Modern Hip HomeschoolS Educational Philosophies Unit Teaching Ideas

Hip Homeschool Ideas and Insights

Different Learning Styles in Children:
Does It Affect Your Homeschool?

You picked all your curriculum out for the year and are very excited to start. Shortly into the new school year, you realize something isn’t working right.

Maybe your child is bored or complaining about the work. Perhaps he is struggling with all the writing it requires.

Maybe sitting in the chair for long periods of time makes him antsy.

Even though you’ve had him write his spelling words ten times each twice this week, he just can’t seem to remember them.

He wants to touch everything you put in front of him and do anything except his work.

These situations could be that your child just doesn’t want to do his work. But what if that wasn’t it? What if the curriculum you chose isn’t right for him? The different learning styles in children can play a large role in how they respond to the curriculum you choose. 

This article was chosen to give you the most
important information first. 

*Full Disclosure: This post contains Amazon links

What are the different learning styles?

There are four primary learning styles children can have.

1. Visual

2. Auditory

3. Tactile

4. Kinesthetic

Look at the way your child reacts to the environment around him. Sometimes you can start to see the characteristics of these styles at a very early age. However, all children go through different stages that may display any of these four styles so it can take a while to actually know for sure which one is the most dominant. Children are naturally curious and active so they all are tactile and kinesthetic learners in infancy and as toddlers. Eventually though, especially once they reach school age, one will surface as their distinct way of learning.

The Auditory Learner

The auditory learner is going to acquire information through hearing. You may notice that he repeats things he’s heard. He remembers the words to songs or stories very easily. If you give him a set of directions, he can easily follow them. This child does well in a learning situation where someone is lecturing to him. Sitting down to read long passages by himself is going to be a chore.

The best curriculum choices for an auditory learner will involve listening to read alouds, audiobooks, and discussions. Look for products that incorporate narration as well. This can be the magical solution to getting questions answered. Putting things to music such as math facts makes learning like second nature to him.

Some suggestions to help with the curriculum you already have is for an older sibling read to him. If there isn’t an older sibling, you can dictate and record passages into an iPod or smartphone for the child to listen to and follow along in the book if he likes. Some homeschool history companies out there sell an audio CD version of their books and those are wonderful to use. Sometimes just having the child read out loud to himself is helpful.

Something else to take into consideration when you are dealing with an auditory learner is that he can be very distracted by the noises going on around him. I have found that using a pair of noise-canceling headphones while doing school work helps tremendously.

The Visual Learner

The visual learner grasps new information through writing. This type of child likes to take notes and copy things from the board.

He likes to look at pictures and remembers them easily. He can easily distinguish the difference between shapes, numbers, letters, and colors. He has a hard time following oral directions.

The best curriculum choices for a visual learner will involve writing, copy work, photos, and illustrations. Educational videos are a great way for this child to take in information. Charts and graphs are very memorable and matching games make learning a breeze. They often tend to like workbooks as well.

As with the auditory learner who is distracted by noises, the visual learner can be distracted by any movement going on in the room. An easy fix for this is to buy a tri-fold display board like the ones used for science fairs and put it on the table in front of him to block out any motion.

It’s not unusual for him to enjoy having a visual checklist nearby where he can see his work being completed as he checks it off throughout the day.

The Tactile Learner

The tactile learner is the hands-on child. He learns by doing. The more he can touch and feel as he learns the better.

This is the child that has to reach for everything in the store. It’s not that he’s being bad, he literally needs to touch things to get a better understanding.

This is the child that has to reach for everything in the store. It’s not that he’s being bad, he literally needs to touch things to get a better understanding. He needs to feel how cold the ice is or perhaps he may even try to touch a hot stove after being told it could burn him. He is attracted to objects with different textures and shapes. He likes to play with blocks or Legos and build things. He can have difficulty following directions.

The best curriculum choices for a tactile learner will need to include hands-on activities. He will remember information best by playing games, building models, writing in the sand or shaving cream. He will usually like to do crafts and art projects. Building and creating things is where he will excel.

I have found in the homeschool world there is a lot of curricula out there that offers these types of activities. What I have also found is that most parents don’t enjoy having to do them. Sometimes it’s worth the extra money to find a curriculum that includes all the materials needed or where most of the work has already been done for you if you can afford it.

The Kinesthetic Learner

Kinesthetic learners have to move! They use their whole body to take in information. This is the child that doesn’t just walk. He runs, jumps, skips or glides across a room.

You know the kind of kid I’m talking about. He finds it extremely difficult to sit still for long periods of time. He almost can’t think without moving and there is research out there to prove his brain works better when he is. This is the child who is sadly labeled the troublemaker in school. He is not wired to handle a traditional classroom setting and therefore will suffer and continue to fall behind as time goes by. It is assumed he is not as smart as his peers when that is just not the case.

The best curriculum choices for a kinesthetic learner will definitely involve some movement. Sometimes it can be hard to find products that present information in this manner but thankfully it’s the easiest one to adapt to any curriculum.

For example, if you are teaching spelling words, have the child jump up and down for every letter as he spells it out. Or perhaps clap out each letter. Even hanging a small basketball hoop on the back of a door in your house where a shot can be made when questions are answered correctly can be quite motivating. Trust me I’ve used this! Put problems on index cards on the floor and let the child hop on the correct answers. Make a fishing pole with a dial rod, string, and a magnet on the end. Attach paper clips to index cards on the floor (they can even be cut into fish shapes) and let him fish for the right answers to the questions you ask. A favorite in my house is a fly swatter. Put cards with answers on the table and let the child smack the correct answer.

Are you seeing a pattern here? Hopping, jumping, smacking- they are all effective. While teachers in the regular classroom fear this type of learner, it’s actually quite easy to accommodate him in a homeschool setting. Once you understand how he learns, the ideas are limitless.

Curriculum Suggestions for Different Learning Styles


Auditory Learner

All About Reading

All About Spelling

Life of Fred


Story of the World

Mystery of History

Handwriting Without Tears

Shurley English

Visual Learner

All About Reading

All About Spelling

Alpha Phonics

Bob Books

Handwriting Without Tears

Hands-On English with Linking Blocks

Teaching Textbooks

Times Tales

Math-U See

Dover Coloring Books


Homeschool in the Woods

History Revealed

Tactile and Kinesthetic Learner

All About Reading

All About Spelling

Hands-On English with Linking Blocks

Winston Grammar

Handwriting Without Tears 

RightStart Math

Math-U See


History Revealed

What You Can Do?

Because some learning styles don’t work with traditional methods, a child can appear to have learning difficulties because he doesn’t learn like the rest of the children around him. Yes, there can be learning disabilities. I am not trying to say this solves every problem, but often it can just be that he needs information presented to him in the correct modality.

If your child doesn’t seem to be grasping concepts as well as he should, it’s definitely worth it to observe him and identify his learning style. Then take a good hard look at the materials you are using to see if they best fit the way he learns.

I know it’s frustrating to spend hard-earned money on products, especially when they are costly, only to realize they aren’t working. Sometimes we have to decide to change directions in the middle of the year. I can assure you though if you take the time to learn about the different learning styles in children and discover your child’s specific style, you will be able to choose an appropriate curriculum.  This is a step in the right direction and you and your child will be much happier for it!

Homeschool school learning


Previous article: Nurturing the Love of Learning: Montessori Education for the Early Childhood Years

Next article: Montessori-Inspired Flower Activities with Spielgaben

I homeschooled my two now-adult children through high school. So I’ve experienced both the ups and downs of homeschooling. For my family, the ups by far outweighed the downs. I want to give you encouragement as well as helpful resources on your homeschool journey. I’ve organized my main homeschooling posts so they’ll be helpful resources.

Homeschool Resources and Encouragement

I’m publishing this today in honor of Homeschool Teacher Appreciation Day, which is April 27 this year. And don’t miss a fun event for homeschoolers in the fall … International Homeschool Spirit Week each year in the 4th week of September. Be sure to follow the International Homeschool Spirit Week Facebook page for free activities and resources throughout the week.

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon links (at no cost to you).

Homeschooling Educational Philosophies

Nature-based homeschooling can be done indoors or out!

Homeschooling doesn’t have to look like conventional schooling, and it most certainly doesn’t have to be stressful! Whether you have always wanted to tuck into homeschooling, or Covid has left you with little choice, it can be a rewarding experience for both you and your children. And if you take a nature schooling approach, the experience may even leave you all with a deeper connection to the outdoors.

In order to avoid the stress, it’s important to have grace with yourself. Homeschooling can seem daunting. You may find yourself worrying about whether your kids are learning everything they should. The truth is, you do not need to plan out every moment of every day. You’ll find that flexibility is your new best friend, and allowing your child to lead the way a bit will increase their enthusiasm, and forge a lifelong learner as well. Relax, find the magic in the little things, and trust in the process.

While flexibility is necessary, the other side of the coin, rhythm, can be incredibly helpful, too. This is especially the case with younger children. Building a basic rhythm into their day lets them know what to expect next, prevents meltdowns, and can turn into a lovely family tradition. For instance, you may decide to dedicate Tuesday afternoons to a poetry teatime with a home-baked treat that they helped prepare. This becomes something you can all look forward to, builds community, and is a lovely way to destress and take a breather. 

Poetry teatime is a lovely ritual for a nature inspired homeschool.

A poetry teatime is the perfect way to establish a weekly rhythm for kids and gives everyone in the family something to look forward to.

Increase the magic in your homeschooling experience by looking to nature for the most beautiful seasonal rhythms for inspiration. For instance, every year around the harvest moon we take the children on an annual lantern walk using lanterns that we make ourselves. This is especially magical for smaller children who aren’t used to being out after the sun goes down. The reverence that children exhibit during these little moments is really very beautiful.  Remember, you’re making memories!  Nature can form a lovely basis for your homeschooling, instilling an appreciation for the natural world in children from an early age, and capitalizing on all of the benefits that we know come from unstructured outdoor play.

Preparing for our annual Martinmas lantern walk with homemade lanterns.

The following are educational philosophies that many nature schooling parents decide to incorporate into their homeschooling experience. One may resonate with you or your child(ren) more than another. It’s also very likely that if you have more than one child, they learn differently. The best approaches take the learner into consideration. Create something that takes into account the whole child, their strengths, weaknesses, and interests. You’ll find that a  holistic and more eclectic approach will better meet everyone’s needs.  

These are each of the basic approaches in a nutshell.

Botanicum book is a great nature book for homeschooling.


  • created by Rudolf Steiner in 1919 

  • a heavy emphasis on arts and handwork (the arts train the will)

  • human connection is key to learning

  • rich stories told by a teacher/caregiver (usually with gestures, figures, and other simple storytelling manipulatives)

  • emphasis on connecting with nature and the rhythm of seasons

  • lessons are long and focus on one subject at a time in depth

  • natural play materials

  • holistic philosophy that seeks to educate the whole child: i.e., educating the hands, head, and heart

Charlotte Mason

  • created by Charlotte Mason

  • books do the teaching (living books written in narrative that present noble ideas are used in lieu of textbooks)

  • emphasis on nature and time spent outdoors exploring

  • habits train the will and good habits should be cultivated

  • lessons are brief and switch from one subject to another

  • emphasis on narration and writing


  • created by Maria Montessori in 1907

  • beautiful materials do the teaching (the child has his or her “work”)

  • instills independence in the child, as the materials allow for self-correction

  • child led (they may choose their work and how long they will spend on it, though the teacher has already prepared the environment by choosing the materials that will be in the classroom that day)

Reggio Emilia

  • created by Loris Malaguzzi in Reggio Emilia, Italy after WWII 

  • environment is viewed as the third teacher

  • project based and child directed learning with the teacher as a collaborator in the learning process

  • very hands on utilizing lots of loose parts and manipulatives to create


  • dates back to the Middle Ages

  • objective is teaching students how to learn

  • learning occurs in three stages: 1) preparing, 2) grammar, 3) dialectic

  • learning occurs in three stages: 1) grammar, 2) logic, 3) rhetoric

  • five tools of learning: 1) reason, 2) record, 3) relate, 4) research, 5) rhetoric

Unit Studies

  • all studies are centered around a particular theme

  • a great way to teach to the whole child while capitalizing on their interests

  • For example, honeybee unit may look like the following. Studying bee anatomy and the bee life cycle, creating a beehive, a field trip to visit a local beekeeper, experimentation to explore how pollen sticks to a bee’s body, planting a bee garden and observing bee activity while collecting data and making a chart to illustrate it, tasting honey and pollen, reading books about bees for literacy and language development


  • completely child led, the child’s interests and passion drive their learning


  • nature recognized as a fundamental human right and necessary for optimal human development

  • respects the whole child, and like forest schooling, recognizes the need for children to take calculated risks to develop their autonomy

  • nature-child relationship is dynamic

  • emergent learning emphasized

  • aligns with the rhythms of nature


  • pick and choose what works for you and your child(ren) from any of the approaches

  • some approaches may work well for one child, but another child may thrive in a different learning scenario

  • the eclectic approach is very flexible, allowing you to choose what resonates with you and what works for your specific home situation

Homeschooling pumpkin unity study
  • Pumpkin unit study

This Homeschool Style Quiz can help you decide what feels right for you.

On to my favorite nature inspired curricula! Some of these are pretty comprehensive and can absolutely be used alone. Or, if you’re like me, you may want to pick your favorite parts from each and create something wholly unique for your child and inspired by their own interests. Also, if you have children of multiple ages and you would rather not purchase a different curriculum for each of them, some of these can be adapted for mixed ages as well.

Stop feeling intimidated by Montessori

Find your family’s balance in this modern day world.

Find your family’s balance in this modern day world.

You’re ready to get started practicing Montessori
but where do you begin?​

Montessori doesn’t have to be complicated. Once you understand the method you can help your child achieve independence and confidence that will last a lifetime.

This Toddler Life  is the perfect place for you to come and grow your Montessori knowledge.

You can start practicing Montessori today by grabbing this age appropriate activity list.


 Check out our latest blog posts:

How to handle holiday emotions with toddlers

Montessori Expectations

Affordable Montessori

How to Manage Toy Rotations (Without losing your mind)!

Why does my toddler choose the same book or toy over and over again?

We used Montessori education totally during our kids’ preschool years and Montessori principles along with unit studies, some traditional subjects, and Montessori activities where they fit in as our kids grew older. However, we were really into the practical living skills. I was amazed at how it worked into any chosen learning approach and I often used the practical living skills as I substituted for my teachers and staff.

Even if your style of homeschooling is quite different from my family’s, what’s most important is that you fit your homeschooling to your own unique family. I hope you can find encouragement and some help in what worked for my family.


All about homeschooling

A Controversial Topic: Traditional Schooling or Homeschooling? We talk about school from various perspectives, and today I invited to express an opinion...  »


Will’s Homeschool High School Graduation was in 2002, and Christina’s Homeschool High School Graduation, was in 2006





How to Search for Great Preschool Content Online

Tips to help teachers and parents optimize online searches for early learning activities

Make the best use of your time searching for preschool content online with these simple tips.

Read more about 'How to Search for Great Preschool Content Online'...

My Top Three


Penn Foster High School,

Trade School and College

Empowering Students to Reach Their Full Potential 

Penn Foster has an established system, enabling all students to achieve their full potential. Our tools and dedicated social network, insure they acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed and advance in their chosen career, allowing them to provide significant returns to family and community.

At Penn Foster students will benefit from the support of caring and highly qualified instructors, who have professional experience in each subject. We were introduced to it by the Job Corp. Our youngest went from failing public school to being an “A” student despite being a dyslexic ADHDer. Holly Fales BSMA CPN AD

Combined with digital and web-based learning assistants, and an excellent Career Services program, you will select a program that is based upon your own goals and ambition, and then work at a pace that is best suited for you to your own unique situation.

Penn Foster will be there every step of the way, helping you earn your diploma, certificate or degree, and providing you the kind of education that allows you to command your own destiny.

Your Penn Foster program is available on all platforms, so you study anywhere and everywhere; it’s convenient, easy to use, and extremely effective. Now you can study in every free moment, maximizing your productivity.

Short Lessons
Here at Penn Foster, we understand how busy you are. That’s why we are the most successful online learning education available. Our high school diploma program is organized into very short, detailed, and extremely manageable lessons. This makes it much easier to complete for those that are working other full-time jobs, or have demanding family commitments. Do a few minutes of a lesson, hit pause, and then return later and sign on, right where you left off. Easy.

Progress-Tracking and Goal-Setting
Our goal-setting programs are customizable to your individual needs. So, if you are looking for a standard, extended, or even an accelerated program, we will help you set-up and then stick to your plan, just like any good coach would! If you need to make adjustments, no problem at all, you can make changes at any time.

Fun and Interactive Learning
All of our programs have self-checks and flash card reviews built right into the system. These will help you to monitor your progress and to track your learning success. This feedback happens regularly in real time, so you need to ever worry. These checkpoints will give you extra confidence, and assure success on your exams.

Quality Education that Fits Your Life
By enrolling at Penn Foster you are assured career-focused knowledge and skill-based learning, not just academic coursework. You would begin learning valuable job skills online, and immediately. Our open enrollment policy, means you can enter at any time, from any place your may be, and in minutes you are processed and begin your lessons.

There are no strict schedules at Penn Foster.

Instead we help you guide yourself at your own comfortable pace. Our goal-setting and progress-tracking tools are key to this design, and are the reason you will stay organized and in control. You will select the study plan that fits your needs, then track your own progress, setting the alerts for due dates of assignments, exams, and student responses.

If you ever have questions or need to communicate with the instructor, you will have their email and phone numbers. At Penn Foster their student support is unlimited, and we encourage you to contact them as often as you need.

At the end of every lesson is a test, what we call an examination. These exams are done through your individual student portal on the Penn Foster website. It’s easy. And after you have submitted your exam online, you’ll quickly receive a grade and instructor feedback. Once your passing grade is registered, you can move to the next lesson, and then the next course in your program.

Upon the completion of your passing coursework, and with all tuition payments completed, you will receive your high school diploma, or college degree, and you will be a certified graduate and alumnus of Penn Foster!

Penn Foster High School Online Diploma Programs

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Our online high school curriculum is a total of 21 credits, including your basic general education requirements, like English and math courses.

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Penn Foster offers self-paced, affordable programs in our  high schoolcollege & career school. Your education is here. Learn about our programs today.

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Does Penn Foster High School accept transfer credits from other schools?

Penn Foster does accept credits from previous high schools. To transfer credits for your student, an official, sealed transcript must be sent from the previous school for evaluation. Credits from courses that are equivalent to the Penn Foster curriculum and that come from regionally accredited high schools will be considered for transfer. You can learn more about credit transfer here.


Can my student enroll in NCAA-approved courses?

Penn Foster’s general high school diploma is flexible enough to keep up with young athletes' busy travel and training schedules. They can gain an education that follows them anywhere, allows them to learn at their own pace, and can be accessed 24/7. Hear from one of our student athletes about her experience.

Looking for courses registered with the NCAA? Learn more about the courses offered by Penn Foster’s partner school, James Madison High School, by calling 1-800-961-6407.


Can my student enroll in college after graduating from Penn Foster High School?

Penn Foster High School is an accredited program that allows students to earn a recognized high school diploma. However, acceptance of a high school diploma can vary based on the college or university. No form of accreditation can guarantee that any learning institution or employer will accept the high school diploma. We recommend checking with colleges and universities your student is interested in attending to verify they accept the Penn Foster High School diploma before enrolling into the program. For a list of schools that Penn Foster graduates have been accepted to, click here.


Can my high school student complete all of their work online?

The amount of work that can be completed online varies by program. Some high school programs can be completed entirely online, while others may require physical textbooks.


Do I need to purchase textbooks for their online classes?

No! Most of the coursework is easily accessible to the student through their student portal. The majority of study guides and materials are provided online for a mobile learning experience. For courses requiring textbooks, students will receive access to digital eBooks at no extra cost.

Does Penn Foster alert my local school of my student's enrollment for truancy purposes?

Before enrolling your student in Penn Foster High School, we advise checking with your school district or board of education to verify what steps you need to take to provide proof of enrollment. Penn Foster doesn’t contact your district, so parents are responsible for ensuring any necessary paperwork is completed to prevent truancy.

Does my student need to take standardized exams or pass a state-mandated test to graduate?

No! In order to graduate, your student must simply complete and pass all courses and assignments, and tuition needs to be paid in full to receive their official diploma. While some states do require graduation tests before awarding diplomas, Pennsylvania, where we’re licensed, does not. Standardized testing is not required in our curriculum, though parents can choose to pursue that for their students outside of Penn Foster.

Want more information about this program?

Penn Foster is here to help. Call 1-888-427-6200 9AM - 9PM ET

What is Wildschooling?
The Complete Guide to Outdoor Learning; 

How does wildschooling differ from Forest School, the Reggio Emilia Approach, Earth Schooling, Waldorf, Charlotte Mason, Self-Reg, permaculture, peaceful parenting, deschooling, unschooling, 8 Shields Model, etc? Our complete guide to wildschooling breaks it down for you.

 ... more


Forest school activities

Welcome to an index of forest school activities. Here you will find a ready-made nature curriculum, forest school lesson plans and free printables for teaching forest-school style lessons.

Forest school resources

Forest schools are a strong alternative or accompaniment to traditional schools. From physical to mental health, and academic to practical skills, there are many benefits of forest schools.

Whether you are a parent, teacher or forest school leader, if you are looking for forest school ideas, you’ve come to the right place. We have a wide range of nature-based lesson plans and activities you can use with your children, whatever the weather. Our best-selling The Forest Classroom: a beginner’s guide to forest school and Nature Explorers: Forest are also packed full of ideas to help you take your learning outdoors.

Choose the type of resources that best suit your needs: save time with our ready-made teaching kits or use our index of individual lesson plans to create your own DIY programme.

Benefits of outdoor education

Outdoor learning

Create an outdoor learning environment

Tips and tricks for setting up outdoor learning expectations

Take advantage of outdoor learning spaces

View nature as an outdoor lab

Nature based learning

How to teach outside

Safety while learning outdoors

Learning outdoor activities

Outdoor learning equipment

View nature as an outdoor lab

Nature is one of the most rich and inviting science labs that you can come across. And the best part about it? It’s free! If you can change your thinking and consider the possibilities of nature as an outdoor lab, you will transition well to using outdoor education in your elementary classroom.

Nature isn’t just an outdoor lab for Earth and life sciences either, it can be used across the board for all sciences and for other subjects as well. Why is nature such a perfect lab space? It is ever changing, providing more opportunities to work together to learn. It also has a natural ebb and flow that is created by cause and effect relationships in nature; these natural rhythms will provide your students many opportunities for critical thinking, experimentation, and analysis.

Nature based learning

Nature based learning is a similar term to outdoor education, with a slight difference. As stated earlier, outdoor education is the intentional learning that takes places outside of the classroom and typically in nature. Nature based learning, however, is an educational approach that uses nature and natural elements as a vehicle for learning. Essentially, nature based learning uses nature, its elements, and its phenology to teach the standards assigned to each grade level.

This type of learning takes more time to set up since your curriculum would need to be written around your community’s nature. That being said, combining elements of nature based learning and outdoor education can positively impact your students and help you reach those benefits of outdoor education we discussed earlier.

How to teach outside

So now that you’re convinced that you should embrace outdoor education, and maybe some nature based learning, how are you supposed to teach outside? Remember to set up those rules and expectations before you venture out and make sure to practice them with your students so that they know how outdoor learning is different from indoor learning.

Teaching outside is just like teaching inside, just with different stimuli and loose parts.

Don’t let outdoor education intimidate you – you have all the skills you need!

It’s also helpful to find a term that you want to use to refer to your outdoor learning time. Some examples include exploration, nature science, outdoor science, etc. When your student first go outside, they may associate the outdoor learning time with recess and free-playing; having a specific name for your outdoor learning time will help them understand that there is a difference.

Use the term you pick in your class schedule for the day and also while you’re outside to hold your students accountable. That being said, early childhood learners benefit from free-play.

Setting aside some time at the end of each outdoor session will develop a predictable routine which will allow them to focus better during your lesson and will help their overall development.

Safety while learning outdoors

The safety of learning outside is probably the most intimating part of taking students out to learn. Consider these points as you decide ways to keep your students safe.

Use natural boundaries to keep your students accountable for their safety. Natural boundaries include things that are very easy to see like sidewalks, fences, buildings, logs, playground lines, etc. When you begin each outdoor lesson, share with your students where they are able to go by walking around the boundaries or using very distinct and obvious markers. If you use the same space repeatedly, they will get into the habit of remembering the boundaries you’ve set.  As the teacher, it’s best to select a space where you can see all children at all times with no blind spots. Make sure to count them repeatedly.

Share your safety expectations with your students. If your school is against climbing trees, remind your students of that at the beginning of your lesson. Remember that early childhood learners are not able to remember very many things at one time so try to keep it to simple rules like “keep each other safe and nature safe”. Then have them brainstorm ways that they can follow that rule. Have your students repeat the rules at the beginning of your lesson and hold them to them.

Make sure to carry a first aid kit with you while you’re outside. You may run into a situation where a student needs a band-aid, and it’s best to have it on you instead of having to take the entire class back inside to grab one; we all know how hard transitions can be! You should also have your cell phone or a walky-talky so that you can get in touch with the front office in case of emergency.

Have your students use the bathroom before going outside. Many teachers do not have support like a para-pro, so it’s important for all of your students to stay with you while you’re outside. Keeping track of the number of students you have with you is one of the best ways to avoid safety issues. 

Learning outdoor activities

There are a variety of learning outdoor activities that you can use outside to benefit your students. I’m going to break down five different activity types but feel free to use your creativity and imagination to come up with other ideas to teach your curriculum in a new way (and then come back and let us know about it!). As you spend more time outside and your students get used to the routine, you can start to combine some of these ideas into the same lesson plan.

Like science notebooking, there are many different kinds of activities that you can do with your student outside while using outdoor education.

Science notebooking is a powerful activity that can take place during or after any of the listed activity types.

Group meeting

Having a group meeting at the beginning of each day. These meetings give you a chance to introduce the concept for the day and gives you space to provide your students directions. If you can swing it, try to use the same meeting spot for these group meetings.

Reading a related picture book in the group meeting space is always a great way to start off an outdoor lesson. Keep this part of your lesson brief though, about 5-10 minutes at most so that you can get to the experiential part of your lesson.

Guided walk

Guided walks can be useful if you want your students to experience the same thing at roughly the same time. Some guided walk lessons could include finding textures in nature as you walk down the sidewalk or looking for seasonal signs in pairs while walking through the schoolyard. 

These opportunities resemble more of what’s happening inside your classroom and could be used as a good transition into outdoor learning.


Exploration-based activities can be very powerful for children’s learning, especially early childhood learners. Some exploration-type lessons could be scavenger hunts for living and nonliving things in your schoolyard or gathering leaves for comparison of shapes and colors. 

Not only can these types of lessons develop a sense of responsibility in your students, but they can also give you the unique opportunity to check in on your students independently as they make their way through the activity you laid out.

Learning games

One of the most powerful ways to use the outdoors for learning is the use of learning games. When concepts are gamified, they build a different understanding in your students’ brains because they are experiencing the phenomenon firsthand, or they are creating a memory that they can call on later to remember the information.

Some learning games could include relay races of frog life cycles or living vs nonliving things. My favorite games are ones that put your students into the role of the concept like Bear, Bear, Are You Awake? (original source unknown). This is a game about a sleeping bear which helps teach the concept of dormancy in animals during the winter.

Data collection

Being in the outdoors gives you a wonderful opportunity to collect data. This scientific skill is sometimes hard to come by naturally in the classroom, so take advantage of your schoolyard or greenspace to provide you with things to count, tally, measure, and more. Some examples include taking temperatures outside, measuring the height of plants, taking animal surveys, and more.

Remember, this is just a short list of learning outdoor activities. You’ll find new and creative ways to spend your time outside with your students as you practice going out more and finding out what resonates with your kids. Just keep in mind that mixing up activity types will reach more of your learners and will keep things fresh and exciting, upping your engagement.

Outdoor learning equipment

Teachers already have too much of a burden on their shoulders to supply learning materials and equipment…adding outdoor education to your educational practices shouldn’t add a financial burden to you as well. You can learn outside without any special kind of outdoor learning equipment.

That being said, there are some things that are nice to have on hand, a lot of which you can find at garage sales or could acquire through donations from parents or local businesses. I’ll break down some of my favorite outdoor learning equipment and the reason I find them so valuable.

Don't let the idea of needing new equipment steer you away from outdoor education - you have what you need and you can always supplement later on.

Don’t let the idea of needing new equipment steer you away from outdoor education – you have what you need and you can always supplement later on.

Foldable wagon

Sometimes you will have a lot of stuff to take outside with you for your lesson – think science notebooks for each kiddo, drawing utensils, game materials, etc. Having a foldable wagon on hand is very helpful. Not only will it collapse and be stored out of the way, it will also be an easy way to prep your materials so that you don’t have to run around wondering if you have what you need. Having waterproof material in the wagon is a bonus, especially if you plan to explore ditches, ponds, or creeks near your school.

Game materials

Playing learning games outside will help your students better understand your material, but sometimes those games will take props. Some reusable and transformative props include poker chipsropespoly spots, and cones.

Poker chips are great loose parts that can become food for hungry animals, data collection tools, pollen from flowers, and more. It’s nice to have multiple colors in case you need to designate different aspects of learning through the different color chips.

Ropes and cones are helpful for identifying boundaries. Ropes are light and provide a nice defining boundary that can extend for a long distance. Cones are tall and can help define boundaries with a quick glance. It’s nice to have different colors for these as well in case you are defining boundaries with different teams. Combining ropes with cones is helpful because cones are tall and can be seen while away from the boundary line while ropes can extend the entire length of your boundaries.

Poly spots are great for defining individual spots for students or for creating obstacles in an obstacle course. It’s nice to have these in different colors as well just in case your game calls for different colored teams. These tend to be heavy so having them in a backpack or in your wagon may be the best way to transport them.

Alternatively, I have seen teachers collect milk jug lids to use in place of poker chips and I’ve seen tall jugs filled with sand to be used instead of cones. Get creative and find ways to save yourself some cash while also getting the benefits of these game materials for your class.

Bug boxes and butterfly pavilions

Although these tools are labeled as being bug and butterfly specific, these exploration tools are helpful not just for invertebrates, but for collecting a variety of items from nature. I have used bug boxes to collect different levels of the food chain, living and nonliving things, different colored things, and so much more.

These bug jars tend to be sturdier than some of the others on the market and their magnifying glass at the top is helpful for closer observation. These bug boxes are a decent alternative, but the bottoms are more fragile and tend to crack easier. If you do acquire bug boxes that have a separate lid and bottom, remind your students to hold one in each hand unless their box is closed in order to keep your bug boxes as a unit. 

A good butterfly pavilion is nice for flying insects but can also be helpful for imaginative play or collection of *soft* natural items. They tend to be collapsible and easy to transport for outdoor exploration. This style of butterfly pavilion is nice because it has one easy to open side door. There is also this type of butterfly pavilion but I have noticed that the wire ring at the top ends up poking out and ruining the integrity of the equipment after a few years of use.

Alternatively, you could get a bunch of reusable plastic containers from a thrift shop, a dollar store, or a garage sale and poke holes in the top for animals to breathe, and call it good. Plastic containers can work pretty well if you’re working with a small budget and/or no help from administration or donations.

Field guides

Believe it or not, many children get into identifying what they are finding when they are outside exploring. Field guides are such a helpful tool for your inquisitive learners that want a name for everything. These books can add up, so check your Scholastic catalogs to see if they have any at cheaper prices, or see if there are any local book stores willing to donate a handful, you really don’t need many.

Alternatively, you could work with your students to create their own field guides on the computer and make field binders that they could take outside. Also, if you have access to an iPad or you have the okay from administration to use your phone, you could download the free app Seek by iNaturalist to help you identify what you’re finding with your students.

Hopefully after reading this article you have a better understanding of what outdoor education is and how it can help you and your students in your educational journeys. Although it may sound intimidating at first, take it slow and see if it fits you and your students. Feel free to send me an email or send me a DM on Facebook or Instagram if you need any tips or you want to celebrate a success! I’d love to hear from you.


LEAF Program. (n.d.) Outdoor Education. Research Summary, 1-4. Retrieved from 

Forest School Activities Index

You can use this index to find what you are looking for and plan your forest school lessons. You can use these quick links to jump to our forest school categories: Arts and CraftsBeginners Guide BasicsLiteracy ActivitiesMath ActivitiesPlant ActivitiesScience ActivitiesReady-made CurriculumWellbeing Activities..

Ready-made nature curriculum and forest school books

You can save time and teach better using our ready-made curricula and teaching kits. These give you complete programmes to teach forest school activities and nature study: open them up and you’re ready to teach! They include thoughtfully-curated lesson plans and free printables to give your children a broad programme of hands-on, creative learning. Choose your first kit:

The Forest Classroom: a beginner’s guide to forest school
The Forest Classroom is a practical beginner’s guide to running a successful forest school. It includes lesson plans, activities, and fantastic printables that make it easy for you to teach a nature-immersed curriculum.

Nature Explorers: Forest
Nature Explorers: Forest is the perfect way to add reading, writing, drawing, and science to your forest adventures.

The Complete Seasons School Year
The Seasons School Complete Year Program gives you a complete program of spring, summer, autumn, and winter learning, combining nature study, math, science, literacy, arts and crafts, sensory and play, recipes, and more.

The Spring Teaching Kit
The Seasons School Spring Curriculum gives you everything you need for spring learning, all in one place, based around the themes of eggs, birds, seeds and shoots.

The Sunflower School Teaching Kit
The Sunflower School curriculum is a full programme of learning, in rhythm with the natural growing cycle of sunflowers. It’s the perfect way for schools, families, and gardening clubs to include science, math, literacy, art and more into gardening with children.

The Autumn Teaching Kit
The Seasons School Autumn Curriculum gives you everything you need to teach a fall nature curriculum based on the themes of apples, pumpkins, leaves and twigs.

The Winter Teaching Kit
This 21 Day Winter Activities Countdown is one part educational curriculum, one part seasonal celebration, and one part family memory making. With a winter activity for each day it gives you a complete programme of nature, science, literacy, arts and crafts, sensory, and play.

Beginner’s Guide Basics

What is forest school?
For curious parents, teachers thinking about enhancing their provision, and anyone wondering about this unique way of learning, let’s answer the question: what is forest school?

What are the benefits of forest school?
Forest schools are a strong alternative or accompaniment to traditional schools. From physical to mental health, and academic to practical skills, let’s look at all the benefits of forest school.

Forest school lesson plans :: how to open the session
Use these ideas to plan a welcoming forest school session – includes free printable forest school welcome song!

Simple nature walk rules for children
Follow these simple nature walk rules for children so you can connect with nature and enjoy your time outdoors safely and respectfully.

17 easy nature walk ideas for children
Nature walks with children are a key forest school activity. Try these easy nature walk ideas and enjoy the great outdoors, with a different learning objective each time.

Forest school lesson plans for spring
Lead an engaging nature curriculum full of spring nature activities using these ready-made forest school lesson plans for spring.

Forest school lesson plans for summer
Try these ideas for forest school lesson plans for summer to enjoy your outdoor classroom at the height of the year.

Forest school lesson plans for autumn
Make back-to-school planning easy and start the term strong with these ready-made forest school lesson plans for autumn and fall.

Forest school lesson plans for winter
Get great ideas for outdoor lessons and nature activities whatever the weather with these forest school lesson plans for winter.

Forest school for childminders
Use this easy and practical guide to starting a forest school for childminders to bring more nature activities to your child care provision.

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Wellbeing activities for forest school

Sit Spot forest meditation
Try this sit spot mindfulness activity for forest school with your children and encourage peace and connect with nature. A great wellbeing activity to help children focus and relax.

Forest school lesson plans :: how to open the session
Use these ideas to plan a welcoming forest school session that is inclusive and supportive.

16 forest school recipes for easy camp fire food
Join the feast! Here are sixteen delicious forest school recipes that you can cook over a campfire to build connection and community in your forest school class.

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Arts and crafts for forest school

Forest school mandala activities
Celebrate nature and create outdoor art with these forest school mandala activities.

Nature Colour Wheel
This nature colour wheel activity is a great way to combine the colour theory of an art lesson with the careful investigation of a science lesson in your forest school outdoor classroom. It comes with a free printable colour wheel too.

Flower crowns
Flower crowns are a lovely nature craft and forest school activity. You can use them on a nature walk to explore the plants you discover along the way and tell the story of your walk through the treasures you find.

Leaf printing
A classic childhood craft – autumn leaf print art is a gorgeous now as it was when we were children. Here are some ideas to add some extra sensory dimensions, and craft ideas that make the most of your lovely leaf prints.

Leaf crowns
Celebrate the season in style with this easy autumn craft for forest school – make a leaf crown!

Twig weaving
Twig weaving combines natural materials and traditional craft to make a beautiful decoration for your forest classroom.

Apple or leaf print gratitude flags
Here’s a Thanksgiving craft for kids that’s fun to make, looks beautiful and sends out positive wishes to the world: Thanksgiving prayer flags.

Percussion stick musical instrument
This is a fun musical activity you can include in a forest school session.

Clay Faces
Here’s a fantastic outdoor art idea that’s perfect for forest school, using natural materials found in the forest to make clay faces on tree trunks.

How to make corn dollies
Reviving a traditional English craft, here’s how to make a corn dolly craft, perfect as a harvest celebration activity for children.

Leaf wreaths
Ten simple ideas for beautiful homemade fall wreath projects, using a variety of gorgeous art techniques, suitable for kids of all ages.

Leaf suncatchers
Make beautiful art taking the idea of leaf art and adding it to my Sticky Picture frames.

Flower petal suncatchers
Combine natural, sensory materials, art, math and a little meditation and make pretty flower mandala designs.

Twig magic wands
Here’s how to make a magic wand from natural materials for imaginary play.

Land art mandalas
This idea for nature mandalas for kids takes its inspiration from spring flowers.

Play dough leaf printing
Celebrate the change in season by adding a forest twist to our easy no cook playdough recipe.

Build stone cairns
Have you ever tried building stone cairns? If you have children who love building towers they’re a wonderful activity to try – combining natural materials, loose parts, construction play and just a little added dash of wow-factor!

Make a fairy land
A favourite spot in our outdoor classroom, this fairy garden design is great for promoting magical imaginary play, and a delight for the senses.

Leaf symmetry art
Let’s learn about leaf symmetry in this STEAM lesson that combines math and art.

Leaf colouring sheet
Use this free printable leaf colouring page as an easy autumn art project to explore pens, paints, pastels and pattens.

Leaf print Christmas tree craft for forest school
This leaf print Christmas tree craft is a beautiful way to make a nature-based Christmas card and a perfect forest school Christmas craft.

Flower printing garden art
Here’s one of our favourite ideas you can use for creative art and crafts based on a garden theme.

How to make mushroom spore print pictures
Learn about the structure of fungi and use them to create art as we make spore prints from mushrooms. A fun and fascinating nature art and science project!

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Math activities for forest school

Forest school math activities
Gather your twigs and leaves and use these fantastic ideas for hands-on forest school math stations.

Leaf numbers and counting
These simple leaf math games for preschool let you take your learning outdoors for hands-on fun.

Number stones
Here’s a great idea for outdoor math making numbers stones.

Counting with sticks and playdough
Create this hands-on math game with just a few items inspired by flowers.

Counting with rocks and play dough
Combine play dough and natural materials to teach counting with rocks.

Explore nature shapes
This is a super idea for nature shapes outdoor math activities.

Leaf math games
Make a set of leaf numbers for math activities outdoors.

Nature counting treasure hunts
Here’s a fun idea to take math outdoors using chalk to set up a simple treasure hunt.

Leaf numbers printable
Celebrate the autumn season and fill your lessons with leaf-themed math activities.

Leaf number line
Make a beautiful leaf number line and use it with these ideas for autumn math activities.

Leaf symmetry art
Let’s learn about leaf symmetry in this STEAM lesson that combines math and art.

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Literacy activities for forest school

Nature Explorers: Forest
This interactive nature journal will get your children reading, writing, drawing and building their forest vocabulary.

How to make a forest nature journal for kids
Use our ideas, prompts and printable nature journal pages to make your own science book: a forest nature journal and a unique record of your time in your local woodland.

Forest school literacy activities
These forest school literacy ideas make use of twigs, leaves and seeds for fun, hands-on letter and spelling activities.

Story Stones
Story stones are a great art project and make pretty ‘loose parts’ toys to use for storytelling and pretend play.

Outdoor ABCs
Five fun ways to practice letters and words while enjoying some time outdoors.

50 favourite children’s books about nature
Grab one of these brilliant books about nature and take your reading outdoors to an amazing outdoor reading area.

Mud pie alphabet
How to make a glorious mud pie alphabet.

Leaf letters printable
This leaf alphabet printable is great for letter games, learning the alphabet, and spelling out words. Download the leaf printable and try out these forest-themed literacy activities.

Twig pens and sensory mark making
Set up a fall writing center with this forest-themed sensory writing tray and twig pen.

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Plant activities for forest school

Forest school treasure hunt printable
This forest treasure hunt printable for kids is a great way to make the most of your visit to the forest. Prefect for families, forest schools, and outdoor community groups.

Learning about trees
Use this tree lesson plan to learn about the different types of trees in your forest.

Blackberry picking guide
Here’s a simple blackberry picking guide for children, along with a blackberry nature journal printable you can use to learn all about these delicious, seasonal fruits.

Elderberry picking guide
Show your children how to identify and forage for elderberries and cook up some delicious elderberry syrup.

Wild garlic picking guide
Learn how to forage for foods in season in spring, how to identify wild garlic, and try this deliciously easy recipe for wild garlic pesto. Includes a free printable wild garlic nature journal page.

Learning about apples
Let’s learn about apples with this apple lesson plan, apple investigation, and easy apple recipes.

Apple taste test lesson and printable
Use this printable apple taste test sheet to learn about apple varieties and discover which apple is your favourite.

Hawthorn foraging guide for children with hawthorn tea recipe
Use this foraging guide for children to learn how to identify hawthorn and try these easy hawthorn recipes.

17 easy nature walk ideas for children
Nature walks with children are a key forest school activity. Try these easy nature walk ideas to get to know the plants, animals and changing seasons.

Back to index

Science activities for forest school

Nature Explorers: Forest
This interactive nature journal will get your children reading, writing, drawing and learning as they create a unique science book about their own forest.

What is a biome? lesson for children
Introduce your children to biomes with this simple biome definition. Learn about the key world biomes and focus in on the three forest biomes, including where the are located and which animals and plants you can find there.

Leaf and seed cards
Let’s get to know leaves and seeds. Use these free printable three-part leaf and seed cards with these eight forest school activities to get to know your trees.

Deciduous forest food chain lesson
In this forest food chain lesson for kids you can teach your children about the forest food web using these printable animal and plant cards.

Cloud activities and printable ID cards
Let’s learn how to identify clouds as part of our learning about the weather unit.

Make a weather station
Here’s how to make a rain gauge to include in a forest weather station.

Bug Hotel
Use this guide on how to make a bug hotel as an animal conservation project.

Flower nature study
A complete unit of daffodil lessons for spring: use these resources to learn about daffodils and the parts of a flower, create daffodil arts and crafts, study the famous daffodils poem by Wordsworth and create your own, plus bonus printables!

Growing seeds experiment
In this growing seeds experiment we’ll be investigating seeds, and comparing bean and pea seeds as they germinate and begin to grow.

Weather Spinner printable
Let’s make a weather chart! Download this free weather spinner printable and learn about the climate in your outdoor classroom.

Autumn nature walk printable
Use this autumn nature walk treasure hunt printable as a nature spotters guide.

Nature table
Use these ideas to create a nature table discovery centre with your children that invites them to explore the forest with all their senses.

Easy forest school activity :: ten things in ten minutes
Need a quick forest school activity? Try this ten things in ten minutes investigation.

Parts of a tree lesson with printable
Learn about the parts of a tree with this free printable and tree lesson ideas – a great forest school lesson for any time of year.

How to use a nature journal with children
This guide to nature journalling will help you start your own nature journal. It includes ideas on what to include in a nature journal plus links to nature journal prompts and printable nature journal pages.

17 easy nature walk ideas for children
Use these themed nature walk ideas to study the plants, animals, and environment around you.

Printable forest animal picture cards
Let’s learn about the forest biome with these printable two-part forest animal and plant cards.

How to make a forest animal small world play set
Learn how to make a forest small world using loose parts and natural materials plus find out how you can get a set of forest animal model printables to play with. We’ll talk about how to use small worlds as a science activity, and how small world play develops language skills.

Wolf facts for children
Learn these fun wolf facts for children and download the printable wolf information sheet for your nature journal. Plus make your own wolf model using our cut-out printable puppets of forest animals.

Back to index


Recommended ContentRecommended ContentRecommended Content

Childhood should involve countless hours chasing fireflies, making mud pies, and building forts. These are the essential elements of the childhood experience—not devices and crammed schedules.

We’ve screened every suggested activity with a “real life” filter taking into account busy schedules, competing screen time, the gargantuan effort it can sometimes take to get kids outside.

(Click to find activities in these categories)


Rainy Day Activity

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Amphibians & Reptiles



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If your child insists on grabbing for your smartphone, put it to your advantage and...

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Go #30Days Wild

The UK-based Wildlife Trusts is truly an organization to check out, if you live in...

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Join the World’s Largest Treasure Hunt

Looking for a fun thing to do outdoors with kids? Try geocaching. This outdoor activity...

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How to Build a Stick Fort

It turns out that building forts, hideouts, and playhouses are part of the way that...

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animal tracks

Identify Animal Tracks In Your Backyard & Beyond…

Studying prints left by animals is an ancient activity that was first practiced by those...

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seed bombs

Make Seed Bombs

Seed Bombs. These words are sure to get your child excited enough to put down...

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children playing in woods

Set up a Loose Parts Playground

They’re cheap or free. They engage a child’s creativity and encourage peer play and social...

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Build a Housing Complex for Birds

Building a birdhouse (or a bird complex) is an excellent way to teach your child...

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children watching explorer classroom

Connect with an Explorer

Let your child’s teacher know that they can put “smart” screens to good use! National...

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boy walking outside

Nature Map your Neighborhood

Leave Google Maps at home and ask your child to create a natural map of...

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full moon outside

Keep a Moon Journal

A walk under the moon is a great way to spend time together as a...

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smokey the bear junior park ranger

Become a Junior Forest Ranger

If your child doesn’t know who Smokey the Bear is, here’s their chance! The US...

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Adopt your Favorite Species of Wildlife

Symbolically at least because wildlife, of course, belongs outside, not as pets. National Wildlife Federation’s...

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Create a Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary

Your backyard can become a haven for birds, butterflies, and other wildlife. And turning your...

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Capture Wildlife through the Lens

Teach your kids to stop and observe wildlife and photography skills by taking part in...

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Become a Firefly Watcher

What could be more mesmerizing and magical on a summer evening than watching fireflies light...

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Volunteer at a Community Garden

Need a great way to keep nature on the calendar? Grab the kids and make...

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Free Online Public School

A Strong Foundation for Learning Success Starts Here

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How Does Online Public School Work?

Like traditional public school, online public school is completely free. Unlike with traditional schooling, however, students can attend classes from the comfort of their own home — and choose a schedule that suits their lifestyle.

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Designed to support student success, K12-powered schools:

  • Offer online, full-time, and tuition-free education

  • Serve students in grades K-12

  • Employ state-certified teachers

  • Provide all educational materials

  • Follow a traditional school year schedule

  • Adhere to all state curriculum and assessment requirements

  • Award graduates a high school diploma

The Advantages of Online Public School

K12 online public schools offer students the flexibility to learn at their own pace, in their own place — while enjoying an engaging education and a fulfilling social life.

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Benefits and Challenges of Online Public School

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Student Socialization

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Virtual Public School Curriculum

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Benefits of Public School Online

Personalized learning
Let your child set their own learning pace, so they can focus on challenging topics and breeze through the topics they master quickly.

Flexible schedule
Choose a class schedule that works for your family. All you need is an internet connection for anywhere, anytime learning.

Parent or guardian involvement
Shape your child’s education and future and play a hands-on role in their success.

Supportive school community
Connect and collaborate with state-certified teachers, counselors, administrators, and fellow parents to actively guide student success.

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The K12 Commitment

Dedicated learning time
K12 school is far more flexible than traditional public school, offering students ample time and space to work on projects throughout the day. As part of their learning experience students must attend live online classes and are expected to complete their online and offline assignments in a timely manner.

Especially in earlier grades, K12 students need a dedicated Learning Coach to help them stay engaged and on track. Typically, parents or guardians serve as their child’s Learning Coach, communicating with teachers, recording attendance, and helping students along in their learning journey

Parent or guardian support
Learning Coaches are an important part of the K12 educational experience, helping students become independent learners. On average, the Learning Coach can expect to spend 3-6 hours per week supporting elementary school students, 2-4 hours per week supporting middle school students, and 1-2 hours per week supporting high school students.

The Different Kinds Of Online Public School

There are many free online learning programs designed to meet a diverse range of needs. Across the country, K12 online public schools serve students in all grade levels, with an option for every family.

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Virtual Academies

Virtual academies are available for students in dozens of states across the U.S. They may incorporate both online and in-person learning, depending on the program.

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Career Prep

K12 students in grades 6-12 can join Stride Career Prep and get an insider’s look into different post-graduate job paths.

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Insight Schools

For students that need a little more guidance and support, Insight Schools offer block scheduling, credit recovery, and remediation.


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Awards and Recognition

K12 has accumulated various awards and recognitions for meeting the highest standards of educational management.

  • Cognia-Accredited

  • Award-Winning Curricula

  • Research-Backed Curricula

  • State-Certified Teachers


Have Questions?

Look here.

How much does online public school cost?

How much time will online public school take my child each day?

Will my high school student receive a diploma?

As the parent of a K12 student, how much time will I spend per week supporting my child’s education?

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I’m Ready to Find a School

Find a K12 school in your state.


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Enroll Today

Create a Parent Portal account to begin the enrollment process.


What Families Should Know
About K-12 Online Schools

Long-term virtual options are available for students who may struggle in the traditional classroom environment.

Considering K-12 Online Schools

Experts advise looking for accredited programs with certified teachers, and note that quality online programs typically offer the same wrap-around services as traditional schools, including counselors, clubs, 

sports and extracurriculars.(GETTY IMAGES) As schools reopened last fall, many families were relieved to leave virtual learning behind. But for some – particularly those with health concerns or kids who’ve struggled in traditional school – online school may be an attractive alternative for the long term. 

Having pivoted to remote learning during the pandemic, some public school districts decided to continue offering an online option going forward. Columbus City Schools in Ohio is one of them.

“We know there isn’t just one way to teach and one way to learn and become a successful graduate,” says Kyra Schloenbach, Columbus schools’ chief academic officer. The district listened to students and parents about their experiences with online school during COVID-19, and “what we learned is that some students really thrived in that environment.

Though it may have felt like remote education was invented overnight, online K-12 schools have been around for two decades, mostly in the form of private and charter schools. Pre-pandemic, roughly 375,000 K-12 students were enrolled in full-time online schools in the 2018-19 school year, according to a report from the Digital Learning Collaborative.

Private online schools serve all 50 states and international students, and 35 states now offer free, online public school options. Students primarily learn at home, but some private and charter schools have physical facilities. Columbus, like some other places, is planning to offer field trips and in-person gatherings. There are also “blended” or hybrid schools, which offer a mix of virtual and in-person instruction.

With all of these options, finding a quality program that’s both a good fit for the family and that promotes long-term academic success can be a daunting task.READ: Understanding Charter Schools vs. Public Schools.

What to Look for in an Online School

Let’s start by addressing the elephant in the room (or on the Zoom, as the case may be): What most families experienced learning remotely during the pandemic is a far cry from what an intentional online school is like. Tillie Elvrum, co-founder of Parent Support for Online Learning, says that students spending many hours a day listening to a teacher over Zoom is not a best practice for online learning.

Elvrum’s son attended online schools through Connections Academy, a virtual charter school network owned by Pearson, and one of the largest K-12 online education providers in the U.S. She describes the experience as interactive and engaging. Instead of sitting on Zoom, “you’re in the kitchen doing an experiment, or you're reading a book, or you’re writing a paper.” Mickey Revenaugh, a co-founder of Connections Academy, says that typically 70 to 80% of online learning occurs asynchronously, with teachers devoting the remaining time in online classes to clarifying concepts and interacting with their students.

Experts advise looking for accredited programs with certified teachers, and note that quality online programs typically offer the same wrap-around services as traditional schools, including counselors, clubs, sports and extracurriculars. Machelle Kline, chief student services officer at Columbus City Schools, says that daily attendance and regular check-ins by content area to assess understanding are important.

Caregivers should also consider access to technology – many at-home online schools provide laptops and other resources, and some can subsidize internet costs. And as with any school, look for data like test scores, student-to-teacher ratios, state performance ratings and graduation rates, as the quality of online schools can vary considerably.

READ: Is a ‘Lab School’ Right for Your Child?

Pros and Cons of Online School 

How do you know if online school is right for your child?
Experts say some of the reasons families have selected online learning include:

  • Ongoing concerns about COVID-19.

  • School safety concerns, including students who have experienced bullying.

  • Students who are working at a different grade level than their peers.

  • Students whose learning needs are not being met at their school.

  • Students who are also parents or caregivers.

  • Medically compromised or vulnerable students.

  • Families looking for flexibility in their learning schedules.

  • Families living abroad.

  • Caregivers seeking an increased role in their child’s education.

These different experiences point to something that proponents say online schools do well: tailoring instruction to individual needs. Elvrum noted the flexibility to spend more time on challenging concepts and to let students work at their own pace and on their own schedules is one of the most appealing aspects of this model for families.
And Revenaugh says online teachers have more time to develop relationships with students because they don’t need to devote as much time to things like classroom management and grading (which is done mainly by computer in Connections Academy).

At the same time, online school is not right for every family. For one thing, schools that don’t have their own facilities often require families to provide a “learning coach” – a caregiver who supports the student through the program. Younger students especially need supervision during the day and generally require more time from the learning coach; Connections Academy suggests coaches plan to spend five hours per week helping students in grades K-5. Kline also notes that to be successful in this role, coaches need to draw the line between providing support and doing the work for their child.

Another issue is quality: a 2019 report from the National Education Policy Center notes that there are “serious questions about the effectiveness of many models of virtual schooling.” Many students are still catching up after schools went remote during the pandemic. And while those emergency conditions did not represent best practices in online instruction, multiple studies prior to the pandemic showed online K-12 schools underperforming compared to traditional schools.

For example, the NEPC report found that online schools had a four-year high school graduation rate of just 50% in 2017-18, compared to the national average of 84%. And less than half of all online schools with state performance ratings received an acceptable rating in the 2017-18 school year.

In some cases, virtual schools, specifically some charters, have been embroiled in years-long lawsuits over alleged fraudulent activity.

READ: What to Do When Your Kid Refuses to Go to School.

The Pros and Cons of Multiage Classrooms or Homeschools.

In a mixed age classroom, students can move at their own pace and learn from each other.

Danielle BraffJan. 24, 2023

Online Education Done Right

Help your child reach their full potential with personalized learning from K12.

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Find a school near me

Outside of the U.S.?

K12 and You

Every student deserves an education built to meet their unique needs. With K12 online school, your child can find their personalized path to success — learning at their own pace, in their own place with an engaging curriculum that supports individual learning styles.

With K12, students experience:

  • A quality online education focused on skill-building and socialization

  • A flexible learning system that suits their schedule and needs

  • Award-winning curricula to uncover their unique interests and spark a passion for learning

  • A supportive learning environment featuring expert instruction, innovative technology, and engaging, collaborative resources


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Your Questions, Answered

Learn more about the K12 learning experience. Browse our frequently asked questions.


Online School For Every Type of Learner

Whether you’re looking for public school, private school, or just a few classes, we have an online education option for every student. Tailored to your child’s unique schedule, needs, and interests, K12 programs empower students to succeed and instill a lifelong love of learning.

Online Public School

Embark on an engaging learning journey. Enroll your child in a K12 online public school, where they’ll enjoy individualized learning led by state-certified teachers.


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Online Private School

Through K12 online private school, students receive an engaging, hands-on education that accommodates flexible schedules and fosters independence. Explore this tuition-based option today.


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Online Homeschool

Supplement your child’s homeschool education with challenging, engaging, and highly interactive K12 courses that speak to individual interests and help fill in knowledge gaps.


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Individual Classes

Personalize your child’s education with supplemental coursework. All individual classes are taught by K12 teachers and come with hands-on materials that help students catch up, get ahead, and explore their interests.


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Tutoring Services

Support student success with flexible, dynamic tutoring from K12 state-certified teachers.


Why K12?

As an award-winning, fully accredited online school, K12 combines highly qualified teachers with an engaging curriculum and a user-friendly online learning platform. The result? A supportive learning environment that helps every student thrive.

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Take Advantage of the Expertise That Sets K12 Apart

As a leader in educational management, K12 has accumulated various awards and accolades from national organizations, award bodies, and independent researchers. Our consistent level of quality goes above and beyond traditional schooling norms. We’re always looking for ways to improve our practices and empower more students to achieve their best.

  • Cognia-accredited 

  • Award-winning curricula 

  • Research-backed curricula 

  • State-certified teachers


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2 Million+

Students have chosen K12 education since 2000.

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Of parents say K12 helped their child prepare for the future.

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States offer tuition-free K12 programs.

A Great Educational Experience Starts Here

K12 students are empowered to achieve their best with hands-on learning, flexible scheduling, and guidance from both teachers and parents. Students learn in the comfort of their own home, free from distractions, with live online instruction, self-led assignments, and interactive activities that fuel personal growth.

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Elementary Day in The Life

K12 online elementary school combines live online instruction with fun, interactive activities that inspire students to explore their unique interests. Students learn in their own safe environment, with all class materials sent directly to their door.

Day In The Life Micah And Sarai
School Safety
Sample Lesson

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School Tour

K12 students in grades K-5 participate in online coursework with interactive lesson plans and personalized instruction from teachers, designed to make learning fun and engaging.


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School Tour

K12 students in grades 6-12 find success through online education that fosters independence and encourages them to explore their individual interests.


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Middle School

K12 middle school students learn through instructional videos, self-assessments, and interactive activities that provide a rewarding learning experience. A robust STEM program is also available to encourage students to explore different subjects and develop real-world skills.

Explore STEM
Middle School Sample Lesson

High School

K12 high school students get ready for post-graduate success through a combination of standards-based coursework and career and college preparation courses. High schoolers also meet with counselors to get actionable guidance on college applications and career pursuits.

Arianna Day In The Life
Graduation And Career Prep
High School Sample Lesson

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Passionate Teachers, Skilled in Online Learning

Specially trained in online education, K12 teachers are passionate about helping students thrive. They get to know students on an individual level, tailoring instruction to your child’s unique learning style.


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Contact Us

Have questions? Contact us to jumpstart your child’s future with K12.


Invest in your child's learning journey with engaging games that make learning fun!
  • Help your child improve their math skills and confidence in a fun, safe and secure environment

  • Motivate learning, track their progress and inspire them to practice new skills

  • Get insights into their classroom progress with a Prodigy parent account

  • Optional Prodigy memberships provide additional features that are engaging and promote more math practice - and they also help us keep Prodigy free for all teachers! 

Prodigy for Parents

Learning made fun, in more ways than one

Our safe, curriculum-aligned games make online learning an adventure!

Prodigy Math and mini tablets

Prodigy Math

Discover the magic of math! Players embark on a journey filled with quests, battles, spells and rewards. Every battle brings more skill-building math questions for students to solve.

Discover Prodigy Math

Prodigy English and mini tablet

Prodigy English

Power your imagination! Create a custom-built world through reading and language practice. Every correct answer gives students more energy to gather supplies and build up your village.

Explore Prodigy English

Earth globe with orange grad hat on dark green ellipse background

Aligned to your curriculum

Prodigy Math provides comprehensive math curriculum coverage, including Common Core, TEKS and many more state-specific standards. Prodigy English also aligns with Common Core, with more skills and coverage on the way!

See your math curriculum

See your English curriculum


Get help with your account, Membership perks, and more!

Getting Started

In the game, students:

  • Practice and master standards-aligned skills

  • Progress through the adaptive content at their pace

  • Complete teacher assignments that match class lessons

  • Can login at school and at home on any device, for free

100 Online

Courses That Encourage Your Child’s Interests and Talents

Here's a helpful list of online courses for kids, perfect for delight-directed homeschoolers. You'll find 100 ideas for supporting your child's interests and talents.

One of the greatest joys of homeschooling is the freedom to design a child's education around their interests and talents.  I love that I can direct my children towards their God-given purposes.  I know, without a doubt, that God has designed each of my children for a purpose, instilling interests, talents and giftings in them that they will use to change the world.

…RELATED POST…How I Answer When Asked “Why Do You Homeschool”

God has also instilled a natural curiosity and desire to learn in all of us. And, since they have always been homeschooled,  my kids' curiosities haven't been stifled. They have the freedom to learn whatever interests them. And can learn in ways that fit individual learning styles and aren't limited to “grade-level” instruction.

Yes, as homeschoolers, we don't have to confine our children courses specifically design for kids, we can let our kids take classes that are developed for adults. And actually start learning skills that can apply to future careers. Shocking, isn't it?!? (note my sarcasm).

We discovered online courses when my oldest daughter wanted to take voice lessons. We wanted her to prove her interest before investing time and money in private in-person instruction. She started out enrolling in a vocal coaching course on Udemy. We then enrolled her in other music-related courses, such as music theory, composing and songwriting.  After we knew that she was “all in” and had proven her dedication to her craft, she started private voice lessons.

No matter what your child's aspiration, there is probably an online course for them.

The Ultimate List of Online Courses for Homeschooling

I've put together this list of 100 courses for interest-led learning. All are skills-based courses, giving your child a foundation for future business endeavors or professions. Most are introductory-level courses, and a great way for your kids to explore an interest and try it on for size. And none of these courses are filled with distracting ads or incompetent instructors (like you'll find in many other places on the web).

100 Online Courses for Kids

Click each title to check 'em out. If you don't find a course that fits your child's interest, look around at each site. Chances are you can find something that works for your child's interest.

For Your Artist

Art for Beginners & Kids: 8 Drawing & Mixed-Media Projects
Introduction To Watercolor Painting
The Colored Pencil Drawing Course
How to Draw Cats with Pastel Pencils
Character Art School: Complete Character Drawing Course
How to Draw 101: BASIC DRAWING SKILLS & Sketching Exercises
Comic book Creation
Art School for Kids
Character Art School: Complete Character Drawing Course
Oil Pastel Painting: Art Projects & Techniques for Beginners

For Your Crafter

How to do stitching/how to make an embroidery design
Hand Embroidery: Easy Guide For DIY Embroidered Sweater
Introduction to Cross-Stitch
Jewelry Making For Beginners: Beading Techniques & Stitches
Jewelry Making: Wire Wrapping for Beginners
Learn to Make Polymer Clay Jewelry
Make Your Own Bath & Body Products
Candle Making for Beginners
The Greeting Card Business: Design and Sell Your Own Cards
Learn to Knit
Crochet: Basics & Beyond
Essential Seed Bead Techniques
Metalsmithing at Home

For Your Designer

Brush Pen Modern Calligraphy
Modern Patterns: From Sketch to Screen
The Complete Graphic Design Theory for Beginners Course
Fun with Hand Lettering
Become a Graphic Designer
Become a Web Designer
SketchUp BootCamp: Creating Interiors with SketchUp

For Your Engineer

Learn 3D Modelling for Beginners
Science & Engineering Projects for Kids
Woodworking Tools & Wood – Explained
Invent Your Own Machines
Arduino Step by Step: Your complete guide
Power Electronics Specialization

For Your Entrepreneur

Create Digital Products That Sell While You Sleep
Start a Handmade Business
Etsy Shop 101: The Anatomy of a Successful Etsy Shop Listing
How To Become An Entrepreneur At A Young Age

For Your Fashionista

Professional Hair and Makeup Artistry
Intro to Fashion Illustration -Beginners- Fashion Design
Simple Sewing Projects for Beginners
Kids Sewing 101
Beginner Sewing for Tweens and Teens
Makeup for Beginners: learn makeup like a Pro
The Ultimate Creative Hair Design Course
Pattern Making for Fashion Design

For Your Foodie

Learn Baking – Cake Cookies & Bread (Beginners)
Homemade Ice Cream for Beginners
10 Gorgeous Cake Decorating Techniques for All Levels
The Everyday Gourmet: Baking Pastries & Desserts
The Perfect Cupcake
The Ultimate Cake-Baking Toolbox
The Ultimate Guide to Baking with Chocolate
Cake Decorating For Fun and Profit
Essential Cooking Skills

For Your Musician

Beginners Guide to Playing Guitar – Step-by-step System
Music Producer Masterclass: Make Electronic Music
Music Career Masterclass
Mixing Vocals: Techniques Pro Engineers Use
Become a Music Business Entrepreneur
Become a Songwriter
SINGING SIMPLIFIED #1: The Fast-Track to Singing Like a Pro
Elite Singing Techniques – Phase I
Singing #1: Complete Vocal Warm ups, Tips & Voice Physiology

For Your Photographer

Photography Masterclass: A Complete Guide to Photography
Learn How To Fly A Drone For Aerial Photos And Videos
Digital Photography for Beginners with DSLR cameras
Become a Better Photographer
Photography for Kids: Project-Based Beginner Photography
Portrait Photography Masterclass, All About Headshots

For Your Techie

Become a Game Designer the Complete Series Coding to Design
Unity Game Design & Development : 20+ 2D & 3D Projects
Mobile App Design: From Beginner to Intermediate
Teach Your Kids to Code: Learn Python Programming at Any Age
Become a Professional Character Animator
Become an Expert 3D Games Developer/Artist/Animator
Become an iOS App Developer
Blender Animation for Kids
Fundamentals of Computing Specialization
Game Development and Coding for Children
Host Your Own Video Show
Kids Coding -Introduction to HTML, CSS, and Javascript
Kids Coding with Scratch
Learn Java Like a Kid: Build Three Desktop and Mobile Apps!
Minecraft Modding for Beginners
Robotics Specialization

For Your Filmmaker

Shooting Documentary Short Films
Mastering in the Art of Video Editing
Become a Film Producer
The Complete Video Production Bootcamp
Professional 10 Hour Acting MASTERCLASS
Video Editing Workshop Complete Beginners Course-Sony Vegas

For Your Writer

Writing With Confidence: Writing Beginner To Writing Pro
How to Write and Publish an eBook
The Business of Screenwriting MasterClass
Become an eBook Publisher
The Ultimate Mystery Writing Course for Kids
Write a Novel Outline from Scratch (Novel Writing Success)

So, my friend….which course do you think your child will like? Leave me a comment to let me know.

Try the World’s Best Homeschool Planner for FREE!

 Must-Have Tech for Homeschooling

2017 Acer Chromebook 11.6


Apple iPad 2 16GB

Apple iPad 16GB

Roku Streaming Stick

Roku Streaming Stick

DOSS Touch Wireless Bluetooth Portable Speaker

DOSS Touch Wireless Bluetooth Portable Speaker

Skullcandy In-Ear Noise-Isolating Earbuds

Skullcandy In-Ear Noise-Isolating Earbuds

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Generation Genius


NEW! Fun Math Lessons

For Grades K-8. Try it free. Get instant access to hours of fun, standards-based videos, reading material, quiz games, simple DIY activities & more.

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All Grades K-23-56-8

Inspiring Science & Math Lessons for K-8. Try it free.Get instant access to hours of fun, standards-based videos, reading material, quiz games, simple DIY activities & more.

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Science Lessons (and videos)

Math Lessons (and Videos)

All Grades K-23-56-8

Welcome to

The i-Ready Family Center is the place to learn how you can support and encourage your student’s success with i-Ready. 

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i-Ready Student Dashboard.

Support Your Student's Learning at Home

Guidance and tips for students learning at home

Learn More

Student and family member working on homework.

Understanding Your Student’s Diagnostic Results

Resources and tips for interpreting student data.

Learn More

Nine students' faces.

Support for Students Assessing at Home

These tips and tools will support your student if they are taking the i-Ready Diagnostic at home.

Learn More

What Is i-Ready? Go

Frequently Asked Questions Go  

Technical Support Go

More Resources to Help Support Your Student

Family Guide

Use this guide to better understand i-Ready and how it will help your student build essential skills in reading and mathematics.

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Video: Understanding i-Ready Diagnostic Data for Families

Watch this video to better understand your student’s i-Ready Diagnostic results.

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Understanding Your Student's i-Ready Diagnostic Results

Use this resource to better understand your student’s i-Ready Diagnostic results.

Download Guide

Fridge Tips for i-Ready Lessons at Home

Use these Fridge Tips to help support your student with online lessons at home.

Download PDF

At-Home Student Data Trackers

Use this resource to track and celebrate your student’s progress by regularly reviewing their i-Ready My Progress page using these at-home student data trackers.

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Video: i-Ready Lessons at Home

Watch this video to learn how to help support your student with online lessons at home.

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Digital Readiness Kit for Families

Use this kit to help teach your student everything they need to know to be successful with the mechanics of computer-based lessons and assessments.

Download PDF

Technical and Troubleshooting Guide for Families

Use this guide to help your student log in to i-Ready from home and troubleshoot i-Ready technical questions.

Download PDF

Video: You Got This!

Watch this video with your student to help them understand the i-Ready Diagnostic and prepare them for assessing at home!

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Montessori At Home

New to Montessori? Start Here

My goal here on The Kavanaugh Report is to provide education ...

The Ultimate Montessori Toy List

Cuddly · Lovies - blanket lovie | small doll | stuffed animal · Mini ...

Stop feeling intimidated by Montessori

Find your family’s balance in this modern day world.

Find your family’s balance in this modern day world.

You’re ready to get started practicing Montessori but where do you begin?​​​​

Montessori doesn’t have to be complicated. Once you understand the method you can help your child achieve independence and confidence that will last a lifetime.

This Toddler Life  is the perfect place for you to come and grow your Montessori knowledge.

You can start practicing Montessori today by grabbing this age appropriate activity list.



Maria Montessori was an Italian doctor and researcher at the turn of the 20th century. Through her observations of children across the world, Dr. Montessori made groundbreaking discoveries about child development and education. Her work found that children have unique and powerful brains that work completely differently from adult ones. She argues that through each stage of childhood, children should be respected deeply, their interests should be followed, and that when placed in a specially prepared environment children thrive. Maria Montessori’s observations and work led to the creation of Montessori schools that incorporated these ideas and specially designed materials aimed that help children to teach themselves.

Read more about some of the essential Montessori concepts here...

These discoveries continue to be upheld as best practices in early childhood and elementary educational settings today. For example, modern brain science has confirmed just how important it is for young children to learn through their sensory systems. More specifically research has shown that when tactile impressions (like Dr. Montessori's sandpaper letters) are matched with letter learning, children learn to read more easily.

Read more about Montessori language development here... 

But, most importantly Dr. Maria Montessori argued that by changing our adult interactions with children, we could change the world. She was an advocate for strong peace education. When we eliminate punishments, control, and start to respect and love children, the world can become a more equitable, and peaceful place. It is the "spiritual energy," the life-force of the child, that she was hoping to preserve and respect. The academics always came second to the love, respect, and dignity of the child in front of the adult. 


While Montessori became most famous as a method of education, Montessori's own principles, writings and ideas go so far beyond a preschool or elementary school curriculum. Montessori's own words show us that her ideas are a way of life, and a way to structure all of our interactions with children. Montessori in the modern world has evolved into a way of life. Her words, ideas and principles structure the nature of our parenting decisions, consumer choices, and how we prepare spaces in our home.

Read more about Montessori friendly toys here...


Montessori parenting can begin even before a baby is born. As we prepare to welcome a baby, we can shift out mindset toward the child led ideals that Montessori promotes. As we prepare our home for the arrival of a new baby we make special preparations based on our child's age, interests, and needs. Read more about Montessori Babies here...


Babies don't get all the fun! The toddler years can be extremely challenging for parents without the right tools and understanding of their unique needs. Montessori helps us understand what toddlers are and are not ready for. Montessori and gentle, responsive parenting techniques can help us approach common toddler challenges like potty training and discipline. Read more about Montessori Toddlers here...


Montessori homes look and feel different then many mainstream or traditional ones. While a home should never feel like a classroom (Montessori classrooms are actually modeled to feel like homes), there are specific things we try to incorporate in our home environments. They should be simple, accessible and encourage independence. Low tech toys, child sized furniture, and practical opportunities abound in Montessori homes. 

Read more about Montessori homes here...


My goal here on The Kavanaugh Report is to provide education about Montessori at home. But more importantly, I want to provide a practical example of what Montessori looks like in a real family, in real life. The stories you'll find here, are ones meant to inspire and encourage. From babyhood to elementary and beyond, I hope you'll find a way to incorporate Montessori in your day to day life.

Read more about Montessori in the elementary years here...


If you're ready to get started with Montessori at home, have a look around The Kavanaugh Report, you can find posts organized by category at the top of the website. Click a category to find all the articles on that topic. Listen to an episode or two (or ten!) of my podcast

Shelf Help . Join my membership community

for even more individual support. And, sign up below for weekly inspiration in your inbox. 

 Check out our latest blog posts:

How to handle holiday emotions with toddlers

Montessori Expectations
Affordable Montessori
How to Manage Toy Rotations (Without losing your mind)!
Why does my toddler choose the same book or toy over and over again?

Starting Practical Life with Babies - A Simple Activity

The Kavanaugh Report › 2022/06 › star...

An easy and quick Montessori baby activity to introduce your baby to practical life work through connection and everyday tasks.

Montessori Baby - Toys and Activities 11 and 12 Months Old

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Introducing Playthings with Your Baby

The Kavanaugh Report

Montessori and RIE ideas for introducing toys to newborn babies as they start to become more awake and aware of their environment.

Holding Boundaries with Older Montessori Babies

The Kavanaugh Report › 2023/03 › Mo...

Montessori Baby: Floor Time at 3-Months-Old

The Kavanaugh Report › 2022/05 › mo...

A look at floor time with a Montessori baby around 3-months including natural gross motor play and simple play activities for babies

Montessori Preschool  & Pre K Years

Nurturing the Love of Learning: Montessori Education for the Early Childhood Years

Montessori training videos:


Another very helpful and inspiring video resource for parents and teachers who’d like to use Montessori principles and techniques is to see Montessori in action in Montessori schools. If you’d like to see some great examples of Montessori in action, be sure to check out my Montessori Schools – Video Ideas and Inspiration category.


M is for Montessori - Montessori Resources Page

For resources specific to Montessori homeschooling, see my Montessori Resources page 

(with LOTS of posts with resources such as how to start using Montessori at home, how to set up a Montessori preschool homeschool classroom, where to buy Montessori materials, DIY Montessori materials, Montessori elementary homeschooling, and free Montessori materials online).



The Homeschooling Report 2017

The Homeschooling Report 

If you’d like to see what research says about homeschooling, check out “Fabulous Insights into Home Education – Homeschooling Research” at Wisdom Ninja. You can get a free 122-page copy of the results of a homeschooling survey with 1506 respondents from around the world. You’ll find lots of fascinating information in the report, and you could find the answers to your questions about what works and doesn’t work for other homeschoolers.

Characteristics of the Montessori Curriculum

 Montessori Curriculum,

Montessori Method,

Montessori Schools

Montessori is a method renowned for being flexible, independent, and a self-directed form of learning. This may be what you have heard, but what does the Montessori curriculum actually look like? Here are a few things you ought to know.

The Montessori curriculum helps children to focus on five key areas of study. These include Practical Life, Sensorial, Mathematics, Language, and Culture. These areas are put together with a set of teaching materials that are designed to increase in complexity as the child grows and matures.

As you might know, the Montessori classroom is meant to support self-directed and individual learning. Children are grouped by varying age groups which allows older students to work with younger students. Read on for more in depth information on the Montessori curriculum

Characteristics of the Montessori Curriculum

A Montessori classroom should be fun and engaging but it should also be a place where serious work is taught and experienced. Let’s talk about some main characteristics of the Montessori curriculum.

As said before, a Montessori classroom is always focused on independence. While the curriculum does provide a classroom with structure, it greatly encourages students to choose their own activities and focus on learning in their own way. This approach will increase not only independence in children, but will also instill in them a mature outlook on life and the way they accomplish things.

Unlike most other schools, the Montessori curriculum does not encourage the memorization of information. It is not believed that memorizing information impacts a child’s ability to learn in a positive or even needful way. Instead, Montessori teachers (or guides as they’re often called) will help a child to follow the curriculum in a hands-on way that will help the child to retain the lessons taught in the classroom

Children, rather than teachers (or guides) direct the learning process in the Montessori classroom, a characteristic that sets Montessori apart from other schools and curriculums.

Rather than be confined to the same thing and learning it in the same way, students who study the Montessori curriculum will be allowed to move at their own pace and move on from one skill if they are ready (regardless of age). Teachers/guides will observe and help and direct where needed, but they will not interfere with a student’s learning process.

Lastly, the Montessori curriculum is strongly focused on early childhood development. Based on a series of developmental research, the most critical and formative years in a child’s life most often take place before they reach the age of six. That being the case, the Montessori curriculum makes a point of emphasizing early development and learning.

What Are the Subjects in a Montessori Curriculum?

In addition to the five main areas of practical life, sensorial, math, language, and culture, additional subjects taught in a Montessori curriculum include geography, science and nature, music, art, and physical education. Secondary levels (middle through high school) in most Montessori schools offer additional subjects such as foreign languages, technology, environmental studies, and economics. (Source)

What Does Montessori Curriculum Look Like?

Each of the above subject areas in the Montessori curriculum are prepared with different tools and learning materials that will become more and more complex/difficult to use as the children grow. Let’s take a look at each of these areas individually, shall we?

Practical Life

Something that makes the Montessori way a unique one is that it teaches practical life skills that a student would be likely to observe daily. The practice of these activities not only helps a student prepare for practical life but also helps them to develop and fine-tune their basic motor skills. The lessons taught in the practical life area include things like cleaning, transferring, preparing food, and lessons in grace and courtesy. For example, students might learn pouring, sewing, sweeping, and other things of a similar nature.


As you have probably guessed from the name, the sensorial area focuses on helping students to refine their senses of sight, touch, smell, taste, and sound. This will help them to organize their sensory impressions as well as their understanding of the world. Materials like the trinomial cube, pink tower, geometric solids, and color box will help students to gain and perfect their understanding.


You guessed it; mathematics is all about math. This area of the curriculum focuses on teaching and helping students to understand abstract mathematical concepts and relationships. As with most of the Montessori experience, mathematics is taught in a completely hands-on way. Using things like a teens board, hundreds board, hanging bead stair, and numerals and counters, children will be able to visualize equations and problems and come to a greater understanding of them and how they work.


This portion of the Montessori curriculum focuses on providing children with the knowledge and skills to develop and build their understanding of language and vocabulary. Hands-on materials like sandpaper letters, moveable alphabets, and three-part cards are used to help children develop the skills that are required for oral language, reading, and writing. Students are also able to learn phonics and letter identification in this way.


It’s called culture studies (or humanities), but this area actually encompasses a lot of things, including botany, history, art, and several others that can help students to come to an understanding of different cultures. This part of the curriculum is quite possibly one of the most important because it helps students to gain an understanding of their community and all the other communities in the world.

Geography, Science & Nature

Though not one of the five main areas of Montessori curriculum, geography, science, and nature are featured prominently in Montessori schools. Science and nature are easily taught, as a child’s natural curiosity will take hold and direct them through the learning process. Plant and animal kingdoms are studied and plenty of time is given for the student to spend outdoors exploring nature and all she has to offer.

Geography is also focused on in a hands-on way. The use of maps, blocks, and globes is employed to help children become familiar with the layout of the land.


Additional subjects taught in Montessori schools will vary by age group and from school to school. But most Montessori secondary programs will incorporate subjects that include physical education, technology, foreign languages, environmental studies, and economics. As with the other Montessori subjects, these are taught in a practical and hands-on way. For example, an economics area of study may involve students actually starting their own entrepreneurial venture where they form a business plan and create hand-made products to sell. (Source)

Needless to say, if you choose to enroll your child in a Montessori school, they will receive a fairly well-rounded education.

Learn more about my eBook Montessori at Home or School: How to. Teach Grace and Courtesy!

If this is your first time visiting Living Montessori Now, welcome! If you haven’t already, please join us on our Living Montessori Now Facebook page where you’ll find a Free Printable of the Day and lots of inspiration and ideas for parenting and teaching! And please follow me on InstagramPinterest (lots of Montessori-, holiday-, and theme-related boards), and YouTube. While you’re here, please check out the Living Montessori Now shop.

Previous article: Nurturing the Love of Learning: Montessori Education for the Early Childhood Years

Next article: Montessori-Inspired Flower Activities with Spielgaben


Living Montessori Now has a Living Montessori Now YouTube channel with Montessori activities and lessons for parents!

Preschool & Toddler Themed Curriclulum

Welcome to our preschool & toddler curriculum. Check out the video below to see how this curriculum works and get an overview of what is included in each theme. This curriculum is set up to start a new theme each week, but feel free to make each theme longer or shorter to fit the needs of your children! If there are more than 4 weeks in any given month, you can supplement one of the Bonus themes for the extra week. We hope you enjoy this curriculum and have fun learning with your little ones!

Jump to:

Jan – Feb – Mar – Apr – May – Jun – Jul – Aug – Sep – Oct – Nov – Dec – Bonus

Montessori for Kindergarten

It is a little harder to find a primarily Montessori Kindergarten, as this is when the curriculum becomes critical to the child. However, a lot of Kindergarten programs and elementary schools use Montessori principles in a traditional classroom. This is a great way to combine academics and social experiences in a way that is fun and beneficial to the child.

During these years, there is not a necessary curriculum, and then Montessori time; it is a combination of the two that works well for each age group. Children are often still highly encouraged based on their interests, and it is essential to remember that this age group is still very young. There may be a few more rules implemented, but children are still very in charge of their learning.

Basic respect is still key; children work together and never against one another. Once again, older children still encourage younger children, and cooperative learning is frequently used.

Montessori Activities for Kindergarten

Most Kindergarten classrooms offer a variety of activities that fit the educational needs of a variety of students. These activities are divided into various areas that Kindergarten aged children need to develop. Some common activities for this age range are:

Practical Life Activities – These help encourage basic life skills and practical life activities. This is a great way to teach children to work together well while also fostering independence from adults.  Some common activities that teach practical life skills are:

  • Using the restroom

  • Washing hands

  • Brushing hair

  • Using tools safely, hammers, screwdrivers, etc.

  • Folding clothing, matching socks, pairing gloves, hanging clothing

  • Using glue, scissors, staplers, and other craft items

  • Basic cleaning

  • Preparing and serving foods

  • Buttoning, zipping, tying laces

Math Activities – Encouraging basic math skills becomes even more critical during the Kindergarten years. Montessori math starts with concrete examples and then become abstract over time. You will want to offer manipulatives and materials that can help encourage math growth. Some activities are:

Language Activities – Language is usually quite developed by this age range, but now is a time for alphabet and alphabet sound recognition to become critical. It is also when basic reading skills are introduced, and sight words are common in Kindergarten classrooms. During this time, reading time is important and is often led by the educator. Some other activities are:

See also: How and Why Montessori Teaches Writing Before Reading.

Science Activities – Science is an area where Montessori excels as learning through doing is common when it comes to science lessons. No matter the curriculum you are trying to teach, you can almost always make it hands-on and encourage student participation. Some common science activities are:

  • Living Versus Non-living Sorting

  • Herbivore, Carnivore, Omnivore Matching

  • Life Cycles (You can even purchase caterpillars or tadpoles for the classroom)

  • Parts of a Plant Outdoor Activity

  • Plant and Animal Scavenger Hunts

Montessori for Elementary Students

Once again, you will find less and less elementary schools that are entirely Montessori based. However, you will find that these schools use basic Montessori principles in the traditional elementary classroom. Activities may include small tables, group work, mats on the floor, or other Montessori ideas to help enhance the curriculum.

Introducing Montessori concepts into a traditional elementary classroom can help students feel more at home and can help encourage student interests. Many children learn through hands-on activities and materials, allowing them to be a part of their education. Of course, rules and independence become more and more important each year as the child develops.

No matter the age of the student, offering the chance for exploration and discovery is a great way to help students grow. The classroom should stay student-focused while introducing more difficult concepts that are needed for this age range. Offering familiar routines and keeping children a vital part of the classroom community is also essential during this time.

At this time, students can be grouped in a variety of ways, whether this is by traditional classroom grades like first through sixth or by age ranges. Schools that are truly Montessori usually have multi-age groupings, where children can learn from each other. Older children in these multi-age classrooms are often viewed as role models in the community, and the classroom should be very inclusive, respectful, and non-competitive.

Montessori Activities for Elementary Students

Similarly to the Kindergarten activities mentioned, there should be a slight amount more structure with the elementary level activities. They are often divided into the curriculum areas that are needed for students of this age, like practical life skills, science, music, art, and more. Some common activities are:

  • Math Activities – The use of manipulatives to help children understand abstract concepts is a great way to bridge the Montessori style into the elementary classroom. Now is a time for children to learn mathematical operations, number concepts, complex functions, and more.

  • Language – Allowing children to oversee the types of reading materials they use, offering spelling and grammar games, comparing and contrasting literature, thinking critically, offering journaling time, and student presentations are all ways that Montessori can be incorporated.

  • Cultural and Historical Studies – During these years is also a good time for technology to be introduced, allowing students to research common historical topics or new cultures. Students can begin respectfully discussing important topics and learning more about economics, peace and justice, world issues, and more. This is also an excellent time to begin discussing citizenship and what it takes to be a good citizen.

  • Science – Once again, science is one of the best areas for incorporating Montessori principles as students can use experiments to learn scientific concepts. Students can do basic experiments to discuss living things, scientific reactions, and other concepts.

  • Life Skills – By now, most children know how to do basic self-care rituals like washing hands, using the restroom, cleaning, etc. However, now is an excellent time to begin letting children take charge of their environment, offering them organization jobs, cleaning jobs, food preparation duties, and more around the classroom. Also, later elementary years are when new hygiene and personal changes may take place, which makes discussing these self-care areas important.

Montessori for High School Students

Montessori high schools are not common in many areas, and the benefits of these are not super well-known as few high schools are truly Montessori. However, many high schools around the country and even the world are incorporating these principles into their programs. The basic principles of student respect and community can work wonderfully in almost any classroom setting.

A common way that some high schools are incorporating Montessori styles is through uninterrupted work periods, as this allows students to be in charge of their learning. These can be used to teach core curriculum like math, history, science, etc. but the students oversee their own learning. During this time, there can be independent work or collaborative teamwork focused around a specific topic.

Since these Montessori principles are very hands-on and student-led, they can truly foster their own interests and feel in control of their future. This can be great for those who want to take a traditional college route after high school and those who want to do various other work. In fact, some students may create their own businesses, work as an apprentice, start charity work, enhance their performing arts, participate in field studies, and so much more.

Montessori Activities for High School Students

At this time in the child’s life, the learning curriculum is critical, especially if the student hopes to further their education beyond high school. However, learning practical life skills is also quite important and is often overlooked in a very traditional high school setting. This is why many schools are doing a combination of both traditional curriculum work and Montessori self-learning principles. Some common Montessori-based activities for high school students are:

  • Reading and Writing – Allow students to have a say in what they read and write, while teaching the necessary areas needed for this age range. For example, teach letter writing but allow the student to write to someone. Allow students to read books they are interested in, doing research papers, classroom presentations, etc. on these books or authors.

  • Mathematics – Do not forget that manipulatives and hands-on math learning can continue into high school years. Also, allow students to do practical math projects like crowdfunding an idea they love, creating a business plan, designing practical budgets, and more.

  • Science – Science can include a variety of hands-on learning experiences, like allowing students to do experiments that can even be quite advanced for this age group. Allow students to create circuits when learning about electricity, dissect frogs, or various other animals when learning about the body, and more.

  • History – Students must learn about key historical information and facts like the Industrial Revolution, economics, presidents, wars, and more. However, you can allow students to research areas they are interested in, create PowerPoints or diagrams, and present to the class information to help teach each other. This encourages students to work collaboratively and can encourage self-discovery.

Final Thoughts

Montessori style learning is an excellent option for those starting as early as birth up to even high school-aged children. While this educational style is ideal for younger students, the methods can be incorporated into the curriculum for older students as well. Countless benefits come with this style of education as it can foster cognitive growth while also establishing a sense of self-worth.

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Our Homeschool in Detail

Note that my “style” or approach is evolving. So you may find things we did for my oldest at Preschool that I did totally different for when my youngest arrived at that age. Overall our at-home education is an eclectic mix of Secular Charlotte Mason, Montessori, Unit Studies, Waldorf, Forest School and probably some things that don’t even have a label! 



First Grade

Second Grade

Transition to Public School

New to Homeschooling?

Here are some helpful places to start:

Homeschool Styles (5 Different Approaches from Wild + Free)
10 Tips for Homeschool Newbies (Brave Writer)
Small Beginnings (A Homeschool Starter Guide for the Early Years)
The First Year of Homeschooling Your Child
The Homeschool Style Quiz (And 6 Approaches Explained)
Homeschooling: Which Model Is Right For You?
Cathy Duffy Reviews (Homeschool Curriculum Reviews)

Free Homeschool Printables

Best Stories for Kids

Stories for Kids- the Best Picture Books

Free Book Tracker for Literature Goals and Reading Lists
Free Book Tracker Printable
Free Homeschool Planner for Homeschooling

Resources For Unit Studies

Most of the resources below are for nature-based unit studies.

How to Plan A Unit Study from Chickie & Roo

*Or see any of the Montessori resources listed above in the Resources and Books by Homeschool Philosophy section. I almost always use some Montessori materials in any unit we do.


Maria Montessori believed that following a child’s interests was key to helping them learn and develop to their fullest potential. She believed that children have an innate desire to learn and explore and that by following their natural curiosity, they can be guided toward activities and experiences that will help them learn and grow.

Montessori believed that by following a child’s interests, educators could create a more meaningful and engaging learning experience. She believed that children who are interested in what they are learning are more likely to be focused, motivated, and creative in their exploration and discovery.

Montessori also believed that following a child’s interests could help them develop a love of learning that would last throughout their lives. She saw the role of educators as facilitators of learning, helping to guide children towards activities and experiences that would help them achieve their goals and fulfill their potential.

Maria Montessori emphasized the importance of following a child’s interests as a fundamental part of creating a rich, stimulating, and rewarding learning environment.


Observe and listen:

Pay attention to the topics and activities that students are drawn to and show enthusiasm for. Take note of their interests and use them to guide lesson planning.

The first step in incorporating children’s interests into the Montessori curriculum is to start by observing them and taking note of what they find fascinating. You can do this by watching their play, noting their questions, and observing their interactions with their peers and the environment around them. This information will give you an idea of what topics they find most interesting.

You can do this by simply observing them during their free play time or having them do a self-report where they draw or write about what they like. Once you have analyzed their interests, you can start planning your curriculum around those areas.

It is important to actively listen to what the children are saying and engage in conversation with them. This will not only provide insight into their interests but also help to build rapport and create a more comfortable and inclusive classroom environment. It may also be helpful to observe non-verbal cues, such as body language, in order to better understand the students’ emotions and reactions to different activities. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask the children questions and encourage them to share their thoughts and ideas with the class. This will not only help you to understand their interests better but also promote critical thinking and communication skills.

Start by observing children at work, note the type of activities they engage in, their preferred materials and how they interact with other children. Write down any noticeable interests or preferences.

Engage in conversation with the children, ask open-ended questions and listen carefully to their responses. You can also ask probing questions to help them elaborate on their interests and activities they are engaged.

Observe their work with Montessori materials and take note of their level of engagement and mastery of the material. This can help you assess their interests and learning styles.

Review notes from earlier observations and conversations and look for patterns or recurring themes. Use this information to develop lesson plans that align with their interests.

Incorporate their interests into the classroom by allowing them to explore related materials, books, or activities. For example, a child interested in insects might enjoy exploring a butterfly life cycle material, reading books about different types of insects, or creating artwork featuring their favorite bugs.

Continuously observe and listen to the children throughout the year so that you can adjust lesson plans based on their changing interests and needs.

It’s important to prioritize observing and listening to the children in the early childhood classroom, as it can provide valuable insights and guidance for creating a meaningful and engaging educational experience.

Engaging Learners Guide For Early Childhood Teachers And Parents On Incorporating Student Interests Into The Curriculum Montessori Nature

Ask questions:
Encourage students to share their interests and hobbies with you. Ask questions about their favorite things and incorporate their answers into your lessons.

  • Start with a warm-up question: Start the conversation by asking a question that is easy to answer, such as “What did you do over the weekend?” This will help to ease the children into the conversation and make them feel more comfortable sharing their interests and hobbies.

  • Listen actively: As the children begin to share their interests and hobbies, listen attentively and ask follow-up questions. This will show them that you are interested in what they have to say, and encourage them to continue sharing.

  • Incorporate their interests into your lessons: Once you have a good understanding of their interests, try to incorporate them into your lessons. For example, if a child loves dinosaurs, you could plan a lesson on prehistoric animals or do a dinosaur-themed craft.

  • Use open-ended questions: Rather than asking yes or no questions, use open-ended questions that encourage the children to share more about their interests and hobbies. For example, instead of asking “Do you like art?” you could ask “What kind of art do you like to do?”

  • Be respectful and non-judgmental: Remember that every child is unique, and their interests may not be the same as yours. Be respectful of their choices and avoid making any judgments or negative comments.

Once you have gathered information about the children’s interests, you can start identifying themes that are commonly shared among them. Themes could be anything from animals and nature to airplanes and chocolate. Use these themes to plan activities and lessons that incorporate their interests.

Offer Choices

When planning activities, provide multiple options that align with different student interests. For example, if you are teaching about animals, provide options for students to learn about their favorite animals.

Here are some ways to offer choice in the Montessori classroom when planning hands-on activities:

  • Offer a variety of activities: Provide a variety of activities that cater to different learning styles and interests. For example, offer activities that involve different senses such as tactile, visual, and auditory activities.

  • Let children choose: Allow children to choose which activity they would like to work on. You can create a chart or board with pictures or labels of different activities and let them choose which one they prefer to work on.

  • Use open-ended activities: Provide open-ended activities that allow children to use their creativity and imagination. For example, provide materials like blocks or art supplies and let children create something on their own.

  • Provide challenge levels: Offer different levels of difficulty for the same activity so that children can choose the level that suits them. For example, offer puzzles with different levels of difficulty.

  • Allow individual work: Provide materials for individual work like puzzles, counting beads, button sorting etc. Some students may prefer to work alone while others may prefer more social interaction – providing both options will cater to everyone’s needs.

By offering choice, children will feel empowered and more motivated to learn and explore in their own unique way.

Make connections: Connect students’ interests to academic content by creating projects and activities that integrate their interests.

  • Use children’s interests to create project-based activities – Projects are an excellent way to engage preschoolers’ interests, and to integrate academic content. For example, if you notice that your students are fascinated with animals, you could create a unit on animal habitats.

  • Make it hands-on – Preschoolers learn best through hands-on activities. When designing your lessons, keep in mind that they need to manipulate objects, conduct experiments, and be physically involved in the learning process.

  • Work in groups – Preschoolers also benefit from working collaboratively in a group. Group work allows them to develop social skills and learn from their peers.

  • Keep it simple – Remember that preschoolers have short attention spans. Keep activities simple, focused, and manageable for their developmental level.

  • Encourage creativity – Allow preschoolers to be creative in their projects and activities. Encourage them to think outside the box and come up with their own ideas and solutions.

Involve families: Ask families to share their child’s interests and perspectives. Families can also provide resources that support student interests.

Create a family survey: You can create a family survey wherein you can ask parents to share information about their child’s interests and preferences. You can also ask parents to suggest hands on activities that their children have enjoyed. The survey can be distributed to parents electronically or can be mailed to them.

Organize family events: Organize events where families can come together to do Montessori activities. When families participate in activities together, they can observe their children’s interests, and they can share their experiences with other parents.

Create a family-based Montessori resource center: Create a section in the classroom where parents can contribute resources that support their child’s interests, such as books, toys, and other materials.

Share weekly updates: Share weekly updates with families, including images of their child in the Montessori classroom, activities they participate in, and learning milestones achieved. This can keep families connected with their child’s educational journey and foster a sense of community.

Make learning fun: Students are more engaged in learning when they enjoy what they are doing. Incorporate fun and playful activities that align with student interests, this will increase their motivation and engagement in learning.

Here are some fun ways to explore children’s interests in the early childhood classroom:

Show and Tell: Encourage children to bring an item that is important to them and allow them to share with the class why it is important to them.

Arts and Crafts: Incorporate children’s interests in your arts and crafts activities. For example, if a child loves dinosaurs, provide materials to make a dinosaur skeleton.

Science experiments:
Conduct science experiments that align with children’s interests. For example, if a child loves the ocean, conduct an experiment on how saltwater and freshwater differ.

Set up a learning area that aligns with children’s interests. For example, if a child loves cooking, set up a kitchen area where they can learn to cook and serve food.

Field trips:
Take children on field trips that align with their interests. For example, if a child loves animals, take them to a local zoo or animal sanctuary.

Play games that align with children’s interests. For example, if a child loves sports, play games that involve sports for outdoor play.

Book reading: Read books that align with children’s interests and encourage children to discuss and share their thoughts about the book.

After identifying children’s interests, you can design your curriculum accordingly. As an early childhood teacher, it is essential to be adaptable and flexible in your approach to teaching. Incorporating children’s interests into the curriculum should not be a difficulty. Instead, it should be a natural process that flows with the child’s learning needs. By taking note of children’s interests, you can make classroom activities and materials that are interesting and engaging to them.


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Editable Teacher Planner

To help create a seamless workflow in the classroom, I designed a preschool activity planner. It is a tool created to help educators and parents plan and organize activities for their preschoolers. With this planner, parents and educators can access a variety of age-appropriate activities and games to keep their children engaged and learning. The planner includes a wide range of activities that cover essential skills such as literacy, numeracy, social and emotional development, and cognitive development. It is designed to be flexible and can be customized to meet the needs and interests of individual children. With the membership preschool activity planner, educators and parents will have access to a wealth of resources that will help their child thrive in the early years. Learn more


When attempting to incorporate student interests into the curriculum, several challenges may arise. Some of these challenges and strategies for overcoming them include:

The first challenge that may arise is ensuring that student interests are accurately identified. Teachers may assume that they know what students are interested in, but sometimes this may not be accurate. To overcome this challenge, teachers can engage in observation, surveys, and interviews to identify students’ interests.

Another challenge is finding a balance between incorporating student interests and still covering required content and meeting learning outcomes. One way to overcome this challenge is to align learning outcomes with student interests or use student interests to teach required content.

Teachers may also face challenges due to limited time and resources to create activities or units that incorporate students’ interests. Effective use of technology, collaboration with colleagues, or seeking support from parents, community organizations, and local businesses can help overcome this challenge.

Educators may also struggle with incorporating different interests among students. One way to overcome this challenge is to incorporate student interests in a variety of activities, allowing for diverse learning experiences for all students. Educators can also group students based on their interests and customize activities accordingly.

Educators may face resistance from colleagues or administrators who may not see the relevance of incorporating student interests into the curriculum. To overcome this challenge, teachers can use research and data to support the case for incorporating student interests or collaborating with colleagues.

Finally, it is important to note that it is essential to support students’ interests in real-world subjects in the Montessori early childhood classroom because it can help them develop a deeper understanding of the world around them.

Montessori education is based on the idea that children learn best through hands-on experience and exploration. By focusing on real-world subjects, children are able to engage with the world in a meaningful way and develop skills and knowledge that they can apply to their daily lives.

Fantasy small worlds, while still enjoyable for young children, do not provide the same learning opportunities as real-world subjects. While children can still learn language and social skills through imaginative play, they may miss out on important developmental experiences that come from exploring and interacting with the real world.

Fantasy is not encouraged in primary Montessori classrooms because Maria Montessori believed in providing children with real experiences and materials that are grounded in reality. She felt that children needed to build a solid foundation in reality before being introduced to more abstract concepts.

Additionally, children in the primary age range are still developing their sense of reality and may have difficulty distinguishing between fantasy and reality. Therefore, it is important for educators to focus on supporting children’s fascinations with real-world experiences that can directly impact the child’s learning and development.

Montessori education also emphasizes the need for concentration and focus, which can be disrupted by fantastical distractions. By focusing on interests that are based on real-life experiences, children are better able to concentrate on meaningful activities and develop a deeper understanding of the world around them.

That being said, imaginative play and storytelling can still have a place in the early childhood curriculum as long as it is done in moderation and does not take away from the focus on reality-based learning experiences.

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