My Homeschooling Journey: Advice from Citlali Col
If you follow me on Instagram you might have noticed that many of my recent posts revolve around something new for me...homeschooling my daughter. If you asked me a few months ago if I anticipated this, I would have laughed. However, the schools have closed due to COVID and here we are.
I will write more about my homeschooling journey in future posts. In the meantime, I reached out to some homeschooling and Montessori experts! I will be sharing their wisdom in a new series about homeschooling, especially during this pandemic. I hope they help you as much as they have helped me.
The first person I interviewed was Citlali of @softpinkmacaron I love how quickly she agreed to chat with me and how generous she was with her advice. Enjoy!
Tell me a little about yourself...
Hi, my name is Citlali Col . I live in France with my husband and my 3 year old daughter. I'm a former financial controller turned to be a stay at home mom with two brand new diplomas, Montessori 3 to 6 and emotional intelligence coach for kids and teens. I believe that Montessori is essential to help children's potential to reach it's fullest; it doesn't exactly have to be out of reach for families, in fact, the philosophy can be easily applied at home at no cost but the library card to get Montessori's books. What advice do you have for families that want to homeschool, but don't know where to start?
Don't search everywhere or you will get easily tired and overwhelmed, instead follow your instincts and most of all your child. I assure you, you will be fine and little by little you will get what you need. However, you have to get informed about the laws of your country or State and mostly focus on what " basic knowledge your kids need to have for inspections". Never compare yourself with what the media is doing or how is done, though you can get many great ideas but don't push yourself too hard. The most important part is that everyone enjoys the ride with a happy and energized mom! Ps. Classical curriculum works, there are some great ready to use curriculums!
Tell me about your homeschooling journey...
First of all I never thought of homeschooling, we knew I would stay at home with her for at least the 2 first years and we talked about a Montessori School, we even moved closer. However, something inside us didn't let us, it wasn't because of the system, it was our heart and mind aligned, then the craziest idea came out of my mouth and my husband said yes right away and one of the most amazing rides started. We did research regarding the laws and requirements. Here in France, one of the requirements is to prove the learned knowledge. We added a ready to use curriculum beside our Montessori curriculum, in order to have paper proof.
How do you organize your time and decide what to teach?
We go slowly, every morning we do our morning basket, which contains some of the ready to use curriculum, Bible studies, books, poems and Legos because she needs to move her hands!
Every month, I set activities of the same theme depending mostly on the season or my daughter's interest. The Montessori materials are displayed by area, she uses them everyday, though not all areas the same day. I followed the Montessori curriculum and rotate the material when she has mastered the skill.
What was the hardest thing for you when you started homeschooling?
I didn't know what a kinesthetic learner was, it took me a while until I figured out that my daughter didn't need to be sitting or "paying attention" in order to learn, but instead she needs to be moving or at least her hands needs to be doing something! Where do you get inspiration? What are your favourite Montessori resources?
Dr. Maria Montessori's books: The Absorbent Mind The Montessori Method The Secret of Childhood Dr. Montessori's Own Handbook Discovery of the Child The Formation of Man The Child in the Family The Advanced Montessori Method L'Enfant Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius by Angeline Stoll Lillard How to Raise an Amazing Child: The Montessori Way, by Tim Seldin Montessori Madness, by Trevor Eissler Instagram Accounts
What's your favourite Montessori material or activity and why?
This a hard one because I after seeing my daughter growing so much in all of the Montessori areas, it's hard to chose one favourite but I could say practical life activities. These activities give the children the freedom necessary for their healthy development, they exercise many skills: concentration, eye coordination, purposeful movement, development of the will, order, habits, Independence, sense of responsibility and they are emotional stable.
How are you practicing self-care during the pandemic?
During pandemic and before, I always wake up before everyone to have my quiet time with God and tea; It gives me so much clarity during the day and helps me to focus in the big picture and don't get stuck in a routine or everyday issues. During the day my daughter knows that when I exercise, it's my time. She chooses to work out with me or do something by herself. Self-care is about fulfilling your needs in order to be able to fulfill someone else's needs, and this is where positive discipline comes in; by being able to set limits on time and in a respectful way help you to take care of yourself and others. I've learned so much from this interview! Is there anything else you would like to add?
Homeschooling is not about how fast a child learns, but how much the child loves to learn. It's about self-discipline, self-learning, self-control and self-care and Montessori is the perfect match to acquire these skills.
Thank you, Citlali!
To learn more about Citlali, find her on Instagram @softpinkmacaron
Stay tuned for my next interview later this week! Are you homeschooling during this pandemic? Any tips for me?