovating, AIP eating, on the journey to debt-free family.

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7 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Homeschool Math Curriculum

7 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Homeschool Math Curriculum


Choosing homeschool curriculum can feel like a daunting task.  

Math is a subject many homeschooling parents state they feel inadequate to teach. Throw in concerns about common core and state regulations, and choosing a math curriculum becomes even more difficult. Let’s take a look at the bigger picture, break it down into more manageable pieces, and think through choosing a curriculum together.

 

1. What is your educational approach and goals?

One of the most important things for a homeschooling family to decide is what your overall philosophy and goals for education are. Do you want school to be student-led or teacher-directed? Are you following a certain teaching approach such as Montessori, Waldorf, or Charlotte Mason? Are there state standards you need to follow? What are some of your goals for the school year? Thinking about all of these questions before researching curriculum can be helpful.

 

2. How much is your budget?

Cost can be a prohibitive factor for many families. Can you find the desired program used or get a coupon code from a blogger? How much is included in the cost of the curriculum? Will you need to purchase any other add-ons or manipulatives? Is the curriculum able to be used for many different ages or is it only for one year? Is the curriculum reusable for more than one child? How much support from the company comes along with the curriculum? The curriculum cost itself is just one factor.

 

3. How many children are you teaching?

Do you desire a curriculum that is grade-specific for each child or a curriculum that encompasses multiple ages and can be shared? Do you need to purchase new workbooks for additional children or can you make, or download, additional copies?  

 

4. How much time for teacher prep-work do you have?

Homeschooling families are busy! How much time do you have for prep before the lesson is given? Will an “open and go” math curriculum without teacher preparation help you free up time for other tasks?

 

5. How long would you like each lesson to be?

Math is an essential subject that takes time, consistency and practice to learn. Considering the length of lesson suggestions of each curriculum and your educational approach will help you narrow down your curriculum. If a curriculum is a good deal but takes too much of your time, you’re never going to use it. Your time and money are valuable.

 

6. What is your teaching style?

Are you a hands-on teacher or do you like to let your children tinker and find answers on their own? Do you prefer something concrete or do you prefer starting with abstract? Do you need the curriculum to provide lessons that incorporate review or do you like to review on your own?  

 

7. Do you desire a mastery-based or spiral-based approach?

Mastery-based curriculum requires the child to master a concept before moving on to something else. Spiral-based curriculum introduces a variety of “bite-size” concepts with increasing difficulty. With spiral-based math curriculum you will revisit topics regularly to build mastery.

 

8. Do you want a primarily visual program or one that addresses all the senses?

Most curricula are visual. Some include songs. Others include manipulatives that children play with. Others still include activities that use the major muscle groups (thighs, abs, and shoulders). Do you want a traditional, primarily visual curriculum where you make up the lessons for the other learning styles, or do you prefer a curriculum where those lessons already exist?

 

Hopefully, this helps you to feel more confident and empowered to choose a math curriculum. Here’s to a stress-free curriculum selection - and education!


Larry Shiller

Larry Shiller is President of ShillerLearning, whose mission is to help kids learn - and enjoy - math.Shiller has degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Harvard Business School and is the author of Software Excellence (Prentice-Hall).

A father of three, Shiller is active in non-profits and his hobbies include working with local startups, music (Shiller is an accomplished violinist who - when not helping children learn math and language arts - performs in the NYC tri-state area), tennis (Shiller's team made it to the USTA national finals in his skill bracket), Quoridor (Shiller is a former USA Champion), backgammon (Shiller is the Voice of Backgammon, doing commentary on backgammon tournaments worldwide), table tennis, and flying (Shiller holds a private pilot's license).

Who Was Maria Montessori

Who Was Maria Montessori?


Born 1870 in Chiaravalle, Italy, Dr. Maria Montessori, Italy's first female physican, developed a unique educational approach that for nearly 100 years has been successfully applied to millions of children worldwide, starting with children with learning difficulties and extending today to children of all intellectual and socio-economic levels.

The Montessori method considers children to be intelligent and highly capable of learning when placed in an environment and with materials that provide them with respect and privacy. It includes three key elements:

  • Motor education
     
  • Sensory education
     
  • Language
     

The Montessori - ShillerMath combination helps children to learn math and language arts and to become productive members of society throughout their lives.

For more information on the Montessori approach, you may visit these informative sites:

An excellent book on the Montessori method is Teaching Montessori in the Home: The Pre-School Years by Elizabeth G. Hainstock. This is one of many books written for parents about Montessori that are available online or at your local library or book store.


Larry Shiller

Larry Shiller is President of ShillerLearning, whose mission is to help kids learn - and enjoy - math.Shiller has degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Harvard Business School and is the author of Software Excellence (Prentice-Hall).

A father of three, Shiller is active in non-profits and his hobbies include working with local startups, music (Shiller is an accomplished violinist who - when not helping children learn math and language arts - performs in the NYC tri-state area), tennis (Shiller's team made it to the USTA national finals in his skill bracket), Quoridor (Shiller is a former USA Champion), backgammon (Shiller is the Voice of Backgammon, doing commentary on backgammon tournaments worldwide), table tennis, and flying (Shiller holds a private pilot's license).

Welcome to ShillerMath!

Hi, I'm Larry Shiller, and I'd like to personally welcome you to ShillerMath - and the ShillerMath blog.

From time to time I'll share customer stories, latest thinking, upcoming sales, math learning tips, new product plans, math in the news, and random thoughts.

I'd love to hear from you - it's our customers and prospects and their children that keep us growing and learning.



Larry Shiller

Learn to Identify - and Make the Most of - Six Opportunities in Mistakes

The ShillerMath philosophy says that every mistake is a learning opportunity because it encourages discussion and improves understanding of concepts and process.

Are you getting excited about your child's next mistake?

Parents with children that reach their full potential have a clear strategy for dealing with mistakes because they will occur early and often. The language a parent uses in identifying and correcting mistakes has a huge impact on how well or poorly the child will learn and enjoy math.

Education expert Larry Shiller suggests the following approach when a mistake is made:

    1. Focus on the process, not the person. When they mess up, children, like adults, don't like to hear that they are a lesser person (because they're not); blaming a child for a mistake discourages interest. Try using phrases like, "Does that seem right?" "I might've come up with a different answer. Let's take a look at the steps we are using to solve this problem." "I would've got that answer wrong too! Let's see how we can get to the correct answer and understand why it's correct." Or: "Maybe there's a different approach; let's start from the beginning to get it right."

    2. Keep a sense of humor. When a child associates math with laughter and warm feelings, it's bound to be a good and lasting one.

    3. Use the other senses (touch and movement, hearing, sight, smell). Math is best learned when it is concrete before it is abstract. Put the audio CD on and sing and dance along. Use the manipulative index to find an activity that uses a favorite manipulative.

    4. Be creative. Feel free to extend the activity or game in the lesson - or make up games as you go along should the urge strike. The ShillerMath.com customer downloads page opens a whole new world of arts and crafts that make math fun.

    5. Mistakes are opportunities to identify holes in the child's knowledge or approach. ShillerMath recommends employing the Socratic Method of questioning to help the child discover his or her own error. Once the hole is known it is usually easy to "fill." Be sure the reasons for the mistake are well understood before moving on: "This card says three thousands and you have two thousands. How many more thousands do you need to have three thousands? That's right: one more thousand. You may get another thousand."

    6. Go back to basics. Revisit the Montessori Three Period Lesson of "This is, Show me, What is," which is explained fully in the ShillerMath Parent Guide and lesson books.

All this talk on mistakes; what about when the child does something correctly? One word: PRAISE. We will explore praise more in a future blog post. In the meantime, don't miss out on treating a mistake as an opportunity. Keep in mind that these tips work for all areas of learning, not just math.

Who was Maria Montessori?

Born 1870 in Chiaravalle, Italy, Dr. Maria Montessori, Italy's first female physican, developed a unique educational approach that for nearly 100 years has been successfully applied to millions of children worldwide, starting with children with learning difficulties and extending today to children of all intellectual and socio-economic levels.

The Montessori method considers children to be intelligent and highly capable of learning when placed in an environment and with materials that provide them with respect and privacy. It includes three key elements:

  • Motor education
  • Sensory education
  • Language

The Montessori - ShillerMath combination helps children to learn math and language arts and to become productive members of society throughout their lives.

For more information on the Montessori approach, you may visit these informative sites:

An excellent book on the Montessori method is Teaching Montessori in the Home: The Pre-School Years by Elizabeth G. Hainstock. This is one of many books written for parents about Montessori that are available online or at your local library or book store.

The US Math Crisis

We have a math crisis in the U.S.

Maybe that's the least of our problems. But maybe not. Consider this:

  • 80% of US 8th graders cannot calculate fractions, decimals and percentages
  • 40% of US 4th graders cannot tell NE from SW on a map

It's really just us. The world does better:

  • In Germany 35% of teens take and pass advanced placement exams; in the US it's 4%
  • In Japan kids start algebra two years ahead of those in the US

What are the repercussions?

  • In the California State University system 60% of Freshman are required to take remedial math and science classes
  • One in five adult Americans cannot:
    • Calculate the total of a purchase w/tax & tip
    • Locate an intersection on a road map
    • Enter background information correctly on a form
  • MIT economist Lester Thurow says that only 20% of Americans have the work skills and education to be competitive in the global marketplace

And no one believes it! In a recent study 71% of high school parents say that they are satisfied with the math education their children are getting. Ouch.

The US has a math crisis. And the repercussions are serious. Join ShillerMath in creating better outcomes for our children and country.