Mars Medina-Montessori on Mars

Mars Medina-Montessori on Mars Follow

For some years, a Montessori teacher; for a while, a school owner. Now I'm a mother, forever. Manila, PH • and #Montessori_On!

15,992 Followers  851 Follow

Share Share Share

Today on our nature walk back home from gymnastics, Cara and I spontaneously decided to take a longer route (to be honest, I needed the longer walk—wind, outdoors, and all) and was delighted to find along the way a bush of hibiscus! 🌺 And that was the start of the rest of our afternoon (swipe to see). • I am often asked about our Montessori homeschooling schedule and curriculum; and really, I understand the concerns—but I also think that often, the less we’re tied to a strict schedule, the more we’re bound to see the beautiful surprises. The less we’re caught up with a fixed curriculum, the more we’re committed to the child. Less is More. • That’s our theme this week for our community project over at Less is More. Join us and let’s #Montessori_On together!

#montessori #montessorihomeschool #montessorihome #montessorilife #montessorichild #montessoribotany #botany #homeschool #nature #naturewalk #flower #hibiscus #childhoodunplugged #naturekid
For her birthday, I read Cara “I Give You the World” by Stacey Mccleary and then gave her my birthday gift: The cabinet of puzzle maps of the continents of the world. #childoftheworld #globalcitizen #montessorichild #montessori #map #puzzlemap #geography #montessorigeography #montessorihomeschool #homeschool #australia #australiamap #worldmap #world #continents #childhoodunplugged #birthdaygift
No transfer / spooning trays here; just real, practical Practical Life of transferring boiled #vegetables (and these are hot, just boiled—but I trust she gauges the task and her ability) from a pot to a pan using a strainer ladle as our new 4-year-old cooked our lunch and dinner. On the second video, see the strategy she had so she could transfer the vegetables when the strainer ladle wasn’t as efficient anymore. And on the third video, her song while #cooking. 🥕🥔💛 #montessori #montessorichild #montessorilife #montessorihome #montessorihomeschool #homeschool #practicallife #lifeskills #kitchen #kidsinthekitchen #kidscooking #childhood #childhoodunplugged
The beauty and brilliance of one my favorite things about #MontessoriHomeschooling: Control of Error. Every material or work has a built-in means for the child to see if he’s on the right track or to check his own work, without the need of adult intervention. Here you’re seeing our new 4-year-old building 4-letter cvcc words for the first time with the #moveablealphabet. Before this, she’s been building 3-letter cvc and I didn’t tell her we’re listening for 4 sounds this time so I understood that she’s missing the /m/ for example when she was building “lamp”. But #ThankYouMariaMontessori, I do NOT need to check her work or correct her. After building, she turns over the card to check if what she built is the same as the label at the back. Then she adjusts her work—learning and discovering on her own, for herself. In this way, mistakes are what they’re exactly for—something we can truly learn from; instead of something that lowers test scores / class standing / confidence. In this way, mistakes are something we can assess to see what we can do differently to be successful; instead of something we’re ashamed or afraid of, something we can’t accept. In this way, mistakes are part of a joyful process; instead of something the child is judged by. So let the child make mistakes. It’s our mindset about mistakes and learning that we need to check. • For more about homeschooling in the Philippines, join me and other homeschoolers on September 22 for the Philippine Homeschool Convention. Check for more details and to register. #montessori #montessorichild #montessorilife #montessorihome #montessorihomeschool #homeschool #montessorilanguage #language #phonics #reading #spelling #controloferror
On an unkempt field of seemingly just overgrown grass and wayward weeds, trust a child to find treasures. 
#nature #treasure #treasurenature #naturekid #outdoors #childhood #childhoodunplugged #followthechild #freechildhood
Cara’s Wangari Maathai (one of her “good examples”) cake. We curate the characters in Cara’s life. “Good examples” instead of a dizzying array of cartoon characters. But curating characters primarily, essentially includes curating ourselves (myself and my husband) as parents (Recently I had to answer the question “which parts of motherhood do you find challenging” and I think it’s this—being a constant good example/model—even or particularly when you’re exhausted, mad, frustrated, mistaken, etc. I’m not saying that the challenge is to be perfect parents (what does that mean), no, no—I’m saying that it’s a challenge to take our very real exhaustion, anger, frustration, mistake, etc and turn them into real opportunities to model to someone who’s always looking at us, our child. A challenge but also liberation—if you’ve ever made a mistake and had to apologize to your child but was able to forgive yourself and turn that into an opportunity to show your child that adults make mistakes and this is how we can handle them, you’d know what I mean. But I digress and that will be for another day—my parenthesis is even longer than what I originally just meant to say 😂. Which is...) To our family and friends who were there at Cara’s birthday celebration, thank you for being among the characters in Cara’s life, the “good examples” for her. It’s a gift to discover and navigate through life with you all. Thank you!!! • More of how we celebrated Cara’s 4th birthday on the previous 2 posts and on my Stories Highlight.
“I’d follow you to the great unknown. Off to a world we call our own... It’s all an adventure that comes with a breathtaking view...” Four and free and loved forever. • More of how we celebrated Cara’s 4th birthday on my Stories Highlight. #birthday #birthdaygirl #nature #outdoors #outdoorgymnastics #playground #play #childhoodunplugged #childhood #followthechild #freechildhood
Four. Many times that day I watched her calculate her fears and choose to, in her own time, means, and internal motivation; turn them into fun. But oh how I thought of my own fears too; I wish I can cross all of life’s tricky bridges with you, my love. But Cara, just as in this picture, even if you can hardly see me—know, know that I’m there, always. • More of how we celebrated Cara’s 4th birthday on my Stories Highlight. #birthday #birthdaygirl #nature #outdoors #playground #play #childhoodunplugged #childhood #followthechild #freechildhood
Photos by my sister @mariah.chua
My favorite wall in the house. The wall she started to paint when she turned 3 years old. She adds to it when it calls to her and I always felt excited to see what it would look like after a year, on her 4th birthday. She’s going to be 4 in less than two weeks—I didn’t expect at all that this is what the wall would look like—I still see her painting of “The Northern Lights” and “Sydney Opera House” there, I still see “The Cranium and The Brain” and “The Birthday Girl” (the first thing she painted on the wall); and now, such a lovely surprise, we have wooden peg dolls of her “good examples” (Wangari Maathai, Jane Goodall, Sylvia Earle, and Simone Biles) and of some women in her family that she painted herself. And to think that it wouldn’t have turned out this way had I hindered her when she declared she wanted to paint some beloved wooden blocks that first time (see 5 posts back)! • I’m ending this little series with these photos (I invite you to read the 5 previous posts to get a better context) and I hope you enjoyed these as much as I did watching Cara. It is the greatest privilege of my life to be able to watch her, spend my days with her, and discover more about her everyday. • And one of my favorite Montessori quotes here. “If this is done… the child will reveal himself as the greatest marvel of nature. We shall be confronted by a child not as he was considered before a powerless being an empty vessel that must be filled with our wisdom. His dignity will arise in its fullness in front of our eyes as he reveals himself as the constructor of our intelligence, as the being who, guided by the inner teacher, in joy and happiness works indefatigably, following a strict timetable, to the construction of that marvel of nature: Man.” • P.S. You remember the story of that pothos plant? It’s still from the pot Cara bought for me because when she was asked what she would buy from the money she got as gift last New Year, she said, “You will be happy if I buy some plants for you, you will be happy again...” (because I was sad when our dog destroyed some of our plants). So many wonderful memories on a single stretch of wall.
In my previous post, I shared how Cara had this idea of painting wooden peg dolls of her “good examples”, women whose work are also her “job”—“explorer and protector of the ocean”, “planter”, “all creatures watcher”. She painted a peg doll of herself too—that yellow one with a heart—she said, “Because I’m a good example, too.” And she also painted one of me—and I’d like to think that the fact that she spent more time and used more colors making mine meant something. 💕 Also, you can probably tell that when she had painted all the peg dolls we had, she continued painting more Plan Toys wooden blocks. In the 4 previous posts already comprising this little series, I showed how I see that she’s following an “inner directive”—yesterday morning I knew for sure because... guess how long she spent concentrated in her painting process! 4 hours!!! 4 straight hours! Right after breakfast she went straight to painting the 4 remaining peg dolls we had left. Then she cleaned the art table, colored with crayons on the dining table for a while, then went back to the art table with wooden blocks to paint again. This whole cycle she repeated 4 times in just one morning. Twice she included the art shelf in her cleaning—she took out all the materials of the art shelf one by one and wiped down the shelf and the trays. At one point, while she was washing the small cup for water for painting in the kitchen sink, she saw the used dishes and washed them all! Including the big rice cooker pot which I actually needed at that time to prepare lunch! I actually delayed lunch because I didn’t want to interrupt her concentration! 4 hours! When she emerged from her entire work, she came to me and I couldn’t help but see what Maria Montessori said of the child who has concentrated and worked—“deeply pleased” and “immensely happy”. Reminds me of these quotes by her. “An interesting piece of work freely chosen which has the virtue of inducing concentration… adds to the child’s energies and mental capacities, and leads him to self mastery.“ “Concentration is different from occupation. The essential thing is for the task to arouse such interest that it engages the child’s whole personality.”
Our almost 4-year-old painted wooden peg dolls of her “good examples” (her own idea): Sylvia Earle (that’s why Cara says she’s an explorer and protector of the ocean), Wangari Maathai (that’s why one of Cara’s jobs is a “planter”), and Jane Goodall (that’s why she’s an “all creatures watcher”). And these are the books we read about these women (and what Cara used to have an idea as to how to paint their dolls). Just 2 anecdotes here:

1. My sister @malaiangmaryka was reading The Lorax to Cara one time when my sister mentioned that paper comes from trees. When Cara heard this, she cried and cried because she was concerned that the paper she’s been using came from trees that were cut down and not replaced. Only when my sister reminded her of what Wangari said—that if you cut down a tree, you should plant two in its place—did Cara stop crying. 
2. One time we were with Cara’s cousin on our way to a local mall here called Greenbelt. When Cara heard where we were going, she excitedly said, “Oh! Greenbelt! Like The Green Belt Movement of Wangari Maathai!” Unfortunately, Greenbelt mall is nothing like The Green Belt of Wangari. But oh my love, maybe some day we can visit The Green Belt Movement Headquarters in Kenya! And Tanzania where Jane Goodall lived with and learned from the chimps! And “Hope Spots”, marine protected areas around the world!

P.S. I invite you to read the 3 other posts before this one to get a better context of why painting these wooden peg dolls is such an important thing here in our home these days.

#followthechild #thecurriculumisthechild #montessorichild #montessorilife #montessorihome #montessorihomeschool #homeschool #globalcitizen #rolemodels #art #pegdolls #painting @greenbeltmovement @wangari_maathai @mission_blue @janegoodallinst #sylviaearle #wangarimaathai #janegoodall
Painting her own wooden peg dolls!!! Oh I wish I could have shown you how much she beamed when I gave her blank wooden peg dolls to paint. But if you’ve seen and read my last two posts, I think you can imagine—and you understand how much this means to her! And just as a stretch of white wall in our home became a canvas of colorful memories because she painted on it, and some wooden blocks became work of art; these wooden peg dolls became cherished characters! Who are they? You’ll see in the next post (or if you have guesses—it should be fun). 💕

#followthechild #thecurriculumisthechild #preparedadultfirst #montessori #montessorichild #montessorilife #montessori_on #montessorihome #montessorihomeschool #homeschool #art #painting #pegdolls #woodenpegdolls