Thursday, January 15, 2015

Montessori By Mom

(Please note that Montessori By Mom did not provide me with any perks, freebies, or trips to Mexico.  This is a review of their produce that is my personal opinion after purchasing this product.)

So you have probably seen their ads on Facebook or even checked them out on line.  Montessori By Mom is a new kid on the block trying to make a niche for themselves.  They provide a monthly toolkit or theme box with activities, Montessori materials, instructions and how to videos.  They are aiming at the home school Montessori parent.

I have been eyeballing them for awhile.  The price sort of cowed me.  $55.95 is a lot of money.  But my daughter had some Christmas cash left over and I didn't want to buy her cheap crap.  I wanted to invest in her education and give her materials we can use for a while.  Then they ran a couple of specials and I got free shipping.  So I caved.

I did have a brief moment of panic when the box came and I thought, this is a small box for nearly $60.

But then I saw this nice little note.  They put my name on it:).  I decided to breathe.  And took a look inside.
There was a lot of stuff crammed in that kit!  I'm going to go through some of the pros and cons of the kit.  Remember, this is my opinion.  You may think very differently than me on this.

As a Montessori teacher with 10 plus years under my belt and going on my first year as a home school Montessori teacher I look for several things.

Does the material call to the child?  Is it beautiful?  The answer would be yes on that one.
 I loved the turtle puzzle!  We have used this brand before and it's pretty and durable!
 The bee Practical Life transfer was probably my favorite!  The only thing I would do differently is I would use tweezers which were not included but if you are a home school rock star teacher (or a parent with a seven year old boy) you probably have a steady supply of them anyway.
The cards.  They are beautiful but I have mixed feelings about them.  More on that later.
The poster which is double sided.  Also more on that later.  

The second thing I look for is durability.  Will it last?  I don't care if you have 1 child or 20, you need things to last.  The cards came laminated but I notice they can still bend quite easily.  Also I will have to laminate the poster.  The instructions that came with it put it to good use with several activities and one careless jerk from my little one and it will be wrecked.  It also came with a book.  
The book is simple.  If you have an emerging reader or little one it will probably appeal to them.  But it is also flimsy.  I am going to laminate it as well and restaple it.  I have to say, I was disappointed because to me, books can make or break a unit.  Another idea that they may want to consider is a list of books to look into and put something else in the kit instead.  

The cards were something else I had mixed feelings on.  Though they are really beautiful and have lamination I have found that little hands are just that little hands.  I wouldn't introduce cards like that before 5 or 6.  They have a definition on the back that would be great for readers!  Here is one of the activities they suggested. 
You can see that the cards are fit for this but to me they don't pop and get lost in the picture.  Plus my three year old looked at me blankly, lol.  My seven year old enjoyed this.  But since this box is mostly for my three year old we go on to my next thing I look for.  

Adaptability.  Can these items be transformed?  Yes!  They can.  This kit was very flexible in that respect.  
Here you can see what I plan on doing with the cards.  I plan on placing them on card stock, re laminating them, and viola!  I have the control of error (card color) built in.  I will recopy the definitions behind the cards and use them at a later date.  

Another thing you need to know about my child.  You see we adopted her out of foster care when she was nine months old.  She was born at 24 weeks to a woman who was addicted to drugs.  She is my champion and hero.  She also has cerebral palsy, cortical vision impairment, and a host of other conditions.  So everything is harder for her.  Including being allowed to attend a Montessori school. Which is why I do it at home.  Because every child has a right to this education.  Alright, off my soapbox.  The following pictures are of her.  She works with a light box because it helps her see the work.  You could not wipe the joy off her face through the bee work and the turtle puzzle.  

 You can't really tell because of the light box but she was picking up bees and putting them in a container.  This is hard for her because she has to connect vision and use motor planning.
The turtle puzzle was a huge hit!  She spent lots of time exploring the puzzle and trying to get it back together!  

The last thing I look for is it frustration free?  For me, lol.  For the most part yes.  There are plenty of videos and handouts on line that make it pretty easy.  Plus lots of little extra parts like the jars for air, land, and water.  Those can be a real pain to get.   There was only one part of the kit that wasn't 
These are your land water form cards.  Yup, you get sticky sandpaper and a blue card with a description on it.  Now they do show you on line sort of how to make them, but I will tell you they are a real pain in the butt to make and if you don't know a bay from an archipelago and you cut it wrong, you are up the creek without a paddle.  I would really suggest that they put these together for people.  That is big time frustrating when you want something ready to go!  

So the burning question, should you buy a kit?  Well that is up to you.  If you want something that you can pull and go (for the most part) or you are a first timer who is panicked at the thought of putting together a unit and need a good place to start, then yes this is a good package.  I can even see a seasoned person (like me) who just wants some new ideas buying one (which I did).  

They do have memberships so you can get better deals, but the price tag may cow some (I know it did me and if not for discounts and free shipping I may have thought twice about getting one). But I'm going to let you decide on that one.  I'm putting their link here so you can check them out.  You may even just look at some of their ideas and say, "Hey, I can make/do this on my own!".  Whatever you choose to do is great.  I think all in all this is a really good idea and there is a market out there for it. I will be interested to see how this company does in the future!  

1 comment:

  1. I love this review! My son is still only 7 months but I hope to home school him at least until preschool as Montessori schools are so expensive and the closest "real" Montessori school is 45 min away. Please do more of these.