When I began homeschooling my kids in a 1,000 sq. ft. condo, I spent a few days pondering which materials were truly essential and which we could live without.
I narrowed down our math essentials, but was stumped by the language materials. How was I going to fit a huge set of wooden Grammar Boxes into our very limited shelf space? It was during this moment of panic that I discovered Jennifer Kilgore and Branch to Bloom. Jennifer had the ingenious idea of converting the cumbersome Grammar Boxes (and other large Montessori materials) to fabric versions! Roll ’em, stack ’em, rack ’em… There are so many ways to store these flexible and beautiful materials!
And here’s my favorite part: These materials were designed specifically with the needs homeschoolers in mind (although they can be used perfectly well in a classroom setting). The original cards for the classroom Grammar Boxes provide prompts that direct the children to use materials in certain ways. (e.g. “Build the Brown Stair behind the Pink Tower.”) By following the prompts and interacting with materials in the classroom, the children experience the power of the different parts of speech. But those original cards are useless for homeschoolers, because we don’t have most of the classroom materials mentioned on the cards!
Jennifer, who’s also a homeschooling mom, solved this problem by adapting the prompts on the cards to be homeschool-friendly. Her cards let children experience the power of the parts of speech, while interacting with objects found in most homeschools. The cards are pre-printed on beautiful and sturdy paper (but I laminated mine anyway because old habits die hard).
The Branch to Bloom Grammar Boxes can be purchased as a complete set (fabric mats and pre-printed cards), just the fabric mats, or as a download so you can print paper mats at home. You can also print your own cards.
We’ve had lots of fun playing and working with these Grammar Boxes. I’m grateful to Jennifer for her creativity and hard work, which allows us to stay true to the Montessori method.