I encourage any homeschoolers to check out craigslist and thrift stores in their area for used materials. Montessori materials are quite difficult to come by but if you keep and eye out and search online often you might just find some great deals.
Our first great find was from craigslist with a Montessori school that had closed and was selling off everything. This school was a primary school so they had very little of the elementary materials. They did have some important items we need though and since we dont have everything for primary, I got some things that my daughter will need in a couple of years.
The bead cabinet! Our new pride and joy! I think every Montessori admirer knows about the bead cabinet or at least has seen one. Chains of colored beads in square chains, cube chains, squares and cubes for number 1-10. The one I got is in like new condition and from Bruins Montessori. It takes up a lot of room in the classroom but its worth it.
We also got several work rugs which we really needed. I had found a couple of striped ones at IKEA that we tried but we found any pattern to be too distracting. Finding the right size an solid light color was difficult. I was thrilled to find these and they were cheap too. We also got a Trinominal cube and a set of knobbed cylinders.
|This is a stock photo of the learning tower.|
Last week we stopped in a local thrift store because it was near my son's karate school and we were early. We spent most of our time looking through the children's books (my son looked at the toys too). We found some nice Magic Treehouse books and a Pretzel book (we love dachshunds!) and were about to leave when I spotted a plastic box with a piece of tape that read "Science Kit". Of course, I grabbed it and started going through it to see what was inside. There was so much, I couldnt believe it all fit in that box. It was also on sale, I ended up paying about $11 for all of this:
The last of our big deals was yesterday when I went back to the Montessori school that sold me the Learning Tower for the materials they were selling. They were so kind, I feel so lucky. They gave me a list of what they had and I told them I was interested in about half of it depending on the price. A little while later they sent me an email back saying I could have EVERYTHING for $100. There were a few things we didnt need but I took it all and brought it home to go through it. Some items were damaged or missing pieces but just about everything on my list is complete and useable. I spent hours last night going through boxes and checking to make sure things were complete. I'm not sure why Im so excited but I love that several items are Neinhuis, which is THE company for Montessori materials in actual schools. Its extremely expensive in most cases so I never thought we would have any but now we do.
The pile I brought to the classroom. There are some items still in the blue bin. Also several items that we already had that I didnt bring into the classroom.
And our metal insets now have stands. I didnt think we needed them when I bought the insets, then I wished I had. The insets might be going into storage soon to make room for fraction circles though and the stands will work for those also.
I still have to go through more bins but I am most excited about the cursive sandpaper letters/blends, cursive moveable alphabet (not in the picture), number tile boxes for the math charts, Pythagoras square, hundred board, grammar materials, small square root board, number sets and fraction cutouts.
I will also be placing an order soon for more materials. We still have several elementary materials that need to be purchased but its nice to have several items checked off my list.