Today we get to look inside the home and observe the rhythms of a family who I’ve been Insta-crushing on for ages (if that’s a thing). I love following Bruna Masalin on Instagram to follow their slow pace, inviting spaces and fun activities. And her website is also full of lots of homeschooling, design, simplifying our lives, and more. Let’s take a look!
1. Who lives in your home and where are you located?
David (33), Bruna (30), Levi (3) and Lara (almost 1) based in Connecticut, USA.
2. How did you find out about Montessori?
I worked in Admissions in a British School in Qingdao, China – their early childhood education (ECE) was Montessori inspired. Then I did research at a Montessori Kindergarten in China to help educate parents about the method.
3. What do you find resonates most with you about the Montessori approach?
I always believed knowledge should be discovered by the child depending on her/his interest. Most schools feed the content to the kids. I like to think out of the box. I think I’ve always been this way. I couldn’t fit a mould as a child and was always thirsty for creativity. Maria’s method helps me build a rich learning environment where my kids get to explore different learning experiences and all I have to do is follow them as they learn. And I love that! Truly love that!
4. What is currently your favourite thing to do at home with your children?
We love reading out loud and baking together while listening to some good music.
5. How do you set up your home to help apply Montessori at home?
Montessori playroom: We have a Montessori playroom where I rotate toys and materials. There I have different learning stations, such as music, language, sensorial, math, culture and art. On top of that, the kids also have a few favorite toys I like to display. We keep it minimal and interesting. All the shelves are low and we keep it neat and tidy. I just recently added an Aloe-Vera plant to the room for Levi to water and care for.
Kitchen: I also have brooms, dust pan and other kitchen utensils that are perfect for small hands. I encourage Levi to clean after accidents or to help me clean different areas of the house. I set up a simple working area in our kitchen where Levi cleans his dishes after some meals. I let him cook his own rice and vegetables in the rice maker/steamer under my supervision, whenever we make rice I get the rice machine and set it on top of his little shelf in the kitchen. Other than that, I place his silverware and cups in the lower parts of our cabinets so it’s easy for him to reach.
Living room: I baby-proofed the living room so they can wander and play freely. They are welcome to bring toys and I encourage my oldest to clean up after.
Their bedroom: For a while we had a mattress on the floor for Levi, but as soon as he turned 3 we bought him a regular bed since he could climb up and down without trouble. Lara still sleeps in our bedroom, but soon she will be transferred to a mattress on the floor as well. In their bedroom the book shelves are low to the ground, and we display different books weekly. Levi has an open clothing rack and he picks out his own clothes when we go out, but he’s still working on putting clothes on without mama’s help. They have two crates with special natural wooden toys and an area where we gather for reading once a day.
Bathrooms: I have stools and small potties, Levi used to have rags and spray in case of accidents when he was being potty trained. He used to clean after his own accidents and using the Montessori approach for potty-training made the whole thing a lot easier and fun for us 🙂
I haven’t set up the other areas like dining room and entry way yet, but I plan on adding a few different materials for practical life skills.
As you can see, I’m a big fan of Sprout Kids‘ wooden baskets and love collaborating with them to support their work.
6. Can you give us an idea of a “usual” day in the life of your family?
We have a daily family rhythm that changes every season. It goes a little bit like this:
Morning: Get up, pray, have breakfast and brush teeth. Change baby’s diaper.
Free play downstairs while mama cleans the kitchen and other areas, once I’m done cleaning I usually sit in the room and watch them play. I help Levi in case he’s misusing some materials, but mostly I just sit and watch them explore.
Late morning: We also have a Homeschool curriculum that is literature and project based, so a few days a week I take two hours in the morning to do craft and read one of the books suggested by our curriculum. The person who wrote our curriculum is also a Montessori mom, so every page gives you small reminders of things to do with your child to include him in your daily life.
Lunch: We head to the kitchen together and cook something simple that they love. Then we pray and eat.
Quiet time: After lunch we have quiet time, we usually listen to books out loud (it’s a cd that reads several different books out loud and the child follows by turning the page according to the sound). This is when baby usually sleeps, Levi just reads quietly or plays and I get some work done for my home run business.
Outdoor time: Mid afternoon we like to head outside. Sometimes we use this time to go grocery shopping, but mostly we just stay in the yard. We are hoping our garden will do well this year, so during that time in the afternoon is when we check on our plants and pick peaches off our neighbors’ tree if they are ripe. Our neighbors have a beautiful peach tree and they are so excited that we have kids at home that can enjoy the peaches. They always ask that we watch the tree for ripen fruits and Levi loves doing that.
End of the day: We head back inside to make dinner. I allow some screen time for my oldest, usually 30 minutes of his favorite show. Some days dad gets home way before dinner time, when that happens the tv ends up being forgotten and they play while I cook. I love listening to the kids giggle as my husband does all of his silly tricks with them. It’s truly the best sound in the world.
Dinner: We wash hands and head to the table. Sometimes Levi brings his own dishes to the table and we let him help himself with food depending on what it is. We love having this time for conversation and connection. Dave asks Levi how his day has been, etc… We finish, clean the table and leave the dishes in the sink for the next day.
After dinner: we read Bible stories, sometimes play the piano or other instruments, then the kids take a bath and at about 7:45pm they head to bed. They are usually asleep by 8 or 8:15pm every night.
Quality time with my husband: Dave and I watch a show and drink a good glass of wine after the kids are in bed. We get about three to four hours for ourselves and I have to say it’s quite nice hehe!
A big thank you Bruna for taking the time to show us around your home and let us peek into your daily rhythm too. I love the idea of slow mornings, kids being involved in the cooking, and some regular rhythms for the family to enjoy (including time off in the evenings!). So much to love.